V-Care – The transition from hygiene to self-care
Once a taboo subject, feminine intimate care is getting easier to talk about and is also coming more into the focus of cosmetic brands. Women are becoming more attentive and open about matters of the “intimate area”, such as pelvic floor health and vaginal balance. Current products range from well-known intimate wash lotions and intimate deodorants to accessories for effective pelvic floor muscle training and anti-aging care. According to WGSN Beauty, the market is set to grow to a value of 33 billion euros by 2026.
The entire category of intimate care becomes even more relevant when the intimate care products are subcategorized according to the different life stages of women – pregnancy, after birth, menopause. Consumers are treating their body more and more like an ecosystem and are looking for solutions that are suited to their current health needs.
For this reason, it is important for brands to boost their credibility with science. Consumers have more access than ever to medical advice about their intimate area. The British Internet retailer Cult Beauty, for example, started the #Vulvalution campaign in 2019 regarding the needs of the intimate area, on subjects ranging from health to sexual pleasure, and offering the corresponding products. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to a charity for gynaecological cancer, another subject on which the taboos urgently need to be broken.
There are also specialized retailers and platforms dedicated to intimate care, who offer relevant information along with products made from safe and personalized ingredients. According to reports from Vogue, more and more brands are considering the pleasure factor in addition to vaginal care, since “the boundaries between pleasure, health care, and body perception are blurred – and so it should be if women want to feel good about themselves and every part of their body”.
The new classics: wash lotions…
The times of harsh wash lotions with irritating surfactants and fragrances are over. Most wash lotions typically have the right pH for the feminine intimate region (pH 3.8 to 4.5) and contain no alcohol, parabens, phthalates, or fragrances. Confirmation that products have been tested by gynaecologists is also important to consumers.
A new concept is maintaining and promoting the natural balance of the microflora. The correct pH is important and is often adjusted using lactic acid, which occurs naturally in the vaginal flora. Yet, the available products also include other probiotic formulations.
Zero Taboos from the USA, for example, offers unisex products with prebiotics and postbiotics that not only cleanse but also help to protect the microbiome. Their line includes a cleanser, a lotion that turns toilet paper into a prebiotic moist tissue, and a soothing balsam with coral extract and evening primrose oil.
…and hair removal
The removal of body hair was long considered a “duty” for women of all ages. The current younger generation is resisting this social pressure and changing their habits in this respect. The market is also responding: now, alongside the familiar shaving utensils, you will also find pubic hair care products.
There are conditioning sprays that hydrate and care for the skin and hair of the intimate region, as well as oils aimed at making the pubic hair supple, which also happens to help if it is ever shaved.
Anti-aging for the intimate region
Products and devices for the intimate area no longer all focus on cleansing, and are increasingly finding inspiration from face care.
vSculpt by Joylux, for example, is a device for at home that uses red LED light to stimulate collagen production, promote blood circulation, and prevent dehydration. At the same time, vibrations stimulate muscle contraction, which improves firmness. The device can be used with a hyaluronic acid gel in addition, to enhance the effects even further.
The Perfect V was the first brand to revolutionize the intimate care category, in 2017. Instead of offering the conventional hygiene standards, the Scandinavian luxury brand offers pampering products to rejuvenate, support, and beautify the “V region”. Their care line, for instance, includes a scrub and an anti-wrinkle serum.
WooWoo Lift & Tighten Gel and Nelly De Vuyst Bio|Femme Firming Toner promise greater firmness and lifting effects.
The brand TWO L(I)PS from Singapore is also breaking the bounds of classical intimate care, of simple hygiene and wellness, by expanding its range with a category of products inspired by face care formulations. These specialized products contain, among other things, hydrolyzed collagen, vitamin C derivatives, activated charcoal, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants from microalgae and green tea.
The two products with the most unique selling points are undoubtedly the anti-pigmentation Undercover Peptide 36 Anti-Blemish Cream for a more uniform complexion and the Diamond Gentle Vitamin C Serum for greater luminance and less dullness – all for the skin of the vulva, mind you.
Pelvic floor training
Pelvic floor dysfunctions result from a weakening or loss of control of the muscles that support the pelvic floor. This can lead to incontinence, impaired sexual sensation, and loss of general quality of life.
Products for such functional disorders, such as special panty liners, have been around for a long time. Recently, however, attention has shifted more towards prevention and active regeneration. Products offered include so-called Kegel devices that look like little vibrators and can be used to perform exercises that strengthen the muscles.
Innovative is the Perifit, whose developers took inspiration from the Nintendo Wii concept. This Kegel trainer is an internal controller that responds to contractions of the pelvic floor muscles to control a video game on a smartphone. This is intended to increase the fun factor of routine pelvic floor training.
- Mintel Report (Health and wellness trends in feminine intimate care; Feb´20)
- Vogue Germany 2019/2020 - Warum die Intimpflege der größte Wellness-Trend 2020 ist - www.vogue.de/beauty/artikel/intimpflege-wellness-trend
- www.cultbeauty.co.uk/blog/2019/03/join-the-vulvalution, visited 01.09.2020
- theboomi.com, visited 01.09.2020
- Intimate Wellness Shop
- asktia.com, visited 01.09.2020
- www.twolips.vip, visited 01.09.2020
- theperfectv.com, visited 01.09.2020
- perifit.co, visited 01.09.2020
- joylux.com, visited 01.09.2020
- woowoo.fun/products/woowoo-tighten-it, visited 01.09.2020
- nellydevuyst.com/product/firming-toner, visited 01.09.2020
- (Zero Taboos) www.stoputiforever.com/products/, visited 01.09.2020
Senior Product & Sales Manager
During my studies in biology I never thought I would end up in sales in the Personal Care industry. But as life goes, it happened about 7 years ago. I postgraduated in business administration and the mixture of scientific content (anti-pollution, microbiom, epigenetics...) and sales is a thrilling experience for me. I have been working for IMPAG in Germany since November 2017.
My biggest hobby is food...and sports (jogging, swimming, cycling, diving...) to indulge the former without a guilty conscience. But as I don't like cooking, my husband is taking over for me.