Shavers & Hair Removal Buying Guide

For shaving and hair removal, modern technology has many solutions which provide an easier alternative to wet shaving with a razor. Mens' electric shavers offer a quick and convenient alternative to the daily routine, whilst for the ladies there are several different ways to deal with unwanted hair, each with its own pros and cons.

Shavers For Men

Electric shavers are a convenient fuss-free alternative to razors, for a clean, safe shave. Broadly speaking, there are two types of shaver: foil shavers and rotary shavers. Whichever type you choose, you will find some common buying choices, such as rechargeable vs mains power. Most electric shavers are for dry use, however some models are 'Wet & Dry' so you can use them in the shower if you prefer. Top-end models have advanced self-cleaning features.

Rotary Shavers

Mens' rotary shavers work using two or three rotating shaving heads, which lift and cut stubble. Better quality models have pivoting shaving heads, which allows each head to move independently, allowing you to keep the shaver as close to the skin as possible throughout the shave, following the shape of your face. This feature, sometimes known as 'flex' or 'reflex' action, also makes it easier to shave awkward spots including the neck.

Foil Shavers

Mens' foil shavers work slightly differently to rotary shavers, using several blades, protected by a mesh foil cover. When the shaver is held to the skin, bristles go through the foil and are cut by the high-speed blades. Different shaver foil thicknesses are available, which dictate the closeness of the shave. This type of shaver is less good for regular use as it has a smaller shaving area, meaning it takes longer to use than a rotary shaver.

Trimmers For Men

Alongside shavers, there are a couple of other devices which can help make mens' grooming easier. Trimmers are an invaluable asset for trimming beards, sideburns and moustaches to keep them neat. Using a trimmer is also a good idea for tackling beards - if you are shaving off a beard and going for a clean shave, the job will be much easier if you use a trimmer first to remove excess growth. (Some shavers include a built-in trimmer so you would not need a separate trimmer in this case.) You can also buy specially shaped trimmers for ear and nose hair - typically these work like a mini foil shaver, with the cutting area shaped into a small round head for those awkward areas. Good trimmers are supplied with comb guides to allow you to adjust the closeness of the trim.

Hair Removal For Women

For tackling hair removal, women have a few options. Some are designed to lift and cut the hair in the same way as a man's shaver. Other devices facilitate hair removal at the root, which although painful, has a long-lasting effect without stubble.

Ladies Shavers

For legs and underarms, a ladies' shaver is quick and easy. Most womens' shavers are foil shavers, which cut hairs very close to the skin using high-speed blades beneath a mesh foil cover, which protects the skin from cuts. They can be mains or battery powered, including rechargeable models, and are usually designed to be used dry, however some models are 'wet & dry', so you can use them in the shower if you prefer.


Epilators remove hair using a series of rapidly rotating discs which grab individual hairs and pluck them out. This type of hair removal, like waxing, has a longer-lasting effect than shaving, because hair is removed at the root rather than being cut. Regrowth is softer and less noticeable after epilation or waxing. Features on epilators can include massage bars to help lift and separate hairs ready for plucking, and ice packs which can help numb the skin before epilation. Other epilators can have spare heads with trimmer and / or shaver attachments.

Ladies Trimmers

Another option is a trimmer, which is designed to groom and tidy any areas which do not require total hair removal. Some trimmers are supplied with templates to help with bikini line shaping.

Waxing Kits

If waxing is your preference, you may find a salon treatment is the best way to go, especially if you are not used to it. If you prefer to do waxing yourself at home, it can be messy and time consuming. Waxing kits provide everything you need to do your own hair removal, usually with some kind of heating element to hold the wax conveniently until you are ready, plus spatulas and fabric strips. Like epilation, waxing removes hair at the root, so this is a more painful method of hair removal than shaving. However, once done, it leaves skin smooth, silky and hair-free, removing even the smallest of hairs. Regrowth is softer and less noticeable than with shaving.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a method of permanently stopping hair growth by 'zapping' the root with a type of light energy which suppresses growth at the follicle. Hairs are treated one at a time, and repeated treatments can be required. This is usually done at a salon or clinic, but you can now buy home kits for this type of removal at home. This is an electrical item, and can be quite expensive compared to shavers and epilators. A laser hair removal kit typically has a main unit with the controls, which is attached to a corded device similar to a pen, which is applied to the hair. This method is best for removing awkward or difficult individual hairs rather than large areas such as legs, which are better suited to shaving or epilating.