One thing about being a "godmommy" and "love auntie" (which are nieces who came through love, not blood) is your “girls” will be asking you all kinds of stuff that they may not necessarily feel comfortable asking their mom about. And, for better or for worse, I am at the season where a lot of mine are either preteens or full-blown teenagers (Lord, where does the time go?!), so here come all of the random emails, texts, and phone calls. And, for whatever the reason, a burning topic right now has been pubic hair — whether to keep it and/or what to exactly do with it.
Personally, I am Team Pubic Hair. It makes sex more comfortable by reducing the sometimes uncomfortable friction that comes from intercourse. It can reduce the transmission of bacteria if you happen to have tiny abrasions around your vulva (the outer part of your vagina) or pubic mound. It can even intensify sexual activity since pubic hair tends to carry pheromones.
Yet just because I’m all about keeping the hair that naturally grows in that area around, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that some intentional and consistent grooming shouldn’t be going down in the process. And since there are a few different routes that we all can take in that department, I want to share some of the options that I told my girls — with a heads up to their mamas, of course — about, along with the benefits and potential challenges that come with each of ‘em.
The Pros & Cons of Trimming Your Pubic Hair
PROS: So long as you have the proper tools (either some facial hair shears because they have rounded tips that are safer or an electric trimmer that’s specifically designed for pubic hair), probably the greatest pros with trimming your pubic hair is that it’s cheap and convenient as all get out. You can do it from the comfort (and privacy) of your own home at any time you feel the need.
CONS: As someone who trims sometimes in between appointments, one con is it can be hard to see what you’re doing; not only that, but feeling around can take for-e-ver. Also, if you’re gonna go with an electric trimmer, you should make sure to oil the blades before and after each trim; otherwise, you run a high chance of the blade snagging some of your hairs or nicking you — and trust me, both really suck.
Definitely rinse the blade thoroughly to reduce the risk of bacteria and bumps (especially if you’re going for a close trim) and replace the blades on your trimmer every 3-4 months; that way, they don’t get dull.
The Pros & Cons of Shaving Your Pubic Hair
PROS: If you want to clean up your bikini line completely and you want to do so while keeping some coins in your pocket, shaving is a way to go. It’s something else that’s relatively easy to do at home and, so long as you get a really good razor (word on the street is Schick Women’s Quattro Razor Exotic Violet Blooms is a great one), it can have your bikini line looking and feeling baby soft smooth. Just make sure to dampen your skin, apply a shaving gel or cream first, or, if you’d prefer a more natural alternative, go with something along the lines of coconut or olive oil or even some aloe vera gel.
CONS: I still shave my legs (not really sure why, now that I think about it; I should probably get those waxed), and while it’s cool for the most part, the most annoying thing is how fast the stubble starts to come back; same point applies to shaving pubic hair. Plus, if you want an extra close shave and you decide to go against the grain, that significantly increases your chances of experiencing razor bumps and the scars that can come from them, which can be a low-key nightmare.
You can avoid this by never going against the grain, applying gentle pressure as you shave, and re-wetting your razor every 2-3 strokes. Another con? If you decide to remove all of your pubic hair this way, the growing out process can be a mutha. The itchiness alone, chile? Hard pass.
The Pros & Cons of Using Hair Removal Cream for Your Pubic Hair
PROS: If you want a pubic hair removal method that is fast, inexpensive, and easy to do yourself, another option is going with a hair removal cream like Nair. Since it’s painless and even removes hair right beneath the surface, this method typically lasts longer than shaving.
Word on the street is that depilatories (another name for hair removal) can also help to make your hair grow back softer with consistent use (although some studies say that they actually increase the amount of hair follicles in mice). Also, since no razors are involved, you don’t have to worry about unsightly ingrown hairs becoming an issue.
CONS: I’ve got a girlfriend who has been Nair-ing her pubic region for basically all of her adult life — not just her bikini line either; she gets rid of it all. According to her, the smell of the Nair and the minor skin burns that can come from leaving the cream on too long (if you’re not careful) are her biggest issues. When it comes to the stench, a baking soda rinse can help. When it comes to the burn, just make sure to follow the directions to a T.
The Pros & Cons of Waxing Your Pubic Hair
PROS: I’ve been waxing for several years now, and it really is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Although I do like some evidence of being out of puberty being down below (pretty sure you can read below, well, I mean between the lines there), it has been the perfect solution for my bikini line. That’s because, since waxing pulls your pubic hair from its roots, when this consistently transpires, it not only damages those hair follicles, it can alter the texture of your pubic hair as well as cause it to become thinner and quite possibly stop growing altogether after a couple of years (of regular treatment).
Not only that, but as you’re waiting for all of this to happen, you can oftentimes go between 2-5 weeks before needing to wax that area all over again.
CONS: If you want someone to lie to you and say that waxing isn’t painful to some and highly comfortable to others (like me), I ain’t the one, chile. Listen, it took me a solid nine months (give or take a couple of appointments) to get to where waxing wasn’t annoying the mess outta me. One thing that helped was having my waxer apply some oil to my bikini line before applying the wax; that way, the wax is pulling on the hair and less on my actual skin. Another potential con is it’s not as inexpensive as the other options I’ve already talked about, especially if you’re gonna go to a professional spa or salon.
Oh, and if you’ve somehow convinced yourself that DIY’ing it will be easier, chile, naw. Usually, that takes even longer because it can take quite a bit of trial and error to find a comfortable wax (and temperature). Plus, most women don’t take the “just rip off the Band-Aid” approach to pulling wax strips off in the way that professionals do. And that pull-ouch-pull-ouch dance can take hours out of your day. Yes, literally.
The Pros & Cons of Sugaring Your Pubic Hair
PROS: I’ve been rockin’ with my waxer for quite some time now. Yet when she was out of commission for a season, I had to find someone to be her temporary stand-in. What I landed on was someone who does sugaring. If you’re not familiar with what that is, sugaring is all about mixing sugar, lemon, and water together to create a paste that is similar to wax in order to get rid of unwanted hair.
The major perks with sugaring are the ingredients are all-natural, some say it’s less painful than waxing because it doesn’t actually stick to the skin (I’d say it’s a bit more comfortable), and it can eventually lead to permanent hair loss. Another thing worth noting about sugaring is you can keep going over the same area without worrying about damaging your skin. That makes sense, considering that the sugar solution doesn’t attach itself to it in the same way that waxing does.
Oh, and because it is an all-natural method that requires very few ingredients, sugaring is also something that you can do at home. A video that can help you out is located here.
CONS: All in all, I only have one con when it comes to sugaring. Because it sometimes doesn’t “catch” the hairs on the first or even second try, sometimes the end result isn’t as baby smooth as I would personally prefer. I’ve also noticed that sometimes sugaring doesn’t result in clean lines like waxing strips do. Yet that second con can oftentimes be mastered with a bit of practice. Either way, if you’ve always wondered if it truly is an effective way to remove body hair, it is. One that has less chemicals than wax too.
The Pros & Cons of Laser Hair Removal for Your Pubic Hair
PROS: If you’re going for a longer-lasting approach to pubic hair removal (after 4-6 visits, you will probably only need to remove your pubic hair every couple of years), lasering can make that happen. Many experts say that you will need to go somewhere around five times, spaced four weeks apart, in order to receive lasting results. And as far as other benefits go, lasering is quick (usually around 15 minutes per session), is typically less painful than even waxing or sugaring, can help to even out your skin tone while removing unwanted hairs, and avoids the end result of ingrown hairs that can come from tweezing and/or shaving.
CONS: Imma tell you, off the rip, what will keep me from trying this option is the cost. It would be one thing if I could knock out all of the hair in one visit; however, since it isn’t a permanent form of hair removal for most, $300 a session (minimum) is too steep for my blood. Also, there are some professionals who say that it’s not the best option for deeply melanated skin, and if your skin is naturally dry, laser hair removal could make matters worse instead of better.
The Pros & Cons of Electrolysis for Your Pubic Hair Removal
PROS: If you’re someone who has used electrolysis to remove pubic hair before, please jump into the comments and tell us how the experience was because there’s something about a probe (usually in the form of a tiny needle) going into my skin that doesn’t exactly sound like a trip to Six Flags. Nonetheless, I have read and researched that electrolysis is a win if you’re looking for a hair removal method that requires no downtime, can work on all skin types, and can be done even if you happen to be on your period or are pregnant. Plus, the process is relatively quick (between 15-60 minutes, depending on how much hair you’re removing), and the risk of infection is quite low.
CONS: To say that you won’t feel anything during the procedure is a stretch. Some folks say it feels like an annoying tingle, while others have shared that it’s mildly uncomfortable. A workaround for that is some numbing cream that your electrologist can apply because you will probably feel it more than laser treatments plus, you will have to have more sessions before all of the hair is completely gone. Electrolysis also isn’t cheap; each session will land you somewhere between $50-200.
Bonus: The Pros & Cons of Dyeing for Your Pubic Hair
Between these huge breast-es-sis of mine and me quite frankly, not being as limber as a sistah used to be, I don’t see all of the gray hair developments that my waxer LOVES to point out are transpiring down below. When I have taken a mirror down there to see what’s up, I’m fine with it (now…LOL).
Yet, if you’re not when it comes to your own pubic hair, there are dyes that you can try. Personally, I would recommend going with an option that is specifically designed for pubic hair, like the Betty Beauty line (here) or the MiniKINI Colour line (here) because they contain ingredients that will reduce the risk of irritation.
Me? I trim my pubic hair far too often for dyeing it to even make sense. Besides, a grown vagina is a blessed one, gray hairs ‘n all. All good, chile. All good.
There you have it: a cheat sheet on how to keep your own pubic hair right where and how you want it to be. Feel free to hop in the comments and share what works best for you and why. Knowledge is power…even when it comes to our hair that’s down below.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FabrikaCr/Getty Images
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images