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- Billie, a shaving subscription service, has created a razor designed specifically for women. It handles the curves and angles of legs and ankles, softens the skin, and prevents clogged razorheads.
- The subscription service eliminates the “pink tax,” the term used to describe the price increases typically applied to women’s products, and offers a monthly supply of razors for just $9 with free shipping.
- Billie is the first women’s grooming brand to depict body hair in their ads and images. Their goal is to normalize women’s body hair and empower their customers to decide for themselves whether they want to shave it, or let it grow.
As an Italian-American woman with the thick, dark hair to prove it, shaving has always been a pain point for me. Actually, it’s been more than just a pain point – it’s been a source of shame for almost as long as I can remember.
I was in fourth or fifth grade when I developed the frantic desire to shave my legs. The knobby knees and hairy shins peeking out from beneath the hemline of my uniform skirt and above my standard-issue high socks were not like the other girls’: They looked more like boys legs, and I had the distinct feeling that if I didn’t do something about this fast, I’d be bullied. “Once you start, you can never stop,” my mother warned, trying to convince me to put off the inevitable act of daily hair removal for a little longer. But I was stubborn (and tearful) and she relented.
Shaving was not like it seemed in commercials. On TV, women lathered up their already-hairless legs with luxuriously thick shaving cream and languidly ran a razor from ankle to thigh in one sexy stroke. Then, they put on mini skirts and heels and danced with their also-hairless lady friends, as men stared on in awe.
In reality, shaving my legs was anything but glamorous.
The razorhead got clogged before I made it up to my knee, and the blades left little bleeding nicks along the way. It took forever to remove every hair on both legs; and it didn’t stop at my legs, either. I shamefully shaved my toes, too. I thought I must be the only girl in the world with hairy feet (after all, none of the razor blade commercials showed a sexy foot shave in progress).
And damn, shaving was expensive. In college, I routinely shaved my legs with dull, past-their-prime blades because I couldn’t afford to drop $25 on a new pack.
At one point, I joined the Dollar Shave Club – a razor subscription service for men that eventually began marketing their affordable blades to women, too – because they offered a fresh pack of razor cartridges for just $9 a month. But the metal razor handle that came with the blades was clearly not meant for ladies. The company describes it as “weighty” and “substantial,” which might be nice for a guy’s face… but as a woman shaving with upward strokes in a slippery shower, the heavy handle worked against me.
Needless to say, from fifth grade to my late twenties, shaving was the bane of my existence. Until I found Billie, a razor subscription service aimed directly at the female market.
“While we saw that there were a number of startups in the grooming space bringing better pricing to men’s shaving products, we didn’t see that same innovation for women,” Georgina Gooley, the co-founder of Billie, tells Business Insider. “We knew that we wanted to create a razor that was designed specifically for the way women shave and priced in line with affordable men’s razors.”
Gooley notes that women typically shave over 10 times the surface area than men do, and navigate more curves and angles. “Which is why we designed the Billie razor to deliver the smoothest, most comfortable shave available for women,” she says.
Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that Gooley’s not exaggerating.
My Billie razor – rendered in a pale pink shade that perfectly matches my bathroom decor, one of many colors to choose from – is incredibly lightweight and easy to grip. The razor head is flexible enough to handle the curves of my ankles, knees, and toes without a problem. “Our American-made blades are super sharp and are encased in 360° of aloe shave soap, so it feels like it’s floating right over your skin,” Gooley adds. “We also have more space between each blade to allow shave cream and hair to pass through easily, so you never have a clogged razor.”
When you subscribe through Billie’s site, you first have to answer a few questions about your shaving habits, including how often you use your razor (every day? once a week? once a month?).
“Blade refills arrive every one, two, or three months, depending on how often you shave, so you never run out,” Gooley says. To me, this feature is particularly useful. When I subscribed to Dollar Shave Club, I ended up with more razors than I could possibly use, and they wastefully piled up in my bathroom cabinet until I pawned them off on my husband.
But perhaps the best thing about Billie is that the brand is the first to offer a realistic view of women’s body hair – and, in contrast to most other women’s grooming brands on the market, empowers women to make their own decisions about when, and even if, to shave.
“We built Billie to be a brand for all womankind, not just women who shave,” Gooley tells Business Insider, with a nod to the other personal care products Billie sells (like shower caps, hair combs, and body wash). “We think of our customers as our friends. We would never dictate what they should do, especially when it comes to personal grooming habits.”
To this point, Billie has launched Project Body Hair, a “celebration of female body hair” that aims to fill the internet with pictures of real women shaving (or not) in order to normalize the idea that body hair is, well, normal. “Many female razor brands have historically ignored female body hair by always showing glossy, hairless legs in their ads,” Gooley explains. “It felt like an archaic way of communicating with women and we’re proud to celebrate body hair and reinforce that shaving is a choice, not an expectation.”
Talking in the photos and videos of unshaven armpits and legs on Billie’s site (not to mention, out in the world in the form of advertising) feels like letting out a heavy sigh of relief. They’ve even inspired me to shave a little less often – and to actually enjoy the experience when I do. And I’m not alone here.
“The Project Body Hair film has 20 million views across social media, the campaign has been covered in 22 countries, and has hundreds of thousands of positive comments,” Gooley says. “I think women are appreciative of brands who are celebrating diversity and breaking the mold of what is considered ‘normal’ in mainstream media.”
Recently, the brand took their mission a step further when they plastered one of the most frequented subway stops in New York City with an ad depicting none other than “the underrated toe shave,” in Gooley’s words. Yes, the toe shave. As a nearly 30-year-old woman, this thrills and excites me; and I can’t even begin to imagine the positive impact images like this -the first of their kind – will have on young women.
Would I have felt differently about my body if a brand like Billie had been around when I started shaving? The answer, undoubtedly, is yes.
But since I can’t go back in time and undo years of unrealistic media influence – not to mention less-than-enjoyable shaving – the least I can do is take control of my experience today.
To me, shaving with Billie is so more than just a (dreamy) physical experience; when I pull out my razor, I feel good about supporting a brand that supports me and my fellow women, in all our hairy-toed glory.