Coarse, itchy, and curly--no, this isn’t a modern-day Three Stooges kind of scenario, it’s your pubic hair. And while pubic hairstyles have had many an identity crisis over the decades, I believe our current era can be described as nothing short of a pubic renaissance. Instead of adhering to a single style, women and queer folks in particular are experimenting with everything under the sun, below the belt; from full bush to bare branches, and all the variety in between, life imitates art as crotch becomes canvas. Here’s a quick guide to the upkeep on your downstairs so that you can remain healthy, hairy (or not), and thriving.
First of all, let’s be clear about one thing: the vagina is an I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T. B.I.T.C.H. who pays her own bills and cleans her own damn house. In other words, if you’re concerned about the cleanliness or scent of your vagina and you are otherwise healthy, chances are those feelings are a product of the cultural conditioning that has convinced us of a number of falsehoods about the female body--namely that vaginas are icky--and douches, powders, vaginal deodorants, and suppositories are unnecessary and potentially dangerous solutions. That being said, if I see the phrase “self-cleaning oven” used as a descriptor for the vagical powers between my legs one more time, I’m gonna freak out. @EveryGynoEverywhere: we are capable of understanding metaphors that don’t rely upon kitchen appliance imagery, thank you.
It’s also important to note that we have pubic hair for a reason. Pubes=protection. These springy little crotch-dwellers exist to protect the skin they cover, which happens to be the most sensitive skin on the human body. Without proper care, shaving/waxing/excommunicating your pubes from the church/lasering can increase your risk of contracting STDs, and can lead to long-term skin damage. But even if, with all this info, pubes still aren’t your thing, then you should at least have access to the knowledge of how to properly divest in that nest. Here grows!
- Go slow! Really lather up and take your time with that (non-rusty) razor. Slowing down will cut down on the number of casualties you have to endure (minor cuts, scrapes, irritations, etc).
- Don’t be a soothe criminal. According to Women’s Health Magazine, if your skin is irritated after a shave-sesh, you should try using coconut oil, vitamin A and D ointment, or zinc oxide because these products “don't support the growth of bacteria and won't cause an infection.”
- Always Be Trimming. Okay, not always. But to further streamline the de-pube-ifying process, you may want to invest in a personal hair trimmer. For use either on its own or in conjunction with a razor, a trimmer can keep the hairs manageable while still leaving the root of the hair intact so that your pubes can basically do their job from the grave.
- DIY? See above!
- HSE,PAP,DI (Have Someone Else, Preferably A Professional, Do It)? See the following. Women’s Health Magazine suggests chatting with your wax artist before going under the stick. To ensure your own safety, double-check that the aesthetician is using a new stick for each new client. This gives a whole new meaning to different strokes for different folks.
- If you’re married to this procedure, don’t skimp! Expect to fork over a hefty chunk of change (we’re talkin’ 3+ dollar signs on Yelp), but think of it as an investment in your health.
- Understand that women with darker skin are at a greater risk of burns because the lasers apparently have a harder time differentiating skin from hair (please, talk to me more about the postracial America that definitely does not exist!!), and should therefore choose technicians wisely.
If you’re on the fence about your pubes, remind yourself that there has never been a better time in history than now to be hair-curious. From growing media representation and advocacy (like in Girls), to niche how-to pube sites on the interwebs, to pube-centric companies like Fur (with products designed to maintain your pubes), pubes are slowly but curly making a comeback.