Should women be using different shaving products?

Woo sits down with a leading UK skin treatment expert to debunk myths and misinformation surrounding shaving

bella hadid in bath
bella hadid in bath

Woo sits down with a leading UK skin treatment expert to debunk myths and misinformation surrounding shaving

By Sophie Williams02 Mar 2023
6 mins read time
6 mins read time

If you’re a woman and you shave (whether on the reg or when you can be bothered), you’ve probably spent the majority of your teen and adult life pretty overwhelmed by the millions of different shaving products for women on offer, all promising different things.

We get it. It can be frustrating. We too just want to shave our fuzzy legs in peace after a long winter alternating between joggers, PJ bottoms and the occasional pair of mom jeans (while of course being satisfied that what we’re using is safe and suitable for our skin type).

Should women be using different shaving products?

Lucky for you, we’ve enlisted the knowledge of Dr Ross Perry, aesthetic doctor and leading UK skin treatment expert to debunk every single shaving myth you’ve ever heard. From acknowledging the pink tax controversy to explaining the best products for said different skin types, here’s everything women need to know about shaving…

What are the best ingredients for sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin sisters, when it comes to choosing shaving creams, you first need to make sure that none of the ingredients used are irritating. This means fragrance and alcohol-based products are a no-go.

Instead, they need to be hypoallergenic, soothing and calming and contain ingredients (like coconut oil) that glide over the skin, causing less friction. This helps to reduce the risk of hair follicle irritation and razor burn.

Plus, if you find a cream dedicated to sensitive skin, chances are, you can probably use it across all areas of your body - including your more private parts due to its gentler formula. In this case, just make sure that it’s pH-balanced.

What about oily and acne-prone skin?

Avoiding shaving creams with heavy oils (we’re talking shea butter, coconut oil, etc.) is a non-negotiable in this instance. While you may have heard that these ingredients work wonders for the body, they’re not the kindest to oily or acne-prone skin types. Because if applied on or near the face, they can increase the risk of breakouts.

Instead, you’re going to want to opt for non-comedogenic products. Which Healthline describes as something pretty simple: products likely to help us avoid skin pore blockages and other unwelcome signs of acne that may result.”

And what about dry skin?

Dry skin gals, you know what we’re going to say. Your shaving products need to be packed with intense moisture, both for deep hydration and to avoid irritation from your razor. (Also go easy when shaving - don’t drag harshly or put too much pressure on the razor, as you could end up with burns, cuts, or both.)

Shaving butters are great for this skin type because they’re thicker than lotions, creams and gels. When shopping, look for the major soothing ingredients like vitamin E, coconut and aloe vera. The latter especially, as it’s made up of 90% water, which means it’s ideal for moisturising dry skin without leaving it feeling too oily afterwards.

Not only that, but if you’re in the market for maintaining plump and youthful skin across your entire body, aloe vera also promotes the production of collagen.

What is the 'pink tax' controversy

It’s no secret that men and women often purchase similar day-to-day self-care products. In fact, we’re sure that many people (us included) have used both throughout the course of their shaving life, whether by accident or through pure ease. Like, how many times have you used your bf’s deodorant because you can’t find yours or used his razor when yours has gone all rusty? Case closed.

However, research has shown that women-targeted items can sometimes come with a higher price tag in comparison. This is what’s called the pink tax, and the personal care sector has been called out a few times for its gender-based price disparity.

Back in 2018, a UK analysis found that women’s deodorant was 10.63% more expensive on average than men’s, razors cost 6.28% more and ‘female’ facial moisturisers were 34.28% higher in price.

According to Dr Perry, “shaving products aimed at women generally make bolder claims than men’s shaving products.”

“They look prettier, are packaged differently, and appear more feminine in aesthetic appearance. With that also comes clever wording, such as kind to skin, and suitable for the most sensitive, all of which come with a heavier price tag,” he adds.

A Times report also stated that women will pay 37% more on average for almost identical products to men. In response, some of the bigger brands claimed that the razors are made differently, and are more complicated and expensive to manufacture. This, we’ll get to a little later…

Remember, what you do is personal preference, at the end of the day

In the grand scheme of things, the products you choose to use on your body are all down to personal preference. And often, the pricier things are literally designed to be more careful on the skin, have been adapted to shaving certain areas, or cater to some feminine needs like removing hair from specific areas.

Dr Perry also backs up this claim, adding that, “when it comes to shaving products, it really is up to the individual consumer and what method of hair removal they prefer and what’s best suited to their own skin type.”

He explains that - especially on skin that has a tendency to be dry - shaving with a razor can be quite harsh. “Particularly if you’re someone who is a frequent shaver, and therefore will likely opt for a gentler method of hair removal,” he states.

And while he does divulge the basic fact that there is very little difference between the blades of standard men’s and women’s razors, he does clarify that there are certain products that can be purchased with the intention of shaving the female body.

“A lot of women’s razors tend to have a head which is more rounded, making it better for longer hairs, particularly on the legs which also lessens the ability to cut yourself.”

To shave or not to shave?

Shaving is subjective, just like many other skincare routines. Some people love to go all out and purchase the top products on the market, completing a 10-step oils-serum-creams regime before they go to bed every night. For others, it’s not that deep, and a quick layer of moisturiser does the trick before heading out for the day.

Whether you’re on either end of the scale, or you’re somewhere in between, there is one important factor you should adhere to every time, whether it be a shaving cream, butter, foam, or anything else designed for hair removal: make sure it’s dermatologist-approved and tested, and it’s safe to use on your skin type.