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By Harriet Wells, Strategist Ten Challenger Brands Shaking up the Period Care Category

Currents of gender and environmental activism are fuelling shifts in attitudes and behaviours around period care.

Environmental

The average woman uses and disposes of over 10,000 tampons or pads in a lifetime. Awareness of this stat has increased and spread across social media, encouraging period care innovators and consumers to consider sustainable eco-friendly options. Climate change, fast fashion, plastics, and palm oil have all been under the lens of the ‘Greta Generation’, and now period care is up for review.

Equality

Awareness has also spiked around the ‘period tax’, with women around the world rejecting the idea of being taxed on what are essential products. This has prompted activism such as The Free Periods movement, founded by Gen Z’er Amika George. Amika is seeking to improve access to period care for UK school girls in poverty and is challenging period tax head-on. As a result, free school and workplace period care is increasingly seen to be as important as stocking toilet paper.

Gender

Campaigns like Bodyform’s Blood Normal are challenging the social stigma surrounding menstruation by turning their backs on the traditional use of ‘blue liquid’ in period advertisements. Other progressive personal care brands – like Billie Razors – are also feeding into a more real personal hygiene movement focused on female autonomy, bodily acceptance and celebration. As a result, the period care category is transforming its cultural image from embarrassing to empowering.

As these three strands of activism converge, it’s a perfect time to be a cool, fresh period care brand. And it is imperative that period care brands start communicating younger as girls are beginning puberty earlier than ever before. Gen Z girls seek support, transparency and purpose from the period care brands they choose, becoming more discerning as they grow older.

Indie innovators are popping up: here are TPL’s top ten period care disrupter brands.

Mooncup

Revolutionising the period care market, the MoonCup created the first ever medical grade silicone menstrual cup in the world, liberating consumers from the waste, discomfort and ongoing expense of disposable sanitary protection. And their mission doesn’t stop with consumers; their goal of safer, pain-free and sustainable periods to women around the world continues in their charity partnerships with non-profits like Brook – tackling period poverty in the UK, the Andrew Grene Foundation – supporting school girls in Haiti, and Kemri – providing Mooncups to primary schools in Western Kenya.

 

Blume

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When cramps are cramping our style, we reach for Cloud 9 ☁️ 😌.⠀ ⠀ This natural alternative is the best remedy for cramps but don't just take our word for it 👇.⠀ ⠀ "I was skeptical at first but Cloud 9 really works! I have extreme cramping and this oil completely eliminated all pain. I also haven’t experienced the typical nausea and headaches that I usually get. I’m still shocked that it’s working but it’s been 2/3 months and I am still using it and am pain free. I apply it liberally to my wrists and neck throughout the day and it does the trick."⠀ ⠀ -⠀ #menstruation #menstruationmatters #periodpain #femalehealth #hormonehealth #essentialoils #menstrualcycle #painrelief #crampsgotmelike #naturalskincare #naturalliving ⠀

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Blume are the go-to brand for mind, body and spirit self-care. As well as organic tampons and pads, Blume offers a pick and mix period care box where you can choose complementary products for your time of the month. Choose from Meltdown, the oil for acne prone skin, Stargirl, the face mist for hot sweats, or Cloud 9 essential oil for cramps – and so much more. Blume is truly thinking outside of the box, treating period care as a holistic wellness offering, rather than a mundane essential.

 

TOTM

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We are OBSESSED with this shot of our packaging 😍✨ We made the decision to re-design our packaging as our brand purpose evolved. We wanted packaging that reflected our bold, open and disruptive attitude and the incredible @marsdenmee absolutely nailed it 😍 It's a break from the usual period care packaging. It's bold and it's unapologetic. It doesn't apologise for being a 'period care product'. It says, "periods are not a shameful secret, they are powerful". We wanted to make the packaging desirable, so people would unashamedly show it off instead of hiding it away. It's incredible seeing these boxes on the shelves of @tescofood with the words 'I AM PERIOD POWERFUL' proudly displayed. Let's continue breaking the taboo and stigma together 💪 📸 @keith_davies

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TOTM is an organic period subscription service offering stand-alone tampons, pads and cups, positioned around aspirational aesthetics and putting women in control of their cycle. Their colour-coordinated IG feed is something to behold, but TOTM is not style over substance. Partnering with Endometriosis UK, they are committed to opening up a dialogue around period pain and related chronic illness, tapping into the growing conversation on women’s health.

 

OHNE

OHNE is calling BS on the cute, girly, discrete tone of traditional period care, offering tampons and period oil with a bolshy brand tone of voice. Founded on the principle of female autonomy, OHNE welcomes customers with the message “welcome, you 21st century human with a 21st century vagina”.

Not afraid to shy away from a bright red colour scheme and yonic fruit imagery, OHNE skews towards Millennial women rather than Gen Z, but it gives a glimpse of the brand tone of voice which will come to dominate the category moving forward.

 

Daye

Daye is the brand behind the world’s first soothing tampon, infused with CBD oil to ease menstrual cramps. Daye is positioned from the women’s health POV, providing resources on the menstrual cycle, the benefits of CBD oil, the history of period care, and sustainability – of course! The Daye website features a ‘Learn’ and Glossary section, tapping into the trend around the democratisation of women’s health and wellness, offering a space where Gen Z and Millennials can educate themselves on their own bodies.

 

DAME

DAME is the innovator behind the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. It’s simple, green, and made from medical grade materials that actively keep it hygienic. DAME is another brand tapping into the sustainability cause, claiming the applicator saves up to 12,000 disposable applicators that would usually be thrown away.

 

Flo

Flo is the organic femcare brand firmly aimed at tween Gen Z. Their products are made from 100% organic cotton and natural bamboo, they donate 5% of their profits to girls and women in need, and chiefly – the packaging is adorable! Their tampons come stacked in an ice cream tub in hot pink and yellow hues, offering Gen Z a playful, fun and novel unboxing experience. As we see across our work with this age cohort, they’re seeking products that deliver beyond functionality, and can be used as tools to show off their identities in a colourful way.

 

Freda

Freda offers organic period care subscription boxes, backed by a social impact purpose aiming to improve global access to period products and end period poverty. As well as selling subscriptions for women and girls (they have a specific teen subscription box), they also promote school and corporate subscriptions – encouraging educators and employers to provide free period care as standard.

 

Lunapads

Similar to brands like Mooncup and Thinx, Lunapads are truly anti-single-use and offer washable, reusable cloth pads – similar to washable cotton pads – for your period. As well as the obvious environmental benefits, reusable solutions like Lunapads are cheaper and more economical than throw-away alternatives.

These brands give us a good look at where the future of period care is heading, and inspiration for market leaders to take note of. Ultimately, Gen Z will come to expect their chosen period brand to become a tool to express their values – from sustainability to holistic self-care, female empowerment, and FUN!