By now, you’ve probably seen the social media backlash #MyAlwaysExperience regarding the quality of Always pads in the country. If not, let me bring you up to speed. Women have been talking about their horrible experiences when using Always pads during their periods. A few women were talking about it then last week the issue blew up on social media.
From #MyAlwaysExperience Women are saying
1.Make pads for humid weather
2.Stop scenting pads
3.Stop using a plastic lining it causes rashes, infection and burns the skin
4.Make pads breathable
@Always_Kenya, there is a difference between “designed in Europe” and “developed for Africa” 🤣
Kenyan 🇰🇪 women 🇰🇪 are 🇰🇪 not 🇰🇪 fools 🇰🇪.
Right now you’re more interested in saving your reputational shreds than in listening.
You can turn this around.
Silence can be oppressive. I've had grown women fill up my DMs saying that they really thought the swelling, irritation & rashes were a normal part of the menstrual cycle. I'm heartbroken to think of the many horrible cycles they have endured. 💔#MyAlwaysExperience
Left: Always Sensitive, "Like Cotton" (NB. contains no cotton), made in Israel for EU Market, bought in Germany Right: Always Ultra, "No Stain for 8 Hours", made in Egypt for Africa Market, bought in Kenya Plastic overlay on Africa model obvious to eye. #MyAlwaysExperiencepic.twitter.com/IRKyOw78u0
Majority complained that Always don’t have the same quality product when it comes to the African market, Kenya specifically. Some common complaints about the pad were that it didn’t stick, it was too scented and it contained material that caused irritation. A former employee of Zanaa Sanitary pads tweeted out her experience working in the feminine hygiene industry.
She stated, “Many pads will advertise cottony top layer, but are actually non-woven.”
In a twitter thread that caught public attention, she explained the dangers of this non-woven material especially in hot climates like ours.
The two main categories of top-sheets are polyethylene (PE) film and non-wovens. Both are plastic derivatives. (Many pads will advertise “cottony” top layer, but are actually non-wovens. Using actual cotton is quite expensive and 100% cotton top-layer is very rare.)
PE films are cheaper and less comfortable than nonwovens. Anyone who’s used one knows why: it is literally a thin sheet of plastic with lots of tiny holes, which, especially in warm climates, can exacerbate skin irritation by not allowing fluids to pass through as quickly, or by
But the big point is that it’s not a matter of companies just not “knowing” that women want a certain specification. It’s that they need somewhere to sell these cheaper pads—and, more importantly, dump this PE film.
There are serious repercussions from using non-woven material on sanitary towels. This material isn’t as absorbent as its cotton counterpart. Therefore, it traps moisture for longer causing irritation and rashes on your skin. This could also result in yeast infections due to the heat and excess moisture.
Additionally, women complained about the scented towels. Years after it became common knowledge that scented products aren’t friendly to your private area, Always pads are still manufacturing scented towels. The question is why? is it because we’re Africans and don’t know any better? Is it because we won’t demand better quality towels?
According to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, she stated: “those scents react badly with your natural pH, you could be on the road to bacterial vaginosis and other infections.”
So, why would a company make such products that are potentially harmful to the body? And more importantly, why would they be available in the market? It’s the job of Kenya Bureau of Standards to ensure every product coming to the Kenyan market is safe for human use.
For the common citizen, Always is one of the most affordable sanitary towels brands. Therefore, such negligence affects millions of Kenyan women. It’s okay to make affordable pads but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the user’s health. Always pads did not deliver on what they promised. To add salt to injury, they used a PR campaign to try and sanitize the situation.
It’s disheartening that the sanitary towels most of us grew up using is the centre of so much controversy. Eventually, the company issued a statement in regards to the matter.
Always Ultra pads are available in the UK, France, UAE and Egypt as well as Kenya
The claim that they offer different standards for different countries was false
Women have different period experience and you should try their other products if this one irritates you.
They didn’t offer much of a solution or say they’d look into the matter. Instead, they issued a statement trying to justify themselves which was almost as bad as flying a group of influencers to a resort to try and deescalate the situation.
As of now, there have been more interactive talks with P & G Kenya and various women including Nairobi Women’s Representative, Esther Passaris, Dr. Njoki Ngumi and @TugenGirl who pioneered this discussion on Twitter.
I’ve been invited as one of several stakeholders to a meeting now with P&G re. Always pads problems in the Kenyan market, ably illustrated by Kenyans, mostly women, our African sisters and many more on the hashtag #MyAlwaysExperience. I am publishing my submission publicly here. pic.twitter.com/YF8BiQbOUE
Yes, I make re-usable pads. Yes, I buy the disposable pads from Always to distribute to girls in areas that lack water.
My only issue was the new pads, the cheap ones of Ksh 50, are not of good quality for women.
Limited resources or not, they deserve a quality pads. pic.twitter.com/oDmi3YuUGQ
Following #MyAlwaysExperience menstruating cannot wait and women need alternatives that isn’t @Always_Kenya, can we list other pads that can be used because bleeding, burning, itching, smelling & infection is not it anymore
Making substandard quality just because the pads are going to an African market is not only an insult to African people but also, it’s an insult to our womanhood. Periods are already uncomfortable as it is. The least such companies as P & G can do is provide quality products.
There’s no word out yet as to the outcome of the meeting. However, we hope that now, P& G and other pad manufacturers will give African women the best pads that will make it easier for women to go about their business during their menstrual periods with no extra pain or worry about.
I am a creative writer and blogger with interests in lifestyle and fashion. I have previously worked in the scriptwriting industry and I am looking forward to new experiences. My biggest fear is a wearing the wrong shade of foundation