More and more the lines between beauty, health and wellness are becoming blurred. We’ve even seen the creation of a new beauty category, vanicure, which focuses on specifically on beauty for the area ‘down there’.
esprit caught up with The Perfect V founder and CEO Avonda Urben, who had stints at Revlon and L’Oréal in New York before creating the first luxury line of skincare for the V, and Queen V founder Lauren Steinberg, who heads up the female-run and female-focused feminine wellness company specifically focused on vaginal health.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
Avonda: “It’s rare to find a true white space but there it was – the V area was previously neglected by the beauty companies. Some personal care companies had some drug store products – usually merchandised on the bottom shelves in the back of the store under feminine care – in big bulky packaging with cutesy or medical sounding names that did not reflect today’s modern women – it was about time women had some other choices. I also saw the global habit women had with removing hair in the bikini area yet there were no skincare products for pre-and-post maintenance. We were relegated to using male products designed for beards! It was an exciting challenge being able to create a beauty regimen for this previously neglected body part.”
Lauren: “Queen V takes a really easy and fun approach to a topic that can be super confusing and embarrassing – trust me, I have been there. I have been around vaginas my entire life, not only because I am female but because my dad is a gynaecologist. As I grew older, I began to develop infections ‘down there’, what I refer to as my Queen V. It was scary and painful and really embarrassing. After doing my own research and looking at the ingredients that are in most feminine wellness products, I discovered why I was getting these infections ‘down there’. I wanted to change that. I became frustrated and decided to take matters into my own hands. This is when Queen V really began.”
WHY IS THE ‘V’ IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO BEAUTY?
A: “Women want to feel confident naked, in a bathing suit or lingerie – and this area is very important. When you feel good all over, it does result in more positive feeling about oneself. Women do take care of this area and many women remove some hair – there needed to be a pre and post skincare regimen offered. If a woman takes care of her beauty needs from head to toe – why not the V too?”
L: “Vaginal care and self-love are so important. Vaginal health needs to be talked about. The vulva (external part) is sensitive and needs to be treated differently than other parts of your body. The vagina is a self-cleanser. As many of us have heard, you shouldn’t douche or ‘clean’ it. It really comes down to cleaning the vulva – which remember is extra sensitive. Everyone’s vagina is different and has different needs. Therefore, everyone has a different vaginal care routine. Vaginas are one of the most absorbent body parts and have a pH of 3.8-4.5. Many products on the market can throw your vaginal bacteria off causing infection or irritation and therefore it is important to use products made for your vagina.”
HOW HAS THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY CHANGED RECENTLY?
A: “The biggest change of course is social media – smaller brands can now develop a following, get their message out to a smaller yet focused group. It’s so fantastic to have an idea and get it out immediately to your interested consumers. I love the clean beauty movement – it’s been coming for a long time but now that consumers are demanding this – it is moving much more rapidly.”
L: “Beauty isn’t just about what you look like anymore. It’s about how you are feeling. For me, beauty is all about confidence. When you feel confident, you feel empowered and like you can take on the world! Self-care is vital to succeeding in whatever you do and making this a priority is extremely powerful.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BEAUTY ADVISERS ON THE SHOP FLOOR?
A: “The line can be sold like other skincare regimens – this is just for another body part. When we mention the bikini area – that sounds a lot less intimidating and not as personal. Every woman can relate to wanting smooth skin in this area. Some women want to take care of ingrown hairs, red bumps, maybe some heat or chafing in this area. It’s a simple routine, we call it vanicure – cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise. It’s a new regimen for women but they immediately understand it.”
L: “Not only is it important to take care of your skin and hair, but it is also important to take care of one of the most sensitive areas of your body, your vagina/vulva. Not everyone feels comfortable talking about this area of their body, so it is important to be sensitive towards this. In addition, if someone does come to you with a question, it is important to note that if there is an issue, they should see their gynaecologist.”