We all spend a lot of time in the bathroom, managing (what might be seen as) embarrassing fluids, hairs and smells. Here’s a roundup of items to make your personal daily and monthly rituals more convenient, productive and all-natural. You might be surprised by the updates to your favorite bathroom gadgets and products, and how they’ll simplify your life and de-stigmatize what happens behind the bathroom door.
Squatty Potty ($29-$99)
One of the best things about the squatty potty is the commercial. The ad wiz who came up with this campaign compared a good bowel movement to soft serve unicorn ice cream. (Genius!) They claim that this toilet stool will change the way you poop. I was interested, but dubious. I ordered the basic 7” Ecco model ($29), and was immediately happy with how space saving it is; it fit snugly around the toilet when not in use. In terms of aesthetics, there are upscale models to match any decor including a $99 clear ghost version, but I’m happy with the basic white.
In terms of actual use it’s not like you need a flexible yoga squat to make this work. Just like a little foot stool for your throne, the squatty potty helps to correct your form for that important daily delivery. At first my family was bewildered, but within a few days of use, we all quickly came to love it. After you’ve finished your business, you actually feel cleared out. The stool works, and begs the question: how have we been living without it for so long? And who designed toilets anyway? A converted friend of mine says she refuses to go without one. When she’s in a public restroom now, she has “to kick over a garbage and put my feet on it.” There is a $29 travel version, should you become as completely converted and refuse to vacation without a plan for efficient evacuation. Once you’ve had the best poop of your life, it’s impossible to go back.
How much of a nuisance is camel toe in your life? I think it can usually be explained by an inseam that’s just too short on pants that don’t fit correctly, in which case, get rid of those pants! But for anyone who loves tight clothes, I’ve found a solution for your frontal wedgie. Camel No is a line of seamless underwear created by designer Maggie Han that claims to eliminate unseemly bulges. To test drive these undies, I put on my snuggest yoga leggings. The underwear has an insert in the crotch that feels like a silicone rectangle. The seamless material is made from microfiber and spandex. They come in three styles: thong, tap shorts and boy short cuts, with nary a panty line in sight. They were comfortable without feeling like I was wearing a pad, and from the outside the insert was undetectable. But between the synthetic material and the camel toe protective panel, I didn’t feel like my vagina could breathe that well. If camel toe is a real issue for you, then these panties are probably a godsend. But they (according to this author’s opinion!) probably shouldn’t become your everyday undergarments, unless you’re also okay with frequent yeast infections. Drag artists out there, is this something you could use? You probably already have 10 better solutions.
Disposable Bic razors just aren’t the same as a shave with a straight razor at your favorite fancy shaving spot. But we’ve found a razor that actually provides that close of a shave at home. The Traditional Safety Razor by Van Der Hagen comes with five double-edged, ice-tempered razor blades that feel dangerous. You can use either side for shaving, making the flip around your face that much faster. The chrome handle is easy to hold and feels luxurious, and the razor gets so close to the skin that it reduces irritation and razor burn. My husband rocks a beard but used the blade to trim his neck. Although he was nervous at first, he loved that he didn’t even have to apply pressure for a clean shave; the blades are so sharp that it just whisks the hair away. A hot washcloth and a lather, and you can feel like you’re at the fancy barbershop.
Thinx Period Underwear ($30-$38)
You’ve probably seen the advertisements for Thinx Period Underwear all over the subway and wondered how well they worked and if they could possibly be right for you. The company would not send me a pair to try, so I found a friend who had just ordered some. Thinx claims that you can wear them all day during your period and they will keep you dry and leak free. The underwear come in many styles from thong to highwaist. My initial thought was that they would feel like a giant maxi pad and would inevitably result in a mess. (My second thought was about the behind the scenes drama at the company.)
My friend tried a pair during her heaviest day and was said it didn’t feel like a diaper and it lasted all day. Where was all that blood going? It seemed like magic; it just absorbed into the undies. When she took them off in the evening and rinsed them in the sink (as suggested for proper care), she imagined the blood would rinse out all down the drain. But it didn’t. It was like it just got absorbed into the material and disappeared. That’s crazy, but true. The company says each pair is the equivalent of two tampons, but my friend thought it seemed like more. I’m wary of having to change my underwear in the middle of the day, but that could be avoided with proper planning. The only real problem is that you’ll need quite a few pairs to get you through the week without non-stop rinsing, washing and drip-drying, and at around $30 a pop, it’s quite an upfront investment. But one that might just be worth it.
Lola Tampons ($10 single box/ $9 for two or more boxes)
If you’re not ready to make the leap to period panties, then you can at least find solace in a new brand of 100% organic cotton tampons. Lola products (which also includes thin pads) have no toxins, dyes or synthetic stuff. Even if you never thought about what was in your Tampax (rayon, wood pulp and bleach), or what the long term effects are (no one really knows, but rayon fibers can contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome, and 24-hour-a-day exposure to, five days a month for 30 years is significant), there’s no doubt that going all natural with something you’re putting inside your body is probably a better idea. The founders Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman ask the question, “After all, if we care about the ingredients in everything from our food to our face cream, why should our feminine care be any different?” They created a product that doesn’t include synthetic fibers, chemical additives, fragrance, dyes, chlorine bleach or latex. The tampons themselves range from light to super plus, and work and feel the same as your standard issue drugstore brands. The big difference is that the boxes are customized to your flow and delivered monthly to your house, so you are never caught off guard with a middle of the night run to the pharmacy. A single box of 18 tampons costs a few dollars more than your drugstore brand, but these are organic with a BPA-free applicator–and the price includes shipping costs.
Poo Pourri ($9.95)
If you’re someone who likes to “drop a deuce” at work or any other public place, but get embarrassed by any lingering smells that your co-workers might encounter, then Poo Pourri is for you. Unlike air freshener, each portable bottle can be spritzed directly into the toilet before you go, and the oil traps odors in the water. The only smells will be of the essential oil scent that you’ve selected, ranging from rosemary to spiced apples to cedarwood, not like chemicals masking a gross smell (hello Febreeze). Like tee tree oil on a sweaty yoga mat, the oils cleanse and evaporate the odors. With so many fragrance choices, you’ll want to leave Poo Pourri in your bathroom and tuck one in your purse, so you’ll never worry about smelling up the restroom after all those company luncheons.
Diva Cup, ($25)
I’ll admit that when friends started talking the Diva Cup up to me I was dubious. It looks awfully big, uncomfortable and unwieldy, but let me preach the gospel to you, menstruating sisters. When you wear a Diva Cup you actually forget that you have your period. On all but the absolute heaviest days I insert it in the shower, then change it in the shower the next morning. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve with insertion, and you do need to be fairly comfortable with your own vagina to use it, but is that such a bad thing? Once it’s in place you really cannot feel it at all. I used to have some sort of tampon-related blowout at least once a month, and even if disaster didn’t ensue, there was always that uncomfortable, gotta-change-this-soon sensation that creeps up on you. With the Diva Cup all that is ancient history. And it’s free of latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene and dyes and pretty much lasts forever (it’s made from silicone). So to review, chemical-free, cheap, waste-free, more comfortable than tampons and encourages you to get down with your lady parts–what is not to like here? –Annaliese Griffin
Instead of reaching for the Advil each month like you have since you were 12, why not try “manage your period like a boss” this cycle? The De Lune Menstruation Tonic claims to replenish the body with iron, calcium, and vitamin B6 and give relief of menstrual pain and other muscular cramps. Plus, it’s all natural, organic, and, with ingredients like apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, raw honey, and vanilla extract, it tastes good, too. The company recommends drinking 1-2 bottles for the first few days of your period. They say “Our dream is for ‘that time of the month’ to no longer be a dreaded taboo, but instead a reason to treat yourself.” Although I don’t suffer from menstrual cramps so can’t test out the claims, this is a philosophy I can get behind.