Elle’s out this week with, you know, a “paying job” or something, so I’m filling in with a post about shaving.
I have to say, when I started researching for this post, I thought it was going to be another rant about the pink tax and the patriarchy. But after looking around a bit, I’m starting to feel a little, dare I say it, optimistic. You see, I’ve recently been liberated from the painful process of buying razors at the grocery or drug store — you know, the bit where you go in, realize they’re being kept behind the counter with the sudafed and the percoset, try to find someone to let you — excuse me could you– do you work here? I’m trying to– please for the love of god just let me compare a few brands of razors without making me feel like a criminal! and then forget to take the security tab off the box when you’re leaving and set off the alarms.
That is to say, I’ve started getting razors mailed to me. Cheap.
Dollar Shave Club. Harry’s Razors. 800razors.com. ShaveMOB. You can buy your shaving supplies on the cheap online, and they just, you know, come to you.
But what about women? Because while I’m glad to see that shaving is becoming more optional for women as time goes by — because nobody should have to engage in aesthetic upkeep if they don’t care for the aesthetic — I assume that when gender parity is someday reached, many women will still want to shave. After all, even beardy men shave their necks (or they should, you great bunch of dirty hippies, you).
After all, women’s razors are harder to make. Or I assume so, given that the Schick 5-blade “hydro” retails for $11.99 while the Schick 5-blade “hydro silk” (the lady razor version) goes for $13.49. The Gillette Sensor 3 disposables (in manly black) go for $17.49 for eight, and the Gillette Venus 3-blade disposables go for $12.99 — for three (but it’s hard to make a razor that “hugs your curves and fits easily into hard to shave areas,” I assume).
I loaded up Harry’s front page — whose four-bladed razors I’ve found to be great for just about everything but getting up right under your nose — and was not encouraged.
Okay, well. My wife didn’t much like the handle on that one anyway. It was pretty slick in the shower. Easy to drop. What about Dollar Shave Club? I’m not a fan of their el-cheapo two-blade (it’s easier to hold and gets under my nose — but not so much, you know, everywhere else) but I’m trying out their four-blade offering next month. What did they have to say?
Well that’s a little better. In fact, in digging into the question of options for women, I came across this article at Fashionista from June of last year — it’s worth a read — and both companies say they sell to women as well as men:
Both Harry’s and DSC have a loyal group of women customers. “[Male] customers have told us that they buy extra blades because they’ve discovered that their wives or girlfriends have been using theirs,” Harry’s co-founder Andy Katz-Mayfield tells me […] Ditto at DSC, [whose co-founder Michael] Dubin estimated that close to 20 percent of its customers are women, though he acknowledged some of them might be purchasing for the men in their lives.
But there are others, too. Both 800razors.com and ShaveMOB offer razors specifically made for women which seems to involve two things: wider handles, and the colour pink. First the 800razors packages:
And then the ShaveMOB offerings:
So, on the one hand, I’m really impressed. I don’t really get the fat handle thing, but my wife suspects that it may make it easier to, in her words, “cover more ground”. They even (miracle of miracles) cost the same. The only qualm I have left, and I suppose it’s a minor one, is the pink.
And in that regard I find myself returning to the Dollar Shave Club. I admit, when I first pulled up their site, I thought to myself — okay, this site’s totally marketing to dudes. The wood background, the “BE BOLD” slogan. Hold on, screenshot time:
It just “felt” like it was for men. Scroll down, and, yes — it is. The basic one is “for guys who dig simplicity and precision,” and the middle one, while described as “a gentle shave in a single stroke” also boasts “you will love this razor – and your girlfriend can use it too.” (Ten points from Gryffindor. ¬_¬ ).
But then I thought to myself, you know what — this is close. “Be Bold” isn’t a slogan for guys, it’s a slogan for people who want to be bold. I mean, I don’t know how shaving makes you bold, but it should apply the same to them:
Right? If your product line is for use by men and women both, that is, if all your products are “great for women!” then it wouldn’t take much to make that happen.
So to round up: kudos, 800razors.com and ShaveMOB, for your realization that women, too, would like to pay less to shave. Maybe lay off the pink, but kudos nonetheless. Harry’s Razors, you guys need a little more work in that area. And Dollar Shave Club — you’re close. Like, “fifteen minutes of copy-editing and website uploading” close. You can do it, I know you can.
So there you have it. Women can get cheap razors online, and per our current state of affairs, almost as well as men. What’ll we call it, folks? About 78% as well?
Let’s see if we can improve on that. Dollar Shave Club, I’m looking at you.
Richard Ford Burley is a doctoral candidate in English at Boston College, where he’s writing about remix culture and the processes that generate texts in the Middle Ages and on the internet. In his spare time he writes about science and skepticism (and shaving supplies) here at This Week In Tomorrow.