Sustain gets it. What do I mean by that? Basically they understand that as a woman who menstruates and is sexually active, I want products that are not only healthy and environmentally conscious but products that are playful and stimulating. I want products that celebrate female orgasm and products that respect both my vagina and our planet. Sustain pretty much knocks it out of the park when it comes to all those things.
Sustain Natural was founded in 2014 by Meika Hollender and her father, Jeffrey Hollender, the co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation. A women’s health activist, Meika was recently recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” and Forbes' “30 Under 30” for her mission to enact positive social change and improve reproductive care in the United States. Environmentalists at their core, they create all of their products with the planet in mind. From sourcing Fair Trade latex for their condoms, to using organic ingredients in their personal care products, Sustain believes in building a brand that makes the world a better place. Since its inception, Sustain has always been committed to women with its dedicated fund 10%4Women, in which 10% of profits go to organizations including Planned Parenthood to provide access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services for low-income women in the U.S.
Sustain also understands the importance of product safety and ingredient transparency. Their condoms, lubes and wipes are now all Made Safe certified, meaning they have passed ingredient screening for known:
- Behavioral toxins
- Developmental toxins
- Endocrine disruptors
- Fire retardants
- Heavy metals
- High-risk pesticides
- Reproductive toxins
- Toxic solvents
- Harmful VOCs
That's a pretty big deal considering like most personal care products sold here in the United States, the FDA does not require menstrual hygiene product manufacturers to disclose ingredients or conduct testing to determine their products’ long-term effects on women’s bodies. The majority of traditional menstrual products are made of conventional (non-organic) cotton, rayon, wood pulp or blends of all three, and can contain harmful ingredients like chlorine dioxide, dyes and synthetic fragrances. Many of the pesticides and herbicides used on cotton crops can leave a chemical residue in non-organic period products. Chlorine, used to bleach these products, creates a dangerous chemical called dioxin which is released into the environment and/or left in the product as a contaminant. Dioxins, a known carcinogen, are among the most dangerous substances on earth, and have been linked to a host of health issues including reproductive and developmental problems, heart disease, and even organ and genetic damage.
My period can be stressful enough, so knowing that I was using products that are better, safer and more vagina-friendly was a big relief. I mean seriously, who wants to think about about toxins and carcinogens in addition to bleeding, cramping, back-aching, and multiple trips to the restroom-making. NOT ME.
Sustain also takes good care of you on the days your vagina is a bit more relaxed and ready to play. The brand’s line of organic sensual personal care is the first in the U.S. to recognize two often-ignored phases of intimacy: foreplay and post-play. According to co-founder Meika Hollender, “Over 80% of women have faked an orgasm in their life, and we think that’s an issue...Foreplay is essential to orgasm for women, and orgasms tend to correlate with sexual satisfaction." I couldn't agree more. Sustain's products are formulated with your health in mind but are also extremely effective at helping you achieve mind-blowing orgasms on the regular.
I was particularly impressed with their Body + Massage Oil and Personal Lubricant. The Body + Massage Oil is a simple, clean formulation which blends organic almond and jojoba oils with aphrodisiacs like orange, ylang ylang, and ginger. The result is a sultry, slippery and light oil that works wonderfully for naked full body massages. Due to the non-toxic and extremely gently nature of the formulation I felt very comfortable having my partner use it on and around my most intimate parts. It's relatively fast absorbing and doesn't leave you or your sheets too greasy. While I've generally preferred coconut oil as my go to all natural lube, I enjoyed experimenting with Sustain's Personal Lubricant. I'm by no means an expert on lube but this one kept things sexy and slippery. The primary ingredient is Organic Aloe and it's 100% vegan, compatible with latex, free of parabens, glycerin, dyes, silicone, petroleum and gluten. Seriously Sustain, thank you for keeping the petrochemicals out of my pussy!
If you're anything like me and can be prone to urinary tract infections you probably like to pee and wipe post-sex. Plus sometimes things just get messy and it's nice to have something better than toilet paper to do the job. Sustain's PostPlay Wipes are the perfect way to gently clean yourself. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the average feminine care wipe ingredient list but they're generally pretty gross. Check out the chart below courtesy of Women's Voices For The Earth. You'll often find things like parabens and synthetic fragrance lurking within. Sustain keeps their wipes simple, relying on water, shea butter, aloe, vitamin E, honey and lavender to get you clean, fresh and quickly back to cuddles.
Sustain makes it easy and safe to meet all of your feminine care needs. Their prices are reasonable and they offer all sorts of convenient subscription options that allow you to customize personal care and period kits. As a company they continue to raise industry standards for women focused products. “With Sustain, we hope to spark a movement towards full ingredient transparency industry-wide and to encourage an open dialogue about these crucial health issues,” says Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sustain Natural. “We strive to be a symbol for rising global standards of what is expected of business. We want to change the rules, not just be an exception to them.”
I'll happily continue to support Sustain and try out any new products. I feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that women now have access to a full line of vagina friendly products. Once again Made Safe has proven they only work with companies that are aligned with our #truthbeauty values. We still have a long way to go in fighting for safety and transparency in the health and beauty industries, but with Made Safe and Sustain leading the way our bodies can stop worrying and start enjoying.