Is it safe to dye my pu­bic hair?

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Q:I’ve been col­or­ing the hair on my head for years, but lately my pu­bic hair has gone gray too. I’d love to get rid of it, but there are too many strands to pluck and I don’t want to deal with the dis­com­fort of wax­ing. Is it safe to use hair dye on this area? I’m wor­ried about the chem­i­cals in the prod­ucts.

A:Gray­ing pu­bic hair is a nat­u­ral— and com­mon—phe­nom­e­non, but un­der­stand­ably, many women feel more com­fort­able con­ceal­ing it. The good news: Pu­bic hair can be dyed safely, as long as you avoid prod­ucts that con­tain am­mo­nia and per­ox­ide, both of which can ir­ri­tate the del­i­cate tis­sue and skin in the gen­i­tal area.

Nowa­days, you can find prod­ucts specif­i­cally made for use in this area. These dyes don’t con­tain harsh chem­i­cals or parabens but in­cor­po­rate herbs and other nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents in­stead. And un­like tra­di­tional hair dye, for­mu­las made for the gen­i­tal area tend to have a “no drip” con­sis­tency, mean­ing they won’t run into del­i­cate re­gions. A brand to try: Betty Beauty Color for Hair Down There ($15, Bet­tyBeauty.com), which comes with a mas­cara-like wand to ap­ply the prod­uct. I al­ways rec­om­mend do­ing a patch test on a small area of skin be­fore­hand, as even nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents can some­times cause re­ac­tions such as burn­ing, itch­ing and ir­ri­ta­tion.

If you’re still wor­ried about drip­ping, you can shield the labia and lips of your vulva from way­ward hair dye by ap­ply­ing a layer of pe­tro­leum jelly to the skin you want to pro­tect. Fi­nally, con­sider do­ing a strand test be­fore ap­ply­ing the dye di­rectly to your pu­bic hair. To do: Sim­ply clip a few pu­bic hairs and ap­ply dye to those first—this will help you fig­ure out ahead of time how long you’ll need to leave the prod­uct on so you can min­i­mize your ex­po­sure to the dye.

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