Here I am. Ready to discuss something that a lot of us think about yet aren't necessarily or entirely comfortable with discussing — the smell of our coochie. First, let me say that anything that has to do with what makes us a woman is something that we should be cool with talking about (straight up). Then let me add that before getting into these 10 points, if you are trying to make your vagina smell like a bed of roses or a fruit basket, that is never gonna happen. The reality is our vaginas house a ton of bacteria — both good and bad. This means that sometimes it's gonna smell a little on the sour side (like tangy-like). Other times, it may smell like a copper penny (like around our periods). Other times, it may mimic molasses; still not a big deal. The main thing to look out for is a fishy odor or an ammonia-like scent. If this is the case, that typically points to an infection of some sort (one you should see your doctor about).
However, if the smell you're currently dealing with is more in the lane of body odor (which usually happens due to a lot of trapped sweat which is why you should almost always wear cotton undies) or one that is just not-so-fresh, I've got a few things that can help to get things back on track, so that you can feel more confident about how things are looking — well, smelling — down below.
1. Balance Your Vagina’s pH
When it comes to this point in particular, I actually just recently wrote an entire article on it. If you check out "Sis, This Is How To Keep Your Vagina's pH Balanced" on our platform, you can learn more about what a pH balance actually is, things that can throw it way off and how to get it "back to the middle" (cue India. Arie). For now, I'll just say that when it comes to keeping your vagina smelling like it's supposed to, a lot of the other "hacks" that I'm about to share wouldn't be all that necessary if your pH level is straight. However, the following nine can play a direct and significant role in helping to make that happen, so let's keep going.
2. Eat Less of Sulfur Foods
Sulfur is interesting in the sense that it's a chemical in your body that helps your system to produce various amino acids. Because of this, it's beneficial in fighting dandruff, relieving allergy-related symptoms, lowering high cholesterol levels, clearing up acne, helping to unclog arteries and so much more. That's the good part. The downside is it can cause your vagina to smell not so great because sulfur has a bit of a bad egg smell due to some of the compounds that it oftentimes contains. For this reason, eating a ton of foods that have sulfur in it could make your vagina smell a little on the unpleasant side. So, if you're a huge fan of stuff like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, eggs, walnuts, beef or turkey — while I'm not saying to go without these foods (because they are also really good for you), if you sense that your vagina isn't smelling so great, scale back and see what happens. Less sulfur in your system might just be the key.
3. Consume Kefir
Gee. I wish I had become a fan of kefir a lot earlier in life because, now that it's a part of my diet, I can really tell the difference.
If you're not familiar with what it is, kefir is a fermented food (in drink form) that has the texture and consistency of liquid yogurt yet a probiotic content (two to 10 billion colony-forming units compared to the mere 50 million that's in yogurt) that is totally off of the chain. This is good to know because, within your vagina, there is both good and bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria takes over, not only can that result in irritating health issues like a yeast infection, it can also cause odors from that area to arise.
So, whether you choose to drink kefir straight or do something like pour it into a smoothie, try and add it to your regimen. Like I said, I have and have absolutely no regrets.
4. Snack on Pineapples and Watermelon
Speaking of consuming things that will make your vagina smell better, anything that will help to give your immune system a boost is always a good idea — including foods that are loaded with Vitamin C. The reason why I specifically listed pineapple and watermelon here is because they both are great at promoting gut health (which also helps your vagina to smell good and healthy). Also, while your vagina will never taste like a pint of ice cream (it wasn't designed to), the extra antioxidants in both of these fruits can help it seem, just a little bit on the sweeter side.
5. Take a Neem Oil Supplement
Something else that you might want to consider doing is taking a neem oil supplement.
Neem is a natural herb that has some pretty potent antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties in it. This is good to know because, when it comes to your vagina, not only can it help to speed up the healing process of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes (it doesn't replace antibiotics, it just helps your system to recover faster), it can also help to protect vaginal infections from occurring — ones that could result in your vagina being not so fresh.
While some people like to soak in neem leaves or drink it in tea form, another route is to take a neem oil supplement. As a bonus, the fatty acids in it can help your skin to glow as it fights aging signs.
6. Use a Menstrual Cup
Although I used to wear them in college and a part of my 20s, on this side of wisdom, I'm not a fan of tampons. Like my mother used to oftentimes say, "that blood is designed to flow out". Indeed. As far as pads go, besides all of those fibers not being the best for the environment, they can actually be the cause of vaginal odor during our cycle. While I was in my 40s before I got a hold of a menstrual cup, it really has been life-changing for me. It's comfortable. There's far less leaking. And I don't smell a thing. So, if you've yet to try one, maybe this will be the lil' push that you need to at least give one a try. (By the way, if you have a high cervix like I do, the one that I adore on a whole 'nother level is the INTIMINA Lily Cup. Thank me later.)
7. Drink Mint Water
Something that your vagina is full of is mucous membranes. Basically, they provide a protective fluid inside of your vagina. In order for them to function properly, you need to consume the standard 6-8 glasses of water on a daily basis. If you really want to be intentional about your vagina smelling good, add some fresh mint to your glass. Mint contains antibacterial properties that reduce bacteria all throughout your system, your vagina included. Mint is also high in fiber which helps to keep you regular which helps to keep toxins out of your system — which is always good when you want to smell great in your nether regions.
8. Put Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda into Your Bathwater
Something that I personally think kinda sucks yet "such is life" is the fact that hot showers and baths have a tendency to throw our pH balance off. So, what temp should your water be? From what I've researched, it needs to be just a tad above your normal body temperature which puts it at around 90° F and 105° F (32° C – 40° C). Anyway, on the days when you want to take a long soak (check out "Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?"), it can't hurt to pour a cup of apple cider vinegar (the kind with the mother) and a half cup of baking soda into your tub. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in the vinegar will flush out toxins and remove bacteria from your vagina (and vulva) while the baking soda will help to deodorize your genitals. For the record, you don't need to do this every time. Just when you notice that your vagina is a little "too tart" smelling, your vagina/vulva is irritated or you want to feel a little extra fresh.
9. Make a Peppermint or Oregano Oil Spray
Oregano is an herb that derives from the mint family. As far as your vaginal health is concerned, some people use it as a way to fight the overgrowth of candida; that's because it contains really potent antibacterial properties, the kind that fight "bad bacteria". That's why you might want to also make an oregano spray out of distilled water and pure oregano oil. Just fill a small spray bottle up and add 10 drops of oregano oil. If you're about to go work out, spray a bit of the combo onto your pubic mound (not directly into your vagina). It can fight odor-causing bacteria so that odors won't arise.
10. Practice Proper After-Sex Protocol
Sperm/semen can throw your vagina's pH levels way off which can also result in your vagina not smelling too awesome. That's just one more reason to go with a condom when you're getting it in (check out "10 Things You Should DEFINITELY Know About Condoms" and "10 Ways To Make Using A Condom So Much More Pleasurable"). Yet if that's not how you get down, while it might seem all romantic 'n stuff to lay up with your partner for hours after climaxing (I mean, here's hoping, right?), it really is a good idea to follow a bit of an after-sex protocol which includes peeing right after sex and taking a bath, if you can.
An article that I wrote for the platform entitled, "Here's How To Care For Your Vagina AFTER Sex" can give you a play by play breakdown. I mean, it's not like he can't join you in the water if you want (check out "So, This Is How To Make Shower Sex So Much Better"). That way, you can get a 2-for-1 deal — another round and a healthy va-jay-jay. Simultaneously. Dope.
To learn more about all things vaginal health and wellness, check out the xoNecole Women's Health section here.
Featured image by Getty Images
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
DC Young Fly Pays Tribute To His Longtime Partner Jacky Oh After Her Sudden Death: 'You Are The Greatest Mother I Know'
Actor, comedian, and Wild 'N' Out star John "DC Young Fly" Whitfield mourned the loss of his longtime partner and the mother of his three children, Jacklyn "Jacky Oh" Smith, with a heartfelt tribute.
For context, Smith --who rose to fame as a model and participated in the hit comedy game show Wild 'N' Out for five seasons-- tragically passed away on May 31 at the age of 32 in Miami, Florida. Although Smith's official cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that the entrepreneur was in town to undergo a cosmetic procedure known as a "mommy makeover."
As the news about Smith's passing was officially confirmed by family and on Wild 'N' Out's social media pages, a magnitude of people, from fans to the couple's close friends and colleagues such as B.Simone, Jessie Woo, Vena "Pretty Vee" Excell, Lauren "Lolo" Wood, Odell Beckham Jr., Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and so many others offered their condolences while honoring the mother of three.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Warner Bros
Two days after Smith's death, Whitfield released a public statement to People magazine thanking everyone for their "well-wishes" and asking for "privacy during this difficult time."
The following week on June 8, Whitfield paid tribute to Smith by sharing a post on Instagram that featured various photos and videos of the pair and their children, daughters Nova Whitfield,6, Nala Whitefield,2, and a son, who was born in July 2022, named Prince Whitfield.
In addition to the upload, Whitfield revealed that he waited a while to post this because he wanted the tragic event "to be a dream." The 31-year-old would add that as the days go by following Smith's passing, he's "reminded of" the reality that she's no longer here, and he wanted to make sure to commemorate her in a "proper manner." Further into the post, Whitfield praised Smith for being the "greatest mother" and human being.
"I wasn't in no rush to post this because I wanted it to be a dream so bad, but every hour, I'm reminded of reality, so I wanna make sure I applaud you in the proper manner,” he said. “You are the GREATEST MOTHER I KNOW your soul was beautiful. You always wanted the best for others, and I admired how our family love each other!!! Never had to worry about our kids loving each other cause you were on top of Dat!!!"
Whitfield would disclose that although he may not understand Smith's untimely passing, however, because he and their family are "God-fearing" people and "grounded by the spirit," they aren't questioning "the higher power" but rather rolling "with the punches," while holding on to their faith during this tragedy.
The Almost Christmas star went on to say that the pair's "strong" children will constantly be reminded of how great of a person Smith was, "especially a great mother."
Whitfield would wrap up the upload by mentioning how much he loved Smith and that, even though everyone is hurting right now, they would be okay because God covers them.
"The QUEEN of my children will always have a spot in my heart and the paradise (You gon get me for Dat but it's true). LOVE YOU FOREVER. Just know we going harder than ever, and GOD is in control, and he got us covered," he stated.
In light of Smith's death, xoNecole takes a look back at her relationship with Whitfield and the love they shared over the years.
DC Young Fly and Jacky Oh's Relationship History
Whitfield and Smith met in 2015 in a hotel lobby while working together at Wild 'N' Out.
At the time, Whitfield became a recurring cast member during the show's seventh season while Smith was one of the Wild 'N' Out girls. Whitfield and Smith would become an item shortly after the season seven taping of Wild 'N' Out wrapped.
In 2016, after dating for a year and a half, the couple welcomed their oldest daughter Nova. In addition to expanding their family, Smith and Whitfield would give fans a closer look into their lives through social media and the model's YouTube page, which instantly became a hit.
Smith and Whitfield would ultimately become couple goals because people enjoyed their honesty, interactions with each other, and their family life.
Jacky Oh On What Makes Her Relationship With DC Young Fly Work
In a 2017 interview with DJ Smallz Eyes, Smith shared that her relationship with Whitfield works reasonably well because they aren't afraid to have an open line of communication and are willing to address any situation head-on.
"I think communication, I know it sounds really cliche, but just communicate with each other. I think getting things off of your chest in a nice, calm way. You don't always have to be confrontational with the person. But letting a person know how you feel about something so they don't carry on doing it for the next three, four, five months, years later on down the line."
Smith added that another factor that plays a part in the couple's relationship being so successful is her selectively picking her battles and choosing to address the situation in a timely manner.
Jacky Oh On The Pair's Humble Beginnings As A Couple
In 2019, during a Q&A session on Smith's YouTube page, the couple opened up about their humble beginnings as they addressed the wild rumors that she was using Whitfield for financial reasons.
While responding to the remarks, Smith clarified that when she met Whitfield, he didn't have money "like that."
"He had no money. It's not like he didn't have any money because he was broke, but he didn't have no money like that," she said.
Following Smith's comments, Whitfield jumped in and said he was "up" $40,000 and still living with family members with the occasional "hotel" stays, to which she interjected and corrected the comedian by saying that the pair were staying at "motels" early on in their relationship.
"We didn't stay at hotels, get it right. We stayed at motels. Talking about hotels, hotels are nice," she stated. "We stayed at motels that the bed stunk... You know I really like love him. Like it was dirty."
Whitfield would add that although they stayed at motels several times, Smith "thugged it out" with him because she loved him. Smith also shared that due to Whitfield rarely being home due to his profession, the couple slept on his sister's couch and his niece's room.
But as Smith and Whitfield's careers took off respectively within the entertainment industry and the beauty world, with the star launching her eyelash and lip gloss brand J Nova Collection, they would ultimately settle down and purchase a home.
Years later, in addition to their professional success, Smith and Whitfield's family would expand even more following the birth of their second daughter Nala Whitfield in 2020 and their son Prince Whitfield last July.
Although it is reported that the couple never married after eight years together, their love seemed stronger than ever, especially following Smith's Mother's Day post back in May, which featured images of the couple and their family.
All of us at xoNecole would like to send our condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace, Ms. Jacky Oh!
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Feature image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images