There are few products that are as polarising and controversial as ‘intimate hygiene’ brand Femfresh. Marketed as a range of washes, wipes, powders and deodorants for your lady garden, many believe it condemns our natural scent as something to be ashamed of. As many beauty brands capitalise on our insecurities to make a fast buck, it becomes easy to become obsessed with ‘outing’ those we object to and shaming their approach to body maintenance. Only this week, hair removal brand Veet has come under fire for suggesting having leg hair makes a woman a ‘dude’, while Dove has been celebrating our beauty and trying to increase our confidence – it seems that beauty is a more complex issue than we’ve ever been brave enough to talk about before. So what about Femfresh? Is it a brand that should be praised for helping women maintain their intimate areas with targeted products, or one that should be left lingering on the bottom shelf of Boots?
Femfresh offers a range of products that include body washes, spray deodorants and freshness wipes to help keep your intimate area feeling and smelling fresh. Although I’m up for anything that provides a solution to a confidence issue, it’s also important to remember Femfresh is all about pH – a measure of how acid or alkali something is. Skin has a normal pH of between 5.4 and 5.9, but our intimate skin has a pH that is less than 4.5 – significantly lower than the rest of our bodies. The normal pH balance in the intimate skin is regulated by good bacteria in the vagina called lactobacilli, which helps to prevent the growth of harmful organisms. If the pH of the vagina increases (making it less acidic) the quantity of lactobacilli can fall and other bacteria can multiply, increasing the likelihood of infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
There are many things that can upset our pH balance, including antibiotics, pregnancy, sex, contraception, heat, sweat, hormonal changes and things such as scented panty liners. These everyday factors can irritate our intimate areas, causing itching that in itself can leave us open to bacterial infections. Although using water to cleanse and soothe our lady areas, a lot of people prefer to use a more targeted and appropriate solution; Femfresh is soap free, hypoallergenic, pH balanced, dermatologically and a gynaecologically tested product that offers a pleasant alternative to fragranced shower gels we automatically turn to. Femfresh’s resident gynaecologist, Dr Ian Currie says: “The benefits of using femfresh is that it is designed to maintain the natural pH balance of the intimate skin. For women who want to use anything more than water, it is important to choose a product that works in harmony with your body and does not upset this pH balance. Femfresh is specially formulated by experts to care for the intimate skin to gently cleanse, soothe and moisturise your skin without disturbing your delicate pH balance.”
Although doubling up on shower gel and deodorant for your vagina may seem a little excessive for some, for others it’s great to know there’s something for them when they feel like they need to pay their lady parts a little more attention. Femfresh washes are actually really pleasant to use all over the body, providing a light foam and delicate scent, so there’s no reason why you can’t swap your regular bottle of Radox for something that won’t irritate. Like many women, I become a little more aware of certain areas during my period and prefer to be fully equipped with all the tools to help me feel more confident. I know that nobody else can detect or smell I’ve surfing the crimson wave, but having a little packet of wipes to freshen up or a deodorant to spritz on does make a difference. Surely that’s not a bad thing?
I’m a firm believer in discussing women’s health openly and honestly, ensuring that we all have a positive outlook and understand what is actually on the spectrum of ‘normal’. I’ve spent the last nine months on a roller-coaster of smear tests, procedures, operations and after care because of a cervical cancer scare, so I’ve spent more time discussing my cervix than is probably necessary for one person. As a result, I’m more conscious of looking after myself and using the products that can help just a little bit. For me, Femfresh may have made some marketing mistakes in the past (remember the hoohah about the noonahs?) but they actually are trying to help – rather than shaming us into buying their products. They’re not telling us our lady bits need to smell of strawberries and candy floss, or trying to guilt us into washing away the day, but providing a little confidence boost in a bottle that just happens to be good for your bits too.
What do you think about Femfresh and feminine hygiene products in general?