By Mia Abrahams
Curly, straight, long, short, trimmed, wild, waxed, plucked, shaved, bedazzled, or left alone – there are a whole lot of things we can choose to do (or not do) with our pubic and body hair.
Whether we wax it all off or let it grow out — people always seem to have an opinion about it, which is, when you think about it, kinda weird. Imagine having an opinion about someone’s decision to wear their hair the way people get into comments when a gal on Instagram has a pic with visible armpit hair. “OMG, look at the way you’re wearing your hair in a LOW PONYTAIL! EWW!!” Anyway, it’s kinda hard to keep up with what’s #trending in the world of body hair to begin with. Pubes are in! No, they’re out! No, they’re back in! But whichever way the wind currently blows, let’s keep in mind that you can do whatever the hell you want with your body hair.
You might be surprised to hear that pubic hair serves not just one, but multiple purposes: It provides a cushion against friction, wicks away sweat and discharge, and protects bacteria from irritating the skin and entering the urethra (where urine exits the body). Pubic hair basically acts as your first line of defense against bacteria and irritation during sex. Also, a recent study suggested that altering your pubes, whether by waxing or shaving, could increase your risk of contracting an STD by 80% (Although, of course, the best way to prevent STDs is to practice safe sex, not to stop shaving — nice try tho).
No matter the current state of your pubes, here are a couple of tips and tricks to keep your sensitive areas safe and happy!
keeping things *fresh*
As we’ve spoken about before on the blog, your vagina is a self-cleaning machine, so there’s very little that you need to do to keep your pubes clean besides using a little soap and water (and don’t forget to keep those suds outside – anything inside can mess up your pH).
trimming the hedges
Be careful down there, y’all — shaving any part of your body can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper approach! Start by giving the hair a trim, exfoliating with a loofah, and then go crazy with the shaving cream. It’s ideal to shave towards the direction of your hair follicles as best you can to avoid ingrowns. After you’re done, moisturize with a fragrance-free lotion, and avoid super hot showers or baths — those might seriously irritate your pores. Most importantly, go slowly and be careful (aka, not in a rush after 1.5 glasses of rosé in between after-work drinks, and that birthday thing you’re already late for).
Pro-tips: *Never* dry shave, don’t use dull blades, and take a mirror into the bathroom so you can see what the hell is going on down there.
accidents happen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If you do nick yourself, apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding, and follow up with something like Aquaphor or hydrogen peroxide to prevent the cut from getting infected. Stay away from the areas down there that *don’t* have hair — the skin there can be super sensitive and prone to becoming irritated and inflamed. Of course, if something feels not quite right after you shave, giving your gyno a visit can’t hurt just in case something else is going on.
got an ingrown?
Whether you’re waxing or shaving, ingrowns are a real pain (on your V, your legs, and anywhere else they show up). An ingrown hair happens when your pubic hair grows back into the skin, instead of up and out of the surface. The body responds by thinking it’s a foreign object. (Cue some not-so-great swelling, redness, and itching.)
If you’re suffering from ingrown hairs, make exfoliation part of your shower routine — and definitely try to lay off the hair removal from that area, at least while the ingrowns are real angry. There are a bunch of oils and creams you can use to reduce ingrowns (a few gals in the office swear by Fur Oil – let me know your faves in the comments). Plucking the hair out with (clean, please!) tweezers is fine if part of the hair is above your skin, but if not, resist the temptation to go digging — doing so can cause some pretty nasty infections that are not worth the instant gratification. Wearing cotton undies until your bikini area settles down can also do wonders for *breathability*.
So tell me, what are your hair care tips for down there! Natural ingrown remedies you swear by? Removal tricks we need to know? Share your secrets with us in the comments!