We love seeing women owned brands. Especially one with the knowledge and experience to create a product that 1) people want to use and 2) is safe for people who menstruate and the environment.
Brands Daye and OHNE are here to go head to head with TOM (our time of the month) and show us what we've been missing by offering cleaner, eco-friendly, and financially stable sanitary products.
This issue is nothing new to us, that being, the one between our purse and our sanitary needs. Understandably, these women owned brands are delving into the health and environmental impact regular hygiene products have and how we can do better.
It's true, these types of issues are often seen as “women's issues”. However, the reality is that the environmental consequences from hugely popular hygiene products are an inclusive issue.
It's time to take these matters into our own hands and support the women who are waving the red flag (quite literally).
Daye and OHNE Are Bloody Great
“We exist to raise the standards of women's health by creating effective products and services that fit conveniently into women's lives” – Daye.
Founded in 2018, Daye is paving the way for the menstrual industry with safer options that are kinder to the environment. Bulgarian entrepreneur Valentina Milanova found a gap in the market to provide a tampon that simultaneously absorbs your flow while helping with painful cramps.
Based on a subscription box model, Daye customers choose from the Naked tampon or the Ultra-soothing CBD tampon.
OHNE, run by two London-based best-friends Leah Remfry Peploe and Nikki Michelsen, launched on Valentine's Day in 2018. They too saw a gap in the market to create a unique brand that stood apart from the mainstream industry. Leah and Nikki agreed that sanitary brands were overly “girly” and wanted to be an independent voice.
Not to say there is anything wrong with a “girly” image (it's unfair to say what exactly defines that). Yet, given that the leading suppliers in feminine hygiene products are CEO'd by men, OHNE found it to be a slight ingenuine representation. We can't really argue with that?
The brand proudly offers hygiene products that are environmentally conscious and organic, also based on a subscription model. Rather than using CBD in their tampons, OHNE stocks high-quality CBD oil as “anti-teardrops” to help women with painful cramps. Combining thoughtful feminine hygiene with the power of CBD creates an overall empowering brand.
We'll delve a little deeper into these brands later on, but for the moment, let's gain some industry background knowledge.
Some Issues With the Menstrual Care Industry and Tampon Tax
To be clear, we don't want to insult an entire industry. Especially when there are brands such as Daye and OHNE making important moves. However, it's important that we point out some flaws in the system to understand how to improve it.
Many sanitary products fall under luxury item tax in various countries. Whereas, many personal medical items are usually tax-exempt.
What may shock some of us is the fact that many countries in the EU and further afield such as the USA don't regulate tampons as medical products or as basic health necessities. What we pay is affected, and this also means that manufacturing guidelines for tampons are done so at the company's discretion. Unsafe options for an item that is inserted into the body doesn't sound very appealing to us.
Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Germany have made efforts to lower the tampon tax rate from previous pressure to do so, but have failed to remove it completely. Whereas, countries such as China and Japan continue to keep menstrual hygiene products taxed at staggering rates. Notably, India and Kenya are leaders in removing the unnecessary tax.
Despite some of the above facts, it's great news for the UK and Ireland! It's good to know that Ireland is completely free of tampon tax, paving the way for the EU. With that, the UK announced in 2020 that they will abolish tampon tax from the 1st of January 2021.
Not everyone is on board, though. And before we write our letters to the relevant governments to complain, we should first get some facts straight on the adverse effects this tax logic has, but also appreciate the ongoing global shift towards change.
The Problem With “Feminine Hygiene” and Period Poverty
From a very young age, it's no secret that women are thought to treat their periods as such – a secret. We learn to purchase sanitary products that will help protect our clothes, maintain our hygiene, become socially accepted, and keep that time of the month a mystery e.g. the brand Always who came out with a line Always Discreet.
Not to mention, this is an unavoidable option for many of us. We could choose to use contraceptive pills to control our bleeding, but this is an expense that may have effects on our health that don't suit us all. Furthermore, hormones are not a fair answer for everyone to solve unsafe or environmentally damaging sanitary products.
Suraya Karzai, the 2010 author of ‘A Bloody Business: How the Feminine Hygiene Industry Sells Taboos' says, “the feminine hygiene industry has exploited women by forcing them into the web of menstrual taboos, instead of exploring alternatives.”
The direct result of this community pressure ensures that young adolescents, adults, and people who menstruate continue to purchase products that are unsatisfactory, outdated, or potentially unregulated.
Some mainstream advertisers and the media convey tampons and pads as a way to keep our periods a taboo, rather than something that needs to be acknowledged by all. Many of us, unknowingly, buy into the culture of these sanitary products without demanding for more ethical options.
Therefore, the repetitious cycle and production of un-environmentally friendly and potentially harmful menstrual products is ongoing, until new brands emerge or others change their values.
A shocking statement on Daye's website indicates that tampons are less regulated than plasters, yikes! If we all went commando because we didn't like the options out there, well…enough said.
So, Where Do Daye and Ohne Come In?
Essentially, tax is tricky. It varies from country to country, and from product to product. One important discovery is that tax relating to feminine hygiene isn't a “one size fits all” approach. According to the Period Poverty report for Ireland, negotiations are ongoing to allow more flexible rules on VAT for new period products e.g. menstrual cups or period underwear. Whereas, tax is more commonly easing or eradicated on tampons and pads (currently 0% in Ireland on tampons and sanitary towels).
Why is this important? Menstrual cups are arguably one of the most environmentally conscious options for people who menstruate. They are reusable and produce less waste. Therefore, it's a little unethical to have heavy taxation on these products.
If we want to choose tampons and pads, welcome Daye and OHNE who set the standards for sustainable period products.
What Are My (Better) Options for Menstrual Hygiene?
Let's start with Daye. Daye's products are 100% free of toxins that are often found in mainstream tampons. This includes plastic, chlorine, bleach, rayon, dioxin, phthalates, and irritable fragrances. They have strict testing and manufacturing standards, all of which is available to view on their website.
Their unbleached, certified organic cotton comes from a sustainable source from a farm in Germany without the use of herbicides or pesticides. They also have complete quality control from seed to bottle.
The brand is passionate about the issue of tampon fibre loss, which is one of the leading causes of bacterial infections, irritation, and even TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Regular tampons lose their fibres when inserted and removed from the vagina, leaving behind particles that could be harmful. Daye sterilise and coat their tampons with a protective sleeve that prevents this fibre loss, pretty revolutionary.
What Daye Offers:
- Eco-friendly sourced plastic-free tampon cotton fibres which are much less toxic for the body and environment
- Bio-based tampon applicators are made from sugarcane to reduce single-use plastic hygiene products
- Sustainable packaging made from water-soluble, compostable, and biodegradable materialsÂ
- High quality 0% THC CBD infused tampons for menstrual care and wellness
- Naked tampons in various sizes for the non-CBD lover
- Additional products such as Proviotics for general health, and a CBD balm for sore muscles
OHNE harners much attention too. Their 100% certified organic tampons are also vegan and cruelty-free that strictly use no plastic or toxins.
The School Club Zambia Project is an important element of OHNE's brand mission. Nikki once lived in Zambia, and decided to combine her passions. Everytime you purchase a tampon from OHNE, you are directly supporting the School Club Zambia's fight to end period poverty for young schoolgirls in Zambia.
Passionate about caring for the earth and people, the brand sells an array of products worth supporting. Choose from pads, tampons with or without an applicator, CBD oils, a botanical tonic, and even a CBD chocolate bar (count us in!).
What OHNE Offers:
- Biodegradable tampons using recyclable cardboard applicators and no plastic packaging
- Their tampons are made using hydroelectricity, which means their effect on the planet is a hydropower, renewable, and friendly attitude
- Other sanitary products such as pads are biodegradable, organic, and plastic-free
- Natural tampons are unscented and unbleached with a protective shield to prevent fibre loss
- They come in various sizes with promised leak-proof protection
The ‘Holy Cramp' and ‘Yours, Hormonally' CBD oils are playful in branding and high quality. The ‘Holy Cramp' oil is a topical treatment of hempseed, argan, and primrose oil. Use it for your temples, belly, or back when cramps are at their worst (it can also be used in the bath!). ‘Yours, Hormonally' uses organic MCT and avocado oil with CBD to be held under the tongue in times of need.
We also have to mention the ‘Bliss Bar', containing dark chocolate, vanilla, and CBD. The best type of period-induced chocolate cravings you could have, IMO.
CBD Tampons, What They Do, and How They Make a Difference
CBD is really having its moment, and we're living for it. Especially if it means CBD could help mister TOM in an ethical way.
Just like regular tampons, CBD tampons look the same and are inserted into the vagina the same way. The main difference is the addition of CBD or hemp oil which melts once inside the body. The vaginal walls absorb the CBD to help soothe inflammation and painful cramping.
Reacting with our ECS (endocannabinoid system), certain receptors in our body are impacted by CBD and alters how our body perceives pain. This is a topic of interest and research, explaining why we are seeing CBD products for pain everywhere.
We each have our own biological makeup, especially our vaginas. This means that CBD tampons by Daye and CBD oil by OHNE will feel a different effectiveness for each of us. Regardless, we would be making a conscious difference.
If you were wondering whether CBD tampons are safe, it may seem a little silly after we've just learned what we've been using all this time. If anything, these guys seem to be the safer option.
What Does the Future Look Like?
Truth is, we don't need these sanitary products…unless we want to spoil our clothes and deal with a messy clean-up (note the sarcasm). Until we live in a society where it is socially acceptable to show your flow, we probably would all agree that we prefer to keep things as sanitary as possible.
Knowing that sanitary products are treated as luxury in many areas of the world is a bit uneasy. Even though, it is not socially acceptable to walk around with a blood-stained bottom.
Unless we change our societal view, tampons and pads should be a necessary product under law. Not to mention, tampons need better regulation as an item that we insert inside the body. It's fair to say that the view on sanitary items should shift to that of medical, just an opinion.
So, what can we do to ensure we are being fair to women in this industry? And, is there a way to break the (menstrual) cycle?
It's true, it would take years for everyone to unlearn some of the social expectations on the menstrual cycle. We may continue to be regular consumers in a “luxury” industry just yet.
We can make a difference by choosing to support brands who differ from the norm and are actively making change. Daye and OHNE are changing an industry that is historically bad for the environment and outdated for our needs. They are breaking boundaries by creating branding for women that speaks to them.
Supporting women in business for a “woman's business” gets a thumbs up from us.