If you religiously read the ingredient list on everything—from your almond butter to your body wash—why should condoms be any different? That’s a question Meika Hollender asked herself when learning that conventional condom brands are typically filled with carcinogenic chemicals, like nitrosamines, and spermicides, which have been shown to cause irritation (despite their helpful intentions).
Last year, Hollender founded Sustain Condoms with her father Jeffrey Hollender, who just happens to be the founder of natural household cleaning giant, Seventh Generation.
“There are women opting for natural beauty products and organic food—and trying to limit their exposure to toxins,” she says. “I’ve lived my life limiting the number of toxins I’m exposed to, so why wouldn’t I want a condom does that?”
Sustain Condoms, along with L. condoms, another new brand also making toxin-free, ethically produced condoms, are changing that convention. So you can do what’s natural, while staying natural, even in the heat of the moment.
More good news: These new brands feel the same as the rubbers you’re used to, so you won’t notice a difference in that department. And they don’t have the same strong smell—or stickiness—making your time in bed all that more pleasurable.
Read on to find out more about what makes these condoms healthier…
1. Expect less latex-related irritation.
“We looked at the issues that people have with condoms—they can be irritating, taste bad, smell disgusting, and feel unnatural,” says L.’s founder Talia Frenkel.
Her company’s innovation is a reduced the number of proteins in the latex, which makes it better for you—and better smelling.
“L. natural rubber latex is chemically modified to dramatically lower in the proteins that cause allergic reactions,” Frenkel says. “This [also] results in significantly decreased latex scent and taste.” And fun fact: L. also has a very convenient one-hour delivery service.
2. They don’t contain the typical bad-for-you chemicals.
Another one of the reasons many condom brands aren’t as healthy as they could be is because of the chemicals in them, which are a byproduct of the production process, says Meika.
“It’s not something people are adding to the condom. A carcinogen occurs during the heating and molding of latex because people accelerate the process,” she explains.
When Sustain makes their condoms, they carefully choose the accelerators and make sure the condoms are thoroughly washed during the manufacturing process, which means no harmful chemicals are formed in the process.
3. These condoms are sustainable and charitable.
Both Sustain and L. are cruelty free and Certified B corporations, which means they’re treating the environment with love and offer transparency about how their goods are made. Sustain also uses fair-trade rubber to make their condoms (yes, like your fair-trade coffee.)
“Sustain’s plantation is the only one that produces latex for condoms that are Fair Trade Certified,” Meika says, so the workers are paid a good living wage, about two to three times more than the average.
And when you stock your nightstand with them, both brands support charities. For every condom L. sells, they send one to a woman in need in sub-Saharan Africa, Frankel says. Sustain donates ten percent of their pretax profits to services that help “an estimated 17.4 million women in need of publicly funded reproductive health and family planning services.”
Who knew your condoms could do so much? —Molly Gallagher