The pink trap: I’ve switched to men’s razors and I’m never going back

Don’t believe the hype. They’re cheaper and they’re better

Like many women not yet ready to smash the hair-free demands of the patriarchy, I’ve spent most of my adult life experimenting with ways to achieve the perfect shave for my legs, underarms, and bikini zone.

No matter what combination of products and techniques I’ve used -foregoing waxing and laser removal- there always seemed to be a problem: a small a patch unshaven stubble, a mild cut that stung for a minute but bled through a bandaid in an hour, and even a serious rash that took a dermatologist and prescription steroid cream weeks to cure. During this time of trial and error (on top of error on top of error), I felt like I had tried every offering on the market and every trick in the book: from all hues of pink, purple, and mint green razor on the market to lavish lotions to shaving with versus against the grain.

Except that I hadn’t tried it all. Not, that is, until one fortunate day while showering at my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) place, and I realized that I needed a bit of a touch up, well, everywhere, before proceeding with our plans to hit the beach with some friends. Upon mentioning this to him and requesting a stop at my place before proceeding with our day, he offered up one of his blue, disposable travel razors.

I was apprehensive, but honestly, it changed my life.

When I stepped into the shower a week later I realized I hadn’t shaved my legs since the blue disposable during a time of year I shave every two or three days.

As luck would have it, I made this discovery during a time that my own razor supply needed replenishing and, as I had for the past decade of my life, I had been diligently researching my next shaving goods purchase to continue my neverending quest to smoothness. But this silver and blue realization steered me in a direction opposite of my usual 50 shades of pink. What, I wondered, was stopping me from purchasing my own three pack of blue and silver disposables instead of the new and improved Uranus Inhibition Self Moisturizing Pleasure Shave Stick.

Not a damn thing.

Having heard rumors of a “pink tax” on top of otherwise inequitable pricing between men’s and women’s products and sick of having tried seemingly every product “strong enough for a man but made for a woman,” I headed down the shaving needs aisle with a calculator and a plan. Naturally (sigh) the men’s and women’s shaving equipment are separated by gender. But, as a woman on a mission, I made enough trips up and down the aisle comparing quantities, perceived qualities, and prices of various brands specific to each gender.

My findings were roughly that for any “good” razor mean for either gender, the initial investment was more pricey with women’s costing more. The same cost disparity was apparent in disposable three pack units. The kicker, however, was in the replacement razor heads: at first glance, women’s seemed cheaper but upon closer look, they were cheaper overall for a smaller amount of replacements but more expensive per unit.

This means, without using actual costs, a pack of women’s replacement razor heads costs let’s say $12, and there are 6 razor heads in the pack. the cost per razor head is $2. On the other hand, a pack of men’s replacement razor heads is $14 but there are 8 razor heads in the pack, making the cost per razor head $1.75. That’s a whole $.25 difference in cost!

Now I know what you’re thinking because my initial, knee jerk reaction was “But don’t you usually get what you pay for?” Brushing that dirty doubt off my shoulder, I remembered my reason for this experiment in the first place, sprung for the blue men’s razor starter pack, and made my pretty way to the checkout. After all, if a less expensive razor was good enough for a man’s face, couldn’t it too be good enough for a woman’s… everything?

I arrived home with my purchase, snuck my blue contraband past my roommate, and got to work: I shaved my legs. The main apparatus, blue and silver handle with a black head, was heavier than any pink razor I had tried before. For the purposes of my experiment, I used a plain bar of soap to lather and took no longer doing the deed than I normally would. Wham, bam, thank you, man!

After rinsing and drying my legs, I saw that not only was the shave smoother than I usually achieved (even with expensive shaving cream), but I experienced no cuts- even around my knees. It was a magic I had never known before, and days later the results were true: far smoother for far longer. And now, years later, I am a blue razor user and advocate with no plans of going back to pink. At least, not with razors. But I’m now awakened to other possible ways the “pink tax” and gendered products are screwing us out of what we deserve: the best.

This isn’t to say, of course, that the same or even similar discrepancies lie within other gender-based products. But I know now that never again will I judge a product on the color of its skin, but on the quality of its function. After all, function is what I’m paying for, not color, not pink.