Women's Razor Ads Weirdly Never Show Body Hair — Until Now

"We are a brand that supports womankind — shaggy, stubbly, smooth, or anywhere in between."

While some beauty brands are moving toward inclusivity and working to expand society's definition of what is beautiful and normal, there has historically been something very obviously missing in advertisements for women's razors — body hair. 

But one company called Billie is putting an end to this with a new campaign, Project Body Hair. Billie launched as a female-first subscription service that provides customers with shaving supplies and body products at a cheaper cost without the "pink tax" commonly associated with certain women's products. The company also donates 1 percent of all revenue to women's causes around the world, such as Every Mother Counts.

"Historically, razor brands have wanted women to think that the best version of themselves is hairless. Female body hair has been so stigmatized in today's society that we rarely see it in mass media," Billie co-founder, Georgina Gooley, tells A Plus in an email. "We've become used to seeing only hairless, glossy, airbrushed women. This taboo around showing body hair extends to women's razor brands — so much so, that they are not even comfortable demonstrating how their product removes actual body hair."

But Gooley says she saw this portrayal of hairless women as archaic.

"The fact is, we all have body hair — some of us choose to remove it and some of us choose to wear it proudly. Not to mention, showing body hair in a razor [advertisement] is actually essential to demonstrate how the product works. How can you tell whether a razor gets the job done if you don't see it in action?"

With that, Gooley was inspired to launch Project Body Hair to acknowledge female body hair and celebrate what women do with it. 

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"It’s your hair and what you do with it is your choice — no one should tell you otherwise. We are a brand that supports womankind — shaggy, stubbly, smooth, or anywhere in between."

Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie

With the help of photographer Ashley Armitage, Billie captured images of women with all different types of body hair.

"When Billie approached me for this, they told me they wanted to depict women with actual body hair," Armitage tells A Plus. "I immediately said 'yes' because this is something that has never been done. It's so exciting to be a part of a campaign that breaks beauty standards and taboos by showing real women with real body hair." Armitage adds that showcasing women's body hair is a theme in her own photography work as well. 

When asked about the atmosphere on set for Project Body Hair, Armitage says that it was a "super fun" experience. She and the Billie team collaborated on casting people for the shoot and developed "playful" shots for the project's film:

"We cast people with a variety of body hair: some people were hairy all over, some people shaved. We wanted to highlight the model's individual shaving habits. Coming up with photo concepts was fun because we were trying to think of poses ranging from serious to playful. Some of my favorite playful shots in the film are the comb-shaving-armpit-hair and the blowdrying-armpit-hair shots."

Gooley says she hopes people feel "warm...and fuzzy!" after seeing the images in Project Body Hair. Gooley adds that so far, the response to the project has been "incredible," despite it only going live this week. Billie has also received "glowing comments" from both shavers and non-shavers.  

But Gooley notes that seeing body hair online shouldn't just stop with their site — it should go further.

"We found that it's not just razor brands that ignore body hair — there's very little body hair to be found on the Internet, particularly in stock photography sites. So we decided to take beautiful photographs of women with body hair and 'donate' them to the Internet," Gooley says, adding that people can download them from their project's site or on Unsplash. 

"We're encouraging everyone (media outlets, bloggers, the general public) to use these images for free and post them far and wide on the Internet — this is our way of making the Internet a little fuzzier, so, together, we can start to normalize body hair."

Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie

Finally, we asked Gooley how often women should shave, and her answer was nothing short of refreshing: 

"However often they like! Shaving is a personal choice — some people like to shave every day, some once in a blue moon and others never. What you do with your hair is no one else's business."

You can check out more from Project Body Hair below as well as on their website and Instagram

Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie
Photo by Ashley Armitage I Billie

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