The next time you find yourself immobilized on the couch, weeping over an animal-rescue group's Instagram feed with an electric heating pad resting on your stomach, a full-size Snickers bar in one hand, and a box of Midol in the other (because that's what all women do when they're on their periods, right?), remember how lucky you are. You're alive; you're fertile; you're not sequestered in a menstrual hut or living in a time or place where tampons either haven't been invented yet or aren't accessible to you. All things considered, from an anthropological standpoint, menstruating is a lot less shitty — and a lot less taboo — now than ever before.
Still, no matter what percentage organic cotton your tampons are or how attuned you might feel to your moon cycle and divine femininity, there's not much you can do about the way your hormonal fluctuations affect your skin. Hormonal birth control can help to regulate; so can spironolactone. But they can only go so far, and that's if you're willing to toy with your endocrine system in the first place. So it makes sense that as the destigmatization of the female body and its bloodier functions progresses, so does the development of skin-care innovations tailored specifically to work with a woman's skin before, during, and after her period.
Available now on its website (and soon to be available at Nordstrom's website and in select stores), Knours. is a new brand created to address the link between a woman's menstrual cycle and the condition of her skin all month long. Its name is derived from its objective: "Know your skin. Period." Drawing inspiration from K-beauty fundamentals, each of the eight initial products in the line (VP of Marketing Jeana Chung says that the brand aims to release new additions every three to six months) focuses on natural, "clean" ingredients that are gentle to sensitive skin, and can be swapped out for one another depending on where you're at in your cycle. (My personal favorite: a facial mist that contains moisturizing squalene and jojoba oils that rise to the top, while the other water-based ingredients sink to the bottom. Give it a shake when your skin is dry and tired for intense moisture, or don't shake when your skin is at its most sensitive to let the aloe vera water and botanical extracts soothe on their own.)
There's also Amareta, a "hormonal-based" beauty and wellness brand out of California that uses primarily plant-based ingredients to formulate its luxe holistic skin-care products. As with Knours., Amareta wants you to embrace your natural cycle and adapt to it so as to care for your skin differently depending on the time of month — and, as dermatologist Jenna Queller, MD, FAAD of MFC Dermatology confirms, there's something to that approach. "Being aware of your cycle and how it affects your skin is the key to working with your skin, rather than against it," Dr. Queller says. And when it comes down to it, the entire principle is based on being "in tune" with your body, and how your cycle affects your complexion.
One thing that Knours. has that most skin-care brands, hormonal-based or otherwise, don't: an app. It's totally free, and it's meant to replace your current period-tracking app regardless of whether you use the Knours. products. You plug in information about your last period, how long it usually lasts each month, and your skin type, and it analyzes and predicts the associated changes in your skin's condition and your mood while creating a customized calendar... and recommending which Knours. products you might want to consider integrating into your routine. Here’s to getting to know your skin almost as well as you know your heating pad.