I Call Bullsh*t On Celebrity Menopause Brands

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I call bullshit on celeb-backed menopause brands and share my experience with Stripes and research on State of by Stacy London

I am so effing OVER celebrity brands. We grew up with C-list actors on late-night infomercials and familiar faces from previous decades shilling long-term care insurance. Then a few industrious famous folk created products or added their name to products sold on QVC and HSN. Sometimes these celebrities created the actual products; more often than not they were just lending their name in exchange for profit share.

But with social media, celebrity brands are in overdrive. I blame Kylie Jenner, who we all know now had fake numbers to put her on the cover of Forbes but still made famous people believe they could create the next billion-dollar brand.

I Call Bullsh*t on Celebrity Menopause Brands

Tequila, canned wine, activewear, NFTs, skincare… who can keep count? Right now the trend seems to be celebrity products for middle-aged Generation X. Reading glasses, home fitness, mattresses, hair restoration, and menopause.

Well, menopause is a more recent phenomenon. For most of time, menopause wasn't discussed. Women suffered in silence, and doctors weren't much help. But in this day and age of the internet and social media, we can share our experiences and find a supportive community. Social media also provides us with peeks into the lives of some celebrities. We grew up with these famous women, and now we are going through menopause with them. We are hearing about their hot flashes and seeing the remedies they recommend.

There are websites and books and doctors and researchers and nutritionists and even TikTokers all dedicated to dispelling the myths of menopause and offering real solutions. But finding this requires time and research, and it's far easier when a familiar face with financial backing does the work for us. Right?

But what if the menopause products shilled by those familiar faces is just a bunch of overpriced bullshit?

But We Need Menopause Products!

While I may call bullshit on celebrity menopause brands, that doesn't mean I don't believe we who go through menopause don't need such products. I am glad such products are on the market. I've bought many of them with mixed results, but a lot of positive. While most of these celebrity-backed menopause beauty products are bullshit, there are some great products out there that can alleviate some of the effects of menopause without clearing out your wallet or consuming questionable ingredients.

As an influencer, I sometimes am mailed these products as gifts from the brands when they are launching or added a new product to their line. Search for over-40 influencers and you can find me. I've even written about perimenopause and discussed it on Instagram and my audience is around my age so I am a prime target.

I've seen so many of my peers get the same boxes of products I did, performing an unboxing on their Instagram Stories, and sharing a Reel a week later extolling the virtues of these lotions and potions. And I'm sitting here thinking, “This brand sent me this heavy box of shit and now it's on me to recycle the containers because I don't think anyone needs the remainder in the bottles.” It has made me realize we don't all benefit from the same products, we don't all have the same business ethics, and I need to do my own research.

So I'm sharing the research I did on these celebrity menopause brands and why I believe this is all a bunch of bullshit to con Gen X women into dropping coin on crap they don't need.

It Started with Stacy London's Brand, State Of

Photo of Stacy LOndon making a shocked face, holding a handful of her now dfunct menopause product brand State Of
State Of CEO Stacy London holding some of the products from her now-defunct menopause beauty brand

These lotions and potions are often backed by famous women we have come to love and trust. It started with Stacy London, a person I have admired for decades. She became a household name with What Not to Wear, but her journey since then has been inspiring. Stacy London has always been honest and open, sharing her trials and tribulations with us through writing, public speaking, and social media. When she started experiencing menopause, I was thrilled she was using her platform to share her experience and educate her followers.

London launched State Of, a line of body care products for menopause. It made sense, and I loved seeing a woman who was open about menopause creating products for us. But looking at the products and ingredients, I was concerned—very little information about sourcing, reasoning behind the ingredients, or testing. The reviews online seemed to primarily be from those who had to review in exchange for free product, a few said they tried to leave a negative review but it was filtered out. And most of those similar products are already on the market.

State Of closed down at the end of 2022, but the site is still up showing the products:

None of the products sold by State Of were inherently bad. I take issue with a company selling overpriced products with questionable ingredients to a vulnerable population. As women we are already dismissed by much of the medical community; menopause has not been properly researched or understood. We're desperate for someone to listen, to understand, and to help and this just feels like taking advantage of us and our wallets.

Stacy London has done a lot to bring attention to menopause, but since her launch of State Of, there have been so many other celebrity menopause brands offering the same thing – repackaged items already on the market with a higher pricetag.

Then Naomi Watts Came on the Scene with Her Menopause Brand, Stripes

Naomi Watts in a cocktail dress on a rooftop patio standing with a display of her menopause products called Stripes
Naomi Watts at the launch party of her menopause brand, Stripes

As an influencer, I received a big box in the mail from Stripes, a menopause wellness brand by actress Naomi Watts. It was one of those fancy fabric-covered boxes with the magnetic closure that come with expensive purchases. Inside was a formed insert holding six products from this menopause line with details about the products, brand, and Watts.

The branding is soft blue, dusty rose, ivory, and dark green. The boxes are embossed with an “S” design. The bottles are opaque glass. The products themselves have punny names like “Vag of Honor,” “Dew As I Dew,” and “Resting Clean Face.” I received products for hair, skin, vaginal/labial comfort, as well as a bottle of supplements.

I looked at the product descriptions on the website before opening the boxes… and I couldn't see a personal need for any of them. The skincare products didn't look very revolutionary (product goals are to brighten and hydrate),

I'm not the kind who uses a hair mask, I already take supplements, and I already have something for hydration down there. I put them in the bin I have for reader giveaways and local donations but then I ran out of lube and decided to try Stripes' “Oh My Glide.”

Image of a bottle of product from the brand Stripes on a bedside table, a hand reaching from the bed to grab the bottle
Not my hand or my nightstand, but a product photo showing the shape and size of Stripes Oh My Glide

This lube came in an artfully shaped heavy opaque glass container with one of those little fingerprint pumps that are already slippery when not dispersing lube. It was a beautiful bottle, one you'd leave out on the bedside table like the photo above. But the bottle made no sense in a practical sense.

That bottle in the photo above only holds 3 ounces. it's thick glass and with that weight and the opacity, it's impossible to know much product is left. That delicate little pump top was so slippery (and stopped working after the third use). This bottle tipped over, rolled off the nightstand, and one time even flew across the room. Thank goodness it was thick glass; not a single crack. This fancy-dancy lube costs $40 for 3.3 ounces of product and wasn't any better than what I usually use.

Oh My Glide is made from Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Squalane, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Bisabolol.

My gynecologist and mom's oncologist recommend coconut oil as a lubricant, as long as you're not using latex condoms. My GP says any natural oil is fine if you're not using latex or non-silicone toys. Sweet almond oil keeps a liquid consistency, has almost no smell, and doesn't look like anything but a natural moisturizer when sitting on your nightstand.

Some articles have clickbait titles stating coconut and other natural oils are dangerous as lube. Still, even reading the articles you see the fear is unsubstantiated and just an opportunity for affiliate links.

Ask your doctor, do your homework, but know you don't need to spend $40 for 3 ounces of something you can find on the shelves of Whole Foods. All “Oh My Glide” did was motivate me to set up a “Subscribe and Save” of organic almond oil (16 ounces for less than $15).

The back of a bottle of product from Stripes with very faint pink on an ivory background
The back of the bottle of Stripes “Vag of Honor.” I had to take this photo and expand it to read the back.

My friend Sharon from the blog Cupcakes and Cutlery also received a gift of product from Stripes. I was excited for her review as she tells it straight, and I know like me she is dealing with hot flashes and other peri/menopausal issues. Sharon shared she too was underwhelmed by the products. And like me, Sharon found the minuscule low-contrast font on the packaging ridiculous considering the product consumer's age. Reading glasses weren't enough; I had to take a photo with my phone and enlarge it to read the back of the bottle.

But It's Bringing Attention to Menopause!

Driving home from a road trip, my husband and I were listening to an interview on a podcast. Three men created an adventure challenge to bring awareness to veterans' mental health. We were intrigued.

As we continued listening we realized the only veterans participating in this challenge were the three creators. The challenge sounded very complicated and very expensive. The men discussed the need for airplanes, securing places for the event in different countries, bringing scientists and doctors on board, and much more. They shared that while they were doing the challenge, “VIPs” could pay their way into participating in portions of the seven-continent adventure. I went online to investigate how much this all cost and how it was helping veterans.

I didn't find much about this specific challenge, but I found a similar challenge and it cost EUR 42,000 to participate. So these “VIPs” likely aren't the veterans who may benefit from such an experience. It sort of felt like these dudes had a great idea, but they also had the desire to have someone fund their adventure-seeking lifestyle, and maybe the whole point got lost in the sauce. That is what I feel about these celebrity menopause brands.

We Don't Talk About Menopause Enough

We don't talk about menopause enough. Those in the medical field aren't taught enough about menopause. Not enough studies are funded to treat menopause. The patriarchy has made it so anything that happens to our bodies is something private and considered disgusting.

Men will scratch their crotches, have hair growing out of their noses and ears, burp at restaurants and leave skidmarks in their briefs while popping Cialis but if a woman leaks a single drop of blood she is seen as disgusting and unkempt. God forbid she itches or sweats, let alone admit to having and wanting pleasurable sex.

If men had periods, not only would the products needed to care for it be free, there would be some invention to improve the whole situation. If men could be pregnant and deliver babies, the whole medical process for childbirth would be drastically different and far more humane. And if men went through menopause, there would be some rite of passage along with an entire aisle of products in every drugstore across these United States.

I am THRILLED that these celebrities are using their platforms to discuss menopause. We are normalizing something that half of the planet's population experiences if they are lucky enough to live that long. This discussion, seeing familiar faces speaking out, sharing their truths, it's forcing investors to rethink our age demographic, forcing medical professionals to seek out solutions, and encouraging studies to take place. This is all good. But that doesn't mean I support folks cashing in on our hot flashes with mediocre products.

Let's Keep Talking About Menopause

I look forward to what the future holds, I am excited folks are talking about menopause. I hope it makes this natural phase of life be more comfortable and accepted for future generations. And I am glad that there are some great companies out there already creating great products to alleviate menopause symptoms, and that menopause educators are becoming more accessible.

There are a lot of experts on menopause who now use social media and the internet to educate. A few great ones:

Googling Perimenopause Symptoms for Relief

If you desire a menopause-specific product, Google is your friend. Go past page 1 of results, which are often sponsored by companies that sell products, and move on to blog posts, medical studies, and multiple articles to get balanced information. Don't rely on one source, and know this homework will pay off.

Relief for Itchy Ears During Perimenopause

For example, Googling “menopause itchy ears” led me to understand that it's a thing and not just my thing. Drying mucus membranes is why we get dry down there but also why we may have a persistent runny nose (the body compensating) or fantasize about swirling a fluffed-up Q-tip in our ear canal.

It also led me to sea buckthorn, which helps with vaginal dryness and itchy ears. I have been taking sea buckthorn now for a year and have had no negative results and no more itchy ears. And when I stop it, after a few days, I again get itchy ears!

Which Magnesium is Best for Perimenopause?

I also saw a TikTok or Instagram Reel about magnesium helping with sleep. Knowing there are several types of magnesium and being curious about side effects and dosage, I again went to Google for additional information. I found that unless you have kidney problems, you can't really overdose on magnesium but women should really stay around 300-320mg of magnesium because more can cause side effects.

The biggest side effect of magnesium is diarrhea, which is most likely with magnesium citrate, often used as a laxative. But too much magnesium can cause low blood pressure, muscle weakness, lethargy, and other things that women in midlife may already be experiencing and may chalk up to perimenopausal symptoms.

Magnesium glycinate is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This is the version of magnesium that is gentlest on the stomach, the most easily absorbed, and along with helping with sleep it can also help with depression and anxiety.

I now do a scoop of Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate each night before bed and along with HRT, it has helped my sleep dramatically. I put the scoop in a jelly jar, and put in just a couple of ounces and swirl while it fills from the tap. Then I down it like a shot.

You are a Smart, Grown-ass Woman.

If you're experiencing perimenopause or menopause, that means you're a grown-ass woman who early on figured out the VCR and figured out how to cook dinner, or at least an afternoon snack. You grew up on satire and SNL, you have a bullshit meter. It's time to dust that baby off. You deserve better than some celebrity-backed BS.

Do your homework, you deserve it. Consult with your GP and your OB/GYN but get a second opinion.

As always, I welcome recommendations, education, and personal experiences in the comments. Please note that if you share more than one link in your comment, it will be held up in moderation, but I will approve it within a few hours.

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  1. Great article. Lots of common-sense answers here. As for me, the only thing that has given me the ability to sleep through the night sweats is a bedjet. A fan for under the covers at the foot of the bed that gives a constant level of temperature control.

  2. Oh my gosh thanks Alison. That itchy ears thing is a revelation. Also just to put it out there in case other women feel crazy…I’ve had perimenopausal symptoms for years despite still having pretty regular periods. And yes spellcheck, “perimenopausal” is a real word lol. Wow, spellcheck recognizes itself as a word and not that! Must be a man! (Hahaha I kid, mostly, but dang that patriarchy!)

  3. As always, I learn something from every post of yours. While I am INCREDIBLY lucky in that my menopause symptoms have been barely there, I HAVE had a ridiculous amount of post-nasal drip and clogged ears. I’ve been to doctors who just tell me to take allergy medicine, which does not seem to make a difference. I’ve never, ever been told that it could be hormone related. I found this article that explains some things for me https://www.houstonsinussurgery.com/blog/how-hormonal-changes-contribute-to-post-nasal-drip, and I am so intrigued.

    Also, I am 56 and have never used vaginal moisturizers, but I see it on my horizon, so thank you all for the information on coconut oil!

    I truly love these posts. It feels like such a community and it’s wonderful.

  4. I’ve been in surgically induced menopause for two years, since I was 40. I’ve been on the lowest dose of the estrogen patch since day one. I don’t have any menopause symptoms except brain fog, which doesn’t respond to HRT. I highly recommend talking to your doctor about HRT to see if it’s right for you….it’s a lifesaver for me.

    1. I also had surgically induced menopause in my late 30’s. I have been using a low dose estradiol patch for years and my OB/GYN is still on bird with my ongoing usage. I can’t recommend it enough.

  5. This is one of my favorite articles from you yet. Thank you for being an honest, thoughtful, and principled influencer who helps empower women.

  6. Thank you! This is one of my favorite articles to date! Wonderful resource recommendations. I am a family nurse practitioner and every week if not every day I have patients with perimenopause and menopause related issues (the symptoms are many and wide ranging). Menopause is part of every woman’s life! It can have debilitating characteristics and can last 10 years. TEN years-that is how long adolescence lasts! Many providers do not have the knowledge, time, or comfort level to discuss the topic with patients. Many menopausal symptoms are treated as individual issues (vaginal dryness, urethritis, hot flashes, brain fog, mood instability) instead of parts of a total sum. The few medical based treatments that exist tend to be $$$, and only partially covered or not covered at all by insurance! And there are quite a few, more than we’d like to admit, licensed providers out there providing/prescribing menopause treatments that are sketchy at best and harmful at worst. Maybe celeb attention will help. Yet, I fear it will be another fleecing of vagina having people’s pockets. And a few more cogs in the wheel of the vag industrial complex making bank by telling us all and convincing so many that we must wash, douche, deodorize, spritz, scent, shave, wax, tighten, and beautify our nether regions to be; fresh, socially acceptable, successful, desirable, loved, and worthy.

  7. I’d love to meet the celeb agent/manager who built the blueprint for adding products to their clients’ portfolios as a way to launch 15 minutes more of fame… so I could slap him or her. I kid. Sort of. But as Alison says, it’s such a common occurrence in menopause products, skin care, make up tequila etc that I feel bad for non-famous creators/formulators/inventors who have all these famous people crowding them out of their space.

    To end this on a less ranty note: my dr and I agree that The Menopause Manifesto is a must read (even for me for whom themenopause train has already left the station) and I’m a fan of Good Clean Love lubes that somehow managed to get shelf space at Target without Naomi or Stacy’s help.

  8. So I am 46 and already through menopause. I started experiencing peri menopausal symptoms (which was dx premature ovarian failure) in my early 30s. Thankfully, I am through the worst of my symptoms and only experience hot flashes now if I have had too much sugar or alcohol. During the worst of my symptoms, I tried cooling pajamas, sheets, etc. The best solution I found was to fill a good thermos with ice water and keep it on my nightstand. I could take a big gulp and cool down quickly and go back to sleep.

  9. Loved this article, Alison. If there’s money to be made, someone will try to make it. Even if they have no clue about what—or who—they’re selling to!

  10. I’m not quite to perimenopause yet, but I still love the Feisty Menopause podcast. I feel like I’m learning now from my virtual older sisters what’s in store for me soon. The podcast focuses on athletic women working their way to/through menopause.

  11. I am one of those people that read your site and never comment. Well this post had me wanting to tell you a story. I am 75 years old and suffered through menopause dreadfully. I was on HRT but then there was a scare in the 90’s so I was taken off it and reverted back to all my symptoms. Hot flashes were dreadful and I the heat would go into my face and hair. I was teaching senior high school at this time (mainly boys) and had to carry around a linen napkin with me to wipe away the sweat. Finally I took the bull by the horns and explained in a education moment that I was going through menopause and that was why I was having these “hot flashes”. I never forgot how these 16 not 18 years old handled so well this information. Far better than my peers. If there ever was a reason to discuss menopause this did it for me. always find your blog so interesting and informative.

  12. I am 68 and have had severe menopausal symptoms since 2008. Yep, 14 years and counting. I used hormone patches between 2012 and 2014 successfully. My symptoms, though not gone, were much improved. Then my insurance company decided not to cover them anymore. I weaned off and went into severe symptom rebound. I toughed it out for 5 years. During that time I told all the older women I knew that going on HRT was the worst decision of my life because coming off was so bad. My research told me that most women were back to baseline 3 years after discontinuing therapy. My hot flashes and sleep problems were less bad, but still quite problematic at the 3 year mark. The symptoms continued to abate over the next 2 years, but I still woke on average 4 to 5 times a night and felt like a zombie all day 5 years after weaning off of the hormone patches. Some new research and a couple of excellent books had come out during my 5 years of rebound hell. After reading them I realized that my mistake was not going on HRT, it was going off of it. I decided that I needed to find a doctor who would be willing to put me back on HRT at the age of 65. Several months of drug experimentation ensued. My Gyn tried ultra low dose birth control pills first. I think she tried 3 different dosages. None of them worked. I was eventually put on traditional HRT. Last fall, that is in 2021, just before I turned 67, I asked to have my dosage doubled. I now wake up on average of only once or twice a night. There are even some nights when I don’t wake at all. I feel much better and wish that I and my doctors had not been so afraid to use HRT. The best book I have found is titled “Estrogen Matters” by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, PhD. It was published in 2018. Dr. Bluming is an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer and Ms. Tavris is a social psychologist. There book is incredibly well researched and dispels all of the nonsense that we have been fed regarding HRT. I highly recommend it. If only it had been available during all the years I suffered in menopause hell!

    I have none of the risk factors for severe menopause. I had a natural menopause, not a surgical one. I still retain all of my parts:). I am very healthy except for my menopausal symptoms. I am not overweight. I have never smoked and do not drink. I have never had steroid treatment. I took no prescription medicines of any kind and have never done recreational drugs. I do not have a family history of severe menopausal hot flashes. In fact, my 92 year old mother has never had a single one! She doesn’t know what a hot flash feels like. I also assumed (oh so wrongly) that most women who complained of having a difficult menopausal transition had psychological difficulties with aging. I always believed that menopause was a natural time when our female hormones lessened and should be less problematic than puberty. Mother Nature whapped up the side of the head when I hit menopause. She certainly humbled me!

    1. I am also a fan of HRT, my mental health professional rec it when I asked about reducing my antidepressant dosage (not because I felt fabulous but that medication can increase hot flashes). I wound up going to a ‘vanity clinic’ so it isn’t covered by insurance but the little pellets WORK. I thought all HRT increased cancer risks but it turns out that with my medical history that isn’t true. IE if you don’t have a uterus you can’t get uterine cancer that easily.

      The biggest deal for me was muscle tone and changing body composition. I can’t care for my pets if I can’t lift them safely and that is probably what really tipped the scales and made me try something. I wish more was said about the influence of these changes on our ability to lift and carry our grandkids, pets, the boxes at work … Vanity is not the driving force for HRT for many. Hormones matter in strength building!

  13. My gosh – this is the best discussion I have read about female aging in my life! I really had no idea! I read twice, took notes and will read more from those expert sites. Yesterday I said you were in my top 3 blog sites. Today you have moved to number one. I’m thinking you are gonna have a great 2023. Keep up the outstanding work Alison, thank you thank you thank you!

  14. THANK YOU! I too call BS on many of these products/lines, but am struggling MIGHTILY with hot flashes every *50* minutes (i’ve timed them), burning tongue syndrome and thinning hair. This sucks so badly and HRT isn’t an option due to family history. Finding ways to alleviate the symptoms is a high priority these days.

  15. This is great info ! I have a constant runny drippy nose, had no idea it could be related to this ! Thanks for the recommendations . I ordered the almond oil and the sea buckthorn.

  16. I love that you research into these celebrity products and don’t just accept them at face value. We all need to turn our bullshit meters up a notch. Oh, and itchy ears?? My gosh I thought I had shit growing in there. Now I know why. Thank you!

  17. My GYN also recommends coconut oil, which I’ve been using for years; about 18 months ago I ended up on the Sloane Kettering website during a search, and even though this article is geared towards women recovering from cancer, it mentions several vaginal hydration options that are relevant for menopausal women as well.https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/vaginal-health. I ended up trying Revaree from this list, and it has really helped in combination with the coconut oil. The occasional tearing that sometimes led to UTIs or just general pain is greatly alleviated. Thanks for continuing to talk about menopause!

    1. Thanks for posting this link. I’ve used lubricant for years, but I never thought about actually using a vaginal moisturizer! I’m going to try the Revaree.

    2. Heather Corinna, founder of Scarleteen back in the 90’s, has a new book out called “What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You—a Guide“ that is a good Peri/Meno resource.

  18. This whole post—WOW—thank you! I had no idea about the itchy ears & have been experiencing that so often, along with other issues too. Thanks for all the links to people who can actually help us. Your paragraph that begins with “If men had periods…” dear lord, yes to every word you wrote. It’s so frustrating to me, as a now 50 yr old female, to still be dealing with every bit of this & always having the difficulties put on women. It’s exhausting.

  19. This is an absolutely fascinating and relevant post today! Thank you!

    “The drying of mucus membranes is why we get dry down there but also why we may have a persistent runny nose (the body compensating) … ”

    Persistent runny nose? Who knew? This is me. I will try the sea buckthorn for sure.

  20. YOU ARE THE BEST ! I am sorry it took an article on menopause to get me to finally comment and tell you this, but hey, we have to start somewhere, right ? !

    Thank you for this and all the rest.

    I am out here, cheering you on. Bullshit meter dusted and charged. : )

  21. As always, I really appreciate your approach. It’s critical without condemning the whole industry, and gives balanced feedback about where they’ve done well. I leave feeling like I have new information and a better lens to understand what I’m seeing, rather than being handed an opinion I’m supposed to agree with.

  22. Well, I for one never even thought about trying to find products to offset the menopause symptoms I am experiencing – and it sounds like that’s part of the problem! While I have never heard of the products or brands you mention, I agree that menopause needs to be a topic of discussion, and research. Thanks for shining a light on it!

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