I first got the idea of giving myself a DIY vajacial (aka a "facial" for your vagina) after reading Jenny Slate's account of her experience with it for Lenny Letter . As a lover of all things beauty and a human who's always searching for ways to express sex and body positivity, I was incredibly intrigued by the idea. However, most people experimenting with vajacials seemed to write off the process immediately, albeit in different ways. Maria Del Russo of Refinery29, for instance, ended her article about it with, "We'll be sticking to DIY facials for our faces, though. Thanks." And Slate herself seemed dismissive of the whole idea, dishing out a "why do people do this?" as she went ahead and tried it anyway.
The at-home vajacial was created by Lisa Palmer, a gal in her 40s who wanted to keep her vagina looking and feeling young, soft, and tight. To achieve this, she used a mixture of coconut oil (antibacterial and moisturizing), vitamin E cream (conditioning and anti-aging), honey (also anti-aging), and egg whites (tightening). The question of why someone would want or need to do this was a bit frustrating to me. Sure, ideally we should all feel great about our vaginas. But the reality is that many of us do not. And it doesn't make you any less of a woman — or a person with a vagina, for that matter — if you're not that into your own.
Now, I'm not saying that I think it's necessarily healthy to feel the need to combat aging so fiercely (although I love that pursuing these treatments has the potential to feel empowering and therapeutic for some). But I see the vajacial as an opportunity to express body positivity, and to give love to a part of yourself that isn't traditionally allotted the same pampering treatment as, say, your face or nails.
For those who feel uncomfortable with their vaginas, for reasons that could range from a history of trauma to gender identity, vajacials can be a lovely and empowering way to give yourself time to bond with your vagina (in ways besides masturbation). As someone who has felt weird and disillusioned about [their] my vagina for some time, I thought the vajacial was a great opportunity for me to show it some much deserved love. So, I got some ingredients together and tried it out for myself. Here's how it went.
After a hot shower (in place of the recommended vaginal steam, which I had no way of orchestrating) and a quick shave, I gathered my ingredients according to Palmer's suggestion. Being that I'm a vegan, I had no eggs or egg whites in the house. So I decided to use a store-bought egg cream mask instead.
Everything else was exactly what Palmer recommended. The mixture smelled amazing, mostly from the coconut, and as I stirred the concoction it felt like a lot like baking. I successfully resisted a strong urge to lick the spoon.
After everything was combined, the next step was microwaving the mixture for 20 seconds. However, since I have no microwave, I heated up the bowl over my hot and steaming humidifier. This is as DIY as it's going to get. Luckily, it was sufficient, and my mixture was warm and a bit more thinned out than before. Now it was time to apply.
I laid on a soft blanket on the floor of my bedroom as I carefully applied the mixture to my freshly shaved vulva. I don't normally shave, but I wanted to have most of my labia bare in order to get the full effect of the mask's transformative properties. I was also a bit concerned about the honey getting stuck and causing weird clumps in my pubic hair.
However, the stickiness of the honey was mostly dissolved by this point, as I successfully applied it to my hairier bits without a problem. According to Palmer's instructions, you're supposed to leave the mask on for 15 minutes. So I set a timer and listened to one of my favorite podcasts that always helps me relax (Amber Gordon's SleepyTeaTime ). It was a much-needed pause in the middle of my busy day, and one that felt very calming and loving.
I noticed the mixture cooling pretty quickly and eventually feeling completely cold on my skin. Towards the end of the 15 minutes, all I could think about was peeing, thanks to the suggestive powers of the mask's cold temperature.
When my timer rang, I rinsed with water and a bit of face wash. Palmer recommends rinsing with rosewater, so I opted for my S.W. Basics face wash. The mixture is thick and a bit oily, so I rinsed off the rest in the shower.
After rinsing, I immediately noticed how soft my labia felt. The moisturizing properties of the mask had certainly worked their magic. But most importantly, I felt lovely. Like I did something good for myself that day by trying something new.
Going into this, I was looking forward to trying the routine for myself, since most other experiment articles I'd read on the subject seemed to scoff it off (and everyone I've told about this experiment to in my life has given me an equally disgusted and judgmental look). As if the idea of pampering your vagina is so absurd, though. But it's empowering and body positive to spend some loving time with your vagina, even if you don't think you may necessarily need the anti-aging or tightening benefits of the mask itself. Individuals with a vagina are too often encouraged to have feelings of shame over our genitalia, but dedicating some one-on-one time to it is just one way of distancing oneself from that society-fueled negativity.
I'm proud to say that I tried the vajacial, and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking to change up their routine by showing their vag a little TLC. Because it deserves the same love and attention we give the rest of our skin.
Images: Meg Zulch