I am an overwhelmingly high-maintenance person. I know that’s extremely uncool to admit, but it’s true and I’ve come to terms it. My clothing is organized by sleeve length, I exclusively feed my cats their favorite wet food, and the volume on TV always has to end in 0, 2, 5, or 8. (Okay, that last one is more neurotic than anything.) This is even truer when it comes to beauty. Not only is my nighttime skin routine intensive AF, each of my showers involves three cleansers to coordinate fragrance with different body parts, and my massive nail polish collection is color-coded (I have an entire row of topcoats). However, these behaviors are all somewhat expected of a person employed at a beauty magazine. It is actually my pubic hair-care regimen that takes people by surprise.
Pubic hair has found itself at the center of many a debate regarding body standards and societal expectations rooted in sexism, leading to all beauty-related practices related to it often being labeled either shallow and misogyny-driven. My philosophy, however, is that as long as a grooming ritual is done for your own personal comfort and enjoyment, and provided you’re not hurting yourself, then it shouldn’t be dismissed. And I was so inspired by our recent dreamy pubic hair portrait series that I decided to share my not-so-secret secrets — to hell with anyone’s opinions on my (admittedly eccentric) routine.
Let me rewind. I used to shave all of my pubic hair because I, like many people, operated under the assumption that I had to in order to be “hygienic” — a fallacy rooted in body-shaming and propagated among middle and high schools across America. It remained stuck in my brain all the way through college until I first openly discussed the matter with a friend who didn’t remove her hair at all.
“Aren’t you sick of the bumps?” she asked. Indeed I was, but I was equally tired of the time and effort and expectations involved. It so often felt as though my sex life hinged on whether I had shaved that morning. This notion was often totally inaccurate, but a certain level of internalized misogyny (and all the fun anxieties it spawned) prevented me from realizing so for quite a while.
By the time I was 22 or 23, I had become considerably more comfortable with my own pubic hair, allowing it to grow. The bumps went away, for the most part, and I went back and forth in my presentation, removing varying amounts throughout the next couple of years. Eventually, I found a happy medium that I liked both aesthetically and logistically: I remove hair from the very outside, i.e. past the line where my leg meets my torso, and keep the rest. This has stayed relatively consistent since (though, by age 25, I often stopped taking any off the outside whatsoever).
Fast-forward to 2015: while working as a beauty editor at a different publication, I received a package from Fur containing a couple of bottles filled with translucent yellow oil. “For Pubic Hair,” read the press release. Now, I had tried quite a few hair oils at that point but none for non-head hair, so I was a bit apprehensive. In addition to the company’s signature Fur Oil, there was also a tube of its Stubble Cream and a small bottle of the brand’s Ingrown Concentrate.
Long story short: I tried them, I loved them, and the rest is history. Well, not really — I literally used them this AM and it’s fresh in my memory, so I’m actually going to explain how and why I utilize each product, as well as how the rest of my current regimen works.
After finishing my facial routine (double cleansing, micellar water if I wore eye makeup, toner, serum, eye cream, and moisturizer), I put a couple of Fur Oil drops on my hands and apply it to my pubic hair. It acts similarly to regular conditioner in that it keeps the hair softer and more moisturized, so it just looks and feels…better.
When I still occasionally trimmed the hair with an electric razor, the oil was especially beneficial. Trimming meant the cuticle was regularly cropped in the middle at a fuller point rather than tapered, so the hair would feel itchy, particularly when I wore tighter clothes or underwear. When it was softened by the oil, this effect would be minimized, so anyone with an attachment to their electric trimmer may want to try it, too.
In the Shower
I love showering. Love it. It wakes me up when I’m exhausted, boosts my mood when I’m bummed out, refreshes me when I’ve been sweating during my subway commute on any given day between June and late September — showering is simply the best, in my humble opinion.
As I mention above, I use multiple body washes, but I’ve interviewed enough gynecologists to know that going overboard with cleansers around your pubic area often yields awful results because it can throw off your pH balance. This is why I typically use just water, though lately, I’ve been testing out Crude’s new detergent-free Wash along the sides on days when I’ve decided to shave. I always use a sharp razor with two or three blades (like this Schick set), swiping it downwards with the grain, then rinse.
Post-Shave and Beyond
After I get out of the shower, I do a quick towel-off of the majority of my body and then let the rest air dry, my pubic region included. (I live alone so prancing around without clothes on is basically required, lest I look back on my late-20s as a time of missed opportunities.) I then gently pat a bit of Stubble Cream onto the areas I shaved. The creamy formula promises to “soften stubble and [clear] pores for fewer ingrowns with silky hair and skin.” And, to be frank, it really seems to work. I used to get ingrown hairs along my bikini entirely too often, but now it’s much rarer.
When I do experience ingrown hairs, I gently massage my skin with my fingertips in the shower (it sounds weird, but I’ve found any sort of cloth makes me turn red and feel more irritated), then dot on a little of the Ingrown Concentrate. I sleep in either loose cotton shorts or very, very soft silk underwear to avoid any chafing or irritation throughout the night.
So, there you have it: my pubic hair routine, laid out in all its “I’m probably overthinking this, but whatever” glory. I promise to update this if the skin-care industry ever comes out with sheet masks for your crotch, but for now, this is my regimen and I’m sticking to it.
Read more about the wonderful world of pubic hair:
- 5 Women Pose for Striking Portraits of Their Pubic Hair (NSFW)
- The Labor of Removing Your Body Hair
- I Tried a Cream Made for Your Pubic Hair
Now, watch this woman explain why body hair makes her feel beautiful:
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