Ready to make your vagina glow? You might need to wait a little longer.
Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s start by establishing that there are vagina highlighters and then, there are vagina highlighters. In this piece, I will not be talking about this kind, which are actually makeup for your face with penises and vaginas embossed in the powder (they’re anatomically correct, so you can make your face shiny while you’re educating yourself and others). Instead, I’m talking about highlighters which, you may have guessed, actually highlight your vagina.
The Perfect V is a line of vagina highlighters, washes, wipes, mists, and exfoliatators, currently only available in Scandinavian countries, meant to ‘rejuvenate, enhance, and beautify the ‘V,’ which includes the mons pubis, vulva, and the bikini line. (The word ‘vagina’ doesn’t appear anywhere on the website.)
The products can be applied after hair removal, or at any point, because their point is to make you feel more confident about your vagina. The vagina highlighter is called Shades of Very V Luminizer, which you put on your vulva after you dry the bikini area (this whole area is known as the ‘V’), and the result is “instant radiance,” making the nether region look more youthful and fresh.
If you used a vagina highlighter, what kinds of ingredients might you be introducing into the area? According to the Perfect V website, the Arctic Cloudberry is a big part of the product line. The berry contains Omegas 6 and 3, as well as Vitamins A and C, all of which brighten and rejuvenate skin. There’s also bilberry, elderflower, rose hips, sea buckthorn, lingonberry, and these contain everything from antioxidants, to the promise of tissue regeneration, great smells, skin elasticity, and natural astringents.
Glamour writer Amber Rambharose tested out the Perfect V for an August 2017 piece in the magazine. She applied the highlighter to her bikini line after shaving, and found that days after, when she would usually have been suffering from itchy bumps and ingrown hairs, she encountered nothing of the sort.
What do doctors have to say about the advent and application of the vagina highlighter? Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a Florida acupuncturist, first learned about the vagina highlighter when her daughter, a model, returned from 2017 Miami Swim Week, where the Perfect V was applied to the bikini lines of those walking the runway. She admitted that she wasn’t sure how to feel about it at first – while she was intrigued, she also wondered if it wasn’t just another means by which to profit from convincing people who have vaginas that they’re ugly.
“For thousands of years women have been grooming themselves with many things that have turned out to be toxic like white powder that contained lead in the 1700’s to 1800s,” she said. “As long as vaginal highlighters are not inserted into the delicate membranes of the vagina or inner labia, I think it is okay, although anyone with allergies needs to be cautious as chemicals used around the vagina, like sodium laurel sulfate, can be toxic to soft tissue.”
It’s possible that vaginal highlighters could actually lead to serious trouble, said Dr. Sweta Singh, a specialist in Infertility, Obstetrics and Gynecology. “They can cause dysfunction of the natural secretions and bacterial Flora of the vaginal canal as well as block the many glands and cause formation of cysts and boils.”
Before you put yourself on Perfect V’s mailing list, or vow to never, ever let such a thing near your nether regions, here’s another twist in the saga of the vagina highlighter. It doesn’t exist, or at least not among Perfect V’s product line. A recent piece in Allure featured the Perfect V’s creator, Avonda Urben, declaring that the term ‘vagina highlighter’ is super misleading. You don’t apply the Very V Luminizer to your vagina after all, Urben said. “It’s not a vagina cream. I can see why people would be upset, but that’s not what this is. It’s for the area that you wax or laser or shave or just groom. The V is the pubic area and the bikini line. It’s skin-care for that area. It has nothing to do with the vagina.”