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Petra Collins pubic hair
Photography Petra Collins

Fur is the natural beauty brand changing the conversation around pubes


TextKamara Hakeem-Oyawoye

We speak to Fur co-founder Laura Schubert about the perils of ingrown hairs and their signature pube oil

Laura Schubert is the co-founder and CEO of Fur, a New York-based hair and skincare brand disrupting the taboo around body hair. Taking an inclusive approach, the brand has developed four multifunctional all-natural products that are beneficial for the hairless, body hair groomers and everyone in between. First is the stubble cream that softens growing hair and acts as a body moisturiser, then the silk scrub that doubles as an exfoliating mask depending on how you use it. There is an ingrown concentrate that alleviates bumps, and other common symptoms of ingrown hairs and finally, their signature Fur Oil that targets pubic hair. Despite the initial hesitation from chemists around developing products specifically for pubes, Fur Oil is now a staple to the likes of feminist shero Emma Watson. Since their launch in 2016, Laura and her co-founder Lillian Tung have managed to turn a simple idea into a brand shelved by retailers such as Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. We talk to Laura to find out more about FUR and the beauty of body hair in 2019.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? How has it shaped who you are?
Laura Schubert: I’ve been surrounded by small business entrepreneurs for the majority of my life. My dad is a doctor and still runs his own practice, but going to Columbia Business School is what really made me interested in starting my own business.

What’s the story behind Fur?
Laura Schubert: Back in 2014 we were discussing exciting trends in beauty towards natural products and defining your own beauty, away from prescribed standards. As we talked, we realised available body hair products were not in line with this movement. The ingredients were harsh, the packaging was unsophisticated, and they focused only on removal — hair as a problem. Fur is about a more inclusive definition of beauty, whether you think the bush is back or skin is in. We spent the next two years developing, testing and officially launched in 2016. Today, we’re still one of the few totally women-run and women-owned businesses in this space.

Body hair is quite a niche subject, where did your interest come from?
Laura Schubert: I’ve been shaving since I was a teenager doing gymnastics, but experienced terrible ingrown hairs. I didn’t know how to deal with them, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking my parents. I also never really knew where the pressure to remove my hair came from or why I was doing it in the first place. So I’ve always been interested in the taboo that surrounds it and where that taboo comes from, but one of the main reasons I started Fur is because I wanted to make those conversations easier to have. However, since almost every adult human has body hair of some type, we’ve never seen it as a “niche.” It only seems that way because taboos are often uncomfortable for people to talk about, so it’s something that gets swept under the rug. At Fur we’re always pushing that conversation further in the hopes that this will no longer be seen as a niche subject or product line.

Why is there a market for this and where do you possibly see it going?
Laura Schubert: While there are so many options out there for hair removal, there aren’t many options out there for taking care of your hair and skin in between removal sessions, or options for people who choose to keep their hair. While these past few years have seen a huge surge in the interest around skincare, I think people are starting to realise that they have to take care of the rest of their body as well. If you know you have to moisturise your face to prevent it from feeling dry and irritated, why wouldn’t that apply to the rest of your skin? Especially if you wax, shave, or laser, that skin becomes extremely delicate and needs to be protected through moisturisation. We have continued to see growing interest in our line, because at the end of the day people want to feel comfortable and not deal with irritated skin or ingrowns.

What are some of your key ingredients used and how do your products work?
Laura Schubert: All of our products are made with high quality naturally derived, vegan ingredients. We are also the only line of products that include ingredients that are beneficial to skin and hair, because they both have crucial and separate needs. For skin, we chose ingredients that both clarify pores and maintain overall softness. A key ingredient that focuses on cleansing the pores in most of our product range is tea tree oil, a powerful antimicrobial essential oil that eliminates excess sebum in the pores to prevent ingrowns and speeds up the skin’s healing process due to its anti-inflammatory properties. For softness, we chose grape seed oil, a vitamin E, D, and C complex that hydrates the skin and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue. For hair softness, we chose jojoba oil because it mimics the body’s natural moisturising properties and absorbs quickly. We also chose tamanu oil, derived from the tamanu nut, that is packed with omega fatty acids to moisturise the hair while soothing the irritation that often occurs with prickly regrowth. With daily use of all of our products, users see a decrease in ingrowns and softer, healthier skin and hair.

When you were developing the brand, who did you have in mind?
Laura Schubert: While other brands in the market seem to want to make themselves more of a niche, or focus on just pubic-area care, we always wanted to make our products inclusive to a wider range of people, which is why we try to keep our branding very gender neutral. We also wanted to make sure our products could be used in any grooming regimen, whether you choose to shave, wax, laser, or keep all your hair. For so long in the body care market, all the products were both hair removal-centric and very stereotypically “feminine”, e.g. floral scents and pink packaging—almost juvenile in a way. Our packaging was meant to invoke a classic elegance, based off vintage YSL perfume bottles, because we wanted Fur to stand in opposition to that and to invoke the timeless elegance of being honest about our bodies and body hair without being condescending.

What are common mistakes people make with ingrown hairs?
Laura Schubert: People make the mistake of applying products on them that are super harsh or irritating, usually something with alcohol in the ingredients. While it’s important that the ingrown gets clarified, moisturisation is key because it allows them to heal without scabbing over or leaving behind a scar.

What is your overall message about body hair?
Laura Schubert: What people do with their body hair is a personal decision that should be respected. Fur has created products that cater to every regimen, to make sure you stay ingrown free and have soft skin or silky hair. We’re destigmatising body hair by demystifying the process around it. There’s nothing embarrassing about having a grooming regimen, whether that’s waxing, shaving, or yes, leaving your hair be. We don’t want to further the idea that your body hair should follow a particular trend, because that message ultimately alienates people.

Why is there still a stigma surrounding body hair?
Laura Schubert: The mystery around body hair definitely contributes to the stigma. While theories abound as to why humans grow body hair — some claim it was to keep us warm, others say it helps prevent bacteria from getting into us. The lack of knowledge and education around body hair has allowed for negative opinions and stereotypes to creep in. It’s also been overly sexualised, and only considered in terms of a partner i.e. “will my partner like this, or do I need to remove my hair to be considered attractive.” At Fur, we’re always striving to consider body hair in terms of how it feels to you, and the self-care aspect of grooming. When it becomes a personal decision, with no right or wrong answer, it becomes clear how arbitrary the stigma really is.

Where did the idea for Fur Oil come from? Is pubic hair any different from average hair?
Laura Schubert: Pubic hair is different from average hair, in terms of texture, average length, and of course, the skin pubic hair grows from is vastly different from the scalp. Pubic skin is much more delicate and prone to irritation, especially after hair removal. Fur Oil is one of the incredible products that seems to have endless uses. Whether you shave, wax, laser, or keep all your hair, Fur Oil moisturizes both skin and hair, as well as keeps pores clean to prevent any irritation or ingrowns. Beyond that, we’ve found that Fur Oil works great as a cuticle oil, a clarifying hair and scalp mask, a bath oil, and even a tattoo aftercare moisturizer.

Vaginal care could either be considered an intimate act of self-care or could very easily translate into the misogynistic notion of having to beautify every part ourselves for men. What’s your take on this? 
Laura Schubert: It’s true that there are plenty of products out there that seem to cater to the notion that a woman’s body, even her pubic area, is somehow flawed and needs to be “perfected.” That’s why it was so important that Fur products be, first and foremost, designed with feel and comfort in mind, rather than aesthetics or looks. Fur was founded on the idea that no one deserves ingrowns. That includes men, women, and everyone on the gender spectrum.

Why do we need more beauty products especially for there?
Laura Schubert: As with any beauty product, you don’t necessarily “need” it, but we founded Fur because we thought it was odd that there were so many products out there that catered to head hair and facial skin, but absolutely none for pubic hair and skin. In some ways, it’s pretty groundbreaking to consider pubic hair outside the realm of it being embarrassing or something you need to remove and never discuss. There’s almost a rebellious quality to treating your body hair luxuriously.

What would you like to see Fur evolve into?
Laura Schubert: When we first founded Fur, there was no precedent for the brand we were creating. Three years later, we’re in over 300 retailers and are lucky to have a community around us who supports our message and loves our line. We really pride ourselves on having created a space that feels inclusive in large part because we extended the conversation around body hair past just removal, and allowed people to discuss body hair and grooming without judgment. Even now, seeing all these brands out there that are beginning to embrace body hair and body positivity as a message is proof to us that we have successfully created a movement and spurned a trend, which will hopefully end the taboo around pubic hair and body hair.

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