Hilary Duff got really into researching products for baby and for herself in the last stages of her pregnancy with her daughter, Banks. It was during that time that she discovered she actually had real discerning taste for diapers and menstrual-care products — particularly when it comes to what’s in them, on them and what they do to the planet.
“You know, you’re so like immobile and just tired that you have a lot of time to sit on the Internet and do research and order products and get yourself prepared,” Duff, who will be speaking at BlogHer Health in Los Angeles this weekend, told SheKnows. “And the first few things I got were diapers that I ordered for Banks. I wasn’t totally happy with them and I was just trying a couple of other things and then I found Happy Little Camper. I loved them and I started reading about the company and they seemed so authentic and transparent and I liked the way they fit — so I just kept ordering them.”
Because she dug the diapers and the vibe of the company so much and was already telling all her other mom friends about them, Duff had her management reach out to Naturalena to find out more and see if there was some way she could get involved with their work. That’s when she learned about Veeda, their line of menstrual care products (which include natural cotton pads and tampons — with applicator or without — with no chemicals, dyes or synthetics).
“I learned about [Veeda] and, this is kind of like weird, but I realized that I was using the same products for like 20 years? Because I got busy becoming a mom and putting my kids first, I’m like ‘oh right. I have a tampon sitting in my body for basically like seven days every month and what is on this and what is this made of?’” she said. “And I was like, this is a conversation that needs to be opened up and educate people on, you know? We get taught how to deal with our periods but not how to pick the products that we should be putting in our bodies.”
When it comes to period-care and education, Duff says she is passionate about normalizing it. She even shared her first period story — and says what was otherwise “quite traumatizing” was definitely made easier by having a mom and sister open to talking about their own periods with her.
“My parents had taken a day trip to go antiquing and I was home alone and I was — I can’t even remember how old I was — like, maybe 12 or 13? And my friends had just been over swimming, some kids in the neighborhood, and they have left. I went to the bathroom and saw blood and I knew what to do, ’cause I have an older sister,” she said. “But I figured out how to use a tampon. I didn’t even have a pad. I went into my sister’s supplies and knew what to do —’cause I had seen her do it and talked a little bit about it with my mom and my sister. But I wasn’t totally prepared and I was very shocked and very embarrassed.”
She says later, when she told her mom about it that she felt “like everyone knew” that she’d started her period: “It was so horrible and I just don’t want my kids to have that experience,” Duff says. “Luca has already been talked to about it — like he knows what a period is and he knows what tampons look like and he knows it’s not gross. I think it’s a parent’s responsibility to talk to their girls about it and get them prepared. But, honestly also to talk to their boys about it. Like it’s a natural thing and it’s the reason why we all have life on this planet. It should be looked at like a gift and be respected, you know?”
Duff tries to bring that open and thoughtful philosophy to her work as Chief Brand Officer for the two brands from Naturalena.
“It was a big opportunity for me, obviously, fitting into my life as a mom and a woman. I get to come in and redesign packaging and kind of share my expectations of what I’m looking for in products. We’re working on building a product line and just spreading the word and making premium, natural products available to everyone without the premium price,” she said. “As a new mom, your whole entire world is flipped upside down, you know? Your identity has changed. Like it’s quite shocking. Getting to be a part of a company that gets to help take that guessing work out is an honor, actually, for me — because I’ve been there and want to make sure we make the right choices for our babies. I think that getting that message out is important. I think when you hear ‘natural’ and ‘clean,’ you start to think that the price tag is going to be really big and it’s important for us as a company to be reachable for everyone.”
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