This year’s Top 25 was full of bangers—the decade’s biggest hits in beauty across every category. But you don’t just end up on such a list by luck. It takes thoughtful formulation, lots of testing, and a good helping of foresight to land on a product that’s going to do its thing better than any of its competitors. We sat down with the brand founders behind some of our favorite products to get the full story—starting with Megababe founder Katie Sturino. Here’s why she launched the groundbreaking anti-chafe stick Thigh Rescue.
“I don’t remember a time when my thighs didn’t touch. When I started playing basketball, I would wear Spandex shorts under my regular basketball shorts, because I’d get irritated. I didn’t call it irritation—and I didn’t call it thigh chafe or chub rub. I just knew that when I didn’t wear those shorts, I got uncomfortable. I didn’t wear skirts or dresses for a very long time until I found thin shorts that wouldn’t roll up when I wore them underneath. I wore those for a long time. It’s really interesting, now that I’m talking about this so much I hear a lot of women say they’ve just ignored chafing their whole lives. They’ll say, ‘I just live,’ or ‘I wear jeans in the summer,’ or ‘I don’t walk in a bathing suit.’ I guess I’ve never been complacent in my chafe. It’s been uncomfortable. I don’t know.
I guess I’ve never been complacent in my chafe. It’s been uncomfortable.
When I started my blog four years ago, I started asking people on the internet what they used for chafe and those posts always got huge responses. Every year, once the temperatures would go up, I’d start talking about all these hacks and solutions with my community. There was Glide, but I didn’t really like the way it pulled on my skin as I applied it. There’s the Monistat gel, but you have to touch it, and it’s from Monistat, so it looks like you have a yeast infection. I did a deep dive on Amazon and Target and Walgreens, because I thought, surely, someone would have made something that was cool and empowering and made for me. And there was nothing. There was a DZ Nuts chafe product for men, and a DZ Nuts for Her in a pink bottle. I mean, these are real products! I was so done with it by the time I had found the 10th product that was crudely named, or embarrassing. I don’t need anti-chafe stick because I’m running a marathon, or because I’m a guy with a sweaty ballsack, I need something that’s just going to help me live my life more comfortably. Why was I recommending all these products that are really not for what I have? It was bullshit! That’s when I was like, ‘I think I can do better.’
The thing is, women’s products have a very aesthetic focus, and aren’t very solution-focused or comfort-focused. A lot of women’s issues get ignored. We have 2,000 solutions for cellulite—we know that cellulite is a problem we need to fix. But if you go to Ulta and there’s not one thing for thigh chafe, that must mean that you’re alone. It was even hard to find a factory that didn’t think thigh chafe was a super niche problem, and I got similar responses from friends and family. But if it had been a problem for me, and definitely a problem for my readers, I figured there were probably a lot more women in the US who just weren’t talking about it. And the lack of products to address it perpetuates the idea that you shouldn’t talk about it. What are the implications of these products not existing? Is it that women should have a thigh gap? If your thighs touch, that seems to be something that’s on you.
Women’s products have a very aesthetic focus, and aren’t very solution-focused or comfort-focused.
Through introductions and searching, I was able to find a factory that was not only capable of making something, but understood what I was trying to make. I knew exactly what I wanted out of the product, and I was our tester. That’s why I’m so confident about our chafe stick. I have tried everything out there, and I know how it performs against all of them. We did not order a small amount to start, which was very uncomfortable for my partners. But I knew it was good, and necessary, and that women were going to want it. It paid off—we sold out.
We’ve been in business for almost three years now, and every day someone DMs me and tells me how Thigh Rescue changed their life, changed their wardrobe—it’s a whole thing. I even made an unscented version because I use it so much that I got sick of the scent, and I figured if I was, other people probably were too. Still, month after month lists come out from different beauty publications, and when I suggest Thigh Rescue I get this look like I’ve just asked them to include the best green hair dye. It’s so amazing when people get it, and recognize how much impact it has. That for me is a big deal. I’m really proud.”
—as told to ITG
Wondering what other products made our 2019 Top 25? Check out the full list here.
Photo via ITG