bottle of maude no. 0 wash, package of summer's eve fragrance free cleansing cloths, and bottle of sustain natural body wash  in front of a blue background

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If you go to the toiletry section of a pharmacy, grocery store, or gas station, you will see the phrase “feminine hygiene” plastered over a lot of products.

The term is a marketing ploy.

A marketing tactic used to appeal to buyers of sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners and shields, internal cleanser, sprays, disposable razors, and more.

But companies aren’t targeting any buyer here they’re targeting cisgender women buyers.

Cis gender women and other people with vaginas have been told that their vaginas are dirty and smelly. Companies are banking on the idea that most people with vaginas internalize the message and experience shame about their scent.

No, you don’t need genital hygiene products

Again, the category “feminine hygiene” is quite broad. But for this article, we’re talking specifically about products designed for vulva (the external part of your genitalia) and vaginal (the internal canal) use.


  • Pube oils are used in cooking.
  • Treatments for burn injuries.
  • soaps that are vavu-safe
  • External wipes.

Here’s the thing: of these products are necessary.

The vagina doesn’t need to be washed or wiped or treated because the vagina is a self-maintaining organ, explains Dr. Renjie Chang, OB-GYN, co-founder of sexual health startup NeuEve.

Chang says that a healthy vagina has an ecology ofbacteria that help it maintain the right pH.

That would be a pH value of 3.5 to 4.5, which is slightly acidic. At this pH, the vagina can prevent “bad” bacteria from thriving, says Chang.

Washing inside or douching the vaginal canal can disrupt this natural balance, resulting in irritation, bacterial vaginosis, or other vaginal infections.

Douching actually increases the risk of pushing STIs upward toward the fallopian tubes and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease,” says Dr. Kimberly Langdon, OB-GYN, medical advisor at Medzino, a digital health company based in California.

The vulva, on the other hand, does need to be washed.

“Cleaning the vulva should be a part of your daily hygiene routine,” says Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and author of “She-ology” and “She-ology, the She-quel.”

She says that warm water is all you need to properly clean your vagina.

Okay, so what are feminine hygiene products for?

While you don’t need feminine hygiene products, if you really want to cleanse, moisturize, or freshen up your nether bits between showers, there are products you can purchase.

Anything you use on the vagina can enter it. What is in the product matters.

“It’s important to minimize ingredients like scents which can cause dryness and alter the pH of the vagina, leading to irritation or infection,” says Dr. Kameelah Phillips, OB-GYN, at Calla Women’s Health in New York.

We think these products are good indicators of quality.

Each product is mild.

They are also gynecologist recommended, dermatologist tested, and fragrance-free.

Pricing guide

  • $ is under $10
  • $10–$20 is the value.
  • The amount is over $20

Best overall vagina-friendly soap

Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Bar size: 4 ounces (oz)
  • Pack size: 6 bath bars

The best product is something you already own.

In general, you want to use a product that’s the least toxic and least likely to contain potentially allergenic ingredients around the vulva and vagina, says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

She encourages her patients to use Dove bar soap and use the least amount of soap possible.

Best overall vulva cleansing wipes

Summer’s Eve Fragrance Free Cleansing Cloths

  • Price: $
  • Pack size: 32 cloths

“Ross says that he is all for feminine hygiene wipes. Summer’s Eve tend to be formulated to not disrupt the vagina’s pH balance.”

The wipes are free from harmful substances.

When should you use them? Ross says to change pads or tampons.

Ross says that wearing sanitary pads can bring unwantedbacteria to this area. The wipes can be used to clean the blood from the vulvar.

They can be used to wipe away groin sweat after a workout.

Best on-the-go vulva cleansing wipes

LOLA Cleansing Wipes Packets

  • Price: $$
  • Pack size: 12 individually-packaged wipes

Looking for wipes that can be thrown in your bag? Look no further.

“The wipes look promising. The ingredients are mild and don’t include vaginal irritants.”

They are made from 100% bamboo and soaked in a water solution. There are no alcohol-free products and there are no sulfates, synthetic preservatives, dyes, or fragrances.

Best full-body cleansing wipes

Royal Body Wipes

  • Price: $
  • Pack size: 40 wipes

These wipes are designed for your entire body. They are like a shower on the go.

Your vulvar is part of your body.

Fragrance-free, vitamin-infused, pH-balanced, and alcohol-free, these wipes are a gentle way to remove oil and dirt from all of your external parts, while also hydrating them.

They can be kept in your gym bag or in your toiletries case.

Best vagina-friendly shower wash

Vagisil Daily Intimate Wash pH Balance

  • Price: $
  • Bottle size: 12 fluid (fl) oz

“Vagisil has a line of intimate washes specifically for the labia that are formulated with no ingredients to disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina,” says Ross, emphasizing that these should only be used on the external genitalia.

This intimate wash is gynecologist-tested.

This product has a scent that may irritate people who are prone to yeast infections.

Best vagina-friendly bubble bath

maude wash no. 0

  • Price: $$$
  • Bottle size: 12 fl oz

“The product line of bath-lovers should be aware of the high quality products of the company. The brand’s initial offering is a gentle, fragrance-free formula that can be used as a body wash or bubble bath.”

This wash is a good option for people who have found bath bombs to beirritating to their skin, because it preserves the natural pH of the vagina.

Best vagina-friendly bath bomb

the Honey Pot company Refresh fragrance free bath bomb

  • Price: $$
  • Pack size: 3 bath bombs

Most bath bombs are made with chemicals and glitter, which do not do your vagina any good.

The bath bomb will leave your bits exactly how it found them.

This option is made from all-natural ingredients and has a pH-balancing formula that will not cause discharge or other symptoms.

Best post vaginal sex wash

Sustain Natural Body Wash

  • Price: $$
  • Bottle size: 12 fl oz

Looking for a way to get back to normal? Look no further. The body wash is designed to help you clean up after getting dirty.

“You can use this cleanser to wash off bodily fluids, oils, and lubes, even if you don’t want to use it inside your vagina or anus.”

Best vagina-friendly treatment for dry pubic hair

fur Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • Bottle size: 2.5 fl oz

How you choose to groom your pubic hair is your choice. But if you decide to keep some or all of your pubic hair, fur offers a great moisturizing oil.

Does your pubic hair need pube oil? No. “Your pubes aren’t exposed to the elements like hair on your head,” says Langdon. “This means that it gets plenty of moisture and sebum to keep it healthy.”

Still, you may be interested in keeping the area feeling hydrated. “fur Oil has been both dermatologist and gynecologist tested, which helps a buyer know it’s a safe purchase,” says Ross.

The oil has astringent properties, which are found in the tea tree oil. If there is a broken skin or a shaving nick it can cause burning and irritation.

If you want to test your skin reaction, you can put a drop on your inner elbow, cover it with a bandage, and keep it there overnight to make sure there is no reaction.

Best vagina-friendly treatment for ingrown pubic hair

fur Ingrown Concentrate

  • Price: $$$
  • Bottle size: 0.5 fl oz

Maybe you are on a landing strip. Maybe your bits are not as bare as you think. Maybe you have a mullet. If you remove some of your pubes, you might consider this ingrown oil.

This oil is made from fur and is meant to soothe irritation.

If you are prone to bumps, apply it to them directly or if you apply it after hair removal, it will help you.

Before putting on your underwear, be sure to let the oil absorb into your skin. The product can stain your skivvies.

Best vagina-friendly treatment for easing irritation

Momotaro Apotheca Salve

  • Price: $$$
  • Jar size: 1 oz

The thick moisturizer, called Momotaro Apotheca Salve, is popular among sex-fluencers and educators and is designed to replenish hydration and protect against irritation.

After a bath or shower, massage a bit of it into your skin.

If you have had a reaction to coconut oil products in the past, you might want to try putting some inside the vaginal canal. Some reviewers claim that the product clears yeast andbacterial infections when used at the first sign of weakness.

Some reviewers who are positive about the disease say the slave has helped with the healing of the skin.

It needs to be said one more time: of these products are must-buys!

“In most cases, water is sufficient for washing and caretaking the vulva,” says Felice Gersh, MD, author of “PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness.”

Gersh says that you should only use a finger and warm water for cleaning the vagina.

Simple is better.

What are feminine washes used for?

The term feminine washes is not necessary. They are a way of removing dirt and sweat from the eternal genitals.

Some of the washes can be used on the body.

Who is feminine hygiene for?

Glad you asked.

The term feminine implies that feminine hygiene products are for people who are assigned female at birth or have a feminine gender identity. That is not true.

“These products are designed for vulvas and vaginas, regardless of a person’s sex, gender identity, or gender presentation.”

These products would be calledvulvavaginal products.

Should you use feminine washes every day?

“If you can avoid using them daily, you should,” says Gersh “Research has found a link between how often someone uses certain feminine hygiene products and bacterial vaginosis,” she says.

But if you feel like you have to use one? Make sure it is one with the least ingredients.

What if your vagina smells bad?

First things first: your vagina isn’t supposed to smell like hydrangeas or pineapple. It’s supposed to smell, well, like a vagina!

Gersh says that the smell of a healthy vagina is musty.

She says that if the vagina smells like dead fish, rotten eggs or spoiled meat, that is a sign of infections. No spa or feminine hygiene treatment will clear up an infection.

Are there any downsides to using feminine hygiene products?

There may be. Some of these products contain chemicals that can be harmful to your genitalia.

“Before using the product on your vagina, you should do a patch test on your arm to make sure you don’t have an allergy.”

If you start to experience irritation, redness, or excessive dryness on the vagina after using a product, stop use immediately. If you have any concerns, talk to a healthcare professional.

“The slogan feminine hygiene is a marketing slogan designed to get vagina owners to buy products they don’t need.”

The products can help you bring your bits into your self-care practice.

Make sure you buy them because you want to, not because you need to.

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tried the Whole30 challenge, and eaten, drunk, brushed with, scrubbed with, and bathed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.