A sociologist explains how Joe Biden’s jobs plan will give child and home care workers the support they need

personal care aid
Over 85% of the 3.6 million people employed as home care workers are women.

  • Joe Biden wants to use his job and infrastructure plan to strengthen childcare and long-term care.
  • The care economy in need of support is disproportionately made of women and people of color.
  • These workers deserve to be valued, as they are essential to families, communities, and the economy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A fiery debate has erupted over the definition of “infrastructure.”

Does it mean roads, broadband, and other physical structures included in the traditional meaning of infrastructure? Or should it have a broader definition that includes other important parts of the economy, such as workers who care for children, older adults, and people with disabilities?

President Joe Biden prefers the latter meaning and wants to use nearly one-fifth of the $2.25 trillion of spending in his jobs and infrastructure plan to expand and strengthen child care and home-based long-term care.

As a sociologist who has studied the paid-care workforce for over 15 years, I know how critical it is to the US economy – as the COVID-19 pandemic has made quite plain. The problem is, these workers have long been undervalued, primarily because of who they are.

Read more: The pandemic has prompted a childcare crisis – here are creative ways employers can help working parents on staff juggle it all

Who’s in the caring economy

A broad definition of the care economy includes health care, child care, education, and care for older adults and people with disabilities.

The number of people doing this type of work has exploded over the past 70 years, driven by an aging population, expanding medical technologies, and the large-scale entrance of women into the paid labor force. My calculations show that in 2018 more than 23 million workers – almost 15% of the US labor force – worked in the care sector, up from just under 3 million in 1950.

While the overall care economy is dominated by women, the two areas that are the focus of Biden’s plan – child care and home care – are even more so. I found that over 85% of the 3.6 million people employed as home health workers, personal care aides, and nursing assistants are women. These people meet the health care needs of older adults and disabled individuals and also provide assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and eating.

The share of the 1.3 million child care workers who are women is even higher, at about 93%.

Both job categories are also disproportionately made up of people of color and immigrants. For example, 30% of home health and personal care aides are Black and 26% are immigrants. Among child care workers, 24% are Hispanic and 22% are immigrants.

Why care work is ‘essential’

The pandemic has shown just how essential this workforce is to the US economy, as well as to families and communities.

Care workers, broadly speaking, made up fully half of all those deemed “essential critical infrastructure workers” at the beginning of the pandemic by the Department of Homeland Security. This designation was used to identify workers who “protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

In effect, it meant they could continue to go to work despite state lockdowns, risking their own health and that of their families.

But Americans also saw their importance in their absence. The pandemic forced many child care centers across the country to shut down, while many home-based nannies and personal care aides were let go because of COVID-19 concerns and precautions.

In the absence of these care workers, the media was full of stories about the crushing burdens faced by working parents – mostly mothers – trying to simultaneously manage caring for children at home. And older adults isolated at home suffered from lack of access to formal home care support as families struggled to meet their needs.

Perhaps the most striking indication that not just families but economic activity depends on paid care is the millions of women, particularly mothers of young children, who have dropped out the labor force because they had to care for a child or someone else.

This is why government officials and policymakers recognized reopening schools to in-person learning and supporting child care centers as critical to enabling the opening of the rest of the economy.

In other words, just as businesses and communities cannot function without bridges and broadband, the same can be said about having a solid paid care infrastructure in place.

The devaluation of care work

But this workforce has long been devalued, perhaps most clearly demonstrated by their wages.

My own research shows that the historical development of the paid-care sector has relied on a gendered narrative of care as a “natural” characteristic of women that has created and justified low wages.

Care workers overall earn 18% less than other essential workers, such as police officers, bus drivers, and sanitation workers, after controlling for the usual factors that depress wages, such as gender, years of education, and depth of work experience.

And the workers targeted by Biden’s plan are at the low end of this devalued sector, with some of the lowest wages in the US labor market. In 2020, the average annual salary for home health care and personal care aides, for example, was $28,060, and for child care workers it was $26,790. These are near poverty wages, barely exceeding the federal poverty threshold of $26,200 for a household of four.

Care as a public good

There’s another reason to think about paid care work as a part of infrastructure: Both are what economists call a public good.

Every business and worker gains when there are good roads and public transportation to ferry people around. But the benefits are so dispersed that the private market usually can’t cover the costs to maintain them. This has negative impacts on the economy as a whole if not offset by public investment.

Similarly, when children receive high-quality child care, they benefit – but so do their families, their parents’ employers, their own future employers, and their future partner or children. The benefits are significant but dispersed.

But unlike traditional infrastructure, there has been little government support for this kind of work, reflecting its economic and societal devaluation – and on top of that, women often fill in any gaps in paid care infrastructure with unpaid work.

If Biden’s plan becomes law, the invisible human infrastructure that supports America’s families, communities, and economic activity would finally be valued for what it is.

Mignon Duffy, associate professor of sociology, University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Conversation
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Billie vs. Flamingo razors – how 2 popular startups trying to change women’s shaving compare

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Billie Vs. Flamingo 4x3
  • Billie and Flamingo are two women’s shaving startups making sharp and affordable razors.
  • Billie is a subscription service, while Flamingo is not. Both sell a $9 razor with $9 refills.
  • We compared the two companies so you can decide which is better for your shaving needs.

Shaving, if you choose to do it, is usually an inefficient and time-intensive process. It’s also one of those personal-care habits that quietly sucks the money out of your wallet (for some, more quickly than others depending on how often you shave).

Online startups like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club brought fresh changes to the shaving industry by making sharp, high-quality razors and sending them to your door for less. Not only men used their products. Women did, too, but there was always the sense the razor designs and skincare products could be better tailored to women’s needs.

Two startups, Billie and Flamingo, are finally making women’s lives easier with their affordable shaving solutions. As the two biggest disruptors of the women’s shaving scene, they’re often compared – which is better, Billie or Flamingo?

To help you decide which new women’s shaving brand is for you, we put them side by side and looked more closely at what products they sell, how much you’ll pay, and the shaving experiences themselves.

We’ve tried the razors and bodycare products from both companies (you can read our Billie review here and our Flamingo review here), so we can offer our personal takes alongside the factual details.

Learn about the similarities and differences between these two leading women’s shaving startups below.

Shop razors and shaving products at Billie here

Shop razors and shaving products at Flamingo here

How Billie and Flamingo came into existence

billie vs flamingo razor 5

Billie, founded in 2017, is taking a stand against the pink tax — which upcharges women’s personal-care products — by creating a razor priced in line with affordable men’s razors. It offers realistic portrayals of body hair in its ads and images, and it donates 1% of all revenue to women’s causes around the world. 

Flamingo was introduced in 2018 by Harry’s, the men’s grooming brand that first launched its subscription-based razor products in 2013. Though more than a million women were using Harry’s products for themselves, the Harry’s team knew that they could be better optimized for how women shave their legs, armpits, and bikini lines. Flamingo is led by two Harry’s veterans who have been with the company since its start, and it uses the same blades as Harry’s razors. 

How the services and products work

billie vs flamingo razor 6

Billie is a subscription service that sells shaving and body products. After getting its $9 Starter Kit, you’ll receive four replacement cartridges for $9 on an ongoing basis. 

To get started, you’ll choose your favorite handle color and how often you’d like to receive the replacement cartridges. If you shave every day, Billie will deliver once a month; a few times a week, every two months; and once a week, every three months. You can change this frequency at any point later. Then, add an optional shave cream ($8), lotion ($12), makeup wipes ($9), or travel case ($5) to your order. 

Flamingo lets you buy all of its shaving, waxing, and body products a la carte. There is no subscription plan, so you can buy refills whenever you need them. Most new customers start with the $16 Shave Set.

Taking a closer look at their starter shave kits

billie vs flamingo razor

Billie‘s Starter Kit costs $9 and includes a handle, two five-blade cartridges, and a magnetic holder. 

Flamingo‘s Shave Set costs $16 and includes a handle, two five-blade cartridges, 1 oz. foaming shave gel, 3 oz. body lotion, a shower hook, and a reusable pouch. 

What the razor looks like

billie vs flamingo razor 7

The Billie razor handle comes in six colors, in various shades of pink and blue. It has a five-blade cartridge made with USA-sharpened and assembled steel. The blades are encased in a charcoal shave soap and the cartridge has rounded edges. 

The Flamingo razor handle comes in three colors, with metallic accents. Its five-blade cartridge features German-engineered blades (Harry’s owns the German factory where the blades are made), a hydrating strip formulated with aloe vera, rounded edges, and a flexible hinge. 

I shaved with both Billie’s and Flamingo’s products to compare the experiences. Both gave me a smooth, close shave but in different ways.

billie vs flamingo razor

I used the Billie razor with the Shave Cream ($8), a non-aerosol cream made with soothing and gentle ingredients like aloe, sage, shea butter, and grapefruit and free from synthetic fragrances, parabens, and sulfates. I’m a sucker for anything grapefruit-flavored or scented, so right away I loved the cream. It’s not super thick, but since the blades already have soap built into them, you don’t need to use a lot of cream. 

The Billie razor felt comfortable in my hand. Though the cartridge has a hinge, I thought the angle and design didn’t allow it to go as far back as I would’ve liked. I was still able to tackle every inch of hair on my legs and armpits thanks to its sharp blades — I just had to be more careful and intentional. 

Meanwhile, the Flamingo razor pairs with a Foaming Shave Gel ($5), which comes in an aerosol can. Its key ingredients include aloe vera as well as conditioning emollients. Its gel is also paraben- and sulfate-free. This thick gel foamed up nicely and felt luxuriously smooth on my skin. 

I found the Flamingo razor handle, with its textured rubber grip, was easier to hold and less likely to slip from my fingers. The flexible hinge also helped me better get into tricky curves and corners. Like my experience with Billie, the sharp blades were ultimately the most impressive and important feature of the razor. 

The accessories and other bodycare products are also factors worth considering.

billie vs flamingo razor 3

Both Billie and Flamingo razors come with a wall accessory to hold it and keep it within reach in your shower. Billie‘s is a triangular magnetic holder that your razor sticks to, while Flamingo‘s is a circular suction grip that your razor clicks into. 

Whether because my shower wall was too wet when I stuck these holders to it, or these accessories simply weren’t strong enough, either the holder or the razor often fell off. While the idea is great, I wouldn’t rely too much on these holders. 

To supplement your body-care routine, I do recommend trying both companies’ lotions and body washes. The Billie Sudsy Body Wash ($9), made with grapefruit, coconut, rosa canina, and aloe vera, cleanses and preps your skin before you shave, and the Dry-Bye Body Lotion ($12) is formulated with grape seed, chamomile, shea butter, and aloe vera for perfect post-shave moisturization.

Flamingo doesn’t have a body wash, but its Body Lotion ($8) features the key ingredients of white willowbark extract and papaya fruit extract (for hydration) and a derivative of sugar cane (for moisturization). 

Overall, the pricing is similar – and affordable.

flamingo razor review

Billie:

Flamingo:

Which company’s razors should you shave with? Here’s the bottom line.

My Billie Starter Kit

The best women’s shaving brand for you depends on your shaving habits and preferences. With both Billie and Flamingo, you’re getting sharp blades that will get rid of your body hair efficiently, at an affordable price. 

If you shave at a consistent schedule, Billie will be better for you because of its convenient and automatic subscription service. It’s easy to add on supplementary products to your order, and subscribing is also the only way to get replacement cartridges. 

If you’re on less of a schedule and want to order refills as you go, you’ll be better off with Flamingo. Its Shave Set offers a good introduction to its products, and it’s affordable at less than $20. You should also shop Flamingo if you’ve used and liked Harry’s razors in the past but want a design better suited to your body. 

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The 12 best heat protectant sprays for every hair type and style

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Best heat protectant 4x3
  • Heat protectant sprays are necessary to maintain healthy locks while styling.
  • These sprays are especially important for people with thick, long or color-treated hair.
  • We spoke to experts about what a head protectant is and how to use it properly.

If you frequently use heat-based tools or dryers to style your hair, heat protectants are an absolute necessity. These sprays add a barrier that coats the hair follicle so that heat-styling tools don’t burn your strands or zap away moisture.

“Often the product will have a formula that will coat the hair shaft and offer heat protection up to 428-degrees,” says Penny James, a trichologist and owner of Penny James Salon. “Then a smoothing effect on the cuticle to give the shine.”

When you continuously use high heat on your hair, it can cause the hair’s keratin proteins to break down and the hair cuticle to crack. It can also cause all moisture to evaporate from the inside-out. For color-treated hair it can even cause the pigments to adopt an unflattering brassy tone. Heat protectants work by forming a very thin film over the follicle of the hair that acts as a protective barrier.

We spoke to James and celebrity stylist Dimitris Giannetos, who regularly works with Camila Cabello and Meghan Trainor, to find out how you should be using heat protectant sprays in order to make your style last. You can check out their tips here, but first, read on for the best heat protectant sprays we’ve tested.

These are the best heat protectant sprays in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Davines Hair Shield

Best heat protectant_Davines Hair Shield

Hair Shield (small)

This product contains dimethicone and a couple of other silicones to protect the hair from high heat. It also smells amazing and leaves hair looking super shiny. And if your hair is static-prone, you’re in luck. Davines Hair Shied really cuts down on static, so it’s a perfect heat protectant for winter. Because it’s so lightweight, this is perfect for people with thin and fine hair. It still leaves a nice, even coat throughout your strands that also help prevent humidity.

IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray

Best heat protectant_IGK Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray

Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray (small)

I would say that Good Behavior’s heat protectant is one of the more heavy-duty formulas on the list — in a good way. It works to smooth and hold styles while protecting against heat up to 450-degrees.  This is great for all hair types, and should definitely be used during the summer. That said, make sure you aren’t using this every single day as it will create a bit of build-up. 

COLOR WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

Best heat protectant_COLOR WOW Dream Coat Supernatural Spray

Dream Coat Supernatural Spray (small)

The first time I used this spray, I was shocked by how thin it is — it has the consistency of water. That said, this is a total game-changer for the summertime, and Giannetos agrees. “It makes the hair so shiny, it looks like glass,” he says.  While you have to make sure to section-off your hair as your spraying this product in order to evenly coat it, it really holds your style for days on end.

CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Best heat protectant_CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray (small)

This is the first heat protectant I ever used. Chi’s Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray smells amazing, and it doesn’t have any buildup issues, so you can use it multiple days in a row without worry. It’s great for every hair type, but because it coats the hair so well, it can definitely feel a little damp when applying. So if you have very fine hair, it’s a good idea to wait a few seconds after applying before using your hot tools. 

Oribe Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield

Best heat protectant_Oribe Balm D'Or Heat Styling Shield

Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield (small)

This heat protectant from Oribe smells great and adds in just enough texture so that you feel like you really have some hold in your hair as you’re styling. It also produces substantial shine and softness that really lasts. This is especially great for those that have super fine or greasy hair — even those looking for a dry shampoo alternative. It really coats each hair follicle to add both texture and heat protection.

R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

Best heat protectant_R+Co Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist

Bleu Hypersonic Heat Styling Mist (small)

Beauty fans are most likely familiar with R+Co already, but the brand has recently launched a couture line: R+Co Bleu. This mist from the line, in particular, is phenomenal. It offers heat protection up to 450-degrees and leaves the hair feeling flexible so that you can update your ‘do over the next few days. This is great for all hair types, as it coats each strand evenly and provides a texture that isn’t super drying. It also helps keep styles looking great by acting as a humidity shield. 

OUAI Heat Protection Spray

Best heat protectant_OUAI Heat Protection Spray

Heat Protection Spray (small)

Like all Ouai products, this heat protection spray smells absolutely divine. The nozzle is super effective and evenly coats the hair so well that you wind up using less product. It definitely makes the hair much shinier and humidity-proof. 

This is a perfect spray for fine to thick hair. It will add volume, shine, and a smell so divine you’ll want to spray it all over. Just make so to position the bottle at least six inches from your head as you apply — it applies pretty heavily if you don’t. 

Living proof Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray

Best heat protectant_Living proof Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray

Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray (small)

In addition to acting as a heat shield, Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Heat Styling Spray almost works as a texturizer and dry shampoo. I’ve noticed that my hair appears to stay cleaner for longer when I use it. In fact, it’s great on hair that’s greasy or working toward oily. If your hair is freshly shampooed, it might be a little drying. 

Amika The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer

Best heat protectant_Amika The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer

The Wizard Detangling Hair Primer (small)

Not only does this evenly coat your hair to protect it from heat styling tools, but it’s also great when used as a detangler as well. Make sure that you apply it to your hair when you’re fresh out of the shower, as that’s how it works best. It’s really great for all hair types — even hair that is damaged or needs a trim. Its detangling properties make it so much easier to drag a comb through, so you never feel like you’re pulling on your knots. 

Gisou Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray

Best heat protectant_Gisou Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray

Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray (small)

Just because this product is all-natural doesn’t mean you have to worry about it being less effective. It’s great for all hair types, but particularly for those hoping to really prevent additional damage. In addition to protecting your hair from heat styling tools, Propolis’ spray is great for staving off sun exposure on your strands, which can be drying and damaging. Make sure you spray it on when your hair is wet from the shower so that it’s fully coated as soon as you hit it with a blow dryer. 

Ghd Heat Protectant Spray

Best heat protectant_Ghd Heat Protectant Spray

Heat Protectant Spray (small)

Ghd’s spray provides such a lightweight, even coating that you’ll hardly notice it at all. It’s great at protecting from harsh hot tools — it truly feels like it even distributes the heat for faster styling. This incredibly lightweight spray is great for all hair types and protects against humidity.

Bumble and Bumble Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer

Best heat protectant_Bumble and bumble Bb.Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat UV Protective Primer

Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (small)

This is one of the best options if your hair is really dried out from past damage — or from putting off a haircut. It’s intended to be applied to damp hair, so it’s best used directly out of the shower. Like the name suggests, Bumble Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil also contains lots of oils so that moisturize your hair and keeps frizz at bay— even if you’re going to be outside or exposed to humidity. It also protects against UV rays and even works as a detangler. 

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The 5 best women’s multivitamins in 2021, backed by medical experts

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Taking a multivitamin has always been common practice in my household – I grew up taking (and still do) every morning, but I never really stopped to think about why. After researching how some offer 100% of the US Daily Value (DV) for essential nutrients like iodine, vitamin D, and calcium, I realized multivitamins aren’t just a mundane part of my morning routine; they actually offer a sort of safety net to certain individuals, ensuring they meet recommended nutrient intakes.

Multivitamins are a bit of a hot topic. That’s because, while there are certain categories of people who can benefit from taking one every day, there is also a massive group of people who don’t necessarily need one. A 2020 study in BMJ Open found that people who take a multivitamin don’t have lower rates of illness or disease compared to those who don’t. However, people who take one daily said they feel healthier on a regular basis and, even if it’s a placebo effect, that counts for something toward wellbeing and adhering to healthier habits

Also, that study didn’t measure actual nutrient levels, so we can’t say the multivitamin had no real benefit. What’s more, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2020-25 say about three out of four people don’t eat enough dairy, fruits, or vegetables. 

Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, RD, Nutrition and Food Safety Professor at North Dakota State University, told Insider multivitamins can be the “nutrition insurance” if you’re not following an adequate diet. She advises aiming for a healthful diet first, as food contains a “complex array of nutrients and phytochemicals (‘plant chemicals’) that help fight disease.”

That said, there are certain groups of Americans who do need to have their vitamin and mineral levels supplemented.

What is the best multivitamin for women?

Supplement Safety Graphic_Health & Wellness

Once you know you need a multivitamin, you have to breach the next big hurdle: picking the right one. It seems like this should be an easy task, but multivitamins (like all supplements) are not regulated by the FDA, which means there’s no governing body confirming (1) what’s included on the label is in the supplement or (2) if it’s actually safe. What’s more, with how important it is to understand your body’s needs and how highly personal multivitamins are, it’s difficult to recommend just one that works for everyone. 

We talked to a nutritional psychiatrist, a pharmacist, and a registered dietitian to help narrow down what’s available and hone in on the top multivitamins for women at different stages of their lives. At the end of this guide, we go into more detail about who needs a multivitamin and how to choose the right one

Here are the best women’s multivitamins of 2021:

Best women’s multivitamin overall

Best women's multivitamins Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Women 4x3

The Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Women is an all-in-one choice packed with the essential daily nutrients, probiotics, and enzymes to aid with digestion.

Pros: Vegetarian, gluten-free, contains probiotics, optimal for women during reproductive years, no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

Cons: Pills are large, must take four daily

The thing that makes Garden of Life’s women’s multivitamin rise above other brands is that it’s void of synthetic materials and contains the ingredients they claim — which you may think is a given, but a recent analysis by Consumer Labs found that 44% of multivitamins it tested didn’t actually contain the amounts of nutrients the label claimed. 

Not only is the formula certified organic by the USDA, but Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code for Women covers all the basics: The capsule is gluten-free and the formula includes folate, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, D3, E, and B-Complex, and the raw formula also reinforces breast health.

A vegetarian vitamin, Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Women is made without binders or fillers and contains probiotics and enzymes to help with digestion. Vitamin Code for Women met all purity standards set forth by Labdoor and was given a B score. 

The two drawbacks of this multivitamin are that each pill is quite large, about the size of a mini binder clip, and you have to take four daily. So those who have trouble swallowing big pills should probably opt for another supplement.

Best for active women

Best women's multivitamins Optimum Nutrition Opti Women 4x3

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women offers a tailored distribution of nutrients designed for a more active lifestyle.

Pros: Provides immune support, includes 23 essential nutrients and 17 specialty minerals

Cons: Not for people under 18 years of age

Regular physical activity can affect your vitamin and mineral levels — which in turn can affect your athletic performance.

Physically-active women, especially those who do aerobic exercises like running and biking, are more likely to be iron deficient, according to researchers at Cornell University. What’s more, a 2017 study from the National Institutes of Health found that some women (in general, not just athletes) are deficient in folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, three vital pathways used during exercise. If your B vitamins and folate levels, in particular, aren’t up to par, it can impair your athletic performance and increase fatigue, risk of injury, and ability to concentrate, the study adds. Your doctor can test your levels, and if he or she confirms yours are low, you would be well-served to opt for a multivitamin designed for an active lifestyle.

The Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women multivitamin is formulated to help women with an avid fitness routine score enough nutrients to keep their active bodies healthy and strong. It’s curated with 100% DV of B vitamins, folate, and iron. In addition, the multivitamin provides 17 other specialized minerals, one being calcium phosphate which aids in vitamin D absorption to keep muscles healthy

Though Consumer Labs has not reviewed this specific multivitamin, when they surveyed more than 9,700 respondents on “overall customer satisfaction” in February 2020, Optimum Nutrition was named a top-rated vitamin and supplement brand. The Opti-Women formula did receive a C grade from Labdoor, namely because the amount of vitamins in the tested formula differed from the label. However, the biggest discrepancies (vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc slightly lower than the label; vitamin D and B-complex slightly higher) aren’t at harmful levels, Véronique Taché, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UC Davis Health, confirmed during medical review. Plus, the formula met all purity standards.

Best on a budget

Best women's multivitamins Nature Made Multi for Her 4x3

Nature Made Multi for Her gives a boost of calcium, folic acid, iron, and vitamin D for less than $30.

Pros: Great value, 23 nutrients, contains the daily recommended amount of iron and calcium, great folic acid count for prenatal or pregnant women, more vitamins per bottle; only need to take one tablet daily

Cons: Some may find pills to be large and may be hard to swallow for some

Vitamins can be expensive. If you’re looking to cut the cost without eliminating the essential nutrients, Nature Made Multi for Her comes at a great value: 300 capsules for less than $30.

The multivitamin contains all the major nutrients vital to women’s health (23 total), including the daily recommended amounts of iron, calcium, and D3. It also contains more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) of folic acid, a key nutrient for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. C. Michael White, PharmD, department head of University of Connecticut’s pharmacy practice and dietary supplement researcher, told Insider adequate levels of folate help to reduce the risk of having neural tube defects as babies are growing. 

While this multivitamin is catered toward females, it still contains sufficient vitamin levels essential for both men and women. Uma Naidoo, MD, director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital told Insider the 13 essential vitamins, including A, B, C, and D, play an important role in the body and are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones for both men and women.

This multivitamin met all Labdoor’s purity standards, but inconsistencies in the formula earned it a C grade overall. The biggest formula-to-label discrepancies include slightly less vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as slightly more vitamin B-6, folic acid, and vitamin D3, but still within safe ingesting levels, Dr. Taché confirmed. Though this is its worst offense, nutritional value and safety outweigh this satisfactory rank, making it a top pick still.

Best vegan

Best women's multivitamins Ritual Essential for Women 4x3

Ritual Essential for Women is vegan, gluten, and major-allergen-free, focusing on brain health, bone health, blood-building, and antioxidant support.

Pros: Vegan, subscription model with free shipping for easy refills, free of gluten and major allergens, no artificial colorants or synthetic fillers, good for brain and bone health, infused with mint for freshness 

Cons: Not found in stores

Because people who follow a vegan diet don’t eat animal products, they are usually deficient in key nutrients abundantly found in meat, dairy, and seafood. A 2016 study in the Journal of Osteopathic Association found vegans are often deficient in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Ritual Essential for Women is completely vegan and outlines a visible supply chain of ingredients so you know what you’re intaking. Ritual’s brand mission is to “bring foundational health into focus,” and its supplements are designed to boost brain and bone health, promote red blood cell formation, and provide antioxidant support with vitamin E

Ritual’s vitamins are vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free. Ritual also operates on a unique direct-to-door subscription model, automatically sending a fresh bottle to you each month so you’ll never run out.

Vegan multivitamins tend to include plant-based ingredients, like calcium. While some calcium supplements are oyster-shell based, Ritual uses vegan-certified ingredients, like vitamin D, to rid worries of consuming a multivitamin using shellfish in the manufacturing process.

If you aren’t vegan but like the convenience of a multivitamin that will be automatically refilled and delivered, you can certainly take Ritual’s vegan multivitamin, but you should opt for their water-soluble option if you don’t have a specific deficiency. Dr. Naidoo told Insider that if you take a fat-soluble vitamin and are already getting sufficient amounts of those nutrients from your diet, your body will store the excess in your liver and fatty tissue which can accumulate to toxic levels. With a water-soluble vitamin, though, the excess is just excreted through urine. Ritual features both options to help fill gaps in your diet and support nutrient levels.

Though Ritual was not yet tested by Consumer Labs, it’s USP-verified, confirming that it contains what it lists on the label, contains safe nutrient levels, is void of harmful substances like heavy metals and pesticides, and can be broken down and released into the body as intended.

Best for women over 40

Best women's multivitamins Garden of Life women's multi 40 plus 4x3

Garden of Life myKind Organic Women’s 40+ Multi is specially formulated to address the changing nutritional needs of women as they age, with 16 nutrients at levels greater than 100% DV.

Pros:  Certified USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, contains 16 nutrients over the 100% Daily Value (DV)

Cons: Pills are large

Though not a hard-and-fast number, when females hit 40, their body and hormones typically begin to change as they are maturing past childbearing years into perimenopause and menopause. Because of this, Dr. Naidoo says you may need less folate and iron, and more: 

  • Calcium: This helps to prevent and slow bone loss
  • Vitamin D: This is essential for bone and skin health
  • Vitamin B12: This is key for brain health
  • More water: This is important as kidneys tend to become less efficient in detoxifying the body

The Garden of Life myKind Organic Women’s 40+ Multi is our top pick due to its precise amount of nutrients of concern for middle-aged women. And, it’s the only brand on the market that is dual-certified as both USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, meeting purity standards and void of genetic engineering in the manufacturing process. Though pricier than other options, the vitamin is optimal for middle-aged women and provides an extra boost to a balanced diet.

Garden of Life’s formulation is made exclusively from whole foods, which may lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Though this multivitamin has not yet been tested by Consumer Labs or Labdoor, myKind is one of Consumer Labs’ approved brands based on product quality, appropriateness of dosage, formulation, and value. 

Who should consider a multivitamin

Generally, people who are pregnant, underweight, elderly, who don’t get enough sun exposure, or who have a chronic medical condition [like heart disease, certain cancers, and individuals who had bypass surgery] should consider taking a multivitamin, Uma Naidoo, MD, director of Nutritional & Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital told Insider. Those who follow a stricter diet, too, like vegans and vegetarians, should take special caution; low intake of B vitamins, as well as iron and possibly zinc, will likely lead to a deficiency.

If you know or you’re wondering whether you fall into the category of nutritional deficiency, it’s important to get your levels checked by your doctor. Though others may not need one, Dr. Naidoo advised reviewing your daily nutrition with your doctor to see if you need a multivitamin as well.

A daily multivitamin may holistically bring benefits, but Garden-Robinson notes there can be risks with oversupplementation. She and Dr. Naidoo said excess calcium may increase the risk for urinary stone formation in some people, while oversupplementation of vitamin A may promote birth defects and liver damage. An abundance of vitamin C can cause cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. That said, be sure to check out the DV for guidance on how much of each nutrient you daily need.

What to look for & other FAQs

If you’re wondering what to look for in a multivitamin and how to shop for one, check out our very detailed multivitamin FAQ page.

Check out our other vitamin guides

Best women's multivitamins - slide image 4x3
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The 6 best women’s razors we’ve tested

Billie
  • A good razor will smoothly and effectively remove unwanted hair without irritation.
  • We asked our Insider Reviews team for their go-to shavers to compile a master list of our top picks.

Shaving is a totally personal choice – one that not everyone decides to participate in. But if you’re someone who prefers to remove their body hair, there are several ways to achieve smooth legs, hair-free underarms, and a groomed bikini line. But the fastest, easiest, and least painful is generally shaving. That’s why we gathered up our top picks for women’s razors based on research and testing.

Whether you prefer a subscription-based razor so you’ll always have one on hand or need a specially-designed trimmer for sensitive areas, these are the ones that do the best job. They remove hair and stubble without irritation (also known as that dreaded razor burn), making shaving a self-care process rather than a chore.

For the full experience, you may also want to grab some great shaving cream and a good moisturizer once you’ve settled on the right razor for your needs.

Here are our top picks for the best women’s razors:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Billie Razor Starter Kit

Billie

If you’re always out of fresh razors, subscription-based startup Billie has high-quality razors at a budget-friendly price. 

Billie’s Razor Starter Kit is all about convenience, with the brand delivering a high-quality razor straight to your door as often as you need. With an easy-to-grip handle, flexible head, and more space between the blades than other razors, it makes shaving simple and ergonomic. The pastel and punchy hues coupled with a sleek design also can be a decor piece for a shower shelf, too. The razor also comes with a magnetic mount that sticks to your shower wall, so you never have to go hunting for your razor.

The downside of the subscription model is that you can’t purchase one at the drugstore in case of an emergency, so you’ll be left using another brand-new-to-you razor you may not like.

But that doesn’t mean you should discount this service. Insider Reviews strategic partnerships manager Elisabeth Chambry is a fan, saying that it immediately stood out to her because of the design, price, and effectiveness. “It consistently produces the smoothest shave I’ve ever experienced.” You can read our full review on the Billie Razor here.

The Starter Kit (small)
Gilette Venus Extra Smooth

gillette venus extra smooth

The Gillette Venus Extra Smooth has five blades for a super-close shave, but the “moisture ribbon” can protect your skin from nicks, cuts, and razor burn.

The Gillette Venus Extra Smooth Women’s Razor provides a super-close shave, thanks to the razor’s pivoting head that glide over knees, ankles, and contours of underarms.  Irritation isn’t a concern, thanks to its “moisture ribbon” — an extra slip to help prevent shaving mishaps and irritations. That said, the strim is thin, so it’s best to use shaving cream to prevent cuts.

Depending on how often you shave and the sensitivity of your skin, the disposable blades can last anywhere from three to 10 uses. The handle initially comes with two blade cartridges, but after that, you’ll need to buy more. The Venus Extra Smooth‘s handle fits comfortably in your hand, making it easier to reach those tricky spots on the backs of the ankles or under your arms. 

I’ve been using this razor for years and always buy the product in bulk every time I go to Costco. They last long, work well with my sensitive skin, and never leave a trace of stubble. Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow

Extra Smooth Green Women’s Razor (small)
Schick Intuition Sensitive Care Razor

Schick Intuition

With the Schick Intuition Sensitive Care razor, there’s no need for a separate can of shaving gel because it’s built right into the razor cartridge.

When we tested the Schick Intuition Sensitive Care razor, it stood out for never nicking or irritating the legs. Despite refill cartridges tending to add up in price, it’s well worth the buy. The razor gives a reasonably close shave, thanks to its built-in shaving gel, the perfect time-saver that self-lathers for you. 

The razor cartridge has four blades surrounded by a water-activated, soap-like shaving “gel.” It provides enough slip for a comfortable, close shave, but on the downside, the gel wears away within just a few uses, so you must replace the cartridge while the blades are still usable or use a separate shaving gel until the blades become dull enough to swap for a new cartridge. 

Intuition Sensitive Care Razor for Women with Natural Aloe (small)
Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle

Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle

The two-in-one Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle has a five-blade razor on one side and a battery-powered bikini trimmer on the other.

Ideal for bikini lines, the battery-powered trimmer on the Schick Hydro Silk TrimStyle makes cleaning up your bikini line a breeze. We tested this razor in the shower on the bikini area for many months and never experienced a nick or cut — even without shaving cream.

The trimmer blade comes with a comb covering that’s adjustable to four different lengths. You can also remove it entirely for a closely-cropped trim. This isn’t the razor for you if you’re looking for an ultra-close shave. But for fast, irritation-free trimming and shaping, it’s an effective tool.

The gentle AAA-battery-powered vibration delicately and easily removes hair with one pass of the shaver. On the opposite side of the trimmer, you’ll find a traditional five-blade razor surrounded by a water-based hydrating serum that you can use on your legs, underarms, and even sensitive areas.  This two-in-one trimmer proves you don’t need a separate razor to remove unwanted hair.

Hydro Silk TrimStyle (small)
Gillette Venus Snap

gillette venus snap

Despite its miniature size, the Gillette Venus Snap does just as good a job of removing hair as its full-size relatives. 

The Gillette Venus Snap is small enough for travel, yet mighty enough to achieve smooth, bare skin. We’ve used the Venus Snap while traveling and really appreciated not only the carry-on-friendly size but also the convenient plastic carrying case. This razor is also refillable, so you can replace a dulled cartridge with the Venus Extra Smooth refills.

The razor’s head is a regular-sized Venus Extra Smooth blade, so you’ll get a super-close, long-lasting, and comfortable shave on your legs, underarms, and — if you’re careful — your bikini line as well.

It’s the diminutive handle that makes this razor so special. It’s miniature and well-designed for an easy grip, so you’ll have as much control as a full-size razor.

Venus Snap (small)
Schick Silk Touch Up

Schick Hydro Silk Touch Up eyebrow Razor

Kiss peach fuzz, stray chin sprouts, and rogue eyebrow hairs goodbye with the Schick Silk Touch Up.

These teeny Schick Silk Touch Up razors are a godsend for those of us blessed with more peach fuzz than we really want. They’re also great for removing any hair on the chin, upper lip, and even patches of dry skin around the chin, nose, or mouth. Insider Reviews editor Maria Del Russo loves to use her Touch Ups around her eyebrows. She credits the angled blade with making it easy to maneuver around your arches without worrying about knicking off the wrong hair. 

The razors have a protective guard that prevents cuts or irritation to the skin. The blade lasts a long time before going dull and the razor comes with a small plastic cover to protect it when not in use. One of the best features about the Schick Silk Touch Up razors is how it leaves the skin: Silky smooth for a polished, near-flawless look, serving as a wonderful base for foundation makeup.

Silk Touch-Up Multipurpose Exfoliating Dermaplaning Tool (small)
Check out our other hair removal guides

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