In honour of Women’s Month we got in touch with a South African company that stocks and sells 100 % cotton no-chemicals-added tampons.
Last year, we wrote a blog about menstrual cups and how much our Green at Heart ladies love them. However, we have spoken to many women who don’t yet feel comfortable making the switch to using menstrual cups; so for those women this is the perfect solution! This is a product that is affordable, better for your health and better for the environment.
We caught up with Louisa Joubert, one of the founders of her. (pronounced her period), and she gave us a bit more information about how she got involved in sourcing, stocking and selling these 100 % cotton tampons in South Africa.
G@H: Hi Louisa, thanks so much for chatting to us and Happy Woman’s Month! We’ve had a browse around your stylish and beautiful website (www.herperiod.co.za), which gives new visitors an excellent explanation of why these tampons are so great! But can you tell us a bit about how you got there? How did you landed up getting into the business of sourcing and stocking these tampons in South Africa?
Louisa: Hi there, and thanks so much for the interest. It’s been a long and interesting journey this past year. While driving to work one morning, thinking about life and being naturally curious, the subject of “what are tampons made of?” came up. This set the wheels in motion and after loads of research we were shocked to find out that most tampons are not made of cotton. We came upon many overseas brands that sell cotton tampons, but finding them in South Africa felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. This inspired us to create a South African brand of 100 % cotton tampons. After months of designing, negotiating and testing various samples to make sure they were of the highest standard, herperiod was finally ready to launch.
And the response was overwhelming! We could not have imagined that so many women had health problems associated with mainstream tampons.
This keeps inspiring us to spread the word about 100 % cotton tampons and by working together we can help one another take care of and protect ourselves.
G@H: Starting a business can be very stressful, how has this affected your relationships?
Louisa: The biggest impact it has had has been on my relationship with my boyfriend. But he has been hugely supportive through all the ups and downs. He knew exactly when to give advice and when to not say a word and just listen and let me get things off my chest. Sometimes days would go by with the only subject being tampons! He has been unbelievably patient and I don’t know where he gets it from.
G@H: What are the biggest problems with mainstream brand tampons in terms of health impacts on our bodies and why do you think so few women are aware of these problems?
Louisa: The major problem with mainstream brand tampons is that they are not required to list the ingredients used in their production and many of these brands don’t include that information on the packaging, so you’re unaware of what the tampons are actually made of. We’re so careful about ingredients in our foods, drinks and beauty products, but completely forget to check our tampons. We assume because it is white and looks like cotton, that it is cotton. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mainstream tampons are filled with heavily processed plastic fibres.
We’re also not encouraged to talk about periods and so many women suffer and worry in silence, but it shouldn’t have to be like that and we want to change the stigma associated with talking about periods.
G@H: Can you tell our readers why these tampons are a better option than the mainstream ones available in our local pharmacies and grocery stores?
Louisa: The key ingredients in mainstream tampons are viscose and rayon, two synthetic fibres made from wood pulp that are heavily processed with chemicals to become useable. Mainstream tampons are also covered in a plastic “veil” that is attached to the tampon. If you think of how many hours each month you’re using a tampon, that is a lot of time for chemicals and plastic derivatives to leach into your body. A scary thought!
Viscose and rayon are also highly absorbent, this causes the delicate tissues in our bodies to dry out and disrupt the natural pH within our bodies, often resulting in irritation and infections.
100 % cotton tampons on the other hand are 100 % natural and minimally processed. Herperiod tampons also have no plastic “veil”, so you don’t have to worry about heavy processed chemicals or plastic derivatives. Cotton tampons are also hypoallergenic and won’t disturb the natural pH and flora of your body.
G@H: Why are her. tampons better for the environment?
Louisa: They are 100 % natural cotton, including the string. This means they will naturally biodegrade faster than mainstream tampons, as there are no synthetic fibres.
G@H: Do you use these tampons yourself and what has your experience been, when compared to using mainstream brand tampons?
Louisa: Absolutely. At first, I was hesitant because I’ve been using the same mainstream brand for decades, but I gave the cotton tampons a try and must honestly say, I’ll never go back! You don’t realise how awful the synthetic mainstream tampons are until you’ve tried the cotton ones. No more dryness or irritation, and using the cotton ones has even alleviated some of my PMS symptoms.
G@H: There are some women out there who struggle to use tampons and prefer using pads, but who also want to reduce their environmental impact, what would your advice for them be?
Louisa: There are some great companies out there like Hannahpad and Subz pads that manufacture cloth pads. These pads can be washed and used multiple times. Although I would encourage anyone who struggles with tampons, to have a few 100 % cotton tampons lying around for those days where you might want to give it another try. But we’re all one-of-a-kind with unique preferences, you know your body best.
G@H: And lastly, where can our readers buy your tampons?
Louisa: Herperiod tampons can be purchased online via our website with free delivery for purchases over R 220. They can also be found at Organic Zone in Lakeside, Cape Town. However, if your readers want to see the tampons in one of their earth friendly shops nearby, please send us an email via our website and we will contact the shop to see if they’re willing to stock herperiod tampons. We believe in team work and making these healthy cotton tampons available to everyone!
Thanks so much Louisa for your insight and advice <3 Louisa will also be sending us some of her tampons to try out so keep your eyes open for a follow up product review in a few months!
Well there you have it ladies! An affordable, healthier and more environmentally friendly option for those of you who have been looking for a healthier tampon option that also eases your environmental guilt!