Women's Electric Shaver Buying Advice

A woman will feel the difference if she switches to an electric shaver. Electric shavers for women can cut down on nicks and razor burn, and some models, such as epilators, can save time. Even better, new electric shavers are easy to throw in a suitcase and take on the road.

His-and-Her Electric Shavers
More than design differences exist between a women's electric shaver and a men's electric shaver. Men shave a small area of tough, thick facial hair, so men's electric shavers need powerful motors but not a lot of size. Women shave the softer hair on wide areas of arms and legs, so they need an electric shaver with a larger head and a less powerful motor.

That said, many women prefer men's electric shavers because they believe the stronger motors get the job done quicker. In reality, the size of the shaving head and how efficiently it cuts has a much bigger impact on shaving time than the strength of the motor. You can use a men's electric shaver if you don't mind spending more, but be aware that some models may clog up from finer hair.

Shaver Types
A women's electric shaver comes in two basic styles. Foil electric shavers have a thin piece of perforated metal that contacts the skin, usually made from stainless or surgical steel. Hairs poke through the holes in the foil and get sheared off by a blade that rapidly moves back and forth beneath the foil.

Rotary electric shavers have three shaving heads, which are metal screens mounted just above spinning blades that shear off hairs poking through. Both types are effective, though most users find that foil shavers cut a little closer and rotary shavers do a better job on longer hairs.

It's a good idea to consider your contours when choosing a shaver. Most rotary shavers are mounted on pivoting necks, and high-end women's rotary shavers have individual mounts for each shaving head. This allows the shaver to adjust to the curves of your body, which is very helpful when you're shaving your arms or bikini area.

The wide heads of women's foil shavers are ideal for the legs, as they allow you to shave with fewer passes, which reduces the risk of irritation. Look for a product with a curved foil for the fastest and closest shave. Don't fret about the material used in the foil. Gold is prettier than stainless steel, but what matters is that the foil is corrosion proof.

Some women avoid electric shavers because they confuse them with epilators. An epilator is not a shaver; it's a hair-removal system that uses tiny tweezers to yank hairs out by the root.

It takes time to get used to an epilator, and some women loathe them. Epilators do save time; you'll typically use an epilator once every two to three weeks while you might need to shave every two or three days. There's no stubble with epilators, but they can cause irritation, particularly in sensitive areas. If you're trying to choose between an epilator and an electric shaver, think about how comfortable you are with waxing, which comes closest to the epilator experience. If you hate waxing, you won't enjoy using an epilator.

Before looking at the extras, choose a women's electric shaver that offers a curved foil or a head mounting system that contours to the shape of your body. Also consider the handle. Some women like a wide handle that is easy to grip while others prefer a slim handle similar to the ones on disposable razors.

An ideal model runs on built-in rechargeable batteries and includes a charging station that also stores the shaver when it's not in use. It's best to avoid a shaver that uses disposable batteries. You'll save money up front, but you'll pay a higher lifetime cost when you factor in the batteries.

Look for a shaver with an LED indicator that lets you know when the electric shaver battery is fully charged. Most women shave as part of a daily routine, so charging time isn't an issue. If you do sometimes need a speedy or unexpected shave, choose a model with a quick-charge feature that powers up the batteries in an hour.

Compare the shaving times of several different models of a women's electric shaver. Some manufacturers list the number of shaves, but this is subjective as there's no "average" shave. Look for the number of minutes the shaver will run, and aim for 30 to 40 minutes of shaving time.

Wet-dry electric shavers let you use shaving cream or lotion while you shave, which can improve closeness and reduce irritation. If you like to shave in the shower, be sure to choose a model that is fully submersible. Wet-dry shavers that aren't fully submersible can be destroyed if they're dropped in a full sink or tub. Look for rubberized handles on wet-dry shavers for the best stability and control.

Living With Women's Shavers
Expect to be disappointed with your first few attempts at using a women's electric shaver. This is normal, as it takes between three weeks and a month for your skin and hair to adjust. If you're still dissatisfied after a month, return the product and try a different model. Make sure that the retailer offers at least a 30-day return guarantee.

Over time, you'll need to replace the foils and blades to keep your shaver cutting at its best. Some models include a replacement foil, but it's always a good idea to see if electric shaver parts are available-and to compare costs-before making your final decision.

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