In 1931, American physician Earle Haas invented the menstrual tampon, a revolutionary patented product that birthed the dawn of Tampax, which arrived on shelves across the country in the mid-1930s as one of the great menstrual inventions of the 20th-century. Often delivered by mail in discreet, plain paper-wrapped boxes of 10, the dawn of the “Modern Period” began, along with its legacy of shame, disgust, and secrecy that continues to plague the approximately 1.9 billion people worldwide who menstruate. Though most major menstrual hygiene companies are run by cisgender men, women-owned and operated companies are stepping up to change the business of periods, launching exciting new innovations (from reusable tampon applicators to disposable menstrual discs and even CBD-soaked tampons) that provide more choices for women to find comfort and protection through their cycle—along with transparency, sustainability, and empowerment.
Semaine Health created a vegan dietary supplement to specifically address period pain and PMS symptoms with a focus on women living with endometriosis. Co-founded by twin sisters Lauren and Catherine Lee, Semaine’s supplements offer women a natural, plant-based product that has been rigorously researched by Semaine’s Head of Formulation, a medical bioengineer, for both efficacy and safety.
LOLA, founded in 2014, was one of the first companies to address the under-researched product category of feminine care, offering tampons made from 100 percent certified organic cotton. (Tampons have historically been coated with synthetic materials like rayon and chlorine, along with toxic chemicals that can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome in young women.) The lack of tampon manufacturing transparency led co-founders Alexandra Friedman and Jordana Kier to launch LOLA, which now offers everything from eco-friendly menstrual cups to PMS cramp relief products.
From organic tampons to probiotic supplements and skin care products, Athena Club is a personalized subscription that delivers period products right to your door (enabling women to avoid those inconvenient last-minute trips to the store). Co-founded by Maria Markina and Allie Griswold, Athena Club’s products are made using clean, sustainable ingredients that the company ranks using the EWG database.
After Molly Hayward learned how menstruation negatively affects the health of impoverished girls and women, she founded Cora to advocate for women’s health globally. The brand offers a variety of thoughtfully-designed products to meet each of your body’s different needs, from organic tampons and period underwear to bladder liners and heat relief patches. Read more about Cora’s mission on their blog, Blood & Milk.
DAME created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator in an attempt to reduce the 1.3 billion plastic applicators thrown away in the UK every year. Co-founded by Celia Pool, DAME’s mission is to make sustainable products that are both accessible and affordable, while working to change the conversation about periods for future generations of girls. (Now available in the U.S.)
Made with K-Beauty technologies and female expertise, Rael is a holistic care company founded by three South Korean natives: Aness An, Binna Won, and Yanghee Paik who set out to create their own solution to what they perceived as the lack of effective period products in America. From soothing vulva care to organic liners and acne blemish patches, Rael combines cutting-edge manufacturing technology in Korea with natural, effective ingredients.
With a mission to bring the menstruation conversation to the mainstream, Lunette‘s founder Heli Kunjaren’s inclusive line of menstrual cups is designed with women of all different body types in mind with a focus on comfort and safety. Lunette’s reusable menstrual cups are available in two models: light flow and normal to heavy. After reaching popularity among menstruating women, Lunette’s products have expanded to include intimate wipes and reusable pads. Shop Lunette’s revolutionary period collection on the Helm Shop now.
After the birth of her second child, Modibodi founder Kristy Chong’s experience with bladder leaks made her determined to start her own brand of sustainable, leak-proof separates. In 2011, she developed her patented Modifier Technology and launched a line of leak-proof and sweat-proof period underwear, as well as swimwear made from premium biodegradable and recycled materials like bamboo, merino wool, organic cotton, and recycled nylon.
Sixty percent of women can pinpoint their self-esteem plummeting when they went through puberty, according to an extensive community survey completed by wellness startup Blume. Co-founders and sisters Taran and Bunny Ghatrora created Blume for this reason: to destigmatize normal things like puberty, periods, and sex-ed. Along with their collections of period and skincare products, Blume has also released A Guide to First Periods backed by the Executive Director of the Women’s Health Institute that covers “everything a girl needs to know before her first period.”
Daye’s CBD-infused organic tampons not only help to minimize period cramping, they are also sanitised to eliminate the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and are wrapped in sustainable packaging (think bio-based sugarcane applicators, water-soluble wrappers, an organic cotton pouch, and recyclable paper mailers). Founded by Valentina Milanova, Daye is on a mission to bridge the gender gap in product innovation with additional products like its patented Vaginal ProViotics, to help prevent the growth of harmful pathogens, keeping your vagina healthy and protecting it from infections.
Looni offers medically-formulated, botanically-derived solutions to menstrual pain and endometriosis symptoms. Founded by Chelsea Leyland, a DJ and leading medical cannabis and epilepsy activist, and Tatiana Steel, a former investment banker, Looni’s soon-to-launch Intravaginal Pain Relief contains cannabinoids and terpenes for localized release from menstrual and ovulation cramps.
The Honey Pot Company is the first complete feminine care system that cleanses and balances your vagina. Founded by Beatrice Dixon in 2014 after struggling with recurring bacterial vaginosis, Honey Pot offers toxin-free, gynecologist-approved, and plant based feminine care products from intimate feminine wipes to menstrual cups.