After a string of unfortunate tampon experiences nearly eight years ago, I’ve been a staunch menstrual cup user. Intense itching, pain, and what seemed like some type of infection would ensue just a couple hours after inserting a tampon. Although I didn’t know why it was happening at the time, I knew it had to stop, so I ultimately banished tampons from going anywhere near my sensitive vagina forever.
...Or so I thought.
Being a writer pushes your boundaries in a lot of ways, but I would never have guessed that using a tampon again would be one of them. Discussing the contents of the sample box and that little aside about my fear of tampons with Rael’s incredibly kind coordinator, Diana Zapata, definitely set off my anxiety a little. But after learning about the level of care the founders of Rael put into the materials and production process, I pulled on my big girl panties and took the plunge.
Founded in Southern California in 2017 by three forward-thinking women, their professional backgrounds varied, but the goal was always the same: a commitment to “sourcing the highest quality ingredients, continuing product innovation, and offering easy access around the world.”
With care not only for the customer but also for the workers who play a role in crafting each pad and tampon, it’s easy to understand why so many women are declaring their loyalty to the brand. Small-batch manufacturing fosters the team’s dedication to research and development, allowing them time to listen to customer feedback and adapt products to better suit their needs.
Rael’s organic cotton tampons, pads, pantyliners, period panties, feminine wash, and face masks were created for women by women, which, if you ask me, is the only way to start a business centered around menstruation. So when the box arrived, beautifully packaged, I already felt more at ease. Not only because of the company’s roots, but also because the Texas-sourced cotton is certified organic, chlorine-free, and opposes the use of dangerous chemicals found in brand name pads, like styrene, acetone, and chloromethane.
The first two days of my period are always the heaviest, so I used the regular absorbency organic cotton tampon coupled with a Rael organic cotton pantyliner. Though the applicator did require a bit of coaxing--one hand to hold the applicator and another to insert--once in place, I forgot I was even wearing a tampon. The liner was super absorbent, catching any overflow from the day, really thin and discreet, which is a must for me, and I was impressed by the adhesive’s staying power. Best of all is that I experienced zero irritation from either product. And in all honesty, it felt really nice to actually have other options aside from my menstrual cup mainstay.
In addition to the organic cotton tampons and pads, I also tried the herbal feminine wash. It had a light, fruity aroma, lathered well, and while I didn’t notice any added freshness--probably because my odor and ph levels were already balanced--I didn’t experience any irritation. Which, coming from a woman who was once a child that broke out in a rash from bar soaps and gumball machine rings, this is a victory for my vulva.
The Rael fresh forward sheet mask with tea tree oil was intensely refreshing and perfect for cooling and hydrating my skin, while also combating those annoying breakouts during menstruation. Made with bamboo yarn and nano-technology, unfolding this mask was unlike any other. The quality of material was clearly there, and I could actually smell the tea tree oil. Great for waking up in the morning and detoxifying a puffy face after insufficient sleep, my skin looked plump and dewy. It seriously felt like the moisture was locked in all day long, something I, a woman in her early thirties, definitely appreciate.
Rael also stocks super innovative period panties. These aren’t the type that have the absorbency built-in, a tampon or pad is still required, but they are designed to prevent a heavy flow from bleeding through on your clothes and sheets thanks to a protective layer of film, a product Rael customers highly recommend.
All in all, I couldn’t have been happier with my Rael experience. The brand’s superior quality, genuine care for my health, and commitment to community, rather than corporate greed, was apparent. Much like the hundreds of glowing customer reviews on the Rael’s website, my only complaint is that they weren’t around sooner.
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