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Chances are, your shower is stocked with lots of body washes. But while those cleansers do a great job at freshening up your underarms, legs, and feet, they’re not quite right for your delicate vulva. The good news is, there are plenty of feminine washes out there that are designed specifically to be used in your nether regions.
First things first, though: It’s important to note that a feminine wash is not a necessity, and you definitely don’t want to use one inside your vagina. “The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, meaning that by the discharge and different types of organisms—yeast and bacteria—the vagina keeps itself clean,” explains Dr. Heather Irobunda, an OB-GYN in New York City. Doing any sort of douching (cleansing inside your vagina) can lead to irritation and infection, she says.
That said, you can clean the vulva, which is the exterior of the vagina, with a gentle feminine cleanser to get rid of debris, says Dr. Tamika Cross, an OB-GYN in Houston. The vulva includes the labia, aka the lips of the vagina. “When choosing the right wash for the vulvar area, it’s important to investigate the ingredients, as this is a sensitive area and some may accidentally get inside the vagina,” says Cross. “Choosing a hypoallergenic wash that is free of fragrance is important. This will lessen your chance of throwing off your pH and leading to infection.”
Below, we're sharing the best feminine washes to try now.
Cross likes this line of herbal, soothing feminine washes. The original formula gets high marks from users, who say it’s gentle enough for daily use. The formula, which is free of chemicals, parabens, and sulfates, contains garlic bulb extract, apple cider vinegar, lavender water, coconut oil, and grapefruit extract to cleanse, reduce bad bacteria, and minimize odor.
“Feminine washes applied to the vulvar area can be used daily if there is no irritation as a result,” says Cross. “Picking a mild cleanser without toxic ingredients makes regular, daily use safe.”
Hallie Gould, Senior Editor at Byrdie, loves this feminine wash, and for good reason. The formula was developed by dermatologists to be gentle enough for everyday use. Users rave that it prevents and minimizes odor without causing irritation. OB-GYNs recommend fragrance-free feminine washes, and this particular option from DeoDoc is just that.
Irobunda reiterates that the biggest ingredient to avoid in a feminine wash is fragrance. “Not only should your vagina probably not smell like chocolate, roses, or the Caribbean, but the chemicals that form these fragrances can cause lots of vaginal irritation and infections,” she says.
All skin types can benefit from this natural feminine wash, which is formulated with coconut, basil, and sugar cane. What’s not in this feminine wash: fragrances, dyes, parabens, and any other ingredients that could cause irritation. Plus, the packaging is super chic.
This drugstore feminine wash, which Cross likes, does a good job of cleansing the vulva without causing irritation. It’s been tested by gynecologists and is hypoallergenic and gentle enough for daily use. The proprietary Lacto-prebiotic blend in the formula cleanses without disrupting healthy bacteria. Users note how lightweight the cleanser feels and how gently it cleanses.
Gone are the days you’d have to worry about a feminine wash drying out your vulva, leaving you itchy and uncomfortable. For those prone to dryness, turn your attention to this feminine wash, which is formulated with soothing botanical extracts and free of artificial fragrances.
Cross is a fan of this feminine wash, which is free of irritating dyes and parabens. It has a gentle, fragrance-free formula that has been tested by gynecologists. Users say it cleanses well without fragrance and leaves them feeling refreshed all day long.
Sensitive down below? Never worry about burning and irritation again when you use this feminine wash. Formulated especially for those with sensitive skin with herbal and plant-based ingredients, this feminine wash is soothing and calming.
For less than you’d spend on a latte, you can pick up this budget-friendly feminine wash. It’s super-gentle, with no potentially irritating dyes or fragrances in the formula. Users highlight the non-harsh, non-drying formula and point out that you can also use it to clean menstrual cups.
This fragrance-free feminine wash gets high marks for its soothing foam formula. But although it’s super-mild, it still does a great job of cleansing and keeping you healthy down below. Users love the non-toxic, scent-free formula, and how clean and comfortable using it makes them feel.
Sensitive skin types will love this feminine wash, which is formulated without fragrance, essential oils, sulfates, parabens, or any other ingredients that could cause irritation. With regular use, you can expect a decrease in odor, thanks to the prebiotics in the formula, which feed healthy bacteria and curb odor-causing organisms.
Most body cleansers aren’t suitable for use on your most sensitive areas, but this one is. It’s super-mild and gentle, with a sulfate-, paraben, dye-, and fragrance-free formula. The oil blend ensures your vulva won’t feel dry or uncomfortable post-use.
Don’t get caught up on balancing your pH down there. “Your vaginal pH typically doesn’t need a special wash to keep the pH where it needs to be to avoid infection,” says Irobunda. “Usually, this has more to do with making sure that you remain hydrated, eat a balanced, healthy diet, and avoid anything that could irritate the area.”