Authors note: If you are easily offended by pubic hair girl talk, we recommend you don’t read on.
When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I didn’t realise I would spend the first hour of my day reading about pubes.
However, after posting a call-out for tips on managing your bush in the bush, I was inundated with comments, many hilarious and most educational. Some women were eager to describe – in glorious detail – their grooming routines, and we explored everything from sugaring (no, I didn’t know what it was either) to laser, plucking, waxing, exfoliating, shaving, hair removal cream-ing, cleansing, shampooing and, ya know, leaving it be.
My favourite was a story from Glynda, who, in an attempt to remove her pubes, got entangled with an epilator! She said: “OMG epilators are terrifying!!! I had an incident… the bloody thing grabbed a flap, and it hung on!! I was screaming blue murder, the dogs and cats looked at me like I’d lost my marbles, hopping around like a mad woman. I called a wonderful friend who is a beautician, and she talked me through dismantling the mongrel thing… everything survived intact, but waxing or laser is much less scary!”
But the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss whether the bush is ‘back’ (Vogue informs me it is), or a feminist-style manifesto on a women’s right to pubes. Nor are we interviewing the men in our lives on what they would prefer we do with our nether regions, because they can have what they’re offered, thank you very much.
Whether you prefer a full-blown power muff, a manicured landing strip, a vejazzle, a heart-shaped ‘do, a brazilian, or any other pubic style, we say, ‘do as you please!’ Or, you can just wait until you’re 83, like my mum. She says: “If you’re patient enough, you may find the areas you are talking about are bare, it has all transferred to the chin, and if you’re really lucky, you will find some on the upper lip as well.”
So much to look forward to!
But enough beating around the bush. (Sorry.)
We’re here to discuss the practicality of pubes when you go hiking. We’re interested in function over form, and in helping newbie hikers avoid some serious pube-related mistakes we’ve made in our time (an itchy vulva on a hike is no fun, lemme tell ya!).
When it comes to pubes in the bush, you need to think about comfort, hygiene and health.
Probably the BIGGEST reason I’d recommend keeping your pubes long and luscious – or at least au naturale – when you’re hiking, is comfort.
And do you know what the opposite of comfort is? Chafing.
Chafing occurs when folds of skin rub together to create friction, causing irritation and a painful rash. It’s common in the inner thighs and inner glutes (yep, between your bum cheeks!), armpits and sometimes nipples on long hikes, and it’s no fun. Pubic hair can help prevent chafing in the groin area, as it reduces friction (much like lambswool does to prevent blisters).
Another thing you don’t want when you are hiking is itchy regrowth. Itchiness ‘down there’ is bad enough when you’re sitting at work, but when you’re walking it is truly torture.
One of my friends has a horror story. She said: “I decided I would shave it all off the day before a full-day hike. It was a HUGE mistake. I obviously did a bad job and the hairs that grow kinda in the folds (SORRY!) were super short and on every single step, they itched.”
“And the more I scratched, the more it itched. I couldn’t enjoy the hike at ALL, all I wanted to do was stop, get rid of my undies and lie naked with my legs in the air to stop the abrasion!”
This is a common story, and the moral of it is: don’t try anything new on a hike, including grooming. If you get itchy after a wax or shaving, don’t do it before a hike.
We’ve also heard terrible stories from hair removal cream, “Oh goodness, don’t get it in your vag!” and waxing, “Dealing with ingrown hairs on a hike is not ideal!” It may work for you… just test it prior.
Many, many Wild Women recommend laser hair removal, which has lots of pros, so if you’re into the smooth-like-a-dolphin look, that’s your best bet. However, it is expensive, not possible for all hair types and has some health implications, so do your research first.
When talking about hygiene, we need to clear the air about cleanliness. There is a huge misconception that pubic hair is dirty, disgusting or unclean. It’s a myth.
Any gynaecologist will tell you that pubic hair is not only clean, it actually helps keep the vagina clean, too! The pubic hair protects the vagina from bacteria, dust and other nasty stuff… which is particularly important while hiking when your bits might be closer to the earth than usual!
However, some Wild Women say they like to remove the hair so it’s easier to shake off wee drips and use a pee funnel. While I’ve never found this to be a problem personally, it’s a good point. Long pubic hair may make it more difficult to clean the area with a shake alone, so you might give it a little trim before you go like some of our mountaineering ladies do.
Thrush and UTIs… two terrible things to get on a hike.
When you’re hiking, it’s common to be showering less, wearing tight underwear and pants, and sleeping clothed, which doesn’t allow air to circulate down there. Pubic hair helps to prevent both yeast infections and UTIs, which is another great reason to keep it. If you don’t have any pubic hair, you may want to test out any soaps or wipes you plan to use to wash during your hike, to ensure they don’t cause irritation or infection.
Pubic hair also helps keep the vagina warm (cute) and protects our microbiome, which keeps us healthy.
How your pubes look is nobody’s business but yours! I’ve seen a lot of naked ladies (we love to skinny dip here at Wild Women) and I can tell you first hand… there is no ‘right’ way to do pubes.
I pluck myself a neat, groomed triangle, and occasional love heart, for reasons of comfort, hygiene, health and lack of interest in pain and suffering, which works well for me in the bush.
You need to choose what’s right for you, but aim for something that doesn’t itch, doesn’t result in painful ingrown hairs and keeps you clean and safe inside.
Everyone does it differently, and that’s what makes us glorious.