20 January 2021 | Views
The past 10 years have seen an evolution in the feminine hygiene market
Image Credit: shutterstock.com
India is in the face of a personal hygiene crisis. Only a very small percentage of Indian women are able to afford sanitary napkins on their periods and even they are unaware that the pads they are using are composed of plastics, bleaches, polymers, perfumes, antibacterial agents and other toxins that can leave them susceptible to a host of problems harmful for their body like cervical cancers, urinary tract infections, rashes, allergies and general skin sensitivity.
The personal hygiene industry is a multibillion dollar industry, expected to reach $15 billion by 2023, so one can imagine the waste being generated globally due to the use of synthetic personal care product. Do we really want to leave behind a plastic footprint on our planet?
What’s sad is that no one even cared about it until very recently, it took the world hitting pause- owing to a global pandemic for people to realise how essential it is for them to change their perspective, alongside their consumption habits and patterns. Consumers are now choosing to make more informed choices and adapt a sustainable way of life.
Informed buying is the way forward, where a consumer chooses to read the product details before purchasing it. However, products containing harmful ingredients do not mention so on their packaging which is both misleading and dangerous. There are no legitimate government laws in favour of testing products before sale; due to this, one cannot ensure which products are indeed safe for both our body and the environment. While the intent of purchasing sustainable products is a great one, high costs of products and no subsidies from the government makes it difficult for the masses to invest in these products.
The past 10 years have seen an evolution in the feminine hygiene market. Now, almost all products like cosmetics, skin care, menstrual hygiene products, etc are available with safer alternatives, plastic is no longer the wonder material in creating personal care products.
There is a shift in the paradigm and we are going back to embracing our routes. It is indeed true that nature has a solution to everything and all we have to do is opt for the right product. One can simply start by opting for organic pads- which are both comfortable and the eco-friendly.
I believe there is a great scope for progress. A way forward would be for the government to implement stringent quality control laws and introduce subsidies for rural women, in order for them to have access to personal care products. There is also a need to make products more affordable and accessible.
On a brighter side, there has been immense conversation around women’s hygiene- leading to a massive growth of awareness and information amidst people. Social media has been a true boon in helping promote sustainable intimate hygiene products whilst spreading awareness about the harmful effects of synthetic products. This has led to a notable shift- a rise in the sales of sustainable products and offerings.
Customers are no longer fooled by marketing gimmicks, and are choosing a more responsible way of living. They are making more informed choices, and are consciously spending money on the correct products. One must also be careful about misleading products, as organic has become a very loosely used term these days. It gives a bad name to well thought out, well researched and genuine organic products. It is great that several amazing brands have joined hands to allow an individual to adapt entirely to an eco-conscious living. Let this be the future!
Deepanjali Kanoria, Founder, Heyday, Gurugram