Gillette Venus Embrace: Too Much of a Good Thing?

So much potential.
So much potential.

For the last couple (maybe 3) months, I’ve been using a remarkably rust-free Walgreens brand razor. Unfortunately, it seems impossible to buy refills for it, so I knew it was time for a new blade. I had a Venus razor handle left over from high school, and all Venus razor heads are interchangeable, so I thought I’d try out some of the latest technology.

I’m a big fan of the technology website The Wirecutter. It’s not so much a blog, as a regularly updated list of what the editors believe to be the best of any given category – camera, laptop, TV, and so on. They had a recent post about razors, and featured the Venus Embrace as the best women’s razor. Here’s what they said:

“If I shaved my legs, I’d get the Gillette Venus Embrace. It has five blades, strips to keep the legs moisturized, it shaves close enough to never require repeat passes, and only the blades, not the whole unit including the handle, need to get replaced.”

It was also the highest rated razor at Good Housekeeping, who had this to say:

“This razor received the highest scores for overall performance and ease of use, and was the best at providing a close shave. Even with the highest number of blades in its category, the Embrace earned a near perfect score for not nicking or irritating testers’ skin and testers found it was good at maneuvering around even the most tricky of spots like knees and ankles.”

I was pretty excited to try out this razor, and ordered it from Amazon Prime, where it was on sale for $15.47 per 4 cartridges. Yikes! That’s $3.87 per cartridge. Given the high ratings and the equally high cost, my expectations were admittedly high. Unfortunately it did not stack up.

That's one bulky cartridge.
That’s one bulky cartridge.

The cartridge has 5 blades, surrounded by an enormous buffer of “ribbons of moisture.” I wouldn’t call these ribbons – more like bumpers. In order to get a smooth shave, I needed extra force to bring the razor down to skin level. And because of the cartridge’s bulk, I had a hard time navigating trickier areas of my legs. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way – I noticed all of the 3 star reviews were related to the unwieldy size of the blade.

I’ve got 3 more cartridges to go through, but I’m definitely not going to purchase this again. I’m thinking about trying out Gillette Fusion. Yes, it’s intended for men, but it fits into the ergonomic Venus handle, and I think I’ll prefer 5 blades without the bulk of four moisturizing ribbons.

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