At 27, I thought I would have figured out my period by now. I can recognise sleeplessness and cravings as familiar pre-menstruation symptoms but the irregularity still often takes me by surprise. Mood swings occur without warning and I wear my period pants for days prior, just in case. That's not to mention my skin, which goes on its own tumultuous journey throughout my cycle. Here’s where FEWE comes in. The menstrual cycle care brand has totally transformed my understanding of my body, saved me from period acne and is the new star of my period self-care routine.
It’s an impressive feat and explains why the brand has made such an impact. Female-founded FEWE (tagline: "whole cycle care for your whole self") is leading in an area of wellness that medical professionals largely ignore. The brand's collection of CBD-infused serums, oral cramp sprays, soothing sticks and cologne is geared towards helping everything from your sleep and comfort to skincare, mood and vulva care. FEWE has also broken down the monthly cycle into four distinct stages – Flow (menstruation), Soar (preparation), Transform (ovulation) and Reset (premenstrual) – to help you understand what’s happening to your body and identify what support it needs and when.
This is also known as hormone hacking. It sounds a lot more intimidating and technical than it really is. Hormone hacking is simply supporting your body to keep its hormone balance in check. Nutritionist and women’s health expert Nicki Williams explains: "Cycle syncing or 'hacking' is looking at what your body needs in each of the phases and planning your diet, lifestyle and activities around the different phases so that you start to work with your body, not against it. Hormonal fluctuations can affect your energy, mood, sleep, brain function, weight, sex drive, pain levels, digestion and overall well-being so making sure you’re in tune with the different phases can make a big difference to your life."
Want to know more about hormone hacking and menstrual self-care? Read on for my experiences following the FEWE cycle, including how it helped my skin and eased my period.
Stage 1: Flow
The night before my period is due (according to my Flo app) I’m irritable and upset. I’m sleep-deprived (of course) and my sensitive, dry skin feels extra parched and tight. Honestly, I can’t even be bothered with skincare; all I want to do is curl up with my hot water bottle and inhale a large bar of chocolate in front of my favourite comfort film (Uptown Girls, if you were wondering). Ignoring the many serums I own, I reach instead for FEWE’s Calm Balm: a soothing mix of eucalyptus, lavender and CBD that can be applied anywhere you’re feeling tense. I choose my abdomen, lower back, temples and wrists. Slather me in the stuff, I think as I apply it. On the science side of things, FEWE explains that this combination is beneficial in the phases when progesterone starts to rise and oestrogen drops (aka times of stress and tension). It smells divine and though it might be a little touch of a placebo, I do feel a lot calmer. I’ve also noticed that it helps me drift off to sleep a lot faster than I tend to pre-period.
I’m feeling a lot more energetic the next day so I decide to work one of the serums into my routine. Thirst Trap, does exactly as it promises. It’s thick and gel-like but sinks into my skin instantly and feels really cooling and refreshing. A mix of hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera and anti-inflammatory CBD, it's perfect for irritated, pre-period skin. I’ll be keeping this in my rotation, perhaps even pulling it out for dehydrated, hungover skin as well.
Stage 2: Soar
This is the week after your period, when your confidence, energy and social battery are boosted, matched by rising levels of oestrogen and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) in your body. Basically, it’s the part of your cycle where your skin suddenly glows a lot more than normal. Here, FEWE suggests using its Get Up & Glow serum, packed with brightening vitamin C and CBD. It has the same consistency as the Thirst Trap serum and doesn’t really have a smell. My skin feels soothed after using it but I’m not so sure about the glow. I reckon there are dewier vitamin C serums on the market (like Facetheory’s Regena C20).
Stage 3: Transform
It’s ovulation time, baby! Stage three is when your sex drive is at its peak but your body is also working overtime to keep up with all the hormonal changes. Like many women, this is when my skin starts to act up, getting oilier and breaking out. Now, thanks to FEWE, I know this is because of dropping oestrogen levels and rising progesterone, prompting excess oil production and clogged pores. At this point in my cycle, I reach for the brand’s Seeking Clarity Serum, hoping its mixture of provitamin B and CBD will keep my pores clear and oiliness at bay. Honestly? It’s too soon to say whether this had any hand in my improved skin this month; I feel like I need another cycle to confirm. But my skin is a lot clearer than usual. I tend to break out around my chin and have a small cluster of whiteheads around my nose but this month there's just one spot hanging around. I, therefore, deem this phase — and serum — a success.
Stage 4: Reset
By this point in my cycle (just before my period) my mood has dropped, I’m PMSing hard and my anxiety is at its highest. I’m back on the Calm Balm since I enjoyed it so much the first time, rubbing it on my wrists before bed for a whiff of soothing lavender as I drift off. Skincare-wise, I’m a fan of the phase four serum too: Spot The Difference. Too much salicylic acid can sometimes irritate and dry out my sensitive skin if too potent but this is another gel-like serum and imparts a gentle exfoliation, soothed by the CBD. I’m especially grateful for the CBD here as my pre-period skin is often even more sensitive than usual. I’m still alternating between Seeking Clarity and Spot The Difference and my skin loves it. In fact, this is the clearest my skin has been in the week before my period in a good while.
My final thoughts
Given how lazy I am with my skincare routine at the best of times, I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with the four-stage rotation, especially while on my period. Saying that I feel so much more in tune with my body, its hormonal changes and how they affect my skin, mood and sleep. The Calm Balm is now a fixture in my evening routine and lives on my bedside table. I love how quick and simple a de-stress, self-care step it is.
I know that I'll be reaching for the Seeking Clarity and Spot The Difference serums whenever my skin starts to break out — on or off my period. However, with each serum retailing at £20, FEWE's full-cycle skincare routine does cost a pretty penny. If you're new to the brand and curious about how it works, I would suggest pinpointing your main period skin concern (whether that's dryness, acne, sensitivity or dullness) and shopping accordingly.
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