I'll probably never have a Kardashian butt. Or Kardashian hair. Or Kardashian clothes. But a Kardashian vagina? That sounded doable.
You may have heard that Khloé Kardashian has a vaginal skincare routine, that keeps "your lady parts happy." If it never occurred to you that your lady parts are unhappy, buckle up, because according to Khloé, it takes approximately eight products to keep its spirits up. She revealed the process on her app, and said she gets vagina facials and also uses drugstore products that other humanoids can get — most notably for me, the GoodWipes Cleansing Flushable Wipes for Down There and Medicine Mama's Apothecary Vmagic Vulva Care and Intimate Skin Cream.
I will try anything twice, so when my editor was like, "Want to try Khloé's products?" I was like, "Okay," and one click later, the products were en route via Amazon. Did I ask my doctor about these products before I used them? Nah. I figured it was totally fine, because, worst-case scenario, I get bacterial vaginosis, which happens to me, like, every other week (I'm a walking gynecologist appointment), and I know how to treat it when I get it (I'm responsible-ish). Plus, the wipes claim to help with pH imbalances, so it's a product I would have wanted to try anyway, and the moisturizing lotion seemed innocuous enough for my vagina.
While I didn't talk to my doctor, I did ask a doctor (who has no knowledge of my medical history) whether or not these products were a good idea to use in general, and she basically said no. "They will not help with vaginal pH, and there is no current treatment available to 'help' or improve one's vaginal pH," says Debra L. Birenbaum, MD, a gynecologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. What about the cream? "Vulvar cream and products like this should be avoided," Dr. Birenbaum says. "We recommend mild unscented soap, avoiding any OTC products from the pharmacy like this." If your skin feels dry, just use Vaseline, she says. Cool, cool.
So, with expectations as low as they can go, here's how it went down for me:
The box says they're "pH balanced," which doesn't mean anything according to Dr. Birenbaum, and have a lavender scent. They are apparently "perfect for periods, untrustworthy restrooms, bars, exercise, festivals, port-o-potties, work, at home." Okay wow, the possibilities are overwhelming. According to the problematic literature provided inside the box, you're joining the "Squeaky Clean Squad" if you use the wipes, because "the only things that should be dirty are your basketball skills, your break-dancing moves, and your martini." Actually, nobody's vagina is "dirty" (the vagina is self-cleaning), and I think it's perfectly okay to have other dirty things, like a mouth or a mind.
The wipes smell like babies, which I guess is exactly what an adult woman is aiming for below the belt. I used about three wipes a day for a week, when I went to the bathroom or at night after sex. And while I'm all for loving your body (including your vagina and vulva) as it is, I kind of liked using them, especially on days when I was sweating a lot. I had my period for part of the time, and did appreciate having something in my bag for a quick clean-up swipe. I also used them after sex and they were fine, but toilet paper would also do the trick. And then I got bacterial vaginosis. I've heard that some vaginal products can actually contribute to BV, which is why I wasn't surprised at all when I got it.
Again, I'm no stranger to BV, and there's no telling whether the wipes actually caused this flare up, but they likely didn't help. "Wipes like these probably do not cause infections, like yeast or bacteria, but can be very irritating to the vulvar skin," Dr. Birenbaum says. I did find that the wipes dried me out a little bit, though they didn't irritate my skin at all. According to Dr. Birenbaum, the only wipes she's comfortable recommending are WaterWipes, which are 99% water. Dr. Birenbaum says you shouldn't even use these wipes to manage odor, because they can irritate the external skin. "Odor can be managed by just plain water soak," she adds.
And not to sound like a broken record, but it's important to keep in mind that your vagina isn't dirty, and it smells wonderful (but a change of odor might mean you have an infection and should see your doctor ASAP). Doctors agree that the best thing to do for your vagina is leave it alone.
Never have I ever thought, Hey, I could use a little more gunk around my vulva, and that's what this cream pretty much is. Technically, it's an intimate skincare cream that's supposed to provide relief for dryness or vulvar discomfort. The cream itself is a chartreuse color (which can be off-putting), has the consistency of a waxier Aquaphor, and smells spicy, like chai tea or a citronella candle. As instructed, I put a little on my finger and rubbed it around my vulvar region before bed, kind of like I do with acne cream on my face — set it and forget it. After using it for six nights, I did not see any changes to the skin around my vulva. That said, I could see how this cream might be helpful for someone who chafes a lot, like when you're wearing really tight jeans, or if your skin feels irritated after particularly rough sex. But as Dr. Birenbaum said, if you feel dry, it's best to just use plain old Vaseline.
Even though washing your vagina or using scented products for the odor can feel like you're doing something good, in general, using products like these disrupts your vagina's self-cleaning process, so it's probably best to avoid using them. Not to mention, I asked my partner if he noticed any changes to my vaginal region since using the products and he said, "Uuummm..." Bottom line: Don't let anyone tell you that your vagina is "dirty," or that you need scented products to make it more "hygienic." Vaginas are pretty much self-sufficient when it comes to staying clean.
So there you have it, dolls! Your vagina is perfectly perfect already. Then again, I'm not a doctor, so maybe don't listen to me — or the Kardashians. And if you find yourself wanting to try Khloé's regimen, talk to your doctor and figure out if it's a good idea for you.