CONSUMER REPORTS: Shave and save
Men might complain about shaving, but all they have to do is their face. Women have to shave their legs, which make up about half their body — plus their underarms and sometimes other parts, notes ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports.
And buying all those razors, blades, creams and other products can really add up. ShopSmart wanted to find out where you can get all of your hair-removal supplies for less. So it sent its secret shoppers to price 24 items at drugstores (CVS and Walgreens), mass retailers (Target and Walmart) and online (Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and HarmonDiscount.com). The shoppers 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.
For its scan, ShopSmart 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. Some of the best deals are listed below, along with how much you can save vs. the worst deals the secret shoppers found for those items:
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 percent 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 percent 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 percent savings.
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.
HOW TO SHOP EVEN SMARTER: If you belong to a warehouse club, pick up replacement blades there. At Costco and Sam’s Club, ShopSmart’s shoppers found Gillette cartridges much less expensive than at drugstores or mass retailers. Bonus: Cartridges come with a razor.
MORE WAYS TO SAVE
One 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. (ShopSmart hasn’t tested the products.)
Dollar Shave Club is the brainchild of Michael Dubin, a former branding and marketing exec who co-founded 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 start-up 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 them. Four cartridges cost $6 a month (handle included, with free shipping).