Free Period? An interview with OHNE founders Nikki and Leah

Free Period? An interview with OHNE founders Nikki and Leah

Tampons are bloody expensive.

Apparently, commercial brands are pretty bad for your vagina, too. So, to help us all out, OHNE have given Lemon a code for a box of free tampons, just for you. Phew. We chatted to co-founder Leah Peploe to find out some more about OHNE, which launched earlier this year.

Founders, Leah and Nikki, met at university. After leaving their studies, they got to talking about tampons – as you do.

Leah says: “We were both organic converts, and were frustrated with the lack of options available within menstrual products. We couldn’t understand how there was so much innovation in almost everything – yet the menstrual health industry was so behind.”

Together, they combined a passion for organic products with an aim to create a service they would ‘actually want to use.’

And so, organic tampons were born.

“A drive to make a real change to period stigma, and the simple conclusion that we are all in this together – helped birth OHNE! It couldn’t have come at a better time, as Nikki had just finished her masters and my business demanded very little of my time .”

By spring 2017 they were both working full time developing OHNE. The biggest misconception, Leah says, about menstrual products, has to do with what goes inside them. The majority of people are unfortunately under the impression that tampons, pads and liners are made out of natural cotton – but they’re not. “Once you start digging deeper, things get a little scary.”

Apparently, the ingredients in mainstream tampons look a little like this: rayon, polyester, viscose, chlorine bleach (yes, apparently it’s ultra-important they’re pearly white for the 3 seconds we cast eyes on them), and traces of dioxin, cyanazine, dicofol, naled, propargite, and triluralin. It gets worse – if you’re choosing a brand with odour neutralisation, then you’re most likely looking at traces of artificial colours, adhesives, polyethylene, polypropylene and propylene glycol.

Many of these chemicals are linked to hormonal disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness, infertility, thrush, inflammation and discharge.

Leah says: “With an ingredients list like this, it really is no shock that the one piece of information that does make it onto the mainstream tampon boxes is the attention-grabbing disclosure of the risk of toxic shock syndrome.”

TSS needs a certain environment to develop, and this environment can be encouraged by the toxins in mainstream tampons. “Interestingly, an organic cotton tampon has never been associated with TSS.”

Due to the taboo nature of period products, and the lack of conversation around menstruation, this is still relatively unknown information.

“That’s why our mission combines, not just the issues with current mainstream period products, but also the lack of dialogue around periods in the public sphere.”

Mainstream sanitary towels are just as bad. “Pads are made from the same synthetic materials, and hold the equivalent of the synthetics in four plastic bags!” Leah tells us.

“And what’s most frustrating, is that nobody knows this as the mainstream brands aren’t required to disclose their products’ ingredients.”

So, watch this space, because for OHNE, pads and liners are coming soon.

OHNE encourages people to start treating their vagina better than their face. When the chemicals and toxins in mainstream tampons come into such close contact with our skin, they’re absorbed straight into your bloodstream. They make their way directly to your organs.

“Once in your body,” Leah says, “they just build up. If you won’t eat chemicals and toxins, or put them on your face, they’ve got no business going into your vagina.”

After you’ve got your products down, it’s all about keeping yourself informed.

“Learn about your cycle, your hormones and what makes you feel good (and what doesn’t).”

“Every body is different, and so is every period. It’s your period, and you know best.”

Here at Lemon, we’re big advocates for doing what’s right for your body, so use code FIRSTTOBEOHNE online at www.ohne.co to try a box for free. (Or order our mag and you’ll get one free…)

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