Beauty & Skincare

The One Thing That Changed My Personal Care Routine (And Why You Need It, Too)

written by CHELSIE DESOUZA

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woman in towel at bathtub"
woman in towel at bathtub
Source: Pexels | Sora Shimazaki
Source: Pexels | Sora Shimazaki

When we were younger, our bodies were so much different. Not in the sense that we’ve visibly aged (I don’t know about you, but I don’t look a day over 24 😉), but internally our bodies aren’t the same as when we were in our twenties. My younger self could withstand so much more, off of so little love and care. A sip of water could get me through a full day of classes, I could sleep for 12 minutes and be able to power through the day, and I could hold my pee for 4+ hours at a frat party because the bathroom was horrendous. Now that I’ve leveled up my personal care routine and found a few go-to intimate care products, a trip to the emergency room would be imminent if I did any of those things.

Nothing could prepare me for the way my body changed after I had my daughter. My hormones and period changed drastically, and my vaginal health also became much more sensitive. Detergent that I had been using for years was suddenly irritating, sometimes even resulting in a yeast infection—and the same went for my body washes and even certain underwear materials. It felt like even the wind blowing in a certain direction could throw off my pH balance, ​​and we all know how truly uncomfortable a yeast infection or a UTI is.

OB/GYNs say time and time again that it isn’t out of the ordinary for your vaginal sensitivity to change after childbirth. Your pH can become more easily thrown off and your pelvic floor can become weaker, which tends to lead to your body being more susceptible to UTIs, yeast infections, and incontinence. This means that you may need to take care of your body in different ways than you ever did before.

In addition to changing my detergent, wearing 100% cotton underwear, drinking more water, and using a fragrance-free body wash, my OB suggested using an intimate wash. So I went on a hunt for an intimate care line that worked for my body. After trying 10 different brands, I’ve found my favorite three that have not only made my vagina feel so much more comfortable, but also made me not as sensitive to intercourse, specific fabrics, and hormonal changes during my cycle. The washes that I ended up loving always make me feel extremely clean and refreshed from a long day. They also didn’t give me ingrown hairs, irritation, or leave me feeling oily or sticky.

Below are the the best intimate care products from three brands that I love. These are products that I have continued to rebuy and that have become major staples in my personal care routine.

 

Rael

This intimate care line was created very intentionally—which I can vouch for purely based on how it makes me feel. In addition to cleansers, Rael also offers wipes, an odor controlling mist, and a soothing relief gel, all of which help keep you balanced and fresh 24/7. The Gel to Foam Cleanser and Natural Feminine Wash are the only products I ever use on my vulva in the shower. They are specifically formatted for sensitive skin, so they are incredibly light, have minimal ingredients, balance pH, and are free of fragrances and chemicals. Rael also has wipes that are perfect for when you’re out and about all day, a relief gel I use after shaving, and a soothing mist that I use after the gym. After you use any of these products, you’ll ask yourself why you ever used anything else.

intimiate rael cream
Rael
Soothing Gel to Foam Feminine Wash

Made with botanical extracts, this cleanser calms irritation, moisturizes, and maintains pH balance, all without stripping delicate skin. All I can say is that I wish I would’ve found this immediately after I gave birth because it really feels like washing with a cloud.

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soothing feminine wipes
Rael
Soothing Feminine Wash

These convenient wipes moisturize your skin and wipe away odor-causing bacteria after exercise, sex, or even just using the bathroom when you're somewhere that has one-ply toilet paper.

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vulva relief cream
Rael
Soothing Vulva Relief Gel

This relief gel calms irritated skin, absorbs quickly, and acts as a protective barrier. While it's designed to calm itching and balance your pH, I also use it after every time I shave or get a wax.

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intimate cleansing foam
Rael
Intimate Cleansing Foam Wash

This foaming wash is similar to the gel cleanser, but is formulated with only eight plant-based ingredients that are “safe for even the most sensitive skin.” I use this wash when I’m traveling or want a cleansing product that is a little bit lighter.

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rael soothing mist
Rael
Soothing Feminine Mist

This pH-balanced soothing mist instantly hydrates, soothes any irritation, and leaves you feeling refreshed. Plus, it's travel-sized, making it the perfect product for on the go.

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Love Wellness

I was lucky enough to receive a Love Wellness product in my COCOTIQUE Beauty Box one month, and decided to give it a try. I’m glad that I did because this wash feels like any other body wash I used to use pre-baby, but is pH balancing. I didn’t know it was vulva-specific until I realized I wasn’t feeling sensitive to sex or extra uncomfortable during my cycle. The brand does have other intimate care products—including probiotics, wipes, and suppositories—and while I haven’t tried them, if they are anywhere near as good as the cleanser, then they’re a must-have.

pH balance cleanser
Love Wellness
pH Balancing Cleanser

This OB/GYN-approved formula cleans the vulva without disrupting pH levels. It has a clean formula, is made with aloe vera and calendula, and is also free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrances—so it won't irritate sensitive skin.

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love wellness wipes
Love Wellness
Mini Do It All Wipes 3-Pack

Dermatologist and OB/GYN-approved, these mini packs of wipes are ideal for carrying in your bag for a refresh after the gym, sex, or at the end of a long day.

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love wellness suppositories
Love Wellness
Vaginal Suppository Duo

Grab both of Love Wellness' best-selling vaginal suppositories. The Killer balances pH and maintains healthy yeast levels, while Flora Power manages vaginal odor and promotes healthy levels of vaginal bacteria.

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love wellness probiotics
Love Wellness
Happy Vagina Duo

Once again, grab a two-for-one with this set of supplements. Healthy V Vitamin supports a healthy balance of yeast system-wide, while Good Girl Probiotics help to maintain a balanced vaginal pH, urinary tract functions, and healthy levels of vaginal yeast and bacteria.

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Ina

I’ve tried all of Ina’s products, and each one provides a luxurious experience akin to treating yourself to a facial. They are formulated by a chemist and OB/GYN with plant-based ingredients—and without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, talc, or PEGs. When you use Ina’s products, you can tell the brand put a lot of thought, time, and effort into creating products that genuinely help women. There are a number of different products in this line, but the one product that I haven’t seen in any other intimate care line (that we all need, especially in the summer) is the Anti-Chafe Liquid Powder.

anti-chafe liquid powder
Ina
Anti-Chafe Liquid Powder

This clean, patent-pending formula reduces excess moisture, odor, and irritation to skin prone to chafing. This product is next level, and I've never used something quite like it. I’ve used it when I have to walk a lot with my daughter in the heat or when we hit the beach and I know the sand is going to dry me out.

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ina hydrating serum
Ina
Hydrating Serum

Formulated with hyaluronic acid and 97% naturally-derived ingredients, this serum can be used daily after bathing for comfortable, hydrated skin.

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ina barrier balm
Ina
Barrier Balm

This is one of my absolute favorite products. Powered by zinc oxide, it provides instant relief from skin irritation and acts as a barrier to prevent any future irritation.

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ina cleansing wash
Ina
Balancing Cleanser

This daily intimate wash was designed by a gynecologist with a pH appropriate formula to cleanse and moisturize without irritation.

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ina product trio
Ina
Daily Routine Collection

Get more bang for your buck with this set of three of Ina's most popular products.

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