Caring For Your Hair, Everywhere
What you choose to do with your body hair is up to you.
I remember the first few times I shaved as a middle schooler. Shaving felt like a right of passage into womanhood, or what my 13-year-old self thought womanhood was. I thought my femininity was linked to having smooth skin everywhere without a trace of hair. Looking back, it’s easy to see how those beauty standards seeped into my subconscious.
Who doesn’t remember those “I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, at your desire” shaving commercials that featured beautiful women showing off their smooth legs? I never saw magazine spreads or music videos with women who had visible body hair, so I figured it wasn’t up for debate. To be beautiful meant to be hairless, everywhere.
Even though I desperately wanted smooth and hairless skin, I wasn’t so lucky. My coarse and curly hair was an ingrown-hair-producing machine that even lead to cysts in my underarms and bikini area.
Still, I shaved and shaved, risking my health to fit beauty standards until I had an “ah-ha” moment sitting in the medical center at my college. I embarrassingly explained to the doctor that I needed new techniques to remove body hair due to an infected ingrown hair, and she looked up at me while writing me a prescription to reduce the swelling and said, “You know you don’t have to shave right? A lot of people don’t.”
I realized then and there that I wasn’t shaving for myself. I was removing hair to live up to unrealistic beauty standards. For most of my life, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, especially about pubic hair, but I realized how toxic of a belief it was to be ashamed of something normal and natural. I started to experiment with trimming, longer breaks in between hair removal, and trying new products.
While my body-hair routine is far from perfect, I’ve gotten it dialed in to a place where I feel more comfortable. This all started with taking the time to deconstruct my thoughts around body hair and make choices based on my opinions alone. You can start this process too, by exploring a new routine that encourages a healthy relationship with your body hair.
Below are products that helped me care for my body hair along my journey of maintenance and acceptance.
Price | $7.50
Made from sisal, a natural and eco-friendly fiber extracted from succulents, this washcloth will help keep your skin and hair clean. Its texture provides gentle exfoliation to help remove dead skin and remove excess oil. Apply soap to a wet washcloth and gently scrub your skin without rubbing too hard. A good washcloth is key for promoting healthy skin and body hair. Muslin cloths are another alternative for a deep clean.
Price | $39 Ingredients | Aloe vera leaf extract, crushed coconut shells, coconut oil, vitamin E
An exfoliant is extremely important for maintaining your hair health around your body. Whether you choose to remove hair or not, exfoliating will lift dead skin cells and dirt that could get trapped in pores and create irritation, inflammation, or even infection. In addition to using an exfoliating washcloth, a scrub once a week can help penetrate deeply into the skin to make way for unclogged pores and fresher skin. You can also easily make sugar, coffee, and salt scrubs at home.
3. Fur Hair Oil
Price | $44 Ingredients | Grapeseed oil, clary sage oil, tea tree oil, jojoba oil
An Emma Watson favorite, fur hair oil is specifically designed for pubic hair with natural ingredients to keep it soft, moisturized, and protected. Co-founder Laura Schubert got the idea for Fur through her own journey to body acceptance and to make conversations less secretive, embarrassing and shameful. Their line also includes an ingrown hair concentrate, stubble cream, and scrub. You can use their products in between waxing sessions, to keep your pubic hair healthy and soft, or in your shaving routine to prevent ingrown hairs. This is the first product I ever bought for body hair and it worked really well for my body.
Breathable fabrics like organic cotton can help you avoid irritation in your bikini area. Cotton underwear actually helps reduce yeast and bacterial infections because it allows air to easily flow through. Choosing the right underwear, made from organic materials, can help keep you comfortable during the day and feeling confident.
Leah Thomas is a contributing writer at The Good Trade with a passion for wellness, inclusion, and the environment. She works on the communications team at Patagonia and is a sustainable living blogger at Green Girl Leah. You can connect with her on Instagram @GreenGirlLeah