In 2003, Susi Lennox and Sarah Brooks saw a need and embarked on a journey. Years of hard work resulted in AH! YES personal lubricants and vaginal moisturizing products that are kind to the environment and respectful of all life, while also being pleasurable intimacy products.
Even the name of the company makes a connection to human health because “AH! YES” conveys the critical idea that consent must be given before intimacy takes place.
Made Safe connected with the AH! YES team about why MADE SAFE certification for their OB Plant-Oil Based Personal Lubricant, VM Vaginal Moisturizing Gel, and
WB Water-Based Personal Lubricant was so important.
Made Safe: Why are you proud of your MADE SAFE certification?
Susi and Sarah: The MADE SAFE seal on our personal lubricant and vaginal moisturizer products is indicative of our promise to customers that our products are pure and natural, created with body-safe ingredients. The certification demonstrates our dedication to both our customers’ wellbeing, and respect for the planet.
Our products are deliberately designed to be free of known toxic ingredients. Third-party validation takes away the guesswork for our customers, and substantiates our own statements. When consumers see a logo or certification that they know and understand, they are reassured. We like the MADE SAFE seal, because it says what it means; a product that has earned the seal is literally made with safe ingredients!
Additionally, there is so much greenwashing and cleanwashing that confuses customers in the personal care industry. For example, for a food to call itself organic, it MUST be certified organic by a third party and carry that certifying party’s logo, but the same law does not apply for a nonfood product, like a personal lubricant. So an unethical company could add a tiny amount of one organic ingredient and still claim their product is organic. Most consumers do not know they need to look for an independent and scientific third-party’s seal to ensure their personal lubricant is actually certified organic. AH YES! products are certified organic by the Soil Association.
Made Safe: Why did you start your company?
Susi and Sarah: We set up the company to devote ourselves to a worthwhile cause that reflected our values and ethics. Having worked for a number of pharmaceutical companies (including Pfizer during the launch of Viagra), we saw a conflict emerge between enhanced sexual performance of men in their 60s and 70s and their female partners, who physically could not match the demands of a suddenly sexually active partner. We set out to ‘change the world from the inside’ by realizing a new concept: a certified organic, natural, plant-based range of intimacy products.
Made Safe: How are your products different from other, more conventional, products in the space?
Susi and Sarah: Our products have been formulated to be safe, Certified Organic, and do not contain parabens, glycerin, glycols, silicone, hormones, gluten or known skin irritants. We want to help rather than inadvertently hinder a customer’s intimate health and this is reflected in our MADE SAFE certification. In comparison, the ingredients and properties of conventional personal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers often include irritants, and are not formulated to respect vaginal tissues. Many conventional intimacy products do not list the product’s ingredients on their websites or even on the product at all. We declare all our ingredients on all our packaging.
Made Safe: What do you wish shoppers understood about the kind of products you make?
Susi and Sarah: We have ensured that our AH! YES products are matched to typical vaginal pH, in order to help protect against bacterial and yeast infections that can occur when applying a product of a differing, more alkaline pH to the vulval area. The pH of conventional lubricants and vaginal moisturizers doesn’t match vaginal pH (which is fairly acidic) so they can compromise vaginal health. We also believe the addition of glycerin and glycols increases the likelihood of mucosal irritation, so we don’t use them.
Up to the present time, we haven’t had a lot of options for certified safe products. Instead, we consumers have used products that contain hidden, and potentially harmful, substances that we simply weren’t aware of. As more reports on toxic chemicals make it into mainstream media, consumers are responding by making conscious choices about the products they purchase. While it is critical for consumers to understand how the ingredients and formulation of a product can affect your overall health, that knowledge is only as good as the information brands provide about their products.
We believe it’s the responsibility of brands to be transparent about what goes into products. Only then can consumers make informed decisions about what they are purchasing. This is something we actively practice as a company and strongly believe in, which is why every ingredient in a product is listed on our labels.
Made Safe: What is your concern around toxic chemicals in our daily lives?
Susi and Sarah: We are concerned about the lack of education surrounding where known or suspected harmful chemicals can be found (i.e. in certain products) and the effects of these chemicals on our overall health. Did you know that some much of what goes on the skin can get into our bloodstream? Additionally, the vagina may absorb many of the chemicals applied to it, as it has no protective layer of skin, unlike the rest of our bodies. That is why we are dedicated to making the purest product possible for use on skin and delicate intimate areas (vagina, rectum and penis). Choosing AH! YES lubricants and vaginal moisturizer is one way you may reduce your chemical body burden. While many consumers are now making more conscious decisions around the skin care that they choose, the same reasoning should also be applied to intimate health products. We all know “we are what we eat”; all women also need to know “we are also what we put in our vaginas.”
Made Safe: What have you done to make your lives healthier, and why?
Susi and Sarah: At AH! YES headquarters, the team has taken up yoga classes! Twice a month our amazing yoga instructor (Roessa) visits the office to host sessions working on everything from flexibility and core strength to mindfulness and boosting energy levels.
The difference that it’s made to our working week, just by taking an hour away from our computer screens to stretch out, relax and re-focus the mind is pretty amazing! It’s also been a great way for the team to bond with each other in sharing an activity outside of our usual work, which has definitely made us closer.
Certified Products from AH! YES: