Self-maintenance can feel overwhelming. Routines for body care and sexual health seem to have an infinite number of combinations and options. In a sea of advice, it can be hard to choose what to incorporate into your daily life.
We’ve compiled some easy-to-follow advice on how you can enhance your self-care routine—or begin building yours if you don’t already have one.
Body hair—how much of it and where you let it grow—is a personal choice. There’s no wrong answer to how much hair you want to keep, but there is a proper way to remove body hair you don’t want and care for the hair you want to keep.
The easiest method in most cases is shaving. You likely already own a razor. If not, there are a variety of quality options available at all price points.
If you’re looking to manicure your facial hair specifically, a dermaplaning razor could give you better results than your standard razor. The small precision blade makes it easy to reach small areas and perfect fine details, such as trimming down your brows.
Typically, for coarser and more plentiful body hair, a 5-blade cartridge is the best choice. If you use a razor to shave your body, it’s best to keep the blade you use for your face and the blade you use for your body separate.
When shaving your body, shave with the grain and always use a shaving cream or gel with little-to-no alcohol. It shouldn’t dry out your skin, just provide a barrier for your skin so you don’t get razor burn. One of our absolute favorites is Coochy Shave Cream by Classic Brands. It comes in a variety of scents and works on all body hair no matter your gender. Their signature shave cream stops red bumps from appearing anywhere you shave and leaves skin oh so smooth, delicately fragranced and irresistible to touch.
When shaving down-there, proceed with caution. You can’t rush perfection. Go slow to avoid knocking your sensitive pubic skin.
Shaving will take all your hair off. If you want just a trim, invest in a good pair of scissors meant for facial hair (these can be used anywhere) or an electric trimmer. Like with anything sharp, be careful not to cut yourself in the process.
If cutting yourself is a concern, or you want a more permanent body hair removal, waxing or a hair removal cream offer a solution.
For waxing your legs, chest, or back, there are plenty of excellent at-home kits. Veet’s Ready To Use Wax Strips are fuss-free prepackaged wax strips readily available at most local Targets and Walgreens. Nads Natural Sugar Wax is another great diy option. You can achieve salon results at home by spreading the no-heat formula on the desired area with one of the kit’s spatulas, and remove with a provided reusable cotton strip.
If you want to try waxing your genitals, it’s best to seek a professional at your local wax studio. Prepare for any waxing beforehand by exfoliating and drying your skin—and taking some over-the-counter pain medicine beforehand can help the process.
Hair removal can be done at home easily. Always follow the instructions exactly to avoid painful chemical burns. If you plan to use any hair removal cream in your public area, double check that it is pubic-area specific. Apply gently around your pubic area, avoiding direct contact with your genitals, and wash your hands carefully afterward.
To care for your remaining body hair, exfoliate regularly and moisturize your skin. This will help your body hair grow the best it can. (Psst: it is perfectly healthy to keep any and all body hair. If you want to grow it out, we found some great tips from VOGUE on how to embrace the full bush.)
Cleansing and Skincare:
In general, it’s best practice to take a shower every day and cleanse your entire body with soap and water. However, not all soap is created equal. Switching up some steps in your cleansing routine might help improve your overall hygiene and appearance.
If you struggle with body acne, the solution can be as simple as switching a body wash. To combat body acne, particularly any that occurs on the back, chest, or backside, a body wash containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid should help. Acne, especially body acne, is a result of inflammation rather than lack of cleanliness. Therefore, chemicals like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that aid cell turnover will soothe your skin and alleviate breakouts.
It’s important to remember that exfoliating chemicals make the skin more photosensitive, so it’s important to pair them with an effective sunscreen. SPF should be an important step in your daily routine regardless. In addition to preventing premature aging and protecting your skin from damage, consistent use of sunscreen will help preserve your skincare results and mitigate future breakouts. Find one you like for your face and body and get into the habit of applying it each morning—and then reapplying it as your preferred sunscreen recommends.
It’s important to regularly clean your pubic area. In addition to skin of your nether regions being more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body, it’s also a dark and sweat-prone area of the body, making it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Using a gentle soap without any additional scents added is the best choice for this part of the body. It’s safe for the rest of the body as well.
You don’t have to bathe immediately after having sex, but it would be a good idea to bathe within the next few hours. In a pinch, wiping down with some intimate care wipes like Promescent Before and After Care Wipes, Sweet Spot’s A Clean S-wipe, or Good Clean Love’s Rebalance Cleansing Wipes can be a great substitution until you’re able to hop in a shower. Even if you don’t have access to a shower or cleansing wipes, it is ALWAYS a good idea to pee after sex to reduce the risk of bacteria traveling to your bladder and causing a UTI.
If you still have a foreskin, be sure to pull it back and effectively clean the surrounding area. This helps prevent smegma as well as potential yeast infections (yes, people with penises can also get yeast infections). Take an extra minute to examine your body whenever you bathe to make sure there isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Healthline recommends checking your groin area for blisters, rashes, or unusual discharge, as these could be a sign of an STI or another underlying health problem, all of which are best to catch sooner rather than later.
If you do find anything that looks out of place, contact your healthcare provider.
Outside of actually showering, you can continue caring for your skin by regularly applying moisturizer to your face and body. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Whether you have oily or dry skin, regularly moisturizing it will help preserve it’s natural barrier and overall health.
Sex Toy Care:
Caring for what touches your skin is just as important as caring for your skin as well. If you use any kind of sex toy, it’s essential to clean every product before and after use. However, according to a poll of over 1,000 people conducted by Adam and Eve, “19% of the women and 36% of the men said they never cleaned their sex toys. And 11% of the women and 7% of the men admitted they clean their toys every few uses.” Clean those toys, people!!
If you use a masturbator or stroker, your bodily fluids are caught inside. If not cleaned, your biological matter will eventually fester and make the product unsafe and unusable.
Most products will include a cleaning guide. Follow the directions closely to ensure the longevity of your product and keep it as healthy and safe as possible for your personal use. Generally, warm water and soap will do the trick. For soap, always opt for something that is compatible with the material your product is made of so it won’t cause premature damage. Lion’s Den Anti-Bacterial Toy Cleaner or System JO’s Misting Toy Cleanser are both effective spray cleansers without any chemical smell. Simply mist your product, let sit for 60 seconds, and rinse clean. Air drying is also generally best practice.
Whatever way you decide to care for your body, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. A few simple extra steps can dramatically improve your overall health and boost your confidence.
Try to develop habits that will make you healthier in the long run. And when buying self-care products, the best advice is to always choose things that you will actually use. If something feels like a burden, you will be less inclined to incorporate it into your routine. Choose the things that you are naturally drawn to and feel at home in the rest of your regimen.