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Okay…this is a safe space and we’re all women here (even if you aren’t, these are great tips to know 😊 ) … so let me be honest with you real quick:
Taking pride in your hygiene is of the upmost importance, woman or not… But as a woman (with all of our nooks and crannies and having experiences that only women can have), we should be more on top of how we take care of ourselves and our hygienic practices.
In every family, it is not always something that is taught or even taught properly due to whatever circumstances at no fault to you… so let me be the one to teach you!
No one wants to be known as the stinky girl in class (or as a stinky woman in life) but this is more than that. It’s not just about having a certain aroma but it’s about taking care of yourself and your health. Leaving things dirty or “unclean” can have a lasting impact, making you vulnerable to a multitude of illnesses and diseases that could have been prevented with the proper care.
Firstly, let’s start with what you put into your body (yes, what you put into your body matters in respect to how your body functions AND how you smell):
- Limit junk food and soda.
This is a given but if you didn’t know, eating a lot of junk food/fast food/processed food will cause health issues, sluggish and irritable attitudes, malnourishment, bad breath, AND of course, poor body odor! Greasy foods can cause gastric influx which is a big contributor to bad breath and when you sweat, naturally your sweat will take on a more pungent aroma compared to someone who eats a lot more fruits and vegetables than you.
Eating more healthily will make you feel more energized and have huge benefits for both your health and your hygiene (say hello to odorless sweat, clear skin, and fresh breath lol). Try substituting things you already eat like choosing egg whites instead of eggs and Poppi “soda” instead of a Coca-Cola. They have a wide range of flavors similar to normal sodas we already drink but they’re significantly less in calories and sugar, naturally a prebiotic, and support gut health. I’d choose this over the cancer they try to make us drink any day (and it’s not nearly as carbonated as some sodas that give you a burning sensation when you drink it)!
- Drink lots of water
This also is a standard as a) we need water to survive and b) water naturally flushes out toxins from your body and promotes healthy digestion. Did you know that not having healthy digestion can cause you to have foul-smelling farts and burps? There’s too much bacteria in your gut aka waste that cannot be properly used or eliminated from your body.
Water can help with that!
I am not a doctor but regardless, we could all drink a little more water to keep things running smoothly, so I would suggest drinking half of your body weight in ounces or getting one of those big jugs that track your water intake to physically see if you’re consuming enough water throughout the day or not.
- Take your probiotics and drink a glass of cranberry juice every day.
Probiotics in combination with cranberry juice help limit the overgrowth of bacteria in not only your stomach but in your urinary tract and vagina, too. They help balance your natural pH levels and keep everything working and smelling bright as rain (buh-bye UTIs and BV/ yeast infections).
Just make sure you don’t take certain medications with cranberry juice, including aspirin, as they can have a bad interaction with each other.
Tip: There’s also a probiotic soda alternative called Olipop that’s good taste-wise to get your serving of probiotics in (different from Poppi, the prebiotic soda).
- Find alternatives to over-the-counter medications.
Did you know that OTC pain medications like Tylenol and Advil could disrupt your vaginal pH balance causing bad odors down there?! I don’t usually reach for pain meds, and I like alternative medicines myself but it’s always good to know that certain things that are meant to help you can actually hurt you more in the long run.
Some alternatives may be incorporating exercise (which improves body function overall), supplements, and vitamins into your diet as a preventative for inflammation, fatigue, and illness (like Magnesium for PMS and Vitamin C for immune support).
My Nana used to say, “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready” so if you’re always geared up and prepared for the unexpected, you can better manage these situations when issues arise!
- Try chlorophyll drops (I posted a reel about this on my Instagram!).
You can put chlorophyll drops in your cranberry juice to kill two birds with one stone😉
Think of chlorophyll as a natural detox or deodorant for your insides. It also improves digestion which aids in metabolism function, acts as an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory (hello glow-y skin, goodbye ache-y joints), and limits yeast overgrowth maintaining normal vaginal pH levels (it doesn’t get any better than this)!
I like to use this brand of chlorophyll as it is made with chlorophyllin and copper to aid in the body’s ability to absorb it properly. This has been a Godsend in my life and I’m sure it will be a great supplement to add to your life as well!
Now… let’s discuss what you should do on the outside of your body:
- Limit body hair.
Hair = Sweat = Smell.
Body hair already traps moisture but holding in sweat (aka bacteria) not dealt with in a timely manner will have you walking around smelling like a combination of old feet, armpits, and a** (just to put it lightly) …
Even without body hair you may still have an unpleasant aroma when you sweat, but hair will make your situation worse, especially on your lady parts and underarms. To limit body hair, I would say there’s stages of hair removal from good to better to best.
Starting with good ol’ fashioned shaving, then upgrading to waxing (a little painful but much smoother results than shaving), and finally choosing the elite route: laser hair removal (less painful than waxing and damn-near permanent with minimal maintenance but…more expensive).
Shaving is simple but be careful when shaving your legs, underarms, and of course, your vagina as a little nick down there will have you contemplating your life (don’t even think about peeing after…)
Tip: Get waxed professionally (unless it’s your legs), never wax yourself. Just trust me.
Bonus Tip: Save that lacy thong for special occasions and wear breathable fabric, such as cotton, on a daily basis to prevent an imbalanced pH and odor.
- Exfoliate and always use a wash cloth.
This step is key to not only soft and supple skin but it’s essential to really deep clean your skin and scrub away any dirt, odor, etc. You can use an exfoliating body scrub or keep it simple with a washcloth, loofa, or exfoliating glove.
Simply apply your body wash to any of the previously mentioned tools and get to work. You will no doubt feel newborn-fresh afterwards, mark my words!
Tip: Exfoliate your vagina with an exfoliating glove or wash cloth as well to remove dead skin cells and prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps after shaving or waxing. Be mindful not to get any soap inside of your vagina as this will cause pH imbalance, irritation, and/or infection.
- Find a deodorant that meshes well with your body chemistry.
Deodorants are not made equal and they are not made for all. Some deodorants may make you smell sour or won’t be strong enough to actually prevent odor so it’s essentially useless!
I normally suggest not reaching for those fruitier scents as they tend to fall on the sour side once you start to sweat. Instead, go for scents that have words like “shower fresh”, “clean”, or “rain” in the scent description as you’re more likely to still smell somewhat clean after a long day. I like to use Degree, she just works for me and would last for more than a day if I wanted to.
- Aunt Flo (aka the unwelcomed visitor who comes every month almost like clockwork).
Always, always, ALWAYS change your tampons/pads every 3-4 hours or as needed (light flow= smaller sized tampons/pads, heavy flow = bigger sized tampons/pads and more frequent changes).
The smell of dried period blood and a dirty pad is no good for anyone, for you or the people who may smell it in the bathroom with you (sorry to be graphic but we’re all grown lol). It’s unsanitary, you’re going to have a stench and/or bleed through your pants, and you’re bound to get an infection down there so just keep it clean… Also, speaking of cleanliness, you should always wrap your dirty tampons/pads in toilet paper before discarding because no one wants to see that (not even you so be considerate, girl).
- Try using a menstrual cup (i.e. diva cup).
I have yet to try this out, but I’ve heard nothing but great things such as, comfort, convenience, and affordability since it’s reusable. Also, being made of silicon is an obvious plus (compared to the chemicals in the cotton/fiber blend tampons that many of us resort to).
The only con I can see is that it “collects” your flow rather than “absorbing” it like the typical tampon so I would think that would get… messy? I don’t know but it’s less waste, less frequent purchases of tampons, and the company claims easy insertion and removal so I would have to try it out to make my final verdict and update you guys.
**Update: it is indeed a little messy so practice my friend lol
- Find scented body products you love.
I am a fragrance junkie and scented lotions and perfumes are way up my alley. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago my dermatologist told me that I had eczema that was mild but would flare up due to irritation caused by certain chemicals in body washes/ lotions so I have to stay away from some popular brands.
I’m not going to lie though, sometimes I use a little bit of scented lotions mixed in with my Vanicream body wash and lotion (Vanicream is unscented, non-toxic, made for sensitive skin, and for those who want/need to avoid common chemical irritants in their skin care products aka me lol).
Usually, I don’t mind that my body wash or lotion is unscented, and I don’t want to chance a flare up, so I’ll always happily reach for a perfume, at least, to match my mood for the day (a win-win in my book).
If you’re sensitive to perfumes, make sure you always smell “clean” or find perfumes and scents that are lighter, aquatic, or have a fresh note that won’t overwhelm you, such as musk that is very much a natural, skin scent and not anything harsh. Not every woman’s perfume is strong, floral, or fruity!
Tip: I talk more about entering the fragrance world and learning the basics to find perfumes you enjoy in my Introduction to Fragrances post.
At some point in your life, your hygiene becomes your responsibility and yours alone, so you must learn how to take care of yourself because no one else has to live in your body but you (for 70+ years nonetheless).
Take some pride in yourself and go the extra mile to feel good about who you are and how you present yourself to the world. We, as women, not only want to look good but we want to smell good and feel good about ourselves… and we deserve to! Feeling confident about yourself is key to breaking down doors and successfully accomplishing everything you want in life.
If you nurture every facet of who you are (physically, emotionally, mentally) and show up as your best YOU every day, who knows what you’ll be able to do?
What’s something that you incorporate into your self-care routine to make sure you smell good and feel good? Let me know in the comments!