Before founding Stripes, actress Naomi Watts would often find herself playing bathroom chemist, mixing and matching different beauty products in an attempt to deal with her menopause-induced dry skin.
“I didn’t even know dry skin was a possible symptom — I just knew about brain fog, hot flashes and night sweats but nothing else,” said Watts in conversation with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Jenny B. Tremendous.
It was during her late 30s that Watts entered perimenopause and realized the severe lack of support for girls like her who sought to grasp — and even just discuss — what was happening to them.
“I didn’t know the word ‘perimenopause’ — I didn’t know much in any respect,” said Watts, who had long been advised as an actress to maintain her personal life a mystery — a silent backdrop to the characters she played on-screen. “I felt this was a travesty: women are half the population, it’s all the time been the plan that we’re going to enter menopause — why aren’t we higher arrange for achievement?”
So Watts began talking.
She talked together with her Onda Beauty cofounders, Larissa Thomson and Sarah Bryden-Brown, about clean, efficacious ingredients; she talked with other women experiencing similar symptoms or who simply wanted to higher understand what menopause will mean for them, and in 2021, she inked a cope with biotech beauty manufacturer, Amyris, to launch Stripes.
“We identified these three pillars to set women on a path for achievement: to arm her with knowledge and provides her agency; to attach her with community and make her feel protected, and to drench her with lotions,” said Watts.
Launched in October 2022, Stripes offers 12 facial and vaginal products featuring hero ingredients ectoine and squalene, which combat dehydration and replenish moisture. The brand is offered on Amazon, sephora.com and direct-to-consumer, and its best-sellers are the Vag of Honor hydrating vaginal gel and Oh My Glide vaginal lubricant, $50 and $40, respectively.
“We desired to have a good time with the names — there are many tears through this time, I just wish to put a smile in your face wherever we are able to,” said Watts, adding Stripes will introduce a sleep complement this fall.
The brand’s mission extends beyond product: Stripes customers can join the brand’s online community, called The Hot Spot, to attach and share their experience with others, and browse the brand’s “Menoguides” which tackle topics starting from what to ask your gynecologist about menopause, to specific symptoms like digestive issues and breast pain.
“Everyone’s experience could be very nuanced, so we’re listening acutely to our consumer, we wish to listen to from them on a regular basis,” Watts said. “A lady’s story matters at all ages, and we should always never quiet that down.”
In light of Amyris’ recent chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Stripes is in quest of a recent partner to proceed its journey with, said Watts. “It has definitely been a bumpy road, but we’ve achieved excess of we ever expected. I’m not at liberty to debate details, but I see an important future for Stripes.”
Besides, if there’s anything Watts has taken away from her journey with Stripes up to now, it’s to not draw back from the unknown.