Like so many other products, razors often reinforce the gender binary through color stereotypes. Pink or other pastels for women; some combination of blue, gray, and orange for men. The differences between men’s and women’s razors don’t stop at color, but it’s less about the gender identity of the person wielding the razor and more about what they’re shaving.
Women’s razors are designed for people shaving legs, armpits, and pubic areas. Since that adds up to a considerable amount of surface area, the head of a women’s razor is often a little larger than the one on a men’s razor. It’s also often rounded, so you can more easily navigate it around contours like ankles and knees. The handle might be rounded, too, or shaped in some other nonlinear way with grooves that help you keep a good grip on it throughout the process.
“When you think about all the ways women have to hold a razor to reach those tricky spots and then add in a shaving gel or soap and water in the shower—things can get slippery. It’s no wonder women need a different kind of handle,” dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine, who’s also a spokesperson for Gillette and Venus, told Reader’s Digest. Women’s razors also sometimes have two lubricating strips, above and below the blades, to moisturize the skin and prevent nicks when quickly shaving such a large region.
Men’s razors, on the other hand, are mainly intended for people shaving their faces. Contrary to popular belief, men’s razor blades aren’t usually any sharper or higher-quality than women’s blades. But according to Today I Found Out, they’re more closely packed together in a razor head—the better for cutting through coarse facial hair and getting as close a shave as possible. The smaller, squared head helps people be precise about which parts of their facial hair they’re shaving off.
That said, there’s no shortage of variation when it comes to razor design, and it’s definitely not one-size-fits-all. If you think the advantage of tightly packed blades outweighs the disadvantage of a smaller head when shaving your legs, by all means, opt for a "men's" razor. It’s probably cheaper, anyway.
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