K-Beauty for Your Vulva? Rael Applies South Korean Innovation to Menstrual Care

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Okay-beauty, or Korean skincare and cosmetics, has ingrained itself in our international magnificence lexicon. And, so far as Rael (opens in new tab) is anxious, it’s for extra than simply our face. You’ve possible seen Rael—the holistic private care model with minimalist, pastel packaging—on the cabinets at your native CVS, Walgreens, Target, or Walmart. The model was based by three South Korean girls who, after shifting to the U.S., observed a discrepancy in efficient, wholesome, and clear female care merchandise. In the States, there isn’t any regulation requiring manufacturers to disclose components for menstrual merchandise. According to the National Center for Health Research, low ranges of poisonous chemical compounds dioxin and rayon have been present in non-organic tampons. Organic, pure female care in South Korea accounts for 30 p.c of the market, whereas within the U.S., it’s lower than 10 p.c, per Rael. The firm’s cofounders Aness An, Binna Won, and Yanghee Paik, tapped into the brand new wishes of the American client, who more and more search non-toxic components, sustainable packaging, give-back initiatives, and transparency. Within three months of launching on Amazon in 2017, the model grew to become the bestselling product within the natural female care class, thanks to its high-performing natural pads and tampons. In a dialog with Marie Claire, CEO Yanghee Paik admits that Rael entered a class within the midst of disruption, with robust startup opponents like Cora and Lola. But Rael is taking its personal strategy by pairing South Korean manufacturing expertise with U.S.-derived natural cotton to create best-in-class care for girls. There have been lots of synthetic fragrances added to female care merchandise to make our intimate components scent like flowers. That is one other stigma that we’re making an attempt to actually take away.Yanghee PaikOkay-Beauty Boss: Rael CEO and cofounder Yanghee Paik desires to create a brand new normal of female care. (Image credit score: Rael)“In Korea, there have been lots of improvements with the expertise in female care,” Paik says. “We are used to utilizing larger high quality, larger performing, and extra comfy merchandise.” Rael sources natural cotton from Texas, and manufactures in Korea utilizing its novel expertise, which incorporates Leak Lockers, or indentations within the heart and aspect panels to stop overflow. There can be a center panel—the Super Absorbent Core—that immediately absorbs blood. Tampons are made with an natural cotton protecting veil, which prevents tampon shedding and fiber loss. Paik says most opponents lack the veil or the veil isn’t natural cotton. Rael applicators are additionally plant-based and BPA-free.“The natural cotton materials we use could be very clear as a result of there may be proof that for at the very least three years, they haven’t utilized any pesticides to the plant and soil the cotton grows in,” Paik says.Rael’s product lineup additionally consists of interval panties, menstrual cups, heating patches, skincare, physique care, pimples care, and vulva care. Fragrance- and chlorine-free female wash, aid gel, female mist, and wipes make up its Soothing Vulva Care Collection—marketed as “Okay-beauty care for down there.” What many individuals—sure, even some girls—refer to because the vagina is definitely the vulva. (The vulva is the outer a part of the feminine genitals, and the vagina is positioned inside your physique.) Unlike douching, which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) doesn’t suggest, vulva care focuses on addressing issues like itchiness, irritation, and dryness. These points usually end result from routine actions, like intercourse, train, and utilizing soaps with synthetic fragrances. Rael’s vulva care line treats these illnesses utilizing frequent pure Okay-beauty components, like hyaluronic acid, mugwort, cica, and lactobacillus aloe advanced.“We’re utilizing Korean botanicals that we historically use in Korea for vulva care,” Paik says. “We’re approaching female hygiene, or intimate care, the way in which that we strategy skincare in Okay-beauty.”When requested who ought to use vulva care, Paik says nearly anybody, as basic physique wash can include fragrances that may disrupt the pure pH stability of the vagina. High vaginal pH places girls in danger for bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial overgrowth that causes an disagreeable odor, in accordance to Healthline. Dr. Shamsah Amersi, a Los Angeles-based OB-GYN who collaborated with Rael on the launch of its vulva care merchandise, says that the lactobacillus aloe advanced present in Rael’s merchandise helps preserve the best pH stability of between 3.5 and 5. She advises her sufferers to search natural female care that does not have artificial components. However, Jen Villavicencio, M.D., a lead for fairness transformation at ACOG and a training OB-GYN in Washington D.C., is skeptical about merchandise that declare to stability vaginal pH. “The bacterial flora of the vagina is a fragile stability that naturally protects the vagina,” says Dr. Villavicencio. “Cleansing the vagina by any means threatens that stability and probably will increase the danger for vaginal infections, vaginitis, and even vaginal harm.“If somebody is experiencing uncommon vaginal signs resembling itching, elevated discharge, or a brand new odor, we suggest they search the counsel of a healthcare skilled that may appropriately diagnose and suggest remedy. For routine vulvar hygiene, we suggest utilizing water or unscented soaps and solely for exterior use.”Women ought to search vaginal-related merchandise that disclose the pH of the product itself, says Alpha Medical’s chief medical officer Dr. Mary Jacobsen, an OB-GYN who studied at Stanford, although, sadly, many don’t. The pH of Rael’s Soothing Feminine Wash—which can be utilized all around the physique—is between 4.5 and 5.5, to assist preserve a wholesome pH degree for the vulva space.We need to educate customers that they do not have to scent one thing aside from our pure odor. We can hold it very pure. Yanghee PaikRael goals to refine female care, with a contact of Okay-Beauty botanicals. (Image credit score: Rael)Rael shuns the concept of protecting up your pure odor with synthetic flower scents discovered in lots of female hygiene merchandise—which additionally irritates the vulva—and suggests as an alternative embracing your pure scent whereas growing hydration.“There have been lots of synthetic fragrances added to female care merchandise to make our intimate components scent like flowers,” Paik says. “That is one other stigma that we’re making an attempt to actually take away. We need to educate customers that they do not have to scent one thing aside from our pure odor. We can hold it very pure and do not have to put any fragrances into our physique.” Paik provides that merchandise encouraging your girl components to scent like flowers had been a results of the male-dominated CPG business. Paik and her co-founders are breaking norms in methods past their product line. In 2018, Rael raised $17.5 million in Series A funding, and simply this 12 months, $35 million in Series B—the most important funding within the class to date. Although the female care business is valued at $4 billion, it has been largely ignored by the innovation financial system. Case in level: Tampons and pads have kind of used the identical design since 1933. “We are ensuring individuals perceive the advantages of utilizing natural pure merchandise,” she says. “If you go to large retailers, you may see that 80 p.c of the aisle is devoted to typical merchandise. We need individuals to know there are higher choices on the market.”


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