Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Sensitive Matter

Okay guys, this one's a little feminine, so if you are sensitive to discussion of sanitary products, you may like to skip it!

Look a pretty flower to distract you.


I had to buy some pads this week, for the first time in a couple of months. I grabbed the ones I have always got, for like ten years. Always Ultra. I have never had a problem with them, and considering how sensitive my skin is, that is a miracle. I didn't even really look at the packet.

Big mistake.

You see, P&G, the company that makes always ultra, have decided that, as a small group of women said odor was a problem, they were going to take a perfectly good line of products and make them small like old granny perfume (A side effect of their new odor neutralizing actipearls!). 


I was pretty pissed about it. Pissed enough that for the first time ever, I had to get some answers.
 I emailed to ask why they had not simply set up a separate product. 

It baffles me. Why change one of your core ranges so dramatically? 

Seriously. Granny perfume in your crotch. Who would want that?

This is my email to them:


Having just discovered that you have changed 'Always Ultra' to include actipearls, I must confess to being incredibly disappointed in the product.

I have used Always Ultra for as long as I can remember. They are a product I trusted and bought without any concerns.

Imagine my thoughts then, when I open a new packet to find a scented product. A product that I would not want anywhere near a very sensitive area of myself.

Now, I understand that you undertook a survey of some 2000 women, and that their second biggest concern was odor. I will say outright that this has never really been a concern of mine. Nor anything that has ever come up in discussion with my peers.

So, whilst this group of women may want a scented product, there are those of us that would like a product along the 'ultra' lines, without the actipearls.

My question then is this: Why did you not think to market both lines as separate products?

Why did you change every product of the 'ultra' line without consideration of those women who were content with the line as it was?

Surely there is room for a line of always 'scented' odor reducing pads whilst also providing a line of products suitable for those of us unhappy with such a product.

It has been such a blow to discover that I have to change from a brand I trusted to another that I do not know.

Please pass this along to anyone who might be able to influence the return of an unscented ultra line.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Can't wait to see what they reply with?

Don't forget ladies! Have a happy period now!


EDIT: Quick reply from consumer relations. Although I do note that they left out my name, and it's pretty much an identical to the reply received from them to the lady in the other blog. Hmm.


Thank you for your email to Always.

I am sorry to hear that you have been disappointed with your purchase of our Always Ultra pads and appreciate you taking the time to let us know.

Here at Always, we take our quality control very seriously. You can be assured that I have passed your comments on to our Quality Assurance Department.

The scent you have noticed from the new Always Ultra pad is not intentionally added but comes from the odour neutralizing ActiPearl technology.   Our intensive consumer research among over 2000 women has shown that odour control is the second most important benefit for women after reliable protection.   We designed Always Ultra ActiPearls to be as absorbent and protective as the previous product but now with added benefit of odour control.  ActiPearl technology is available in Always Ultra Normal, Normal Plus, Long, Long Plus and Night variants.

ActiPearl technology is not applied to the surface of the pad but contained inside the pad so there is no direct contact with the skin. All of our Always products are dermatologically tested for skin compatibility.

If you want to purchase a product without the Actipearl technology technology then Always Silk, Freshelle, Fresh, and Simply Fit are available.

If you want a product without scent then Always Simply Fit and Always Ultra with Freshelle are available.

We would love you to continue using our Always products and I would like to send you a voucher to use against your next purchase. Please send me a note of your full name and postal address so that I can arrange this.

I hope this helps.  If I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to call me on freephone (UK) 0800 0852591, or write to me via return email.


  1. At this time, I'll pull out one of the few lines of Shakespeare I can actually remember (simply because I've found it to ring true at so many points in my life): "Striving to better, oft we mar what's well." Take that, Always marketing losers.

    Some Dark Romantic

    1. Heh, great quote use. I'll have to try and remember that!

  2. Or as we say in my neck-of-the-woods "If it ain't broke don't fix it" (So glad this issue is no longer a problem for me!)

    1. Exactly. Years of product satisfaction down the drain!

  3. I've just been Googling this, and am so glad to have found your post! I knew I couldn't be the only woman who was extremely disappointed with this huge change!! I thought at first that I had picked up the wrong kind of ultra pack by accident, so I went back to get more and to my horror discovered that all the pads I normally use are now scented with Actipearls! What a crazy change for them to make!

    I, like many women, suffer with bouts of cystitis that are not caused by an infection - I just get flares when my bladder is unhappy. One of the main ways to keep this at bay is not to use any scented products in sensitive areas, so no scented soaps, shower gels and certainly not pads. I would have thought that most women, weather they suffer with cystitis or not, would have followed similar advice. Imagine putting a scent into a product that then has to be used in very sensitive areas, it just doesn't make any sense.

    I will do the same as you have, and send an email to Always to express how disappointed I am that they made such a big change. And in the meantime I'll have to change to a different brand, there's no way I'll continue to use Always if it risks a cystitis flare.

    Thanks so much for posting this, I'm very glad to see that others have been feeling the same :)

    1. Thank you for commenting! I am glad to have written the post now! One can only hope that with constant questions as to this change, they might try and incorporate both product lines! :D

  4. I hear you, sister! I've used Always for years - my periods are pretty heavy and these perform well - but i was dismayed to buy them the other month and find them scented. I was googling to see if anyone else was unhappy over it. I certainly agree that from a yeast infection/cystitis point of view it's generally bad news having anything scented next to your ladybits. And in any case, I prefer my hoo-ha to smell of hoo-ha rather than grandma, thankyouverrrymuch!!!

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I'd send them an email. I figure if everyone complains, they might up their game!

  5. I agree! My bathroom cupboard really stinks now too!

  6. Well I am very glad to hear I am not he only one who is not happy about this new unwanted change. I to picked up a pack without thinking because I have used the same brand for over 10years so much so I just no my preferred pad by the shape and colour of the packet, I was in need at the time and in a rush so put one on quick very shortly after as I got on with my day I kept getting a whiff of what I thought was nappy liners only to my disgust to find out that smell was coming from me. The active pearls smell before you even put them on and the smell only gets stronger when they are used for there intend purpose so now where as before no one had any clue that I was on my period because I had no smell issues now I have a smelly warning to anyone who comes close that I am on. As for the helpful advice in the customer service email most of the stores I go to only have the pads with activepearls the reason being are/where the most popular and as they have always been he most popular I am dumb founded that they have changed it on the back of very small survey, surely having it as a stand alone limited addition to see if people actually wanted such a product would of been a far better way to go because I am sure a lot of the women who where worried about smelling are not actually happy with the smell these pads give off . I will now be trying out other brands something I have not done in years as I wont be bothering to travel miles to obtain the alternatives suggested as they both have lotion on so not worth the risk.

  7. Thanks for posting. I can't believe they've done this. I emailed them too after looking everywhere for the old, unscented product. They've taken the best product on the market and ruined it. Is anyone up for starting a petition? We could get more than 2,000 women to sign it (their original sample)....

  8. Some one with a bit of technical know-how start a petition please! If not then can anyone recommend an alternative brand that works like Always Ultra? As for the scent not reaching the skin then why do my hands always (excuse the pun) smell of perfume for a good few hours after touching one of them???

    Maybe a boycott of their products will send P&G a message, I am searching for alternative products already!

  9. I have just sent the following message to the CEO of Procter & Gamble, Ronald Smithson, at

    Feel free to use! I have found that, while the CEO himself obviously doesn't read the messages, emails sent to their personal address tend to get more attention.

    Dear Mr Smithson:

    I am joining the growing crowd of women posting comments online and writing to Procter & Gamble to protest about the disgusting scent that has been added to all of the Always pads available in continental Europe (I am from France).

    I have been a faithful user of this product for a couple decades but have recently switched brands since buying a pack of Always only to discover that they had smelled up my entire bag of groceries. Like the other commenters, I find the odour sickening as it certainly does not resemble any scent people buy voluntarily as perfume, perfumed soap, etc. Please be assured that I am not particularly sensitive to odours and enjoy most scented lotions, perfumes, etc.

    Since I had always appreciated the quality of the product, I tried using the pack I had already bought and trying to ignore the smell. The bad odour of the pack wafted out of the cabinet drawer I had stored them in each time it was opened. The Always available in Europe are individually packaged for "convenience" but I have found that having only one or two of them in my handbag for the day at work was more than enough to smell up the entire inside of the bag.

    Like the other online commenters, I believe Procter & Gamble has completely departed from its original campaign to brand Always as a discreet product that is supposed to go undetected when worn. That was the idea of the "ultra" pads: no one but the user has to know they are around. Now, it is attempting to impose a product that can be smelled from several feet away. Even the clothes I have worn while wearing a pad with Actipearls are impregnated with the scent. Rather than having a discreet product, PG has turned it into an EMBARASSING one to wear and to have in one's bag.

    I hope to hear that PG will rethink this very bad decision. I have had to throw away the rest of the pack I tried because, quite frankly, it was not worth putting up with the odour in the drawer.


  10. I've just had an asthma attack induced by the perfume on these pads. I'm furious about this - not least because I bought another pack of pads (from another brand) earlier, and they actually smell faintly of this perfume just from being on the same supermarket shelf as the Always pads.

    This effectively means I probably have to get someone else to buy my pads for me since I can't go near that shelf without triggering an asthma attack.

  11. I hope everyone is amused by P&G's official "take" on the smelliness of the product. By writing to Bob McDonald's personal email address, I got 2 replies, a fairly obvious form letter and then this one (enjoy):

    Thank you for your email addressed to Mr. Bob McDonald. I am aware that you have already received a reply from one of my colleagues but I would like to offer my personal perspective on your complaint on his behalf.

    I was very sorry to hear that you, a faithful user of Always for many years, have found the scent in the new product disgusting and, despite persevering with the product, have regrettably chosen to switch brands.

    The new Always design was launched earlier this year and includes a new odour control technology. The intent is to neutralise any odour rather than simply mask it, something which in our extensive research had been identified as a product need. During the development of this new technology we worked with over 2000 women to find, what we believe, is the optimal intensity of this technology to provide discreetness and security, with very successful results for the majority of women. As stated in our earlier reply, clearly this has not been your experience and we have shared your feedback with our research design team. Our tests also showed that whilst the odour is strongest when the packaging is first opened, the aroma does fade and for many consumers is not be noticeable during use. Again we are sorry this has not been your experience.

    We hope you will consider using an Always product again and can confirm we continue to make Always Silk and Always Simply Fits varieties which provide the Always comfort and absorption you are used to getting but without the aroma.

    Because you have been so disappointed with the new Always product, we would like to reimburse you for the product and give you the opportunity to try one of the other Always variants. If you would like to provide a contact number we would be happy to call you to arrange to process a payment into your bank to allow you to do so.

    Thank you again for letting us know about your personal experience and sharing your feedback which will help our research design team. We are sorry you have been disappointed and if I can be of any further help, please let me know.

    Kind Regards


    Global Consumer Relations

  12. I've e-mailed them, too, and got the same generic e-mails. The smell is pretty extreme, especially as it says on the hands for a long time. Also, I really don't want to have any smells imposed on any part of my body, especially not by so called 'sanitary products'. This is just an attempt to try and foster BO paranoia in women.

  13. I completely agree with all the comments here, the smell is absolutely horrendous, and I do not understand why P&G felt the need to change an excellent product, which had many loyal users.

    Yes, I would also say that odour control is important, but these ActiPearls have the opposite effect: their odour is totally out of control. The supermarket shelf, my bag, bathroom, hands and underwear: everything smells of these freakin' ActiPearls. Thanks P&G, for the first time in my life, everybody can smell that I am having my period!

    As a loyal customer, I did buy a pack and I hoped the aroma would wear off, but unfortunately it did not. To finish the pack, I only dare to wear these pads when I am at home, without anybody in sight. Needless to say, I won't be buying them again, and since I do not like the other suggested Always varieties, I will be looking for another brand.

  14. I'm so glad I'm not alone in my horror at this. But so disappointed that a brand I've used for years and years, and is the only one that I can use with my heavy periods, has done this. The smell is horrible. And I bet their 'silk' ones cost more too. I really hope they see sense. I wish this was something I felt comfortable starting a Facebook campaign on, but it's not really a subject I want to share with everyone I know :(


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