Naomi Watts Wants Everyone to Talk About Menopause
Naomi Watts is done whispering about menopause. “When I arrived at [the transition], the marketplace of products and information was lonely, scary, painful…and shameful,” she says. “I would look for books to learn more, but I felt I had to hide them, and even my friends were nervous to talk about it.”
That experience inspired her to launch Stripes, a new line of perimenopause and menopause solutions. With it, the actress aims to usher in a new era for what she calls the “better half” of a woman’s life. “I feel like the best version of myself now—I’m so much more confident in my body,” she says.
Stripes offers a suite of skin care, hair care, and sexual-wellness products, all created by a team of expert chemists. Their formulas, each specifically tailored for perimenopause and menopause, use advanced, science-backed ingredients.
The star has been an open book when it comes to speaking about her own early perimenopause and menopause experience, which began in her late 30s. Here, she shares some of what she’s learned over the almost 20-year journey.
Layer on the Hydration
Skin becomes drier and more sensitive during menopause as natural oil and hydration production slows down. For Watts, the long days on set with lots of makeup on didn’t help the situation.
“I was having really bad, itchy, reactive skin, which I didn’t even know was a symptom,” she says. Her solution, Watts found, was layering on clean, moisturizing skin care products made with formulas free from potential irritants. That discovery inspired Stripes products like Dew As I Do Ectoine + Vitamin C Brightening & Hydrating Cream, which contains two potent hydrators: ectoine (to improve skin-barrier function) and squalane, a sustainable, plant-based version of squalene (to lock in moisture).
Watts’s go-to hydration routine comprises three steps: “I start with Stripes The Cool Factor Ectoine Cooling & Calming Face Mist on damp skin—this helps everything else get absorbed—and then I apply Stripes The Power Move Ectoine Hydrating & Plumping Facial Serum. To seal it all in, I layer on Dew As I Do.”
Difficulty falling and staying asleep is one of the most common issues that women face during their menopause transition. Night sweats (hot flashes that happen at night) and anxiety can contribute.
Still, Watts aims to rest for a minimum of seven hours a night. “Sleep makes such a big difference for all menopause symptoms, whether physical or mental,” she says.
To address this need, Stripes will be introducing specially formulated products to help with sleeplessness associated with menopause and everyday stress.
Handle Hot Flashes on Your Own Terms
Watts’s night sweats were so intense, she would often have to change her shirt multiple times and even put down towels.
For relief, Watts recommends The Cool Factor Ectoine Cooling & Calming Face Mist, which contains edelweiss-flower extract to comfort overheated skin, a blend of antioxidants that both protect and cool, and ectoine and squalane to hydrate. It’s perfect for unexpected flares but can also be used preventively—or just for a quick refresh. “I use The Cool Factor as part of my morning and evening skin care routines, almost like an essence before my serum and moisturizer,” she says.
Research shows that exercise can ease some menopause symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and decreases in bone density and muscle mass, and may even help reduce hot flashes. Exercise (along with a balanced diet) can also help prevent health issues like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which menopausal women can be at risk for.
“Weight-bearing exercises with heavier weights became a big part of my routine, and I also spent a lot of time doing a class that combines mindfulness, Pilates, and dance cardio for more cathartic workouts,” says Watts.
Make Vaginal Moisturization Part of Your Routine
Sexual health is one of the cornerstones of Watts’s holistic approach to wellness during menopause. Vaginal dryness can cause serious discomfort and irritation and affect pleasure and function.
These side effects were top of mind for Watts and her team when creating Stripes Vag of Honor Ectoine Hydrating & Revitalizing Gel, which combines ectoine, hyaluronic acid, and glycogen for lasting moisture throughout the day. Just like your facial moisturizer, you simply apply Vag of Honor to your vulva twice daily—once in the morning and once at night.
“I may not be able to reproduce anymore, but I enjoy a healthy sex life and partnership,” says Watts. “At Stripes we like to say, ‘Closed for business, but open for pleasure.’”
And the moisturizing gel isn’t just for sex, it’s for comfort, too. “Whether you’re horseback riding or wearing tight jeans, you want to feel like you’re moving and breathing,” she says.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It
To encourage open dialogue, Watts and the Stripes team created The Hot Spot, a digital platform with educational content that also serves as a safe space where women can swap stories.
Beyond menopause-related topics, Watts hopes the community can foster conversations around work, relationships, personal goals, and the realities of midlife. “I want the conversation to be more fun, more humorous, more accessible, even enticing,” she says.
Moving forward, Watts is focused on spreading the word about menopause to every gender and generation. “Being ahead of it and knowing what menopause will be like before you’re there…that’s gold,” she says. “I don’t think generations behind us will suffer in silence like those before did. Menopause is a natural part of life, and it serves everyone in our community to share our stories.”