First For Women

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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