What would you do to get that glow down below? I mean, we obsess over the delicate skin on our faces, and we invest in sunglasses and eye creams like they’re 401(k)s. We work out and try to eat right to keep everything on our bodies glowing and tight, but when it comes to self-care down there, well, I think we’re all guilty of neglecting a part of us that could always use a little more love. As it turns out, there’s a movement in the wellness community toward pampering our vulvas (the inner and outer lips of the vagina) with a regular skin-care routine.
“Millennials embrace being in harmony with their bodies as the norm,” says Therese Clark, creator of Lady Business Oil, a food-grade, 100 percent-natural oil especially formulated for brightening and moisturizing the vulva and bikini line.
As we chat over the phone, she says, “Then there’s those millennials who, because of widespread proliferation and exposure to internet pornography ... are obsessed with the appearance of their labias.”
Pampering and self-care is always a good thing, but there’s also a questionable side to this trend regarding ideals of beauty for female genitalia. The BBC reports girls as young as 9 requesting labiaplasty.
“I don’t know when one color and one size down there became the norm,” Clark says, sighing. “Vulvas are as individual as human faces—there’s no right or wrong way [for] it to look.”
How you take care of the skin down there and the way you style your other Afro, whether it’s a big bush or a baldy, is as individual as our lifestyles and personalities. I’ve been pitched some crazy stuff as a beauty editor. You don’t need anti-aging creams for the pubic area or scented cleansers. Any gynecologist will tell you, “No. No. And no” to all of those. Instead, use plain water and the mildest natural soap you can find to clean the area. Keep the hair down there dry—you can set a blow-dryer on cool if necessary. Period.
If you detect a new or unusual smell, it usually means there’s new bacteria present in the vagina, and you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Otherwise, natural, fragrance-free oils are the best DIY daily remedy for chafing, soothing bikini-line bumps, conditioning pubic hair and relieving vaginal dryness so as not to interrupt the vagina’s microbiome.
Fractionated coconut oil is the most basic way to naturally moisturize intimate skin. Not only is it nontoxic, but the lipids in coconut oil most closely mirror those in our skin. Lady Business Oil has key “lady-loving ingredients” for your “lady-scape,” including organic jojoba, tamanu and sesame oils for suppleness. Meadowfoam and carrot-seed oils rich in vitamins C and E promote the glow down below. The ingredient eclipta prostrata is an anti-inflammatory oil that, when applied pre- and post-hair removal, can help to reduce ingrown hairs.
Such elixirs are not just cosmetic. I spoke to Latham Thomas, a women’s-wellness maven and author of Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within, who regularly uses almond and avocado oils to prepare and lubricate the vulva during labor and childbirth. In my group of hard-core holistic friends, many of them prepare for childbirth (and that would be natural childbirth, of course) from the moment their pregnancy is confirmed by massaging both the vulva and perineum regularly with oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids to increase the suppleness around the vaginal opening. Thomas, however, thinks that there’s “far more benefit in eating foods rich in healthy fats in order to create real change on the cellular level.”
When it comes to using food-grade oils as personal lubricants during intercourse, Thomas feels that it is a “much cleaner, healthier choice than silicone or water-based lubrication products,” but she cautions that an oil-based product should never be used with latex condoms.
“Oil degrades latex and cause it to break,” Thomas says.
Barring the use of latex condoms, Lady Business Oil is an ideal lubricant for intimacy. It has no taste or smell, and it’s safe to ingest.
“What I hear from a lot of my clients who are menopausal is that using the oil on a daily basis removes a lot of the irritation around the labia that can occur just from walking around or exercising,” Clark continues. “When they use the oil for foreplay with their partners, it makes the area more maneuverable.”
The jury may be out on the benefits of a daily routine to get the glow down below, but one thing we can all agree on is that when our VIPs (very important parts) are happy, we’re happy, too.