Organic tampons. If you’re three quarters of the way toward the light at the end of the fallopian tunnel, you may think there’s nothing about your monthly care routine worth changing. But listen up! In the past few years, indie startups like Lola, Cora, Veeda and easy. have risen to the forefront of feminine care with 100% cotton, all-natural alternatives, free from ingredients like bleach (in cotton) and phthalates (in plastic applicators). While expert opinions are mixed on the health benefits of all-natural tampons—many gynaecologists have gone on record to say that organic tampons are no more safe than commercially available options—these next gen brands are doing good on a whole other level, bringing a fresh voice for period positivity with powerful, inclusive campaigns.
In the United States, the movement has serious wheels. (The organic tampon segment is poised to grow by 7% by 2020, according to market research group Technavio.) Launched in 2015, Lola created an ad campaign that appeared in 570 cars in New York City subways over four weeks, with slogans like “Even if your dating profile isn’t 100% honest, now your tampon is.” The emboldened approach, referring to transparency in tampon ingredients, has hooked celebrity investors like Lena Dunham and Karli Kloss, raising over $11 million USD in Series A funding. And in a “why-didn’t-anyone-else-think-of-that” moment, surplus tampons have gone to providing low-income women and girls across the U.S with free feminine care products—100,000 since Lola’s launch, to be exact.
With its sleek, “Little Black Clutch” tampon holders, you may think Cora is all surface, but for every monthly subscription purchased, a free monthly subscription is sent to low-income females in Kenya, India and across the U.S. Plus, Cora works with Denver’s Mile High Workshop—an employment program that supports those recovering from addiction, homelessness and incarceration—to package and ship its products exclusively within the U.S., for now. With its Fearless Necklace, priced at $58 USD, proceeds pay for a year’s supply of Cora pads for an underprivileged female, while the stylish gold pendant holds a single tampon inside—a surefire way to start a lively conversation around menstruation. Its artful, editorial arm, BloodandMilk.com is a virtual extension of that sort of radical dialogue around all things female health, from first period to menopause.
Slightly less chic but no less natural, Veeda also has a mission to give back, with a goal of donating one million organic tampons to women’s organizations per year. “Having access to safe and effective feminine care affects not only a girl’s or a woman’s health, but in many cultures, it impacts if she is allowed to go to school, which in turn impacts her economic future,” noted Veeda co-founder Adrian Forsyth, in Fast Company. While some organic tampon makers have gotten flack for high prices, Veeda has managed to make their premium products more accessible, with costs significantly lower than its competitors (one Veeda organic tampon runs at around 37 cents USD, whereas one Lola organic tampon comes to about $1.80 USD). It’s also a brand we can find here in Canada, at select Walmart stores.
Not yet found on billboards but definitely noteworthy, is Toronto’s own organic tampon subscription company, called easy. Having made waves with their award-winning NO SHAME campaign, easy. and Toronto-based ad agency Cossette released four impactful images of women not being shy about their period. One image features a woman bleeding in the tub and another changing blood-stained sheets with a partner; all four images aim to represent the mundanity of menstruation and challenge the shame associated with the experience. With 5% of all sale profits donated to ZanaAfrica, easy. is aiming to reshape conversations around menstruation and doing its part to provide for women and girls in need. And at roughly 56 cents CAD per organic tampon, you can even afford to opt in for that ethically sourced, small-batch Soul chocolate bar at check-out, too. Some things never change.
Collage: Emily Wraith
Like this story about the most basic of womanly beauty practices re-thunk? Check out this piece that questions the commodification of self-care.