This story was originally published April 17, 2017.
I remember my first run-in with an gnarly ingrown hair clearly. I was studying abroad in France, and thanks to a particularly tight pair of stockings and a whole lot of walking, a tiny bump developed into a nub so angry and inflamed, I had to name it. (Also, to amuse my friends.) Its très chic moniker was Claudette. I picked and prodded at Claudette, the trapped hair from hell, with absolutely zero success. After a few days, my skin calmed down and the lump shrank to a smaller, more manageable size before disappearing. Luckily, I was able to forget about the incident... until recently.
Last week, I found myself laying half-naked on a massage table at Haven Spa in New York City. Only I wasn't getting a massage; I was getting the spa's Peach Smoothie treatment, colloquially known as a "vajacial." As you might've guessed, the treatment is a facial designed specifically to treat the skin around your vagina. It aims to free your bikini line of ingrown hairs, prevent future ones from forming, and brighten up the area that never sees the sun (unless your name is Shailene Woodley).
The experience itself was shockingly efficient — it took less than 30 minutes, and was hands-down one of the most practical — and surprisingly fun — beauty services I've ever tried. All I had to do was trim my pubic hair, take off my underwear, and sit back.
My aesthetician, Marta, made the entire experience 100% painless and comfortable — and she also made me laugh, a lot. The treatment began with a gentle cleanse (Marta wore gloves the entire time) followed by hot towel. Not going to lie: It felt really good (and not in a sexual way — get your head out of the gutter). She then slicked on an exfoliating mask to prep my skin for the fun part: extractions.
Extractions, in my opinion, are the best part of any facial. Having a professional remove all the gunk and dirt from your pores is glorious — whether it's on your nose or your vagina (yes, technically, it's the vulva, we know). After removing all of the ingrown hairs she could get, Marta finished off with a soothing clay mask and layer of toner. Because I had picked so hard at Claudette two years ago, a thin layer of scar tissue had formed and the result was a hard, encased ingrown that Marta was unable to remove. The lesson here? Never. Pick. Your. Ingrowns.
Instead, slather on an exfoliating ingrown hair serum like Whish's Ingrown Hair Serum or PFB's Vanish Serum — both of which have Marta's stamp of approval. I'm also a huge fan of Fur's Fur Oil, which not only hydrates your pubic area and coarse hair, but contains antimicrobial tea tree oil and inflammation-reducing clary sage oil to prevent ingrown hairs in the first place (it's the perfect product to slap on post-shave). For $55, I'd say the Peach Smoothie is well worth 30 minutes of semi-awkwardness. The vagina steam, though? I'm going to hold off for now...