Most women grew up knowing that feminine hygiene simply means bathing regularly and cleaning up well after using the loo! But there’s more to it than that because feminine hygiene involves everything related to womanhood with the aim of maintaining health and preventing diseases through cleanliness.
Read on if you will like to level up your feminine hygiene so as to not only be fresh down there but also clean and healthy every where.
Why is it important to maintain a good feminine hygiene?
Boost self confidence and self esteem
Better relationship with self and others: No one wants to hang around someone who is always dirty and smells bad.
Save money that would have been spent on treating diseases
Gain self respect from maintaining a good feminine hygiene
Care of the environment to maintain good feminine hygiene
Tidy room:Make your bed everyday. Change bed sheets as often as possible to prevent skin rash and body odor.
Clean toilet: Ensure the toilet is always clean. Make sure to keep the toilet floor dry especially if you stoop to wash your vulva. Bathing in a dirty toilet increases risk of infection as dirty water can splash into your vulva.
Keep kitchen sink neat.
There’s nothing as awful as speaking with someone who has a bad breathe. Imagine a pretty girl all dressed up, make up on fleek but the moment she says ” hello ” you feel like collapsing! So its important to brush up at least twice a day ensuring that your toothpaste contains fluoride. You can also use a mouth wash within the day just to have a fresh breathe especially if you’ve been silent for a long period of time. The tongue also harbors a lot of bacteria so you need to brush your tongue too. Some tooth brushes have a part designed for the tongue specially. Some people advice that the mouth shouldn’t be rinsed immediately after brushing so as to give time for the toothpaste to act.
Keep your hair clean! Remember, the glory of a woman is in her hair! Wash your hair regularly, not too often though so as to prevent dryness. Wash your hair nets regularly especially the black nets ladies! It doesn’t show dirt but it smells. You wouldn’t like to pass by someone and there’s a stench from your hair.
Nose and ears
Ensure your nostrils are always dry. It’s embarrassing talking to someone and you can see catarrh in the person’s nose. If you have a cold you can either stay at home and keep warm or if you must go out have something handy to clean your nose.
Interestingly, our ears clean themselves. The wax that comes out of the ear is actually the ear cleaning itself. So you can actually just use a towel to clean the wax that is sticking out, clean the ear lobe and also the back of the ear. Avoid putting sharp objects into your ear.
Toes and nails
Keep your nails short and clean. Long nails can easily harbor dirt so if you have artificial nails make sure to clean them regularly. Wash and dry toes properly. Wet toes in shoes smell. You don’t want to be all dressed up with a stench.
This is one part of the body which can have odor. It’s important to wash the armpit every day. Keeping hair in the armpit is controversial as some people especially those in the fashion world say it is a sign of confidence. But hair in the armpit can easily trap dirt and so it’s safer to shave. You can either wax or use shaving cream or shaving bic whichever works best for you. For some people, shaving bic gives them bumps or dark spots. If you have body odor, you can use lime or lemon to wash armpit when bathing. Also, the use of roll-ons and deodorants is recommended.
General bathing tips
Use a sponge or face towel and scrub your body well. Use good soap when bathing while paying attention to folds especially for thick ladies as dirt can easily hide there like beneath breast. Also clean navel and in between buttocks. Dirt easily hides there. Don’t forget to scrub your back. Some people have acne there due to hormonal changes whereas others is due to the fact that they don’t clean their backs well.
Care of underwears
Wash your panties and bras regularly. Sadly, most of us women wash our black bras only when it starts smelling. Let’s repent please. You can wear twice then wash but make sure to air it outside even if you are not washing it.
Wash pants regularly. For us ladies, it’s even recommended to change our panties twice a day. Cotton pants are better because they are breathable. Ironing pants can also help kill germs. After washing, dry pants where they won’t easily fall and pick up germs. Avoid using harsh detergents to wash underwears like bleach. Bleach actually stains pants more and increases the elasticity. The safest way to wash pants is to wash in hot water.
Care of the vulva in maintaining good feminine hygiene
Let’s go deeper!
Yea, it’s actually care of the vulvar and not vagina. What most people call vagina is actually the vulva. The vagina is actually inside and can’t be seen while the vulva is the external part that contains the inner and outer vaginal lips and the clitoris. Click here to learn more about vulva.
The vagina is auto clean. So you don’t have to use soaps, fragrances or whatever to clean it. You don’t also have to send your hand inside to clean, so no douching. As this causes more harm than good.
To shave vulva hair, you can use a clean scizzors to trim. This is comfortable as it doesn’t leave bumps or irritations but ensure the scizzors is clean and sharp. Don’t trim too much because the hair there prevents bacteria from entering vulva.
Few tips for vulva vare
Wash twice daily
Sleep without pants ( allow your vulva to breathe. This is the only chance she has to take air!)
Wear free cotton pants
Avoid tight trousers as it easily traps sweat
Avoid using soaps and scented products to clean vulva
Clean after toilet from front to back to avoid transferring germs from anus to vagina opening.
Whether you pee or poo, you can wash up if you are home while making sure that your hands are clean.
If you are the type who discharges everyday, you can use panty liners to avoid smells and stains on your pants.
Vaginal discharges can be normal as well as abnormal. It is important that you take note of when you normally have discharges. Some women have them everyday while others have them at some particular points in their menstrual cycle like during ovulation or after period. Normal discharge is either white or creamy and non offensive. So if you if you notice a discharge out of the norm or associated with other symptoms like itches, please see a doctor.
Hall mark of feminine hygiene- menstrual hygiene!
There are different products we can use during our periods: tampons, sanitary towels, menstrual cups, reusable pads, disposable pads etc with the environmental friendly ones being sanitary towels, menstrual cups or reusable pads. Which ever you use, it is important to change them after 2 to 3 hours. When you see that the color of the blood becomes green or black that’s room for bacterial infection and when you sit down bacteria can easily ascend.
During your period you can use particular pants. Should be a little bit fitting to prevent pad from falling.
To calculate your cycle, count the number of days from the first day you see your menses this month to the first day you see your menses next month. You can do that for about 4 months so as to have an average. Also note that a regular cycle means a cycle of averagely 28 days and length of flow of 3 – 7 days. If your cycle isn’t regular, seek medical attention.
Oouuff! I know, too much information to digest. Let’s round up but before we do some last tips,
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables for better vaginal health
Welcome back to this series: peculiar hair influencers share their best hair tips. I hope you learned something from the part 1. In case you missed it please do well to click here. Sometimes, the best way to get motivated is to listen or read success stories of others. That’s why I decided to write this article. The first part concentrated on just 3 of the influencers and in this next part, I will be continuing with the other 3.
#1: why did you decide to go natural?
I saw other people’s natural hair and I was so motivated by the texture and I knew that my hair could be same. I was so in love with its thick and kinky nature. So, 2 years ago I started my natural hair journey and I’ve never looked back.
#2: what motivates you despite the challenges
Other people! It has always been other people. Be it hair blogs, compliments, encouragement, appreciation and affirmation.
#3: what are your best hair tips
Moisture. I always sprinkle my hair with water from a spray bottle and do regular application of hair nutrients such as shea butter and homemade hair mayonnaise. Last but not the least, I do a lot of protective styling. I’m a huge fan of twist!
#4: advice to other naturals
Love your hair. No matter what people say, make up your mind to stay kinky. When you love something you take care of it. Take good care of your hair, research online for hair tips and ask questions from other naturals and hair influencers.
#1: why did you decide to go natural?
Before, I didn’t bother much about natural hair. I preferred changing weaves from time to time until I moved to china and my hair started breaking off. It became more expensive to buy relaxers. Even after putting relaxers, managing my hair wasn’t still the easiest. So I decided to do the big chop let my hair grow afresh. Then I said to myself, “why don’t I just keep natural hair” after all, it would cost me nothing (so I thought). I started watching YouTube videos and reading hair articles which made me more interested in my hair. At first, I was only giving it a try but along the way I fell in love with my own hair. I felt more confident with my own hair than with weaves. For example, when someone compliments a weave I have on, in my mind I’m like it’s not my hair. Whereas, when someone compliments my natural hair, I feel more confident and proud because it’s my real hair.
#2: what motivates you despite the hair challenge?
The fact that I feel more confident in it motivates me. Then my hair goals… I wish to see my hair very long one day so that keeps me going. I see the hair growth of other naturals and it motivates me. Also, whenever I’ll have children, I’ll love to keep their natural hair, so I believe that I need to know how to maintain my own natural hair so that when the time comes, I’ll be able to maintain theirs.
#3: what are your best hair tips?
Tip 1: Moisture.
Without moisture, hair tends to break a lot hence depriving growth. Also, I use
olive oil as an additional moisturizer. Then I used other oils like coconut
oil, castor oil, avocado oil to seal moisture in.
Tip 2: I don’t
keep styles like braids for too long. They cause hair breakage. From time to
time, I let my hair out so as to better care for it.
Tip 3: trim hair when necessary like when hair ends are death.
#4: what advice do you have for other naturals?
Genetics matters. Avoid comparing your hair with other naturals but instead enjoy your hair the way it is now. Be patient with your hair. Everybody’s hair grows just not at the same rate. Know your hair and what works for you. Avoid applying heat on your hair. Know your hair type and the kind of products that will work for your hair type. You can find that on youtube. Last but not least, be consistent.
Actually my hair was damaged because I had kept relaxed hair for 3 years. So I went natural in 2015. I had been trimming my hair little by little. One day I asked my mum to help trim it and she went all the way down. I had no choice than to go to the barber. Actually I had been thinking of going natural but didn’t have the nerve to do it.
#2: what motivates you despite the hair challenge?
As at now, I don’t have any hair challenges but the beginning was quite challenging. What motivated me was the fact that I saw other girls who were able to cope with their hair. Also I believe there’s no way God will give us something that we can’t take care of. African hair is unique and beautiful. And it’s my hair, regardless of all the weaves and products. At the end of the day, you have to be able to look after your own hair. I believed I could do it without covering my hair and this is one of the reasons why I don’t wear extensions. Also keeping my natural hair builds my self esteem.
#3: what is your best hair tip?
Moisture is my friend. I always section my hair before washing. That saves me a lot of time.
#4: what advice do you have for other naturals?
Learn to love your hair. Avoid complaining. When you look after your hair, you look after your entire self. Avoid covering your hair with weaves, braids etc for long, because you don’t get to treat it often. When washing your hair, section it. Keep your hair in stretched styles. Know your hair porosity. Always deep condition your hair every time you wash your hair.
Ok, I think we’ve had enough for now. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t reach out to all hair influencers like you but please, feel free to drop your best hair tip or 2 in the comments section. Your tip might be just what someone else needs.
You can also ask questions. If I can’t answer, someone else will.
Skin bleaching can be defined as the removal of the upper layer of one’s skin through the application of creams that contain chemicals. It can also be defined as the permanent or temporal changing of a person’s complexion through the rubbing of various creams that are capable of changing the skin.
How does it work?
Skin lightening products work by reducing a pigment called melanin. Melanin is that thing which makes the skin look darker. So, the greater the melanin, the darker the skin. Hence, applying those skin lightening products disrupts melanin production therefore making the skin to lighten.
Most lightening agents contain active ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids.
Jobs and success
Isn’t it strange? That in the 21st century you need to be light skin in order to get some particular jobs. Well if you doubt it please know it is so true and I can testify to that.
I remember during one long holiday I got to work at a certain bakery and I was told that mostly light skinned girls could work as receptionist. I’m sure you already guessed why. It is certainly a good business strategy to not only attract customers but also to keep them coming.
That’s smart… right? but I just begin to wonder, what if all jobs were meant just for light skin women, what would become of dark women ehhh!!! Luckily, some dark ladies are using their skin color to be successful. Find out here
By the way, why would customers be attracted mostly to the lighter skin in the first place ? This brings me to the next point…
Generally, we’ve been made to believe that a light skin person is more acceptable in the society. We even have some body lotion companies saying ‘white is purity’ in their adverts.
No wonder, I came across an advert in which a Chinese lady put a dark man into a washing machine and the end result was a white man whom she adored. Now how funny is that? does it mean that we dark people are somewhat impure? and if light skin is fair, is dark skin unfair ? ( I could really use the thinking emoji now).
Most women engage in skin lightening because light skin is associated with higher status and privilege. Some women also bleach in order to attract high status mates. It is also believed that lighter skin looks better in photographs and the images usually get more views when posted on social media.
Skin lightening products can be used medicinally for the treatment of post inflammatory pigmentation. These are dark spots that appear because of injury to the skin or inflammation like acne.
It could also be used to remove discolored patches that appear on the face due to excess sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy or as a result of birth control pills.
FDA recommends a short term use of hydroquinone (that is not more than 5 months) with a maximum dose of 2%. However, there’s still a lot of controversy with respect to hydroquinone as it has been proven to be carcinogenic hence increasing the risk of skin cancer
It is indeed true that all that glitters is not gold because when these products are used, they get into the bloodstream thereby affecting organs like the brain, kidney and liver. So while everything may be going on well on the outside, the inside might not look so good.
Here are some of the side effects of bleaching
Thinning of the skin
Uneven color loss
Redness, swelling and irritation
A burning or stingy sensation
Dark grey spots
Visible blood vessels in the skin
Aside from the health disadvantages, skin bleaching is also very expensive and time consuming. Also, you lighten your skin to look pretty for NOW, then spend the rest of your life trying to reverse the process through medication. Seriously what’s the point?
It is true that you might come from a family where bleaching is normal. Probably your mum or aunt have been doing it for a long time and you want to do it too but please don’t!
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers and warned never to change my color. A majority of these people where often women who had bleached. If bleaching was all sunshine and roses then I think they would rather be inviting me to join the crew.
I would never forget the voice of one of my mothers in the quarter saying in french and very authoritatively, “ma fille ne change jamais ta couleur heinn” and yes, she’s been bleaching for as long as I’ve known her.
Another time in church after service, an elderly woman approached me. To be honest, I thought she wanted to probably criticize my makeup or dressing. Not that I wasn’t well dressed oh but you know how this women can be nah!
To my greatest surprise, full of love and honesty, she said,” you are very beautiful my daughter, don’t change your color.” It’s only after that I looked at her closely and noticed that she had been bleaching and might have been suffering from some of it’s side effects.
What amazes me is that even people who aren’t dark skin do bleach. I’ve even heard of light skin people bleaching too and I’m like what do they really want! Of course, you should know that this doesn’t concern just the women because men do bleach too.
I met a girl at a salon and she was like if she has the money she would skin bleach. How did the conversation even start? I simply told her she had a lovely brown skin but unfortunately, she rather attacked the hairdresser who’s dark too, saying all sorts of negative things about dark skin. Thank God, the hairdresser was very confident about her color.
To you who’s planning to bleach when you get the chance to, I hope you know what you’re up against. Like I always say, whether black, brown or light skin we’re all beautiful so let us accept and celebrate our differences because that is what makes us a unique and special people.
The choice is yours to make, I can only hope that you choose wisely! Meanwhile here’s a letter personally addressed to you from me Dear Black Beauty
I love my color ( these quotes help me stay confident) and I’m not going to change it, what about you?
All sorts of information are now on the internet and to be honest, I was really skeptical about posting this article. When it comes to skin care, one has to be very careful because In our world of today technology is much advanced and what works for A might not necessarily work for B. There’s also a lot of confusion since different people are saying different things about it.
Before, I didn’t know anything like skin care routine existed until i had a break out. It was a very challenging moment for me. Luckily, I met this amazing lady, Massi Martha and she opened my eyes to see the realities of skin challenges and how they can be treated. She actually made me to understand that a girl can glow naturally without having to wear make up all the times. So I used the tips from her Youtube channel at Massi beauty pageant coupled with others and after a hard struggle, I came up with a routine that works for me.
I’ve noticed so many people, both male and female with skin challenges and in search of solutions but though there are so many controversies concerning this topic, nonetheless, I wish to share on how I had my breakthrough from my breakout because if it worked for me, it might as well work for someone else. I pray that this hopefully will work for you too.
1) jojoba oil
While I was looking for a very simple skin care
routine, I watched a video on Youtube in which a 60 year old Japanese woman
looked as young as her 40-year old daughter. Her routine was as basic as this;
Wash face with lukewarm water
Rub with soap (any soap will do)
Rinse with lukewarm water and then fresh water
Apply jojoba oil on face in a gentle circular motion from inside to outside
In the morning,
Wash and rinse face with lukewarm water and then fresh water without applying soap.
Apply jojoba oil.
Jojoba oil is anti-ageing natural oil. It helps in the synthesis of collagen (collagen levels decrease as age increases). Recently, I learnt that this oil is similar to the oil produced naturally by the body and so when applied on the skin prevents the body from producing more oils. This keeps the skin from looking oily and helps prevent acne caused by clogged pores.
My mum used it and after 2 days, the results were so evident. You don’t
have to use your body lotion on your face.
My only problem with jojoba oil is the fact that it’s scarce and found mostly in America. Nevertheless, it is sometimes imported and you can get a bottle for about 10 000 FCFA. It has a lot of benefits aside from skin benefits and in case you come in contact with it, I encourage you to get one for yourself and you won’t regret it.
After cleansing, sometimes instead of using jojoba oil, I used lemon. All I did was cut out a small piece of lemon, squeezed out the juice on my face and rubbed it in a gentle circular motion before sleeping and washed it off when I woke up in the morning. I did that at least 3 times a week.
Lemon has antibacterial and antifungal properties and so it helps treat acne and clear dark spots but keep in mind that it is acidic and so might irritate your face.
Honey has good moisturizing effects and that I can testify. When I noticed my face was getting too dry (especially as the pimples was drying off), I would rub one teaspoon of honey in same gentle circular motion and allow for an hour then wash it off. The feeling I got afterwards was always so rewarding and my face always felt smooth immediately. I did that twice a week.
Honey hydrates the skin, leaving it smooth, soft and glowing. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You should try it! At least I’ve never heard of its side effects that’s if at all it has.
4) apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider is a good toner and protects the skin from bacteria and other impurities. Care should be taken when using it especially for very sensitive skin.
Usually I put a little quantity on a
cotton pad and apply to my face and allow for 30 minutes before washing it off
but if you have very sensitive skin, then you can dilute in water first before
applying to your face.
ACV is a wonder and it can turn your ‘skin care routine life’ around. The glow is undeniable. It makes your face to be as smooth as that of a baby and it makes your skin color shine brighter altering it, if you understand what I mean. ACV is sold in most supermarkets. You can get a bottle for at least 3000 FCFA.
5) honey, bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar
is kind of a whole package and a very effective one. To me, it’s like
moisturizing, exfoliating, and toning at same time instead of doing it one
after the other.
In a small bowl, add a teaspoon of each
Mix till it becomes homogenous
Rub the mixture on your face then wash it off after an
Bicarbonate is a good exfoliator but despite its well-known advantages like removing dead skin cells, its alkaline nature tampers with the skin’s pH. Naturally the skin is acidic so that it can destroy harmful bacteria. Just a small quantity (not more than a teaspoon) should be used and it shouldn’t be allowed on the face for too long. Your face might feel dry after washing off and so, you might want to moisturize afterwards.
Like I said in a previous article, the key to consistency in a skin care routine is simplicity and determination. I wanted it simple so I went for natural products and I got amazing results. I’ve been slag on my routine for a few months for reasons beyond my control but with this harsh dry weather conditions, I’ve decided to be more serious about it and so I’m very open to suggestions. To all those who have ever complimented my skin color, now you know my secret (laughs) and i hope this helps.