This post may seem to you like a joke, but it is not, I promise. There are a great many things that puzzle me in life, being blonde and all, but there is one that puzzles me currently more than anything else – to the amusement of my boyfriend, of course – and that is: why is it so hard to buy a female aftershave?
I am not a beauty junkie. I know a lot more about beauty than your average Jane Doe, but it is still just the tip of the iceberg. My prime source of knowledge, other than having enough common sense to know that putting baking soda on your face is A VERY BAD IDEA, comes from the collective hive mind of /r/skincareaddiction and all the lovely beauty bloggers I enjoy reading. But I do like looking after myself in all possible areas of health – through proper medical care, exercise, diet, habits but also by caring for my skin, hair, nails. So maybe this will be the closest to a beauty blog post you will ever see from me, but trust me when I say, I have my beauty basics covered.
Furthermore, I like my products to be very specific and provably working. Some people enjoy splurging cash on things that work ‘for everything’ or just pretend to work, but my physics brain does not work like this. Every solution needs to have a problem in the first place; and once there is a problem, I need a working solution. This is how the sudden increase in the rate of ingrowing hairs occurring caused my female aftershave hunt to begin.
Hunt. Yeah. Well. I mean… I tried? But everywhere I looked, perhaps apart from some deep dark parts of the Amazon, I have not found a single aftershave, let alone one that was suitable (did you think I’d use anything on my skin just because?) that was branded as FOR HER.
There are a few things I would like to clarify before I move on into possible reasons why – I guess, I mean, I have no clue why. I would love to know why. I am half hoping there will be some cruelty-free brand PR person popping into the comments to tell me why.
Firstly, I would like to stress that this is not meant as an ‘OMG WHY ARE WOMEN DISCRIMINATED?’ type of post. There are a great many crazy theories I subscribe to, but the pink tax is not one of them. I do not think people are maliciously stopping women from buying pink-coloured female aftershave bottles.
Secondly, I do actually use a male aftershave at the moment. I also use a male razor and a male shaving soap. No one makes shaving soaps branded for women, but that’s fair enough, who even uses shaving soaps anymore? And male razors are just better, on average, don’t ask me why, I have no clue. I have no problem as such with buying male branded products. I have tons of male branded products across many areas of my life. As long as something works, it is fine by me.
I am just puzzled by the whole situation; and, thirdly, I just want my legs to smell nice? Please?
I know this goes against all the real beauty advice out there (and I do mean real in a non-sarcastic way – as in advice that makes sense and works), but I enjoy scented products. I really do. It may be hard to believe as I am overall a rather fragile person, but my skin may be the only part of me that is NOT sensitive, therefore it is perfectly fine with a little scent. Especially that this scent would not go on my face.
I just don’t like smelling like a guy. Wow. I probably enraged a lot of people right now. The truth is, I do enjoy more masculine scents in general; my favourite perfume is Black Opium after all. But I just hate the generic, male-product smell of someone mixing too much alcohol with toothpaste. Give me my orange bitters, damnit.
‘Male’ aftershaves mostly smell like car fresheners. There, I said it. And I want mine to smell of roses or something, please.
My current aftershave, the one you see on the pictures, actually does not do that badly in the smell department – it is full of witch hazel that kills any other smell straight away, But I do feel a bit iffy supporting with my hard-earned money a company that sells homeopathic remedies, so we are not in on this one for very long.
When I first embarked on my quest to find a good, female aftershave, I half assumed I’d just walk into Bodyshop or a similar chain and find a parade of aftershaves in all sorts of crazy smells waiting for me on each shelf. Oh, how wrong I was.
In the beauty industry, you can get a solution to everything. There is a specific product targeting specific problem on every part of your body, specifically, if you’re willing to pay. Sometimes I wonder why no one started selling hand creams for the right and left hand separately because of the difference in the intensity of usage (don’t get any ideas!). Yet somehow if you walk into virtually any beauty-only shop, you would leave under the impression that women just do not have body hair.
Sure, drugstores need to deal with those pesky shaving aerosols (ughhhh, if you are using one, please move on to shaving soaps, please, show some love to your leg skin!) and razors, and waxes etc. etc., but these can all get squeezed onto a small shelf somewhere at the back, so that all of us can sleep in peace. But even after a short Boots visit one would still leave the store thinking: hm, women really don’t shave!
Yet they do?
Women shave. Most women shave, at least, and tons of them do this for themselves and not because of some cultural pressure or anything like that. Some women, like me, just don’t like hair on anywhere other than their head. Women shave their armpits, their legs (which in the case of long-legged creatures like me constitute around a half of their body area!), and their bikini lines. Some women shave all their intimate parts, some shave their arms, faces, back, feet. They shave. Shave, shave, shave. Well, remove hairs. Some women are lucky enough to have a high contrast between their skin and their hair so they can get away with laser-ing the problem away, some wax, some thread, but they REMOVE HAIR, and a lot of women do this every day.
And yet we enter the world of beauty with a solution to every problem and not only are hair removal products a small minority in the market, no, a female aftershave is as common as a unicorn or, I don’t know, fresh cranberries sold in the UK.
I may not have a degree in Economics, and my degree in Physics may have very little to do with it, but I do understand markets. I know WHY a female aftershave hasn’t hit the shelves yet. Market research is showing that it would not sell, and if it would, it would not generate enough profit. Or it will reduce the brands standing in general. Or it will not benefit the companies enough. Each and every one of them.
(This is why we don’t have many dark coloured luxury foundations and concealers, by the way. Executive do not think they can make enough money off you. Sad but pathetically true)
Are you telling me that in a world where real women spend hundreds of dollars on face masks with metal in them so that they can remove them poorly with a tiny magnet, no one is willing to take a bet on a female aftershave?! A product that would actually work and solve tons of problems so many women around the world face with hairs growing into their skin, if done correctly?
(Another aside – if you are one of these women rich enough to put a metal mask on your face… Please, stop. Why would you cover your super delicate skin with iron shavings? Why? Try a carrot instead of a stick, your health is not worth less than some gimmick)
I’m just so puzzled about it and I have been for a long time, but I cannot find the right answer.
The easy one would be, of course, to assume that a female aftershave lives in the land of some deep shame we as women hold towards our own body hair and such. I can see the argument behind this, but it does seem like a rather lazy explanation. Nothing is as simple as SHAME or OPRESSION or INDOCTRINATION or anything along the lines of these truly one dimensional keywords. Maybe we are ashamed of shaving? I guess? But we’re also ashamed of periods, I have heard, yet we still sell tampons, so…
Maybe women are beyond the gimmick of an aftershave? Maybe I have just been fooled by the horrible barber industry? Maybe. It seems to have worked wonders for me. And it’s not like being pointless ever stopped a product from being released. I wish it did. It would have saved many people a lot of money.
So maybe we are just too beauty literate, we as in the potential customers, the super beauty savvy – we know all about witch hazel and about essential oils, and we can just mix whatever we need. Well, I feel like a female aftershave could appeal to a much wider audience than people who pay much attention to beauty, that’s for one, and for two, well, don’t companies love doing our job for us? Look at all of the grated cheese packets in supermarkets and tell me that we couldn’t have grated cheese ourselves. I dare you.
Truth is, I don’t know.
I love giving answers, but this time, I am afraid it is just a question. I’m puzzled. Bamboozled. Confused beyond measure. The mystery of the female aftershave needs its conclusion but I cannot find one. There is a reason, right? There must be.
Please, send help.
This post is not sponsored by anyone. Just so you know.