I’ve lived in Florida for most of my life, which means, I've grown accustomed to wearing shorts pretty much year-round. And being a woman in the societal standards I had growing up, I started shaving my legs at the ripe old age of 10.
I remember the day I came home from school in fifth grade after a painful event at the basketball courts during gym class. A group of girls bullied me for having “dark and hairy legs.” I was mortified. I already stood out amongst everyone for being the shortest kid in class and was brand new to the school that year, so adding this target on my back made matters worse.
I cried to my mom about how I’m not only short, but I also have dark and hairy legs. I may as well have been a gremlin. My mom took me by the hand and taught me everything she knew about the process of shaving, and decided it was time for me to learn as well. I went to school the next day beaming, and feeling like I was on the path of womanhood.
Since that day, I’ve been shaving my body two to three times a week. I’ve grown to become a woman who prefers to have smooth and clean-looking legs but respects everyone who chooses to take a different path and join the movement of not shaving, and at times I wish I would have stood up to those girls at the age of 10 and helped begin the movement, but now…I’m a die-hard shaver.
Because I shave my legs often, I recently began thinking about the world of DTC razors. Over the last few years, we’ve begun to see a big push to go against the Pink Tax, a premium that is often baked into women's products, forcing women to pay a higher price for an item where a male would pay less.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes more times than I can count, and I especially see it with razors. As you’ll see below, a drug store brand, Gilette, offers razors to both men and women, priced very differently. These screenshots were both taken from the Target website, and it carries the same in-store.
The Gillette brand has been in this business for a long while and has dominated the market, it's what I started shaving with 13 years ago. But in the last five or so years, we’ve seen DTC brands come out and start dominating the market and working to take away the Pink Tax. These brands have also been working to pave the way for less waste in the razor world.
I decided to put all of this to the test and try three different razors over a month. I purchased razors that varied in price and judged them on 5 criteria:
- Brand: What is the brand and do they have any campaigns?
- Purchasing: What was ordered and how was the purchasing process?
- Shipment and Packaging: What were the speed and shipment like?
- Quality: How is the quality of the product, how did the shave go?
- Loyalty: Would I re-order?
OUI the People
OUI the People is a razor brand with a mission of the reConsitituion of Beauty, stating “F*ck flawless” and celebrating softness and strength, and the things that champion everyone. I found this interesting and ironic because they're a razor company and shouldn’t razor companies be promoting flawless-looking legs?
Though ironic, I found it comforting that their mission was to create a razor dressed like a men's razor, but not pink. They state, “We’re continuing the spirit of rebellion, creating products that nourish you and your body, instead of making you feel less-than with marketing terms like ageless and flawless.” How beautiful is that!
I decided to order The SINGLE, which is a Rose Gold Sensitive Skin razor. Priced a $75.00, it's a weighted stainless steel razor and comes in a pack with 10 blades. Did I mention that this is a single-blade razor? Meaning that there is only one blade, compared to the everyday razor brands that have 3-5 in one razor. Yeah, I was slightly terrified.
Apart from being terrified to try it, the purchasing process was pretty easy. I did take some time to learn about the razor and decide if I wanted to purchase anything else with it, but being that it was already an expensive razor, I decided to hold off. It’s also important to note that this is the only razor they offer.
Shipment and Packaging
This razor arrived last out of all three, and the shipment notifications weren’t as often as I thought they'd be. For arriving almost two weeks after ordering, I only received one notification: that the product was on its way and arriving that day. I also found it difficult to find my tracking info online and in the email.
When the razor did arrive, I expected it to be in a branded box with OUI the People packaging, which was the case once you tore through the regular brown packaging box. It was beautifully designed and packaged from there, but I expected that after paying that much for a razor the outside packaging would also be branded.
Now here is where things got a little confusing for me. The razor is heavy, and it is beautiful, but there's a slight learning curve that comes with it. There were instructions provided on the back of the box it all came in, but it was still a little confusing determining how to put the razor on for the shave. Once I finally figured it out and had many attempts of trying not to cut my hands in the process, it was time. I stepped in the shower, and per the instructions, it says to shave last, so I did. I applied some shaving cream, held the razor at a 30-degree angle, and began to shave. It took me a few times to get the hang of it, and some areas were difficult to shave (behind the knee, back of the calf) but I think that's due to the weight of it. Due to the learning curve of it, and the unfamiliarity, I cut myself. Which I have to say proudly that I never do! I’ve shaved with this razor a few times now thinking that it's just a learning curve and that I’ll end up getting used to it, but I simply haven’t. I also thought it would provide me with a closer shave, allowing hair not to grow back as fast, but my hair felt like it grew back even faster, and my legs felt dry.
So here's the thing. Going into this, I had a feeling that I would fall in love with this razor. Truthfully I was hoping I would because I like the fact that I would solely have to buy the blades priced at $11 for a 10-pack, and in the long run I would be saving a ton of money, but I simply cannot get myself to love this razor, and for that reason, I will not be repurchasing.
Harry’s is a brand I am not super familiar with since their primary target consumers are male, but I wanted to give a men's razor a try to see if the Pink Tax was valid and because I have some female friends who prefer men's razors over women’s. Harry’s strives to make products for all men and “believes that you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to the products you use, so ours are designed to be effective and to provide a great experience.”
Harry’s donates a percentage of sales to nonprofits providing mental health services to men in need. I loved this because from what I’ve seen, men are afraid to be vulnerable and often don’t share anything about their mental health, so if a men's brand can step out and take a stand against that and be in support of it, I think that’s wonderful. It should be noted that Schick’s parent company, Edgewell, attempted to acquire Harry’s in 2019. The FTC sued Edgewell to block the merger, citing that consolidation would hurt the consumer. Edgewell is the primary competitor to Gillette.
I explored the website and decided I would go to my local Target to pick up a razor, as I wouldn’t need the men’s shave set. I also wanted to explore the men's shave aisle since I normally don’t. I was pleased to see that Harry’s is well marketed and appeared to be the best men’s razor on the market right now.
I decided to go with the Ocean Blue razor, as I didn’t notice any differences between them all apart from color. This razor was priced at $9.99, is a 5-blade razor, and comes with a cover and two extra blade cartridges. The purchasing experience was relatively easy as I live close to Target, but from what I experienced online, they have a quiz to match you to your perfect razor, and the number of blade cartridges you want, how often you’d like refills, and if you'd like to upgrade to a Core membership of saving 10% off every order, faster shipping, and a few other perks thrown in there!
Shipment and Packaging
Because I went the in-store purchasing route, I’ll only be observing the packaging. The box it came in was the one pictured above, sturdy, and represented the brand well. I would assume based on the website that the shipping time would be around 1-2 weeks.
This was the first men's razor I’ve ever tried and it was pretty similar to the normal razor I’ve been using for the last few years. A hard plastic handle with blade cartridge refills. The only distinct difference between a men’s razor and a women’s (apart from the Pink Tax, obviously) is that women’s razors come with a soft lotion pillow around the blades, helping create that smooth flawlessness that every woman looks for. Apart from not having the lotion shave pillow around the blades, I liked the razor and preferred it over OUI the People single blade. I found that it provided a close shave, and I didn’t have to shave as frequently as I have other razors.
Overall for a men's razor, I had a good experience. If I was in a pinch and desperately needed a razor and I got to choose between Harry’s and OUI the People, I would hand down be choosing Harry’s. Because of the next razor on the list, I can’t say I would be repurchasing cartridges from Harry’s but highly recommend it to anyone on the hunt for a men’s razor with good quality at a great price.
A brand I was SUPER pumped to try, and highly recommended from friends and colleagues is Billie! A razor brand that started from “noticing that women were overpaying for razors and shamed for having body hair. So, we did away with the Pink Tax and put body hair on the big screen.” How could I not want to buy from a brand that was about creating a women's razor and working to get rid of the Pink Tax!? I also liked that they donate a percentage of the profit to supporting women and other causes around the world. I love seeing companies doing more to support humankind.
Billie makes choosing a razor out of their seven, really easy. Recommended to me were the Razor Starter Kit, and Whipped Shave Cream. When you choose the Razor Starter Kit, you get to take a fun quiz, choosing which color razor you want, how often you shave so that refill razors will be shipped to you in time, and if you want any additional products. I went with the Blush razor and the Whipped Shave Cream, making a total of $18.
The Billie Razor is a 5-blade razor that comes wrapped in aloe moisturizer for a smooth and clean shave, it also comes with a holder for your razor to hang out of the way on your shower wall. The only thing I wasn’t thrilled about in the purchasing process is that you have to order the subscription for the razors, so if I ended up not liking them I would have to remember to cancel the subscription in time.
Shipment and Packaging
Billie was the first razor to arrive out of the three, arriving exactly a week after ordering. Billie also sent me three emails letting me know my product was on the way, when it would be arriving, and when it finally arrived. When I got the package I was pleasantly surprised that the brown cardboard packaging had the brand logo on it, and when I opened the box, the razor, holder, and extra blades came in another branded box, similar to the one below that you can find at Walmart stores everywhere.
I had very high expectations for this razor since everyone I know has been raving about it for as long as I can remember! I did like how light it was compared to other razors I’ve used and I enjoyed the shave cream. But I have to say, I cut myself twice! I have continued to use it because it gives me a close shave, it hydrates my legs, and after the third time shaving with it, I finally stopped cutting myself. I’ve also found that it's keeping a longer time in between having to shave.
Out of all three razors, I can definitely say that Billie sold me. I was blown away by the price, the options, the products, and the user-friendliness of it all. When it comes to if I will be ordering (or driving to my closest Walmart to restock) the answer is yes! I think over time I’ll get used to not cutting myself with new razors. I also love being able to support a brand that is working against the Pink Tax and donating a percentage of sales to humankind.
I entered this month of shaving with some high expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the outcomes. The order I assumed I would like the razors were far different than how it ended, but each brand is on a powerful mission of its own, yet all working towards the same goal: to get those legs as buttery smooth as possible
My favorite razor? Billie. The razor lives up to the hype. My experience of purchasing (who doesn’t love a good quiz?), to clear and frequent communication on my shipment, quality of the product (uhm, that whipped shave cream, thank you), the length of time I needed between shaves, and ease of becoming a loyal customer, I’m hooked.
It’s obvious that there’s been a great deal of innovation in the DTC razor category, and it only continues to grow. With brands continuing to take a stand against the Pink Tax, it’s hopeful to see a future where it no longer lives.