Coloring pubic hair?

Dear Alice,

My girlfriend and I were wondering about dying her pubic hair. Is it okay to use regular hair dye or are there special products to use for it?

Colored hairs

Dear Colored hairs,

Thanks to the advances of modern science and research, pubic hair can now be safely dyed to match the color of the hair on your head or to shock the eye in a brilliant contrast. You and your girlfriend could go for a new color, a new 'do, or both. Just make sure that you use a dye that is made especially for hair below the belt, as most of the major companies that manufacture hair color test their products only on head hair and are safe only when used as directed.

Head hair dye products also often contain harsh chemicals like peroxide and ammonia, which can cause major irritation and injury to the delicate skin around the genital area. Betty Beauty, the first dye available specifically for pubic hair, is formulated for dying pubic hair without irritation. No matter which brand you use, it's a good idea to run a patch test first on a very small area to make sure it won't cause an allergic reaction (most products include patch test instructions). The skin down there is very delicate, and many people do experience irritations like burning, itching, blisters, redness, or loss of hair.

It's also important for both men and women to limit their coloring jobs to the hair that covers the pubic bone (the mons), and to avoid any of the mucous membranes including the labia, the vulva, and the anus. Men are advised to take care not to get dye on the shaft of the penis and scrotum where the skin is highly sensitive.

The following tips have been helpful to some folks who like to play beauty parlor with their pubes:

  • Covering the penis, scrotum, and vulva with petroleum jelly may offer some added protection if the coloring drips before the dye can be washed off with water.
  • Depending on natural hair color and desired outcome, the hair pigment may need to be removed and go through two or three steps to reach the preferred color. Snipping a few pubic hairs and performing a strand test can help you gauge the amount of time it will take to achieve the right shade.
  • For those planning a new pubic hair style to boot, shave and/or trim a couple of days after coloring, rather than before.

If you're really nervous about your possible sloppy handwork, some salons specialize in bikini waxes and dyes and will do it for you. And if you and your girlfriend have more questions about a specific hair color product, try contacting the manufacturer — most companies provide a toll-free customer service number on their… um… boxes. Finally, is it possible that your girlfriend might like to get in on the fun and color or shape your pubes as well? Perhaps you can experiment with a recreation of Dali's clock melting scene or Chagall's stained-glass windows.

Be safe and have fun!

Last updated Mar 12, 2015
Originally published Apr 20, 2001

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