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‘Crotch crystals’: An oral history of vajazzling, the trend obsessed with pubic decor

In 2022, chances are that if you ask gen Zers about their views on the aughts, they’d immediately hit you up with a spitballing sesh about how it’s one of the most atrocious times in recorded human history. Given the resurgence of then-popular toxic beauty trends like thigh gaps, bikini bridges, and low-rise jeans, the period between 2000 and 2009 is now labelled as a dumpster fire for inspirations—despite what some Y2K enthusiasts might believe.

While trends like lower back tattoos are now being reclaimed from their “tramp stamp” and “STD magnet” narrative, a certain cultural phenomenon is sneakily filtering through the cracks, one bejewelled crotch at a time. Meet vajazzling, an aesthetic world aired with landing strips, blinged vajayjays, and endless… pussybilities.

What is vajazzling?

Also known as vagazzle or glitter pubes, ‘vajazzle’ is the portmanteau of the words—you guessed it—’vajayjay’ and ‘bedazzle’. On these terms, vajazzling is a practice that involves decorating one’s nether regions (or as Wikipedia puts it, “the mons pubis of a woman”) with rhinestone gems, Swarovski crystals or temporary body stickers.

Now, it should be noted that you’re not actually adding the gems in question to your pubes or lower meat curtains, in turn transforming your nether regions into a magical rainforest with breathtaking canopies. Instead, the starter pack for the perfect vajazzle includes a waxed or shaved mons pubis—the rounded mass of tissue lying over the joint of the pubic bones—or the adhesive simply won’t stick.

A typical vajazzle job might last you a maximum of seven days, depending on several factors including sweat, exercise, body lotion, and, of course, sexual intercourse.

@grace.fultouch

Lets spice up those Brazilian waxes 😚 #waxspecialist #womanownedsmallbusiness #vajazzle #lakejacksontexas

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Gathering mainstream attention in 2010, it was American actress and singer Jennifer Love Hewitt who introduced millions of people (who would have otherwise never considered embellishing their crotches and giving their digital descendants another eyebrow-arching trend to talk about) to the wonderful world of vajazzling.

Dedicating an entire chapter to the practice in her 2010 dating advice book The Day I Shot Cupid, Hewitt appeared on Lopez Tonight for a promotional interview and explained how she got into vajazzling. “After a breakup, a friend of mine Swarovski-crystalled my precious lady, and it shined like a disco ball,” the I Know What You Did Last Summer star said. “So I have a whole chapter in [my book] about how women should vajazzle their vajayjays.”

Mere weeks after Hewitt set the ball rolling in mainstream media, Cindy Barshop revealed that her hair removal spa Completely Bare had been doing vajazzles for years. At the time, however, the practice was called “Completely Bare with a Flair.” Name a more iconic treatment to get at your local spa, I’ll wait.

“As women began to visit Completely Bare [for hair removal treatments], I noticed that their confidence began to rise,” Barshop told MEL Magazine. “Women were starting to feel more comfortable making decisions that involved their intimate areas. Due to this, I decided to introduce new treatments that would build on the confidence of women and make them embrace their bodies so much more, curating the vajazzle.”

Specialist studios reportedly popped up everywhere and Google searches took off immediately after Hewitt’s viral interview. “Vajazzles were very popular at the time due to the rise in beauty and wellness and celebrity culture,” Barshop reminisced. “Clients wanted something new, fun and sexy. Vajazzles opened a whole new sector of beauty that had never been seen before. During this time, people were also trying to figure out how to not only talk about sex, but also express themselves, which the vajazzle helped with by allowing women to embrace who they were.”

It wasn’t until December 2010 that the trend infiltrated the UK, more specifically, Essex. Considered to be a county where hair extensions, fake eyelashes, tans, and general glamour reign supreme, vajazzle was first introduced in an episode of the reality TV show, The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE). In it, beauty therapist—and British icon—Amy Childs agreed to do one for co-star Sam Faiers.

“People have it done, like, wax their pubic hair in a little heart stencil, then have a few diamonds around it,” Childs was heard saying, as the expert proceeded to give Faiers a “sexy scattered” vajazzle. And that, babies and theybies, is how the intimate body art gripped the UK—with sales of tiny gems soaring shortly after. By 2011, an internet rating site called ‘Rate My Vajazzle’ had also been set up to… rate people’s vajazzles. Peak internet, am I right?

An immortal trend rooted in blinding cons

Today, #vajazzle has garnered 4.4 million views on TikTok, with users constantly foreshadowing its return as a full-blown commercial beauty practice. Here, recommended styles vary wildly between subtle cottagecore hearts and flowers to… moustaches, and Christmas tree decor. Heck, even HTML tags nobody asked for are being slapped onto waxed crotches in the name of vajazzles.

A quick scroll through Urban Dictionary also outlines how the term ‘vajazzling’ has evolved to address the general use of “sparkly embellishment to make something mysterious and transcendent appear more commercial and eye-catching.”

That being said, the sparkly trend is not without its own list of cons. For starters, the body art seems rather painful. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, gynaecologist Kate White highlighted a few safety risks, starting with the initial hair removal procedure. “Shaving can lead to lacerations—both shaving and waxing lead to micro-tears in the skin, which makes you vulnerable to infections, and laser treatments can cause pain, swelling, and blistering,” the expert shared.

Since the skin down there is already sensitive and more prone to infection after hair removal, the glue used to stick the crystals can lead to allergic reactions and infection, especially if applied right after. Dr. White further noted that she’s “also read about bruising or cuts from the crystals themselves after intercourse, if the position of your partner leads to friction of the crystals against your skin.”

Talking about sex with genital bling, it’s not hard to equate the activity to humping a literal rock formation—and oral sex doesn’t help this case either. But hey, to each their own. Just know that, at the end of the day, there are no known benefits of vajazzles in terms of heightened sexual pleasure.

And before you make a hard pass on the body art, it’s also worth noting that several enthusiasts have previously testified that the embellishments involved have “little to no chances” of chipping off a man’s penis or tooth during sex. Phew?

@waxingwithari

Now you know lol 😂 don’t sell them out please 🥺🙏🏼 #Vajazzle #fyp #wax #waxing #waxingvideos #brazilianwax #FFXmasSwitch #WhenRiftanSays #cashapp1

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Inside the bizarre world of vabbing, a TikTok trend where users apply vaginal fluid as perfume

Hey there, fellow human with a vajayjay! Are you tired of sliding into people’s DMs and resurrecting dry Bumble chats? Do you want your ideal match to be attracted to you organically instead of seeking them out yourselves? Most importantly, do you want to do all of this in the most Gwyneth Paltrow way possible?

If your itinerary for today checks all of the boxes above, meet vabbing, a viral TikTok trend taking ‘eau de toilette’ to the next level by using pheromones to lure a potential partner. So how exactly do you vab to nab a match? Where did the sketchy practice originate from? Heck, does it even work in the first place? Let’s dig in.

What is vabbing?

Vabbing or vab refers to ‘vaginal dabbing’, a practice where you apply secretions from—you guessed it—your vagina onto all the pressure points you would typically put perfume. Yes, this means your coochie juice would go on your wrists, inner elbow, base of your throat, behind your knees and even your ears.

Urban Dictionary does a pretty good job in defining vabbing, with the most decent entry on the platform reading: “This is when you stick your lady fingers in between your lady lips and put your lady juice behind your lady ears so that people want to sex your lady box.” Pretty much, yeah.

@jewlieah

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Although claims of vabbing can be traced back to 2007 in the comment section of VabTok, it was first introduced to mainstream culture in the November 2018 episode of the Secret Keepers Club podcast, hosted by comedians Carly Aquilino and Emma Willmann. In an episode, the hosts discussed their gay male friend who used his “genital sweat” as cologne after learning about pheromones and sexual attraction. It was then that a vagina-having listener decided to give the technique a shot using their own juices. The enthusiast reportedly went on to dub the practice ‘vabbing’ after witnessing impressive results.

In 2019, sexologist Shan Boodram also illustrated the act in her book The Game of Desire but instead of calling it ‘vabbing’, she dubbed it the ‘Love Potion Number Vagine’. Fast forward to 2022, vabbing is all the rage on TikTok—with users uploading intensive tutorials and sharing their experiences after applying the bodily fluid at the gym (another reason why you should wipe down equipment before using them) and even while meeting their exes in public.

“I swear if you vab, you will attract people like a date or a one-night stand or you’ll just get free drinks all night,” TikToker Mandy Lee was heard saying in a now-deleted video that went viral on the platform in June. User @jewlieah then followed up with a series of TikToks about her experiences. “I don’t know who needs to hear this but vabbing works. Vabbing 100 per cent works, I got offered two free drinks at the pool and then a guy literally came back and gave me this,” she explained in a video while holding a luxury hair product.

@jewlieah

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Vabbing 101

Now onto the unpleasant nitty-gritty of the trend: What’s the proper way to vab? Is it safe for every vagina-haver to do? Are there any side effects or risks to consider?

Well, the ground rule of vabbing is that it should be done after you step out of the shower squeaky clean. The second rule is to wash your hands both before and after you vab. TikToker @jewlieah also went on to note how one should avoid rubbing vabbed areas, like your wrists, inner elbows or neck, on other people and things. Humanity might as well reel back to social distancing if this happens.

“If you’re on your period, simply wait,” the creator continued. “If you have an STD or spreadable disease, please refrain from vabbing… and of course, if you have an unusual smell or any bad odour down there, don’t vab and consult a doctor. You don’t need a whole lot of your own scents and juices for a successful vab, just a simple damp vab on your wrists and behind your ears will work perfectly fine.”

According to Healthline, there are no drawbacks, side effects or risks related to the practice either. “There’s no reason to think that vabbing wouldn’t be safe,” the outlet mentioned. “However, as always, it’s important to ensure that your hands are clean before vabbing, as you don’t want to transfer any germs to your vagina.”

@flxameboo

What the fuck im never wearing perfume again. #flxameboo

♬ original sound - Bill💸

So, does vabbing actually work?

On TikTok, several users have equated vabbing to witchcraft and called “serial vabbers” out for using their bodily fluids as a “gross love spell” to trap mates. This makes you wonder: does vabbing even work in the first place, despite claims from several creators on the platform who are also seen dousing themselves in body lotions and mists at the same time?

Well, before you plan on sanitising your hands and reaching down there for a dab of mother nature’s perfume, it’s worth knowing that there’s no proven science behind the practice.

Although it’s a fact that pheromones affect mating behaviour in animals, researchers have been trying to find a human sex pheromone for decades but the research has come up short so far. There have also been several debates within the scientific community as to whether or not humans produce pheromones in the first place.

“We cannot say for sure based on the studies that human pheromones affect human mating behaviour,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose told The New York Post, adding that most research has been done using animals and not humans. “While some may argue they have anecdotal evidence to suggest a significant effect in attracting a mate via one’s pheromones, we just don’t have the hard data to back it up at this point.”

@snazzy.jazzyy

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The publication also noted how researchers in Egypt concluded that pheromone-phenomenon studies conducted before 2021 are “weak”—noting that, unlike most mammals, humans have “large and complex brains” in which pheromones only play minor roles in attraction. “The data available on human olfactory communication is inconclusive to date, with some results suggesting a significant effect exists, and others, the opposite,” Dr. Murphy-Rose continued.

The expert, however, believes the alleged spike in interest might be due to pumped-up confidence. “It is thought that if those who have tried vabbing and experienced enhanced attraction abilities, it could be a placebo effect due to increased confidence out in the field,” she explained. This checks out, considering how some VabTok creators have admitted to witnessing a boost in sexual confidence right after exiting the bathroom with a fresh swipe and dab.

With all that being said, remember that there’s nothing gross about being comfortable with your body’s natural and healthy secretions. If a light vabbing sesh gives you a massive confidence boost then march right into your bathroom and get twirling—you should be good as long as you don’t do it at the expense of making someone else uncomfortable.

Because at the end of the day, if your potential match isn’t attracted to who you are as a person, there’s no guarantee that violent dabs of coochie juice on your neck is going to change that anytime soon.

@k.onzii

#FaceZoom uhmmmmm😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭#fypシ #relatable #vabbingperfume

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