The plight for gender equality and women’s wellness has expressed itself through various avenues — the rise of period equality, non-toxic feminine hygiene products, and talc-filled baby powder’s fall from grace (Toxic Beauty, anyone?). The important conversation surrounding vaginal wellness, a once-ignored category of personal care product in a formerly male-dominated industry, has recently taken an indie turn through clean beauty’s expansion into non-toxic vaginal wellness products.
Surprise, surprise! We think that Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to bring important conversations about vaginal health to the table. Considered taboo in the past, it is an act of empowerment and respect to shed light on this intimate avenue of personal health that we have in common with our mothers. (Not to mention, each and every one of us was birthed from a vagina.)
As a female-founded company, it was important to me to create a safe cleanser for our most intimate body part,” Jenefer Palmer, founder and formulator of OSEA Malibu, states. With the clean skincare line’s launch of V Cleanse, which retails for $38, Palmer makes non-toxic self-care “for the v” possible. The product is pH-balanced, gynecologist-tested, and formulated to promote the health of the vulva’s delicate microbiome — the balance of which is necessary for fighting off infections and maintaining overall health.
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, but if you do want to gently cleanse the region, there is a case for buying a cleanser that was developed with vulvar health in mind. Palmer points out several hazards associated with opting for conventional soaps, when fragrances, anti-bacterial properties, and non-optimized pH levels can each have health-harming consequences for the organ. Even factors like stress and diet can disrupt the zone’s microbiome, which is why the formula incorporates a prebiotic called Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide to promote bacterial balance. V-Cleanse takes all of this into consideration with its hypo-allergenic formula.
In honor of our Mother’s, we think it is a nécessité to highlight efforts to destigmatize discussions of the vulva, and to empower conversations linked to women’s health. Doing so will help bring awareness and normalcy to a matter of great importance. “Historically, these parts have remained totally ‘private’ and ignored. Women are now beginning to normalize discussion around vulvar and vaginal health,” Palmer says. “Having these conversations are empowering feminine acts in and of themselves.” Now, our ability to shop for such a female-specific niche indicates that women’s advocacy efforts are paying off, and that we should all begin to feel comfortable talking about women’s health issues hindrance-free.
Culturally speaking, we are at a turning point as we assert women’s empowerment and self-determination — regarding matters relating to health and otherwise — as the new norm for future generations. In a market where the status quo has been formulas that legally incorporate toxicants, carcinogens, and endocrine-disruptors, the possibility for change begins with advocacy.
The fact is that clean beauty brands like OSEA have been holding the space for safer beauty practices to become the new norm, just as the growing emphasis on women’s wellness — in an industry where we have too often been inundated with unhealthy and unsustainable beauty standards — sets the stage for far-reaching, pro-health consequences moving forward.
OSEA is just one of the forward-thinking brands to have tuned-in to the growing demand for women’s empowerment. “For me, the founding of OSEA was an act of feminist rebellion. It was my way of taking care of myself, my children, and the women around me,” Palmer explains. So in honor of our mothers, let’s consider the significance of clean beauty’s emergence into the feminine care space — and what this means to us as women.