Can we wax on about hair removal for a moment? Let’s just say that it would probably shock Betty Grable to know how many ways that we—the follicularly-challenged (or banally normal, depending on how you view it)—disregard our pain threshold to pluck, cut, zap, strip, burn, disintegrate, electrocute, and raze our fuzz—all to get her coveted paradigm of baby smooth skin. Le sigh. It isn’t pretty, and generally, it isn’t fun.
Over the last decade, shaving took a back burner to longer lasting methods. Yet when it boiled down to convenience and safety, traditional shaving always topped my list—trumping the noisome three week stubble required for waxing and the suspiciously unsafe laser-zapping gun. It’s no wonder we had to find creative ways to remove hair, when our current modus operendi seemed to be stuck somewhere in the torture chambers of the Dark Ages. That is, until now.
A week ago I picked up my first Oui Shave 14 kt gold plated ‘Carrie’ razor—and the rest, you might say, is history. Shaving for women hasn’t been this exciting since Sears Roebuck released the first razors and depilatories in 1922. Think: ancient torture methods are so last season!
You may be wondering what sets the Oui Shave razor apart from those don’t-mess-with-me five-blade wonders in the drug store. I’ll get to the “you don’t even feel like your shaving” part in a moment. Apparently, there’s a lot we don’t know about shaving. And Karen Young, founder of Oui Shave, is happy to enlighten us.
Why shaving with typical razors hurts hair growth and skin
Enter GIF of the scene in 1983’s movie, Mr. Mom, as the carpool moms and kids admonish clueless dad Michael Keaton with: “You’re doing it wrong.” It may as well be echoing in the background, as we learn the surprising facts about why drug store brands wreak havoc on tender skin.
It all started when Karen Young gave herself a bad shave—and people noticed. Her legs developed a nasty red rash, all due to the unforgiving cutting edge of the blades.
Here’s what she explained to me in an email (and during our Savor Spa evening):
“I’ve always had sensitive skin, with allergies to most cosmetic and skincare products. In the last few years, the growth of organic and natural brands has been incredible and I suddenly had a wealth of skincare options. Yet, hair removal was a pain. Having tried everything from waxing to depilatories, I stuck with shaving because it was easy and cost effective. I just assumed that ingrown [hairs] and razor burn were a part of the package.
“One Spring day last year, I went for a mani-pedi with friends. When I lifted my pant leg, my friend exclaimed over the razor burn that covered the inside of my right calf. I shrugged and said, ‘Oh, that always happens.’
“Over the course of the next few months I asked a lot of questions about hair removal. Most women shave, and I realized that we had all come to a point of expecting and shrugging off really sub-par shaving experiences. I learned that conventional razors are poorly made, with cheap blades that often need to be replaced after just one use. Marketing has taught us that we need up to five blades to get the smoothest shave, but in actuality, anything after two blades damages the skin.
“What we’ve come to know as razor burn is actually a result of excess blades raking over our skin, after the first blade has removed the hair, dead skin cells, and the shaving cream. Ingrown hairs are caused by the hair being pulled up by the first blade, with the remaining blades cutting so that the hair dives below the skin. Our skin acts quickly to heal, a normal response to trauma, quickly sealing up the damaged follicles, and resulting in inflammation.
“We are smooth immediately after, but the next few days are painful. After months of researching—jumping through hoops in a very male driven distribution channel—and developing, I launched Oui Shave in November 2014.”
You know those ingrown hairs and red raised chicken skin? Thing of the past thanks to the state-of-the-art paper thin blade.
What’s unique about the Oui Shave razor blade?
Karen said, “Everything is made in Europe, and our manufacturer has a long history of crafting some of the very best razors and blades. The straight razor is unique in that the combination of the razor, blade, weight, and angle play a role in your best shave. We worked to put together the gentlest option for women, with the ability to shave coarse and fine hair with the same great results.”
“The razor is beautifully crafted of stainless steel, then coated in gold (Carrie) or chrome (Samantha). The weight is distributed from the handle (lighter) to the head (heavier), creating what’s known as the balance. This is the reason you don’t need to apply any pressure in order to achieve a great shave. By gently resting it against your skin and pulling, it does all the work for you!”
Can we say that the nod to the ladies of “Sex and the City” is a real tour de force?
Oui Shave is an environmentally sound purchase
What’s distinct upon holding the razor is its hefty weight. You will notice it immediately. It’s hard not to handle it with deference. Plus, the razor is built to last—and may be the last one you will ever want to purchase, making it an eco-friendly option.
Oui Shave is more cost-effective over time too. Estimated yearly costs of conventional shaving equipment can go up to $189 per year. That includes cartridges, replacement handles, and shaving cream.
“Our razor is a one time purchase, and because it is a high quality, our blades last for a long time,” Karen said. “Our most popular refill plan is ‘I Shave for Hot Dates,’ which delivers blades and shave oil every 3 months.”
Once again, I celebrate her clever appellations.
Why opt for a shaving oil?
“The role of our shave oil is two-fold: to achieve the best shave, and to repair the skin. Shaving is, in essence, a scraping of the skin. We’ve long rushed through this process, but it’s an opportunity to treat and heal our skin while it’s vulnerable. When we bathe, our pores are open, and our skin and hair softens, taking in everything we put in it, from shaving foams to soaps. Our shave oil is designed to create a barrier between the blade and skin, but also to soak in and serve as a treatment, by toning and hydrating, after shaving. We recommend doing it at the end of the shower and leaving it either by itself, or as a base under lotion to treat dehydrated skin.”
Santal Shave Oil reminds me of the spicier aromas similar to Kahina’s Fez Body Serum, while Neroli Jasmine has a lighter, more floral scent. Both are subtle and contain vitamins A and C to improve skin tone and texture, while Omegas 3, 6, and 9 rejuvenate skin.
A pain-free experience
The combination works! When I tried the oil plus razor in the shower, I had to check multiple times that something was actually happening. In lieu of the usual scrape up the leg, I felt NOTHING! Zilch. Zip. Nada. I couldn’t believe how painless it was and how the hair was gently slicing off. My legs looked smooth without any bumps and grow-back has been noticeably more even.
Tips for a better shave
Karen shared a few tips to get a better shaving experience:
Exfoliating is one of the best ways to achieve a great shave. Whether with a scrub, dry brush or loofah, exfoliating lifts hair and dry, dehydrated skin from the surface. It creates what I like to think of as a smooth runway for the razor.
The other key with Oui Shave is: gentle, gentle, gentle. She said, “We emphasize the lack of pressure when shaving. The secret is in the incredible manufacturing of the razor and blades, the balance, and the angle. The weight of the razor combined with all of the above, does all of the work for you.”
A razor created by a woman for women
I love Karen’s philosophy.
“Shaving has been an ole boys club for a very long time, and most companies still only see women as an afterthought. My goal for Oui Shave is to teach women the art of a better shave, and create products specially designed to our unique shaving needs. After all, Oui Shave doesn’t only mean ‘Yes to shaving,’ it also means that we, as in women, shave also, and it’s time we got a better one! In developing Oui Shave as a woman, for women, understanding our unique needs was essential, and will continue to be the cornerstone of our development.”
Karen hopes that the art of shaving becomes a rite of passage with a better way to shave being passed down like a ritual from one generation to the next. “We really shouldn’t have to suffer for a better shave,” she said.
I couldn’t agree more.
What method are you currently using to remove hair? (Or do you prefer au naturale—I won’t judge.) Would you consider a luxurious shaving experience to switch things up a notch?
*I paid for my razor but also received an unexpected courtesy discount from Karen. Review is entirely my own choice.