As possibly one of the most misunderstood body parts, vaginas haven’t always had the airtime they deserve when it comes to self-care and wellness. But in recent years there has been an upsurge in exploring down under with everything from supplements to oils and even the infamous candle a la Ms Paltrow.
As much as the product shelf is expanding, the knowledge behind what vaginal health really is and what they require to function on full form can be misunderstood. One fable you have probably all heard is that they need to be cleansed with various scented products, but they are actually adept at sorting themselves out in regard to sanitation, with a carefully honed system akin to a blooming biodiverse landscape. The rhetoric that your vagina ‘needs’ to be ‘freshened up’ is actually a wild misconception, most likely peddled by the corporate patriarchy hoping to profit of insecurities that they create for women in the first place. If they’re not sending you into a whirlwind about wrinkles, you better believe they’ll have you panicking about your privates.
There are times however when the balance can be tipped and, in that instance, undesirable side effects may present themselves in the form of cystitis, thrush or generally ‘not feeling right’. Depending on the sensitivity of your own personal biome, something as simple as scented fabric softener can send your vulva into a spin, meaning finding out what works for you and sticking to it is often incredibly important.
Obviously the first port of call if you ever suspect an imbalance should be a quick consult with your GP, but aside from that there are many amazing products available to help you live your most comfortable and thriving vaginal life, from CBD products to probiotics and even luxury oils, there has never been a better time to extend some self-care down south.
Keeping your bacteria and microbiome happy in general is important and this is where supplements can come in. Fem founded brand Ohne have recently launched their Bac it Up Probiotics which not only promote good gut health, but can aid reoccurring bouts of BV and thrush too. Other brands such as BioKult and Daye also have intimate flora related products that help to keep things running smoothly day-to-day.
Some external products such as washes, creams and wipes have been specially dermatology, gynecologically and pH tested, so they won’t upset the delicate and important balance, however they should be kept strictly vulva (outside) and never inside as the vagina itself is self-cleaning and ANYTHING popped up there can cause more harm than good, so proceed with caution. Luna Daily is a fantastic new brand that is championing all things vaginal health, and their daily wash can be used all over the body, from your intimate areas to your elbow and they even have a daily spritz you can use on the go, a perfect pick-me-up for festivals or travelling. If you want to go back to basics, a lot of women still swear by warm water as a daily freshener, so the treatment side of things is entirely personal and up to you.
When it comes to external maintenance, that can also be tricky to manoeuvre too. From shaping to shaving, or leaving yourself in full bloom, there are many ways to show yourself a little love. With hair removal (which again is absolutely a personal choice), there are so many ways to go about it, it can seem overwhelming, intimidating and sometimes painful. From sugaring to waxing or old faithful shaving, finding whatever works for you is the key to staying in tune with your body. For example, if you know you’d like to be consistently hair free, opting for laser treatments requires an initial set down money and time wise, but has a super long pay out and renders you hair free for ages, sometimes forever.
For a quick fix or for those who want to keep their options open hair-wise, something simple like hair removal cream or shaving can seem like a simple option. Knowledge is power when it comes to this, as you’re cutting the hair above the surface of the skin and not the root, you have to be mindful of razor burn, bumps and the dreaded ingrown hair. Making sure to thoroughly prepare with gently scrubbing before and after can really help to keep pesky bumps at bay.
The goldilocks of hair removal lands in the lap of waxing for a lot of people. With a hair-free lead time of weeks and gradual growth, as well as softer hairs with every session, waxing gives you the option of growing back out, but also means you can relax for weeks in the sun without having to battle bumps or regular rashes. Using a product like the Deo Doc Ingrown Hair Exfoliator after any hair removal can be great for preventing rashes and keeping pores clear and smooth. As well as this, implementing a soothing step with the likes of FUR Ingown Concentrate comforts your skin downstairs and keeps it feeling as bouji as the rest of your body.
The long and short of vaginal health fundamentally lies in everyone’s personal journey. From your microbiome to your diet and even your laundry detergent, knowing what works (or doesn’t) for you is the key to unlocking a happy downstairs for life.
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