My skin is hypersensitive. Waxing, shaving, depilatory creams—they all create problems for me after I use them. These days I only shave my legs in the summer, my armpits once a month, and down there—well, I’ve succumbed to just trimming and using an at-home laser hair removal tool that surprisingly works for me. And I still suffer from hyperpigmentation.
So in a quest to fix the dark spots inside my thighs and a bit further up, I ran a search for vaginal skincare products. I got some hits, but I wasn’t happy. There were a few items that focused on deodorizing, and a couple of mists, which still, were mostly about keeping the smell fresh. But most products leaned in the direction of hair removal after care. The options were so limited it begged the question: why aren’t more skincare brands offering more skincare for down there?
It’s a question that beauty marketing expert Avonda Urben asked herself years ago. She attempted to answer it in 2017 when she started her vaginal skincare brand The Perfect V.
“I happened to be a waxer, but I’ve also been a shaver, and I’d always looked at the skin and say, ‘Wow, wish it looked maybe a little bit better there.’ So I saw this opportunity that women were removing hair, but there is skin there and it’s different than the rest of the body. I started looking at the products and I couldn’t believe what was out there,” she said.
The Perfect V describes itself as a clean, luxury brand of effective multi-tasking beauty products for “a pure, indulgent pampering and love for your ‘V.’” Its products are made with Scandinavian-sourced ingredients and vitamins, and is dermatologist and gynecologist tested.
“I just feel like it’s skincare. You have skincare for every other part of your body. Why don’t we have it [there]? I don’t pretend to be an expert about the vagina,” Urben explained. “Mine is really talking about skincare needs. We just want women to feel really confident in that area. It’s the most beautiful part of a woman’s body.”
In a survey of 100 Black women, conducted in April by beauty website Poshly.com, 54% of women said that they have hyperpigmentation in their bikini area, 62% said they have suffered irritation in their bikini area from hair removal, and 70% said that they have suffered from ingrown hairs in that area as well. That’s a lot of discomfort.
For brands specializing in skincare products for the vaginal area (V-skincare), the aim is mostly to do preventive care. The idea is that if you treat the skin in that area just like you do the skin on your face—cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, and luminating with area specific products daily—then you will have prepped the skin for procedures like hair removal, therefore decreasing the chances of irritation.
Brands like The Perfect V are counting on attitudinal changes of younger generations to influence the movement of V-skincare. Generation Z is credited with changing the way companies today sell their skincare and cosmetics, allowing brands like Kylie Cosmetics, which reached almost $1 billion from just online sales alone, to set game changing records. And with many Black women looking for solutions to caring for the skin in their vaginal region, they just might transform this niche market into a multi-million dollar sector of the industry.
“Beauty shoppers are more aware than ever about skincare products that focus on intimate areas of the body. About 25% of consumers are currently using products such as wipes, cleansers and oils from brands like DeoDoc, Fur, or The Perfect V, and another 50% of consumers are aware of these products although not yet using them,” said Doreen Bloch, CEO, of Poshly.com. “There has definitely been a jump in awareness for this category of products over the past few years. The taboos are going away, especially among Millennial and Gen Z consumers.”
Nineteen-year-old Princess E., from Houston, Texas, said that she’s been looking for products to care for the skin down there for a while now. She’s used everything from Mario Badescu cleansers and serums that are made for face, to Kojie San cleansing bars. When I looked up the J-Beauty brand Kojie San I found that most of its cleaners and creams are for lightening, which, if not formulated for melanin rich skin, can have the opposite effect.
“I wish there was a product that I could use to get the best result, because it’s like I have to use all of these products. It’s kind of a hassle,” she said. “For my generation it’s not so taboo anymore. Everyone knows everyone gets ingrown hairs and hyperpigmentation so I would spend on luxury if it was proven 80% or more effective.”
But it isn’t just for the millennials. That same Poshly survey found that 35% of Black women across all ages said that they would buy V-skincare products, and 13% said that they already have. Eurileen T., a 54-year-old event planner from Miami, Florida, is one of them. She initially tried laser to help remove dark spots from her vaginal skincare area, and when it only worsened, she searched online for products with top ratings. When she found highly favorable reviews for The Perfect V, she stocked up on items from their product line. Though her journey with the line has just begun, she feels like she’s already starting to see results.
Vaginal skincare trends had their moment some years ago when treatments like the vagacial surfaced. Even controversial vaginal steaming, which is more for the inner-health of the vagina, has been said to have residual benefits for the skin down there by lovers of the procedure. Today’s product launches hope to be more than a trend that goes out as quickly and ferociously as it came in. But not everyone is on board.
Dr. Sarah Freeman, OB/GYN at a major New York City hospital thinks that products for vaginal skin could be problematic.
“When we start putting things on the skin down there, unless it’s organic, the chemicals can lead to certain other issues,” she said. “I could understand why it would appeal to some women, but sometimes, even if it’s on the outside, it can throw off the pH of your vagina.”
She says that unless the products are completely natural and organic, it’s not worth the risk. She does think, however, that these kinds of products would bring women more confidence about the look of that area altogether.
“I’ve had women come to me saying that their labia are too big, or something looks funny, or it’s too dark. But then when I look at it, it’s normal anatomy. For women who are looking for vaginal skincare I do think it will boost their confidence because they’ll feel like they’re doing something positive for themselves,” she concluded.
For Urben, and fans of her brand The Perfect V, it’s just that simple.
“It’s kind of like lingerie,” she said. “I love wearing pretty lingerie. No one’s going to see it. But I love it. Take care of every part of your body, not just the things that people actually see.”Share :