If you want to care for your vulva with water and water alone that’s A-OK, it’s a personal choice, but for anyone looking for a product that’s gentle, effective and most importantly won’t run the risk of giving you thrush, you’ll be buzzing to discover Luna Daily, the brand revolutionising intimate care and disrupting the social stigma associated with women’s intimate hygiene.
Many shower gels contain harsh chemicals and high pH levels that can disrupt the vulva’s delicate microbiome but having to use a separate wash for your vulva seems, well, excessive at best, sexist at worst. So, why not just simplify things, destigmatise vulvas and use one product everywhere? Enter Luna Daily – expert-developed natural products you can use anywhere on your body, including intimate skin. Whether you’re menstruating, you’ve just done a workout or you just prefer using a product as part of your daily care routine, Luna Daily is here to make caring for your vulva as easy as it is to care for any other part of your body.
“For too long what we all know as ‘feminine hygiene’ has made women feel embarrassment and discomfort: even the name insinuates our vulvas are ‘dirty’. Water alone is totally fine to wash with, but for women who want to use a product to care for their intimate skin (myself, and 64% of women*), we knew this category needed, and deserved, a shift in thinking,” says Luna Daily, Founder Katy Cottam.
Here we spoke to Katy to find out more about the brand on a mission to shake off the shame and make products for and conversations about Womanhood as natural as they should be!
Revolutionising the products available for vulva-owners is only part of the mission at Luna Daily, can you tell us about the business and what inspired you to start?
Our mission is to make products for conversations about Womanhood as natural as they should be, naturally connecting women of all ages and stages to each other and their entire bodies, including their vulvas. We’ll do this through our World’s first range of daily care products for intimate skin and everywhere else, alongside the Ai-driven platform and chat service we’re building to provide expert advice, information and resources for all women, everywhere.
Luna Daily has been an idea I’ve had since my teenage years after an intensive course of antibiotics caused me to have thrush.Katy Cottam
Luna Daily has been an idea I’ve had since my teenage years after an intensive course of antibiotics caused me to have thrush. I can still remember the shame, confusion and embarrassment I felt, but also the frustration at having to resort to using ‘feminine hygiene’ products with all their ‘what’s wrong with her’ connotations because I was no longer able to use traditional shower gels and soaps. It got me questioning…Why are we so in the dark when it comes to our intimate skin, why are we so embarrassed to talk about our vulvas (or even taught about them – I didn’t even use the word vulva!) and why should we even need specific products for intimate skin?
15 years later and with a career in beauty and wellness, I could see that nothing had really changed in the category since my teenage years, so during the first pandemic, I decided to quit my job and give Luna Daily a go. I started out by commissioning some pioneering research amongst 1000 women of all ages, stages and skin-types and it turned out I wasn’t alone; 87% of women were not taught about intimate care at school and for 43% of women their washing routines are causing them to have a gynae issue, (shockingly 1 in 3 women are washing inside their vagina, despite it being totally self-cleaning). It also showed women are more embarrassed to talk about their vulvas than they are about how much they earn or their sex life.
What’s your favourite part of running your own business?
The freedom to run a business which can be a force for good, always putting the customer first, not constrained by ‘oh but this is the way we do things’ and with a genuine belief that the products and services we’re offering for women will help change their lives. I feel so privileged to have been able to build a World-class team around me.
From our internal core team to our external agency partners, medical experts, manufacturers, product developers, and freelancers all the way to our Investors, I am so proud of the team of people driving forward the Luna Daily brand. Every single person believes in our mission and vision and has an incredible passion to help make it a reality. We live by four key values which we embed into everything we do and to me they quite nicely sum up what I love so much about running Luna Daily, being able to live and breathe these every day.
Inviting – We’ll always try to be positive and inclusive, both within the Luna Daily team and with anyone we interact with. We’re open to new ideas and ways of doing things. We have a business-wide coaching culture, inviting different opinions, thoughts and approaches to make us the best we can be.
Spirited – We’re hugely passionate. We’re excited about what we’re doing, and we’re hugely positive about the way that we’re doing it. If it comes across like we enjoy what we do, it’s because we do – and we hope we inspire others to feel the same.
Direct – We don’t mess about. We make decisions efficiently based on data and science, but also gut feel (also known as experience!). We’re straight-talking (without being rude), embracing fearless feedback from our team and customers alike.
Thoughtful – We’re deeply compassionate and considerate, kind and helpful, both with each other and with everyone else that we might partner with. We’re clear and precise, and use accurate, helpful terms so that we don’t blur things with jargon.
What’s a typical day in the life of Katy Cottam? What’s your 9-5 look like?
I’m an early bird, so typically my day starts about 6am. I’m up and out the house walking or running with our cavapoo Alfie by 6.30 – 7am, meaning I can get some fresh air and be ready for the working day by 8ish. I’ve really found that post-pandemic and continued hybrid days of working mean I have the most structure I’ve ever had to my working week, which (given how much I juggle as CEO) is really important to me. We typically do 1-2 days in the office and the other days WFH), so when overseeing all business functions it really helps me and my team get into an efficient cadence.
Mondays always start with a virtual team huddle to catch up on the weekend and share priorities for the week. Then they’re filled with admin and 1:1s with the internal team. Inevitably something will have come up that needs prioritising which we hadn’t planned for! Tuesdays are for external meetings with our manufacturing partners or retailers, and it’s our regular day for consumer-facing content, be it an Instagram live or an interview.
Wednesdays are our team day in our office space in High Street Kensington, so will typically start with a team coffee or exercise class (once a month!) and I try to prioritise face-to-face meetings so we can have a day not on zoom! This means it’s filled with signing off marketing plans, campaign creative, social content and partnerships for the month, as well as budget and financial meetings (we have a BIG screen which is much easier on the eye for detailed spreadsheets!).
Thursdays are for product development, deep thinking time (so minimal emails). As a rule, we have no meetings on Fridays so the team can wrap up their work week before clocking off at 1pm to enjoy the weekend so I end the week with a weekly ‘Friday feels’ highlights message to the team – not only does it mean we take a moment to celebrate all the wins of the week, it’s such an important way to document them and look back on them with pride.
How did you develop the range of products and how did you know where to start with product testing and allergen testing for intimate skin?
I’ve spent my career in the beauty wellness industry so I was fortunate at having experience at launching some amazing products, as well as a network of some brilliant partners. With the help of expert gynaecologists, dermatologists and formulation specialists, we set out to create a range of natural daily care products which were gentle enough for even the most intimate skin, and versatile enough to cope with the changes that women go through every week, month and decade and beautiful enough to want to leave out in the bathroom. We work with some of the very best labs in the World who ensure every product is safe to use on all skin types and we undergo rigorous product testing to ensure they are safe. All our products get the stamp of approval from our in-house gynaecologists and dermatologists.
What’s different about the Luna Daily products vs other feminine hygiene products on the market or standard shower gels?
Firstly, pH: For years, the feminine hygiene market has told us that one of the reasons we need specific products is because of pH. Now, it’s true, the vagina (inside bit, remember) is more acidic (3.7 – 4.5) than typical skin (pH5), so could be more susceptible to irritation and disruption than elsewhere. But the reality is that so many shower gels / soaps are a much higher pH than your skin, so your whole skin would probably be better off with a wash that’s a lower pH. That’s where Luna Daily’s washes come in. They are created to be at a pH that suits all the skin on your body, including, yes, the vulva.
Soap: We don’t use it. Because by definition, it’s an irritant, with a typical pH of 9-10 (!). So it’s not included in any of our products, as recommended by our dermatologists. And it’s not just about ‘washing’.
Our products are formulated to balance, nourish and protect. (We don’t just ‘wash’ our faces, after all). They’re formulated with our trademarked Hydra-Biome+(TM); a unique complex of Thermal water, which mirrors the body’s NMF (Natural Moisturising Factor), Pre-biotics inulin and lactic acid to enrich the skin biome and foster natural protection, and Vitamins A,E,C & F to deeply nourish and hydrate skin. Because your skin deserves that level of care, everywhere.
The other stuff: Luna Daily contains only natural and necessary ingredients. That means no sulphates, no harsh chemicals, no common allergens, alcohols or irritants. Just effective formulas, vegan and sustainably sourced, suitable for all skin types and all over the body.
As a female-led brand, why is it important for you to challenge the way society feels about womanhood?
We’re a generation of women who, more than ever, consider all the aspects of what we buy, eat, and put on our faces, and yet for so many women, their intimate skin is an afterthought, only prioritised when there is a ‘problem’. Women have told me how they ‘thought they were dying’ when their period started, have felt completely alone through motherhood and are approaching menopause thinking it’s just hot flushes. The more we can normalise conversations about Womanhood, the more we stigmatise it, remove the embarrassment and shame, and embrace what it means to be a woman in a more inclusive, positive way.
What frustrates you the most about the female hygiene industry?
I don’t agree with the feminine hygiene industry, and how they’ve persuaded women that they need specific products to ‘clean’ their vulvas (even the word ‘hygiene’ implies something is dirty). But I understand completely why a woman would want to use a product to wash their vulva. Because I do. I want to use something more than water because if I’m on my period, on the go, at the gym, or at a festival, for instance, I just want something extra to care for my intimate skin. I don’t want my vulva to be rose-scented. I don’t want to follow any industry fads. It’s my personal choice. And so I feel very passionately about the fact that how you wash your vulva is your personal choice.
I don’t agree with the feminine hygiene industry, and how they’ve persuaded women that they need specific products to ‘clean’ their vulvas.Katy Cottam
And yet, choice is exactly what we women are lacking in this area. When it comes to skincare and haircare, there are so many wonderful options for skin type, age, need etc. There’s a plethora of products and routines available, accompanied by lots of information. I know this because I’ve worked in the beauty and wellness industries for most of my career. But while women in our focus groups could tell me (often in 7-step detail) their haircare and skincare routines, when asked what their intimate care routine was, they stuttered, having not consciously thought about why they were doing what they were doing. 87% of women we asked were never taught about caring for their vulva. Worryingly, 1 in 3 people are washing inside their vaginas.
What are the dos and don’ts and why are so many of us still so embarrassed about just about anything to do with our vulvas?
Your vagina (the internal passage) is very clever and totally self-cleaning, so never needs to be washed. Your vulva (the external intimate skin) is very similar to the skin biome of your armpits, so it’s recommended to give it a daily wash. The vulva and the vagina are different, and too many women (myself included until a few years ago) are misnaming them. This is possibly why 1 in 3 women are (worryingly) washing inside their vagina.
If you want to wash your vulva with just water, that’s absolutely fine. Our vulvas don’t need specific products. I created Luna Daily because I wanted to use more than water to wash my vulva, but didn’t want it to have to be a specific ‘fanny wash’, which was seemingly all that was available.
Can you tell us about your partnership with Lady Garden?
58 women are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer in the UK every day, and out of those 58, 21 will not survive. I am so passionate to be partnering with The Lady Garden Foundation to help with their efforts in driving positive change for women everywhere.
Together, we are creating a movement to get more women of all ages and stages talking to raise significant awareness of these important conversations and the symptoms of the 5 x gynae cancers. In doing this we can ultimately help reduce the devastating outcomes for women and save lives. We have a number of planned activities throughout the year including a large campaign for Gynae Cancer awareness month in September, along with product sale donations, campaigns, partnerships and events.