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A blog from the women of GladRags and our customers too.

Discussions on menstruation, environmental living, women's health, relevant politics, and other interesting matters - we like to go with the flow around here.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re taking a look at how we can reduce our carbon footprints at home.  Read on for our top ten essential items to have in your bathroom to help you achieve zero waste!

9-essentials-for-a-trash-free-bathroom

1. Crystal deodorant

Ditch that standard plastic tube of deodorant (especially if it has aluminum or other yuckies in it) and try a crystal instead. Learn about the science behind crystal deodorant here.

2. Shampoo bar

Shampoo bars are a great alternative to bottles of shampoo: they’re typically packaged in recyclable cardboard or paper, and require less fuel to transport than their bulky counterparts.

3. Hankies instead of tissue

It’s only recently that our society has switched to single-use tissues for our runny noses. Soft cotton hankies are a treat for your nose–and have far less of an impact than those disposables, especially during allergy season!

4. DIY toothpaste

No tube required! Whip up a batch of homemade toothpaste  and store in an extra jar in the medicine cabinet.

5. Bar soap or bulk body wash

Like shampoo, bar soap has less of an impact on the environment by having less packaging and less weight to transport. If you can’t give up the body wash, head over to the bulk section of your favorite natural grocery store or co-op and re-use your bottles.

6. Cornstarch instead of dry shampoo

A little greasy? Sprinkle cornstarch on your roots and brush it through your hair to quickly absorb excess grease. Easy peasy.

7. A Moon Cup or GladRags

This one should be obvious! Disposable tampons and pads are not great for your body, and even worse for our planet. Try a menstrual cup or cloth pads, and get rid of the monthly garbage that accompanies your period.

8. Recycleable toothbrush

Our friends at Preserve (a fellow B Corp!) make toothbrushes out of recycled plastic and have a toothbrush take back program to keep the loop going.

9. Make your own facial cleansers

Not only do they often come in plastic, single-use containers but conventional products for your face also tend to contain some nasty ingredients. Fortunately, there are loads of DIY facial cleansers out there, including my favorite: a homemade honey cinnamon facial scrub!

10. Extra credit: reusable toilet paper

For the extremely green, you can always make the switch to “family cloth” or reusable toilet paper. Use rags or cut up old towels for wipes and wash thoroughly between uses. Don’t accidentally drop one in the toilet, though!

What’s your best tip for waste reduction in the medicine cabinet or shower? Leave us a comment and let us know!

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

glorious

Wonder why people assume
That blood always means pain?
Sometimes, it’s a celebration:
I don’t cringe at the sight of red,
Nor crawl into a ball and weep

When I get my periods…
I break into a merry,
Merry song, Drink to my very own good health,
And dance my way to the bed;
It’s a monthly reminder,
That my body needs Attention – love, care & rest;

It’s a philosophical reminder
That the same vagina
Through which
My baby will pop out one day
Is now running bedding trials;
It’s a glorious reminder
Of my femininity,
My purpose,
My identity,
My life,
And lives there after…

This post originally appeared on the Menstrupedia blog.

About the author of this post:

MaheMaheshwari Lakshmanan is a wannabe poet, when she is not a wannabe stoic.

If you’re new to cloth menstrual pads, you may think that washing them is difficult or complicated. Quite the opposite! Cloth pads are simple to care for, and once you’ve got your routine going, you’ll hardly notice the few extra minutes it takes to care for them.

Here’s a step by step list for caring for your cloth pads:

1. Presoak

organic cloth pad laundry kit

You can either drop your pads into a soaking container as you finish wearing them (just change the soaking waterdaily), or wait until the end of your cycle to do a presoak. Adding a dash of a natural enzyme cleaner will help fight discoloration or odor. Soaking helps prevent staining, but is not necessary as far as cleaning your pads. Don’t mind some staining? Skip this step!

2. Wash on cold

About 90% of the energy used for a load of laundry is to heat the water, so choosing a cold cycle is the best option in terms of efficiency. It’s also the best choice for your cloth menstrual pads: hot water will set in stains, shrink your pads, and ultimately shorten their lifespan. Cold water wash is all around better for all of your laundry!

You can add your cloth menstrual pads in with other laundry items, too, like towels or sheets; no need for a separate load. If you feel squeamish about washing your pads with other items, just make sure to select a small load on your washing machine so you don’t waste water!

3. Use a natural laundry soap

Most people can use their regular laundry detergent for their pads. Just make sure its free of bleach and fabric softener, which can both shorten the life of your pads and decrease their absorbency. It’s a good idea to choose a fragrance free option as well.

4. Dry on low or line dry

The dryer is the biggest culprit when it comes to shrinking clothing and shortening its lifespan. Make sure to choose a low setting for your GladRags in order to keep them around for many years! You can also choose to hang dry if you live in a place where they will dry promptly.

5. Put them away til next month!

Store your GladRags in a clean, dry area until it’s time to use them again. A basket in the closet, or even just a corner of your sock drawer works just fine.

For more in-depth examples of how to launder your reusable menstrual pads, check out the videos below! How do you keep your pads squeaky clean? Tell us in the comments!

And the winning name is… Celestial Swirl!

name and win

Help us name this new print, and you could win a GladRags Day Pad in this color! Just leave your suggestion as a comment on this blog post. You can enter as many ideas as you’d like. We’ll pick our favorite on March 24th, when our Pantyliners, Day Pads, and Night Pads in this print will be available for purchase on GladRags.com!

Please note: you must log in or enter your email address when prompted — if you leave a comment as a ‘guest’ we won’t be able to contact you if you’ve won!

Each March, we head down to sunny Anaheim to the biggest natural products event in the USA to tell people how GladRags can change their lives… and to do some research of our own! Here’s our roundup of the most exciting stuff we discovered at the Natural Products Expo this year.

PACT Organic Undergarments

scott and cuterus wear pact

Cuterus-tested & approved.

This line of organic socks, underwear, and even t-shirts is 100% fair trade and organic. Our favorites were the no-slip secret socks for wearing with flats. Comfy, cute, and guilt-free.

Pacifica 7-Free Nail Polish

It’s not even available yet, but we’re already swooning over Pacifica’s new line of nail polish — free of the top seven yucky chemicals commonly found in nail polish. The colors are amazing, and we can’t wait for them to hit the shelves!

Bhakti Chai Ice Cream

YUM.

YUM.

Check out the TINIEST ICE CREAM CONE EVER! It tasted just like chai, and it was delicious.

Boody Bamboo Undies

An Australian brand, Boody makes the softest, most comfortable underwear I’ve ever felt. Made of sustainable bamboo fibers, these undies are naturally breathable and antibacterial. Plus, their logo is hilarious.

Better Life Cleaning Products

We’re loving this eco-friendly line created by two dads who wanted safer cleaning products for their toddlers. They also clear up some common misconceptions about “natural” cleaning products on their super-helpful website.

Chico Bags

There are so many reusable bags out there, but we love Chico’s cross-body bag (and their Benefit Corporation status, too). Super sturdy and cute!

We’ll leave you with this photo of Cuterus waving a B the Change flag. You can see more photos of booth babes (including us!) on the GladRags Instagram.

b the change

#BtheChange

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.

 

We’re donating a percentage of our 2013 profits, and want our customers’ help in choosing which organization to support. Read on for more information about five non-profits we think deserve our support, then cast your vote!

Girl Up

The Girl Up campaign educates and empowers American girls to help their sisters around the world. Girl Up participants have the opportunity to learn about global issues, develop leadership skills, and become advocates for girls and women in impoverished parts of the world. Learn more about Girl Up >>

Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides produces and distributes easy to read health information to people around the world. For 40 years, Hesperian has distributed a books including Where There is No Doctor to assist communities in providing necessary health care to individuals where there are no formal medical practitioners. Learn more about Hesperian Health Guides >>

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) uses market-based solutions to solve problems in the developing world. Current SHE initiatives include SHE28, which helps women in Rwanda create their own businesses manufacturing eco-friendly menstrual pads–providing economic empowerment as well as a menstrual solution for the women of the community. Learn more about SHE >>

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducts environmental health research to inspire consumers, companies, and government to take action for a cleaner, safer world. EWG is the force behind the Skin Deep database, which educates consumers about the ingredients in their personal care products. Learn more about EWG >>

Women for Women International

Women for Women International works with women in war-torn areas including South Sudan, Rwanda, and Kosovo. Participants are enrolled in a one-year program to help them achieve economic independence, learn about their rights as women and victims of war, and become leaders in their communities. Learn more about Women for Women International >>

My-mothers-reaction-on-my-first-periods

I was ten. It was the Parents-Teacher Meeting Day in my school and I was quite excited since I had topped a class test. I was sure I was my English teacher’s favorite in the class (much to the chagrin of others and yes I feel a tad ashamed to admit – I was that kind of a student).I knew therefore, that my parents had ample reason to be proud of me that day.

 It was a regular school day, and the meeting was supposed to take place after 2 pm. I was unusually jumpy in the morning but by lunch time, I realized I had an acute pain in my stomach. My legs were strangely wobbly and I felt very weak. It was as if someone was punching my insides. I had never felt drowsy in school before, and this in itself was quite strange since I was always known to be an athletic, energetic student who never stopped talking in class. My lower body felt numb and I found it difficult to concentrate in class. My teacher noticed me squirming in my chair and asked me what the matter was, but I couldn’t speak up as I really didn’t know what was happening to my body. After the last class for the day which was the Art class, I found the teacher staring at me. I had never really liked her before as she was very domineering and hated my clay work but she was acting very weird even by her standards. I was glad when the class was over and ran out. I had to meet my parents.

By the time my parents came to my classroom for the meeting, I was extremely tired. I had been so excited for the teacher’s comments, but somehow I couldn’t concentrate while she was praising me. My head was feeling dizzy and my stomach ache grew worse by the hour!

After the meeting, I found my parents whispering to each other. My mother approached me carefully and said, “Beta, do one thing. Go to the restroom and check your panty. If you find it’s soiled by blood, do not panic. Just come out and we shall take you home.” This freaked me out.

Was I unwell? Why was I bleeding? And from there? That’s where I pee from! No wonder the horrible art teacher was staring! Silly, wretched creature!

When I went to the restroom, I found that my white skirt had been completely stained .I felt like crying. It was my favorite school skirt! I hated the grey skirt we wore on the weekdays. I always felt that the white uniform was much better. Imagine my horror when I saw it completely ruined by the red blot. During the ride home, my mother and father kept reassuring me about how it was normal and how it happened to every girl. Of course what they didn’t tell me then was that it only happens to girls with a uterus (What if a girl/woman has her uterus removed?). Maybe they felt that the time was not right. I was already frightened by then and had started crying.

When I came home, my mother quietly took me to my parents’ room and took out from the closet, what I later found out, were some sanitary napkins. She gently explained how I should use them. She smiled at me, kissed my forehead and in calming tones said, “You are a woman now. Do not be scared. It’s a part of life. If you have any queries, I am there for you. I love you.”

I will always remember these words and somehow, they have been etched in my memory forever. At night, my mother gave me warm milk with haldi and sang me a lullaby, which I quite frankly loved although I felt that it was embarrassing since I wasn’t a small child anymore. The stomach ache, she explained did not really originate from the stomach but from the uterus. She drew me a diagram and explained how the menstrual cycle worked. I wailed and said, “So, that means that I’ll be leaking blood every month till I am in my late 40s?”

My mother smiled and kissed my hand

“It’s a gift, sweetheart. Be proud of your body. This means if you wish to be a mother someday, you can be one. Isn’t it simply fascinating?”

Yes. It is. Even now, after 14 years since my menarche, I still feel fascinated by how it works out so perfectly. I know that as a feminist I am not supposed to be so attached to my body and essentialize my womanhood by my genitals, uterus, menstruation and the like, but I feel very empowered when I menstruate. Although there is unrelenting physical discomfort, I make sure that I eat what I call comfort food, rest a lot and drink plenty of green tea. More importantly, I don’t crib about it. I love my body and having said that, I am sure I would continue to love it post my menopause as well. That’s why, in a way, I can never understand the shame teenage girls feel when they menstruate. That’s mostly because my Ma made things easier for me and was there for me to share my anxiety and problems with.

We, as a society, have a culture of silence where menstruation is seen as something that is dirty and something that should be kept a secret. My mother made sure that this did not affect me. Personally too, I disagree with this attitude and I feel that the more you talk about menstrual issues, the more powerful you feel as it helps remove fears and shame, particularly from the minds of girls who just begin menstruating. Additionally, it aids in increasing awareness about the different menstrual products available in the market which in a way, demystifies the whole phenomenon.

So to all you ladies out there, happy menstruating!

This post originally appeared on the Menstrupedia blog.

About the author of this post:

AindrilaAindrila is an I.T. engineer and has worked with an MNC . After realizing that Corporate world was not for her, she quite her job and worked as a volunteer for a few organizations. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Women Studies from T.I.S.S. Mumbai. Aindrila has a passion for poetry and she plans to publish her creations someday. Shewishes to make a positive difference in people’s lives and believes that a person needs to do what makes him/her truly happy. Following her bliss is her life’s ultimate goal.

While others live tweet the Academy Awards, here at GladRags we prefer to document our first experiences with various menstrual products. Read on for Meagan’s experience trying out the Long Pantyliner for the first time! 

8:00 am: Me and my first Long Pantyliner (in the Galapagos print, for those curious), ready to take on the day! I love the protection that my Moon Cup and GladRags Pantyliners provide during the day, so I’ve finally added the Long Pantyliner to my arsenal! We’ll see if it’s right for me when I’m out and about, doing my thang.

long pantyliner vs regular pantyliner

Long Pantyliner & regular Pantyliner in Moon Over Manhattan

10:00 am: Two hours into wear and I keep forgetting my Long Pantyliner is there. I’m only lightly spotting, so I expect my pad to last the work day. So far, so dry! It works surprisingly well with my VS Flawless Hiphugger underwear which is made of super-thin, flimsy material that doesn’t play nicely with the thicker Day and Night Pads.

2:00 pm: Still going strong! The extended length of the Long Pantyliner is hardly noticeable and it feels like I’m just wearing a normal Pantyliner (which I find to be incredibly unobtrusive!).

3:30 pm: OK, I can definitely say that I am a fan of the Long Pantyliner! It’s the perfect in-between when considering the original Pantyliner and an insert-less Day Pad. On my lightest days, I can see this being a good option to make it through an 8-hour shift with even more confidence given the longer surface area. Surely this would be good for daily general discharge as well. One in every color, please!

About the author of this post:

meagan b gladragsA menstrual cup user for five years, Meagan has been converting other women to reusable menstrual products since 2009. Occasionally accompanied to the office by her two pugs, she has been known to carry over twelve tubes of lipstick in her purse at one time. Outside of the GladRags office, she can be found infusing bourbon and practicing her enviable make-up skills.

Hey, ladies and gentlemen! My name is Meagan and I’m the person you’ll reach if you want to gab about sustainable menstrual products! Before you entrust me with your personal questions or general customer queries, I figure you’d probably like to know a little more about me and my history with GladRags.

Once upon a time, in a Portland neighborhood far, far away, a friend of mine told me about a magical little device called the Moon Cup. The adventure that this little cup would send me on eventually brought me to the GladRags family as an enthusiastic disciple and I began traveling the land to spread the word of a more sustainable cycle!meagan b gladrags

In less fairy tale terms, I attended conventions and helped to run tables at various events to speak with women about GladRags. Over the last five years I’ve talked to hundreds of you and heard all kinds of first hand experiences with GladRags’ product line! While some ladies like to share cooking tips, I love to share tips on how best to keep your pads stain-free, or how to get a great seal with your menstrual cup.

In my non-GladRags time, I’m a hopeless makeup addict, allergy-friendly baking enthusiast, purveyor of odd cocktails, sashimi-loving gaijin, and pug dog wrangler. If you want to call and chat about the virtues of always carrying a lint roller or how MAC’s Lady Danger is the best red lipstick, you know my number! Of course, I’d be happy to help you with your GladRags order as well.

Absorbently yours,

Meagan B.

uhohSo you got your new menstrual cup, waited patiently for your period to start, figured out how to insert it (thanks, YouTube videos!) and now… it’s leaking! Before you give up, remember the first time you used a tampon. Did you get it right on the very first try? Probably not. Trying something new–especially something so personal!–can be scary, especially as an adult. Cut yourself some slack, pour yourself a glass of wine, and read on for my top tips for those new to reusable menstrual cups.

1. The pop

When you insert a menstrual cup, you need to make sure that it’s popped completely open once its inside your body. Some women can feel the “pop” and some women can’t. You may need to run your finger around the inside of your cup while it’s inserted to see if it feels completely open and round, or slightly smushed or flat on one side. If it feels a little flat, you’ll need to reposition or reinsert the cup.

2. The shimmy

This helps if your cup is flattened or if it’s simply not quite in the right position. To perform the shimmy, grip the base of the cup (or the stem) between your thumb and forefinger and gently wiggle the cup back and forth to help your cup find its perfect position in your body.

3. The twist

The twist can be a bit controversial in that it is super helpful for some, while simply impossible for others. It’s worth a try or two if you’re new to the world of menstrual cups. Just grab the base of your cup and rotate it gently within your body. Some women are able to give it a full turn, while others manage just a slight twist. Either way, it can help your new menstrual cup form a seal and prevent leaks.

Overall, the most important thing is to relax and remind yourself that it’s totally normal to need some time to adjust to a new menstrual product! While you get used to it, just make sure to wear a pantyliner as a back-up (and maybe keep those skin-tight white jeggings in the closet for a few days).

If you need some personalized support, feel free to get in touch with us to ask questions! We’re more than happy to help you get through the learning curve of switching to a menstrual cup.

About the author of this post:

tracy is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, practice yoga, and hang out with her cats.