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 do something (like, wax it all off) or nothing (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 in a low ponytail, 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!!” Sounds pretty weird huh?
Anyway, it’s kinda hard to keep up with what’s #trending in the world of body hair. Pubes are in! No, they’re out! No, they’re back in! But whatever the #trends, we personally think you can do whatever the hell you want with your body hair.
But let's get a few things straight about this pubic hair overview first. I’m not going to give you the origin story of Brazilian waxing and pubic hairlessness because I’m sure you’ve heard it 1,000 times before (basically, more revealing clothes and swimsuits, porn, Carrie Bradshaw, and pop-culture trends), and besides, if you’re a person with pubic hair reading this article, I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve encountered the hairlessness trend.
We’ve all been there: Whether it’s a fear of being judged by someone you’re dating for not being hairless, or having a full-blown panic moment about being unprepared for an impromptu beach trip with an unruly bikini line, or hearing someone else being made fun of for *their* hair situation, there’s clearly more going on below the surface. Also, interestingly enough, a study last year found that 59% of women surveyed who groomed their pubic hair did so for hygienic reasons, even though, and let me reiterate this in bold, it isn’t more hygienic to have less pubic hair.
Pubic hair serves an actual purpose: it provides cushion against friction, wicks away sweat and discharge, 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 study last year 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, ppl, not to stop shaving – nice try tho).
Of course, there are plenty of reasons you might choose to shave, trim, wax, or laser some or all of your hair down there (just ask the ladies over at our sister brand, Icon). Whether it’s to keep it from peeking out your new cheeky-cut suit, or because you like the way it looks, or because you prefer the way it feels during sex or just in your skinny jeans – it’s up to you! Just don’t buy into the myth that anyone else gets to tell *you* what to do with your pubic hair, or that it is in any way dirty, unclean, or not completely, totally 100%, normal. You get ownership of your own body, down to every last hair follicle.
Okay, but back to the point of this health piece: How do you care for your pubic hair?
As we’ve spoken about before on the blog, your V is a self-cleaning machine, so there’s definitely nothing you need to do to keep your pubes clean, except add a little soap and water from time to time (and keep your suds outside – anything inside can mess up the pH of your V).
If you’re shaving, you’ve probably got your own technique that’s unique and special in its own way, but there are a couple of tips and tricks everyone could use to keep your sensitive areas safe and happy!
First and foremost, be careful down there, y’all – shaving your V can be dangerous! Start by trimming your hair, then exfoliate with a loofah, and thennn go crazy with the shaving cream. Moisturize after with a fragrance-free lotion. ***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.
Most importantly, go slowly and be careful (aka, not in a rush after 1.5 glasses of rosé in between work drinks and that birthday thing you’re already late to).
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 that don’t have hair – those areas are super sensitive and prone to becoming irritated and inflamed! Of course, if something feels not quite right after a shaving moment, go see your healthcare profesh and get it checked out! There might be something else going on.
Got an ingrown?
Whether you’re waxing or shaving, ingrowns are a real pain (on your vag, your legs, and anywhere else they show up). An ingrown hair down there 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 (aka swelling, redness, itching).
If you’re suffering from ingrown hairs, make exfoliation part of your showertime routine – and definitely try to lay off the hair removal from that area, at least while the ingrowns are real angry. If you can see the hair, use a sterile tweezer and pluck it out, but if not, resist the temptation to go digging – doing so can cause infections. Also, try wearing cotton undies until your bikini area settles down. There are a bunch of oils and creams you can use try to reduce ingrowns (a few gals in the office swear by Fur Oil – let me know your faves in the comments).
So tell me, what are your hair care tips for down there! Natural ingrown remedies you swear by? Removal tricks we need to know? Meet you in the comments!