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Best ways to save when you shave

Best ways to save when you shave

We wanted to find out where you can get razors, blades, creams, and other hair-removal products for less, so we sent our secret shoppers to price 24 items at drugstores (CVS and Walgreens), mass retailers (Target and Walmart), and online (Amazon. com, Drugstore.com, and Harmon-Discount.com). We also spot-checked Costco and Sam’s Club. The results: It pays to order online. Amazon was the big winner. Some stores came close, but the highest prices were often much higher, especially at CVS.

We priced two dozen well-known products including Gillette and Schick razors and replacement cartridges; shaving creams and gels from Eos, Gillette, and Skintimate; hair-removal creams and gels from Nair and Veet; and tweezers from Trim and Tweezerman.

The best deals we found are shown below, along with how much you can save compared with the worst deals we found for those items. For online prices, remember that you’ll also pay for shipping unless you spend a minimum amount: $25 at Amazon.com (for $79 per year you can join Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping on all purchases), $35 at Drugstore.com, and $50 at HarmonDiscount.com.

Price-scan scorecard

Here’s the number of times each retailer had the lowest and highest prices, according to our secret shoppers.*

Retailer

Lowest prices

Highest prices

Amazon.com

12

0

Walmart

8

0

HarmonDiscount.com

4

0

Target

1

0

Drugstore.com

0

3

Walgreens

0

6

CVS

0

16

*Not all products were found at all retailers. Numbers include ties.

Cartridges: Schick Hydro Silk (four-pack)

Best buy: $12.20 at Amazon.com

Worst buy: $19.37 at CVS

37% savings

 

Hair removal cream: Veet Fast Acting Gel Cream Hair Remover (13.5 fluid ounces)

Best buy: $8.21 at Walmart

Worst buy: $12.10 at CVS

32% savings

 

Razors: Gillette Venus Embrace (package includes a razor and two cartridges)

Best buy: $8.59 at Amazon.com

Worst buy: $13.19 at CVS

35% savings

 

Shaving cream: Gillette Satin Care With a Touch of Olay Gel (7 ounces)

Best buy: $1.98 at Walmart

Worst buy: $4.49 at Walgreens

56% savings

 

Tweezers: Trim Slant Tip Tweezers

Best buy: 99 cents at Target

Worst buy: $2.26 at CVS

56% savings

If you belong to a warehouse club, pick up replacement blades there. At Costco and Sam’s Club, we found Gillette cartridges for as much as 125 percent less than at drugstores; 70 percent less than at mass retailers. Bonus: Cartridges come with a razor.

Another way to save time and sometimes money is to sign up for a service that sends you razors and blades automatically—no remembering to reorder required. Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, and Soap.com all offer subscription services. Or you can try the Dollar Shave Club, a service aimed at guys (and unofficially their wives and girlfriends) that sends members a 30-day supply of its private-label, stainless-steel lubricated blades every month. (We haven’t tested the products.)

Dollar Shave Club is the brainchild of Michael Dubin, a former branding and marketing exec who cofounded it in 2011. “I was fed up with the high prices of complicated shaving products, not to mention the hassle of picking them up,” he says. So he launched a company that slashes shaving costs by buying high-quality, no-frills blades directly from manufacturers and passing the savings to members.

You sign up for a year, but you can change your mind anytime. The club has 300,000 subscribers so far, mostly men, but 10 percent are women. Dubin says he’ll consider expanding into the women’s market, but for now he recommends the four-blade model for women. Four cartridges cost $6 a month (handle included, with free shipping).

The ad: The No No 8800 system uses heat to remove hair from your legs, upper lip, chin, bikini area, and underarms, and from men’s chests. The ad says, “Go weeks without shaving!” and “use the buffer to exfoliate your skin and remove treated hair to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.” It’s “guaranteed to be painless and effective.” All of that painless smoothness costs about $270. It’s available at Trynono.com, Drugstore.com, and HSN.com.

The check: We had six female staffers who usually shave their legs at least three times per week try out the No No. (You glide it over your skin just like a razor and use the buffer to remove the hair.) We asked the women not to shave for five days. Then we asked them to use the No No on one leg three times a week for six weeks and to shave the other leg as usual. We took pictures of their legs before and during the test.

Bottom line: All of the staffers told us that the leg they shaved with the No No was never smooth or stubble-free. And it took a long time—between 8 and 25 minutes. Even worse, it gave off a smell similar to burned hair! (The FAQ says that’s a sign that it’s working and suggests using candles or potpourri to cover it up!) On the upside, it was easy to use and didn’t hurt. The women said that they felt some heat and tingling, and noticed redness, but nothing major. But none of them said they’d buy it. As one put it, “The No No is a no-go!”

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of ShopSmart magazine.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.

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