If you choose to remove your body hair on any sort of regular basis, then odds are that shaving is a part of your beauty routine. Do you love it? Probably not. Is it cheaper and less effort than the many other options available, including but not limited to, waxing/sugaring, epilating, and lasering? Sure is.
Well, a lot has changed since our nascent shaving experiences, which may or may not have involved some combination of disposable twin blades, knee bent over the toilet, and plenty of pesky cuts. For starters, there’s a new guard of cool, direct-to-consumer brands that are aiming to offer design-forward solutions to something that historically hasn’t been something well, the highlight of our shower routine.
With that in mind, we spent weeks testing three of the latest power players in this space: Flamingo (founded by the same folks behind Harry’s), Billie, and Joy (a new-ish brand by Gillette). Before getting into our in-depth, bordering-on-TMI reviews, get to know the R29-ers who volunteered their legs, underarms, bikini lines, and more in the name of quality journalism.
Meet The Testers
Julia Raue, Product Manager
I’m blonde with fair, sensitive skin, generally not too hairy of a person. I shave my legs two to three times a week — less often in the winter, obviously — and shave my armpits every other day.
Karina Hoshikawa, Beauty & Wellness Market Writer
As someone with dark brunette hair and olive skin, when I have hair on my body, it’s very visible. I have my underarms and bikini lasered, so those areas are very low-maintenance, aside from occasionally tweezing or epilating any strays to keep things smooth. I shave my legs about once a week, and during the winter, that number is about once every other week.
Emily Ruane, Fashion Market Writer
I have pretty dark and coarse body hair. My skin is not particularly sensitive, so I have kind of shameful shaving habits: I shave my legs (just below the knee!) and pits about two or three times a month because I don’t care that much about being hairless — and it’s waaaay less during the winter. Prior to this test, I was using my husband’s three-year-old razor and whatever soap I had lying around, so using all this shiny new shaving equipment was an eye-opener!
Now, onto the good stuff…
Retail Price: $9 for the razor, $5 for the shave gel, and $16 for the Shave Set which includes one razor handle, two five-blade cartridges, one foaming shave gel (1oz), one body lotion (3oz), one shower hook, and one reusable pouch.
The Specs: Launched in 2018 as the lady’s answer to direct-to-consumer men’s shaving brand Harry’s, Flamingo promises a top-notch hair removal experience with products developed through years of research and development. It’s also available at places like Target and Urban Outfitters, where you probably already shop anyway. (Also, they donate 1% of sales to support nonprofit organizations including Exhale to Inhale and Period, which work to empower and support women affected by domestic and sexual violence and period poverty, respectively.)
Our Thoughts: “First off, the shaving gel seems to have a mind of its own! Two seemingly tiny pumps created a veritable mountain of foam that was almost enough for two pits and two lower legs. (I only shave my legs below my knees) The razor has a nice weight to it, and I loved the grippy rubber handle. I felt a tiny bit of resistance moving the blade over my skin, which I assume is a good thing — you don’t want five steel blades sliding around your dermis willy-nilly. Added bonus: it comes with a little suction-cup holder that has held firmly onto my shower wall the past month. My inner neat freak loves this. ” — Emily, Fashion Market Writer
”Flamingo is the razor I’d dream I’d use one day after years of using disposable twin-blades throughout my teen years. The design is very elevated — the colors look like they came out of a trendy nail polish salon — and the shave gel was pretty nice: Foamy and cushion-y, but not too much so. I also liked that the head had some movement and moisturization so it glided along my skin with minimal resistance. Only major callout was that the cartridges popped out of the handle pretty easily if you angle it too far in one direction!” — Karina
“I genuinely had a good time using this razor. I hate to admit this at the age of 25, but this was my first time using a legit non-Bic disposable razor and it did not disappoint. The razor itself felt heavy-duty and fit perfectly in my freakishly large hands. The shaving cream was a great break from the usual body wash I use (I’m cheap), but I was sad with how little of it they provided in the Flamingo starter shave set. As a careless shaver, I was impressed that I didn’t cut myself even once with the Flamingo. In the end, I gave their lotion a try and it made my newly smooth legs even more smooth and soft. — Julia
The Specs: Founded in 2017, Billie‘s brand M.O. is all about sticking it to the pink tax and offering women affordable, high-quality shaving products. The brand’s viral campaigns like Project Body Hair helped but them on the map by normalizing the conversation surrounding body hair — and why it’s equally okay to remove it or go au naturel. Also, they donate 1% of revenue to support women’s organizations globally — according to their website, currently, they’re currently partnering with Every Mother Counts, an organization that works towards ensuring that pregnancy and childbirth is a safe experience for women everywhere.
Our Thoughts: “Okay, so spoiler alert: Billie is the clear winner for me. The Starter Kit is an amazing value, and if you don’t shave that often (I shave maybe twice weekly), then you can easily go over a month without needing to buy replacement blades. The head of the razor was the largest out of the three, so I could shave my entire leg in a matter of passes. I also liked Billie’s shave cream the best out of the three brands because it was more creamy with a hint of foaminess but not too foamy, and provided enough cushion and moisture for a comfortable shave. Also, the flexibility of the head meant that I could easily angle the razor to get behind textbook danger zones — my knees and around my ankles — without any nicks. Game. Changed.” — Karina
“I was very excited to try Billie. I have heard so much about it and basically everyone I know has one. I found I was able to shave my legs very quickly, likely due to the large razor head and the smooth and seamless shave. It made shaving less of a big, time-consuming chore. I also really loved Billie’s shave cream. I’ve never really used shaving cream because I just find it messy and overwhelming, but Billie’s gel was moisturizing and mess free, plus, a little went a long way.” — Julia
“I was hopeful about Billie’s potential simply because I enjoy the design aesthetic and it’s nice to have pretty things in the shower. While this was my favorite shaving cream out of the three I tested, I preferred the Joy squishy grip of the razor handle to the sleek, ergonomically designed shape of the hard Billie razor. The razor never slipped from my hand but I always felt like it possibly could at some point after using and getting used the Joy one (below) for a few weeks.” — Emily
The Specs: Joy is shaving giant Gillette’s answer to the influx of new, startup brands disrupting the drugstore’s stronghold on at-home hair removal. Like Flamingo and Billie, Joy’s razor has five blades; however, unlike the other two brands in this experiment, nine bucks only gets you the razor and one replacement cartridge, putting it at a slightly more expensive starter price than its competitors. (It’s worth noting, however, that the shave cream — the cheapest of the bunch — balances out the overall cost.)
Our Thoughts: “I really, really wanted to love Joy, but compared to the other two brands, there was no comparison; while I don’t like too much of a lubricating strip on the razor heads (too much gets goopy and messy IMO), Joy’s felt a little too un-lubricated for my taste. While they’re definitely onto something brilliant with the easy-grip, rubbery handle (and I’ll admit, I got a pretty close shave), the blades felt like they were scraping my skin compared to Billie and Flamingo. The Glee shave cream was also not my favorite of the bunch, since it was so foamy (like, Skintimate-levels of foamy) that I had to rinse the blades after pretty much every pass. That said, if you’re used to shaving with a men’s razor, then you’ll probably love this one.” — Karina
“Off the bat, I noticed that the Joy Razor did not feel as high quality as the Billie and Flamingo razors. Physically, it was much lighter and a bit too small for my hands. I was also a bit disappointed when I realized that the blade itself is Gillette, which is what I normally use. I was very excited with the amount of shaving cream the provided, however, the watermelon smell was not very enjoyable during my early morning, sleepy shower. My first shave with the Joy Razor did lead to a bit of bloodbath as I cut my knee pretty badly.” — Julia
“Here are my final thoughts since I’ve already talked about how much I liked the squishy handle on this razor…favorite shaving cream: Billie; favorite razor head, Flamingo; favorite handle: Joy. Since I’ve been fully spoiled to the max with two months of testing razors, I plan on taking all the parts and assembling one master Franken-shaving system.” — Emily
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