- Windeltest: ID Slip Maxi und Maxi Prime
- Totales Organ(-spende-)versagen
- Windelgrundlagen: Ein neuer Blick auf Hautpflege bei Inkontinenz – Teil 4 – Attends
Today’s menu will feature a product that has been on my list quite a while. As a big fan of the ID Slip Super in all its variants I’ve long been wanting to find out whether the Maxi version would add anything on top of it. Then some time last year the Maxi Prime popped up and I possibly couldn’t put off giving this a spin for much longer. So here we go.
These products not being officially distributed in Germany I once more had to resort to an online store from Belgium, which also has the added benefit of the products being a tad cheaper. The package contains the same number of pieces as the retail version of the breathable Super, so it’s even easier to compare prices. The minor caveat here is that the foil-based version in their chunky packs of 28 is still slightly cheaper when you do the math and calculate unit prices, so if that’s good enough for you, you can stop reading here. ;-) For the purpose of the subsequent inevitable comparison shots I only had one of those foil Supers handy, anyway. This skews the result ever so slightly since these fold up better and thus are a bit flatter, but it should serve the intention, regardless.
As you can see, the different flavors are hugely identical fresh out of the package. If you wanted, you could kind of interpret the Maxi being the thickest of the three, but the limitations of my photographic process notwithstanding, arguably this could count as reading tea leaves. That is to say in practice you won’t notice much of a difference in the absolute thickness. What you can feel however is a different touch to each of the three models. Using the Super as a base reference, the Maxi is slightly fluffier whereas the Maxi Prime feels quite hard and solid. It is also the most heavy out of the three and putting it on the scales confirms this.
The overall shape matches that of the Super in every way, so the fit is nearly identical for all of them. Within slight variations you should have no difficulty transitioning and alternating from one to the other as needed. With these observations, what are the real differences then?
I’ve been discussing this with some person who shall remain unnamed a bit off-list, and we’ve both come to similar conclusions. First let’s begin with the Maxi. As one might conclude from the absorption level denomination on the package only being bumped up to the full 8 drops as opposed to the Super‘s 7.5 drops, the difference is minute. For the most part you will notice the somewhat looser texture and the resulting increased volume. This also tracks back to the photo with the stacked products. Whether or not you can actually get anything out of this is another question.
My own instinct says “No!”, as I’ve always done pretty well with the Super already. There is a slightly extended use, yes, but in my opinion it’s not significant enough. It’s the much-cited “one time extra pee” that may or may not save your bacon. On an abstract level therefore little seems to speak for this product, but hear me out. One advantage I found after all is that the even fluffier absorbent pad elevates the comfort at night by a tiny notch. Not that the (breathable) Super would be uncomfortable, but if you are the type that cherishes every bit of coziness you can get, then this might be an incentive to at least give it a try.
The Maxi Prime is a different beast entirely. Regular readers of this little blog may remember my review of the Tena Slip Ultima and if you guessed that things would be headed in a similar direction, then you were right. Unfortunate as it is, it very much turns out the same here – instead of re-engineering the product, someone had the brilliant idea of “Let’s just throw in more super absorber!” and it whacked out the physics. It’s only consequential then that for the possibly intended use as a super-strong nighttime diaper this more or less fails, or at least doesn’t bring anything to the table that would make it superior to a Super or Maxi.
The flow of the liquid inside the pad is simply disturbed, which you feel immediately the first time you use the diaper. Just like in that other product there tend to be local “clusters” instead of the fluids evenly propagating through the entire pad. If you are extremely unlucky and already have wetted your product a bunch of times this could mean your excretions flow on the surface of the already saturated regions, possibly resulting in sideways leakage. That’s even more reason why it may not be the first choice for the night.
Not all is lost, though. If you are daring enough and don’t mind walking around with a somewhat thickly padded bum this can still be useful on long trips as the vertical orientation of the flow will allow to exploit and control usage better. Still, overall you might not ever get to the equivalent of the full ten drops, no matter whether based on your gut feeling or real measurements.
While I was genuinely curious, actually trying this out revealed that you are likely not missing out on much, a sentiment shared by the mystery friend I had been discussing this with. In the usual manner that doesn’t mean that those two products haven’t any extra value, but the usage scenarios are too specific to give a general recommendation. Of course you can’t go wrong if you ever have tried out the ID Slip Super. Both of the diapers will give you at least that same level of performance, yet it begs the questions what else there is on top of it and in my opinion that’s not enough to warrant the higher price. It’s really once more a case of “if only…”. You may come up with creative uses to make this work, but for the time being I will stick with the Super for those rare occasions where I want to treat myself to something special. Perhaps Ontex can work on this and improve those critical points and then I might consider the Maxi and Maxi Prime more seriously – if the price is right.
After I’ve taken things a bit slower over the end-of-year holidays like presumably most of you, not always voluntarily due to some unforeseen “bad days”, it’s time to kick off the new year and continue with one of our series. This time we’re gonna have a look at the branded skincare products from Attends. They aren’t as numerous as the ones from Seni, so this article should make for a bit of lighter reading. As always full disclosure: All products for this article were provided by Attends and my thanks to them for that, but of course I’ll still apply my usual critical eye, so this should still be as objective as it possibly can.
While the reduced number of products is going to make some things easier to explain and judge, it also makes things more difficult in that the corridor for actual use becomes more narrow and more specialized. You will see what I mean by that later on.
The branding is overall pretty modern, aesthetically pleasing and in a sense “neutral”, which keeps my designer tastebuds at peace. It also features a distinct color coding scheme with bright, intense colors used on large areas, which should help to avoid confusion coupled with the products offering a limited selection in the first place. It’s almost impossible to confuse items in a manner of speaking. It may look a bit pushy in your bathroom, though, even if it eliminates one of my complaints about Seni‘s color coding and all too toned down coloring.
With the exception of the barrier spray the products come in reasonably large tubes and dispensers or an acceptable number of pieces, respectively. This, too, sets it apart from the already mentioned competitor, though of course it’s a subjective point. Depending on your routine you’re always going to need more of one product, but not as much of another.
In this department things are very straightforward as it doesn’t throw anything exotic at you and pretty much everything is as expected – wet wipes, disposable washing gloves and some matching foam and cleansing emulsion. It would seem you can’t do anything wrong with this, but actually it appears you can. Let me explain.
Variations in mixture are of course only natural from vendor to vendor. Some may prefer a different consistency and texture, others a different smell. This is the case here. The foam and washing lotion are a lot more water-y than their counterparts from Seni. It’s pretty much a non-issue for the emulsion, but the foam in this case really suffers in its usefulness.
It uses a standard perpendicularly aiming spray head, which generally makes it easier to apply the foam directly, but things begin to fall apart when you can’t do that. If you need to spray it on your hand first and then want to apply it to the regions that need cleaning, it dissolves way too quickly to do so in a satisfying manner. This is also further complicated by the foam not adhering well to your skin due to the lack of some oily substance. In turn it feels like you are moving foam flakes around like when you’re having a bubble bath and you may end up using unnecessarily much of the product.
If that wasn’t enough, and this point really set me on alert, the foam has a very intense citrus smell. It contains Limonene, the aromatic extract of lemon oil, which is known to be a strong natural cleansing agent, but also known to be one of those substances that can cause skin irritations and allergies. Most dermatologists advise to reduce immediate skin contact as much as possible when e.g. encountering it in detergents and cleaning products, so to me it is at least somewhat questionable why it is used here, even if I’m regularly using citrus-scented cleaning substances in my flat. So in case of doubt you might want to cautiously test this before delving in fully.
In the long run perhaps the critical substances should be eliminated entirely, which would also lead to a more consistent olfactory experience. Strangely enough, the washing lotion has an entirely different smell that is more in line with the usual “somewhat floral and fresh, but I can’t give an exact match” odeurs so often employed by cosmetics products.
The disposable washing gloves come in packages of fifty and, bummer for me, only as a version sans inner foil lining. This makes it more difficult to use them if you have really made a dirty mess in the posterior regions. Additional rubber gloves would be essential in this scenario. On a sidenote, the marketing blurb on the package states that the oval opening makes it easier to slide in your hand and what do you know? It actually does. Sometimes it’s the little things and the simple ideas.
On to the wet wipes. Yet again these totally fall outside established patterns and expected standards. For a product aimed at adult incontinence care they turn out to be awfully small, quite literally sized like baby wipes. They are not impossible to make do with, but most of the time you are going to need two or three of them to really wipe down your intimate regions. This is even more true after longer periods of wearing diapers, where more residue is on the skin. This is to say they are a bit impractical if you really want to be thorough, especially if you have relatively large hands.
Also, guess what – yes, they once again have a different scent that I sometimes perceive as a weird mix of camomile and green grass smells, but on some days I also find it annoyingly sharp and stingy, almost like a disinfecting agent with lots of isopropyl alcohol in it. It’s most definitely not the best scent for my nose.
In this department the Attends portfolio is rather lightweight and one could even argue that it’s underrepresented, given that their entire range doesn’t have complimentary water-based cleaning products to begin with. So it entirely falls onto the body lotion and cream to make up for any degreasing effects of your shower gel or soap.
The body milk, similar to the cleansing lotion, leans more towards the water-y side of things. Since I already have somewhat greasy skin that’s actually a good thing, since it means relatively fast absorption instead of having to rub it in forever. It’s also beneficial for quickly getting to put on your fresh diaper since you don’t have to wait too long for the moisture to dry off, either. If you have relatively dry skin on the other hand, this may not be the best product for you, though. It may not offer enough long-term protection and require additional products to be used, at least for the use case that is relevant here. For your sensitive areas some extra cream with a higher amount of lipids is advised.
That by all means could indeed be their very on care cream, since it leaves a thin film on your skin. In that regard it’s quite similar to the Seni body balm (the one with the yellow color coding) from our previous article. In fact I find the Attends product slightly more pleasant since it doesn’t have this sticky effect like if you had applied honey or sugar water. Because it is not so thick, it wears off a bit quicker, though. Both products have a smell that’s very similar to the cleansing lotion, so at least in that regard it’s a bit consistent.
The third product, the hydro gel, is not really a care product, but more of an auxiliary medical product. These types of products are often used in hospitals and care homes to get the blood pumping for bed-bound people, often before sleepy time in the evening so they stay warm in their beds as they doze off. Depending on your sensitivities the intense smell from the essential oils may be totally annoying or enjoyable. It most definitely gets to you when you are in a hospital room with four other elderly men that just had their rub, trust me! It doesn’t have much relevance for incontinence care, but used in small amounts can give you a lovely peppermint chewing gum smell – if that’s something you or your partner are into. ;-)
The two barrier products are actually more like one, with the difference being their thickness and consistency. The Forte version simply contains a bit more zinc oxide and beeswax to make it flow less.
I actually like the idea of a spray, since it eliminates that boring process of intense hand washing afterwards. Additionally it ensures that you apply a relatively thin and even coat. The downside is that regardless of which of the two you use, they are still very liquid which means that it takes a while before they settle in and dry off so you can put on your diaper. Another complication is that the thicker variant tends to sputter, leaving large blotches of product at times, so you may still end up getting your hands dirty, after all, when you need to spread the stuff out with your fingers. I feel that this could be avoided with a pressurized spray can/ pump-action spray since it would allow for higher pressure and using different nozzles that may be more effective and not as prone to clogging up and sputtering.
The Attends skincare products are quite a mixed bag, mostly for the fact that they don’t provide a consistent experience. Truth be told, to me it feels like arbitrarily selected OEM products that were licensed to carry their logo. Therefore a good start to improve upon things would be actually settling on a unified scent. That would also quite possibly eliminate the need for some ingredients that need to be viewed critically. The products themselves in my view are mostly relevant for people who have relatively intact skin with a minimum lipid barrier present. Personally I can’t see them working on rather dry skin, at least not without a lot of extra hoopla. There’s definitely potential here to open up a second product line or at least adding some more products that would cater for this different demographic.
After evading the issue quite for a bit, mostly owing to their limited usefulness for me, I have finally decided and gotten around to have a somewhat deeper look at pull-up pants. In fact the thing that tipped me over was the release of the Tena Men Active Fit all in dark blue earlier this year, which immediately piqued my interest. That’s why we also begin with their products. Again I shamelessly exploited my secret channels to Tena to get hold of enough sample packs to form a reasonably educated opinion on this, so thanks to them. Note that we will only be exploring products with a certain minimum amount of absorbency, so no paper-thin Discreet version here.
Before we get to the actual products, I feel it is necessary to reiterate some of the limitations and also my personal reservations why pull-ups are not necessarily ideal for quite a few usage scenarios. Let’s see what we have here.
Now a lot of that of course almost sounds like these products are so quirky they probably shouldn’t even exist, but within the limitations they can still justify their existence. That would mean that if for instance you suffer from a mild post-bathroom trickle, tend to wee your pants when laughing or during sports activities or use them as a preemptive safeguard while otherwise intending to retain a normal toilet hygiene, then there’s nothing wrong with it. You just should never assume that it would come close to a conventional brief style diaper or even a large shaped insert.
With that out of the way, let’s have a look at the actual products from Tena in this category. For our purposes I solely focussed on products in size M because unlike with traditional diapers there is no way to creatively tweak and adapt the fit to make oversized products better, so there’s no realistic way for me to use a size L or even larger without it looking like an oversized Jute bag.
This is essentially the baseline “budget” product with the thinnest and smallest pad (at least in this article). This results in a somewhat odd, very loose fit because there’s not enough volume that would make the outer tissue’s resilience kick in. There’s very little pressure against your body, which I found irritating. You never feel safe and the pants slide down easily. I guess the conclusion here would have to be that you should aim at a smaller size if you really want to use this flavor.
With regards to the absorbency behavior and overall volume of course this won’t win a prize. This is the very definition of a product only ever intended for minor dripping accidents and/or a complimentary minimum safeguard under your regular underpants. This translates to the amount of pee it can hold being pretty exactly a mug of coffee, or in other words something like 200 ml. I only ever used them at home in those short periods where I’m running around my flat half-dressed, half-naked between preparing dinner, my evening shower and slumping my body lazily on my bed.
This is the main product line for the plain “medical” pants in all white. A direct comparison with the previous version quickly reveals the main difference being the pad, which is considerably larger here. Most notably it also includes an explicitly shaped bum part instead of just being rectangular. This also means that simply due to the increased volume the fit is much better. The larger front area also makes it much safer to “just let it rip” when needed, making the products suitable for urge incontinence where you may not be able to hold it even a considerable amount of urine.
The naming conventions are the same like with the Tena Slip products, but one mustn’t be fooled by this. They effective absolute values for absorbency are still lower. By my estimate the relation is about one-third of the Slip products, skewering toward a one to two ratio with higher levels, which means that only the Maxi version of the pants would come anywhere near the region of a Tena Slip Super, if at all. More to the point to me it feels like the absorbency is always falling into the gap between those other products where the practical use is concerned. This in part of course has to do with the different physics, but also perhaps not pushing the usage limits as much for safety reasons.
Anyway, I would consider these products a safe choice for your daily needs as long as you can control the duration of how long you would need to wear them without being able to freshen up and change the product. In my case this means that I would e.g. wear a Maxi for those two hours where I’m off for physical therapy and I even might get by with a Super, but I wouldn’t really go on longer trips, things being that I only use public transport. The added complication here is of course that I have to make sure to go to the bathroom beforehand and empty out my guts to minimize the risk of poop accidents.
That suspicious-looking tag on the back is meant to hold things together when you roll up your used product, by the way. It’s only present on this particular product line as well.
While the name is a mouthful, this product has been around for a few years already and could be seen as Tena‘s first foray in producing “manly” pants. Interestingly enough, they went the full mile and designed a specific shape from the ground up for both the pad and the outer shell. This is apparent in the pad reaching rather far up in the front so as to cater for full coverage on a man’s private parts. When put on, the product also feels more like short men briefs because it’s overall a bit more triangular and not as long/ high in the hip and waist region.
In our little selection of products this one is also unique in that its upper section (with the stripes printed on) uses a material different from the others. It’s much more tensile and thus gives a very good, snug fit, making this my favorite product here. It comes closest to the feeling of a tautly put on conventional diaper like I prefer it. The pad more or less equals the one in the Pants Super when it comes to shape, capacity and how it feels on your body. Minor, but interesting and funny detail: It has even a fake clothing tag/ label on the inside. That’s what I call commitment!
Finally the product triggered this article in the first place. Admittedly, it didn’t turn out as exciting as I had hoped. If you look closely, this looks like an odd hybrid between the Original Normal (overall shape and shape of the pad) and the Super pants (thickness of the pad). Logically it thus shares some of the properties of both variants. That refers to the somewhat flabby fit, but also to the acceptable absorption. Weird? Definitely!
While it’s perhaps not a real product test, I hope this little overview can still be useful in determining which of the pull-up pants you might want to get for your own perusal. For my own needs, if this should ever become relevant, I’d only get the striped Protective Underwear flavor simply because it fits best. The others are okay, but actually didn’t really do much to convince me. Despite always having been aware of the limitations, the gap towards “real” diapers is too big to make this worthwhile for me. The only real advantage is that these products are widely available in supermarkets and drugstores, so in a pinch you don’t have to look too far to find them.
Some things take a while, but eventually I somehow always manage to get my hands on products, after all. Therefore at long last today I’m able to present you with my thoughts on the Tena Slip Ultimate. Yepp, most of us have probably wanted to find out for a long time and now the moment is here where I can give you the Ultima-te answer. Cheap and obvious puns aside, let’s see how it stacks up against the other variants of the Tena Slip. For reference you may want to have another look at last year’s article, also.
Since SCA/ Tena are still being stifflers about it and this particular version is still not available officially in Germany I had to be sneaky and order from elsewhere. I got mine from a Belgian outlet at a good price, but recently everyone’s favorite SaveExpress has also started stocking the product. In other countries this should be easier and you should be able to get a package pretty much through regular channels like your pharmacy store. For the purpose of this article I opted for the standard breathable version, but if you so desire you can also get this as the foil-based Active Fit variant.
Of course the first question is: Is there a noticeable difference in the product? The simple, yet disappointing answer is that right out of the gate (or out of the pack in this case) you don’t notice any real difference except the coloring. For all intents and purposes, it’s “just” a Tena Slip like the others and it doesn’t feel any different. There’s no discernible heaviness pointing at huge amounts of absorbent materials, no palpable structure or texture that would set it apart from the ones with the lower absorption ratings.
Things get a bit more interesting when you stack the different models on top of each other in order. I put a heavy floor tile on top to compress the products to reveal their true thickness and squeeze out any extraneous air, but ultimately I guess I would have needed an elephant. Still, if you look closely, you can kinda see the visible difference of the blue Plus compared to the green Super, which in turn sets itself apart from the purple Maxi. If you hold the products in your hand, this is even more apparent. On the other hand, once you have that you’ll see no more increase in thickness with the Ultima.
Naturally, this lack of extra volume in the pad also hints that there may not be much difference in the design and shape. A quick inspection by way of some photos confirms this and at this point slowly a seed of doubt begins to grow in your mind. If there is any boost in absorbency, how is it achieved then? The answer staring you in the face is of course the almighty super absorber (SAP).
And with that we get to the core of our little evaluation: Does it work? I say it doesn’t. As I keep saying in many of my articles creating an optimum diaper is a delicate affair of balancing different physical characteristics and unfortunately just bumping up the amount of SAP usually does very little. The difference in dry weight compared to the Maxi clocks in at about 30 grams, which in theory could mean an additional 300 milliliters of liquid being bound, if you conservatively assume a 1 to 10 ratio of SAP vs. water. Still, you never seem to get there and exploit this extra capacity.
In my view there are two main reasons for this. I already mentioned the first – the unchanged shape of the absorbent pad and thus the lack of more cellulose fluff to provide drainage and liquid transport. The second is a more generic issue common to the Tena products – their pads being awfully stiff and compressed to begin with. In this particular case it went as far as producing visible tread marks from one of those rollers in the machine (I increased the contrast to make them more visible in the photo), which doesn’t bode well.
So in order to use the product, you have to towel-twist and mangle it quite hard to loosen up the internal structure of the pad. Once you have done that things feel okay, but truth be told I just don’t see the benefit. In light of the technical limitations imposed by the design (or lack thereof) I just never get there. Those two or three times I may be able to take pee more often seem negligible since by the time you would be using this safety margin the diaper would be full to the brim already and very soggy. That and this reserve would be very minor. If you get my drift: It would not necessarily safe your bacon if you are stuck in a situation e.g. on public transport where you may not be able to change your product soon.
Bad as it may sound, for me the conclusion is that this is not really worth the money it costs. Except for a tiny fraction of people who may be able to take advantage of the extra absorbency when using this product as their nighttime diaper most others presumably won’t get much out of it. This is a missed opportunity for Tena and the irony once more is that it would have taken little effort to turn this around and make it stand out. In a way it harkens back to my Slip+ idea in this article. A larger back panel would allow for a differently shaped pad and then this might actually work. As it is now, the only reason for me to buy the product again would be if it was on sale somewhere, being cheaper than the Maxi‘s or Super‘s regular price.
We covered a lot of ground already in this series, but naturally this is such a wide field, there’s always a chance a product unbeknownst to you and me will pop up just by visiting an online site one hasn’t come across before or that was recently updated with new products. Such is the case with the Active Pro homecare suit, which is available via Insenio, one of Germany‘s bigger homecare online outlets.
This product only comes in a single color: plain white. The cloth is a mix of cotton with a dose of Lycra/ Elasthane thrown in for shape retention. There’s really not much more to say than that.
The real reason I opted to get this product is of course to see how it holds up in particular compared to the Suprima products of same design. Based on the sizing chart provided on the order page I opted for a size L and the short-sleeved version. There is a sleeveless/ tank-top version as well. Luckily my guesstimate was right spot-on, so the basic fit is just fine. Based on the very soft, semi-elastic cloth it’s a sort of half-tight/ half-loose fit depending on which body region you are looking at. In my case it’s a bit more snug around the thorax/ chest, but strangely flabby in the crotch area and then again a bit more tight on the legs.
Arguably the resulting curvy shape is intentional for leaving extra room for your incontinence products. In case of the female part of the population it may also work better due to their larger pelvis, but to me this seems like an odd affair. This is even more the case since not much thought seems to have gone in other aspects of the fit. The overall shape is very stubby, which could make things difficult if you were to opt a smaller size just to obtain a tighter fit. That, by the way, would also make the neck piece fit more pleasantly. As it is, to me the hole always feels too large, resulting in an oddly lofty feel around the collar bones as if wind was blowing against my chest.
Aside from these specific issues the product feels comfortable once you get used to it. Obviously it’s 99 percent unsuitable for anything else but wearing it at home in bed, so most other things that could be relevant become kind of unimportant just like that.
Given the points of the previous paragraph, you cannot expect much here. The textile is simply too soft to offer much support and resilience. If at all, this really only works if your body matches the proportions of the product ideally with a certain minimum tension in the cloth being retained at all times. Therefore you probably won’t be able to go without some extra fixation garment for your diaper.
While the overall softness may represent a disadvantage for many other things, it works quite well for dealing with the zipper. Since the cloth can be stretched and mangled quite a bit, it’s not that difficult to close things up without breaking too much of a sweat. The whole procedure remains fiddly when you have to do it yourself, but it’s perfectly possible.
As mentioned under the Colors section, this product uses your typical cotton stretch material with a bit of Elasthane. My example showed no knots or other issues in the cloth itself. How it’s sewn together is however a completely different story. I did my best to get presentable photos (sans ironing the suit), but despite all the effort you still can kind of guess that things are crooked. This is exposed even more when you specifically look at the neck seam or the insides of the legs. Things seem to always wrinkle up, meaning there is some sort of unwanted tension. as I said in past articles I’m well aware that it’s difficult to sew elastics, but regardless, this shouldn’t happen.
On the shot with the open zipper and leg flap you also see that the seams are not that good overall. They appear rushed and not much consideration seems to have been given to cleaning up the ends and areas where multiple hemlines converge. This by all means looks amateurish. There’s even already some threads peeking out despite the product having been washed only once at the time of taking the images and now that it has been in the laundry multiple times these issues are becoming more and more prominent.
The product being produced in Turkey and no doubt being sold in bulk as an OEM/ custom label item in large quantities, you are bound to come across it in one form or another, no matter what actual name may be printed on the label. As I said at the beginning I got mine from Insenio here in Germany. Assuming they are not running out any time soon it should be easy enough to order and get a timely delivery.
The big stinker is that the price just isn’t right. It currently sits at 18.95 Euros, which feels almost outrageous when next to it they are also offering the superior Suprima for a mere 20.95 Euros. Before that the asking price was even higher. See the problem? The only way I could see this selling better is if they adjusted it down even further below the 15 Euros mark or sold it in packs of two or three at similarly reduced cost.
Dare I say it? All things considered this product at this point may not be worth your attention with the only exception being if you can’t find something else that sits right on your body. It’s comfortable enough to sleep in, I grant you that, but the poor quality and slightly ridiculous price kill it for me. It would be totally okay if you could get it at reduced cost like those multi-packs of cheap T-shirts at your grocery store, but on its own merits it doesn’t stand much of a chance. There’s plenty of better alternatives and by that I’m not only implying Suprima‘s products.
After all the theoretical stuff in our series on skincare we are now getting to the good bits and will have a look at some branded products, some of which are dedicated quite specifically to dealing with issues that people with incontinence problems may have. I’m choosing my words extra carefully here because the relevance for each individual hugely varies, of course. Some people get by effortlessly whereas others spend a lot of money, time and energy on this and still suffer irritations.
On a “First come, first served” basis today’s article will center around TZMO‘s Seni Care line of products. They were the first to send in an assortment of their various offerings (thanks to them for that) and I have been using it for the past months as much as I could within what is reasonable for me. The portfolio is quite comprehensive and thus the time needed to check out the products in combination with the usual effort required to edit the photos managed to screw with my schedule once again, so this article is a bit late.
When resorting to a branded product series there are of course certain expectations. Most importantly you expect products to go hand in hand to offer a streamlined experience and eliminating the need to buy other products as well. In addition everything should of course be tailored as best as possible to the target demographic and cover a wide range of usage scenarios, ideally also eliminating the need to look for more products from outside parties. Third and no less important is the fact that things should be rather cost-effective. The typical incontinent person is going to need quite a bit of some things, so they shouldn’t cost him or her an arm and a leg. The following chapters will reveal how that works out for Seni Care.
Before we delve into the specifics a few notes on some commonly shared properties of the products and procedures for the article. For the most part I’m simply going to assume that you all know what the basic ingredients and constituents of skincare products are – there’s always water, glycerine, oils and a few other things involved. I’m only going to point out specific differences where appropriate like possibly risky substances or uncomfortable smells to keep everything brief. With that in mind, let’s have it.
All Seni Care products come in white bottles and tubes that are kind of color coded to designate their purpose. I say kind of because ultimately it doesn’t really work. I find myself still having to read the text almost every time to not mix up products. The pastel-y tones may be pleasant to the eye, but are simply not distinct enough. You literally have to keep things stored separately to not accidentally rub washing cream on as body lotion. This could definitely be improved e.g. by color coding the caps, my reasoning here being that in particular elderly people with poor eyesight might struggle to keep things straight in an overcrowded bathroom.
Speaking of the elderly, I have to mention the scent here. To quote Willy Wonka at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp version): “You smell like old people and soap. I like it.”. While it’s meant endearingly in the movie, I’m not sure it’s a good statement for cosmetics products. I don’t mean this to be offensive in any way, but that typical “almost, but not quite there” mixed scent along the lines aloe, camomile, watermelon and cucumber is something I immediately associate with people of a certain age. So there you have it. Another of those things that could use improvement. Admittedly, though, it’s not as bad as it may sound. Thankfully the odor is not that intense, after all, and wears off after a time.
Moving on to specific products, the first in line are the wet cleaning ones, meaning your shower gel/ lotion. There are two different ones on offer in this line of products, but ultimately in my opinion they are not really that much different, at least with regards to how they work on my skin. The cream gel on the right in the picture just feels a bit more oily, which can be pleasing on sore skin whereas the other product is more of a normal shower gel.
What stands out is that both variants need quite a bit of water to actually spread on your skin. Directly from the bottle they almost feel “dry” and don’t want to go anywhere on their own accord. As a result you may end up using way too much. The rule here is to really soak your skin first or mix a good amount of water into the product on your hand before applying it. This is even more important for the oily flavor as otherwise you may simply end flushing down large wads of it without them having had any effect.
Things being that you can buy a pretty decent shower gel in every cornershop, our focus is of course on products where this would not be the case, i.e. the ones that you use for inbetween small cleanups without water off the tap at hand. Depending on the situation this can be simple or rather convoluted and then of course there’s other considerations I laid out in the previous article of this series like environmental considerations or potential residues on the skin. Regardless, those things have their value.
In the “serious” medical care business they would often be used for immobilized or bedridden people. For independent people with incontinence issues other factors are important, ranging from mere sensory enjoyment of certain sensations to more practical things like disposable products being super handy when you soiled your diapers due to fecal incontinence. This is achieved with a bunch of products that almost every vendor in this business has on offer: some kind of cleaning gel/ cream, a similar cleaning foam, washing gloves to go with the previous products, additional dry wipes/ paper towels and for minor incidents everyone’s favorite wet wipes. Some manufacturers include other products like the depicted dry shampoo or pre-moisturized washing gloves.
The Seni Care Wash Cream is a mixture of watery and oily components, meaning a very liquid emulsion. Since it needs to be actively spread on the skin, it’s not really useable for fecal incontinence, at least not without some previous relatively thorough cleanup. I works to get off this leftover last thin layer of smear, but that’s about it. It’s much more useful when you want to freshen things up a bit while changing your diaper if you have urine incontinence. Since it contains lipids, it has a skin-calming effect and works very fast. It also nicely “pulls” the smell out of your skin. The downside is that you really need to be super careful to remove every bit of the cream again. It essentially never dries and disappears by itself, which could cause trouble.
The cleaning foam is a somewhat different story. Because it can be applied directly from the spray can it can also be used on more severe contamination where then in a combination of the bubbles collapsing and releasing water plus the physical effect of those tiny explosions it can work its magic to loosen and soften the dirty stuff. The Seni Care foam is relatively stable, so you can take your time and also spread it carefully with your finger tips if you missed some areas. What’s not so great is that you are supposed to stand the can on its head with the vent shooting out the foam straight. This can be quite difficult when it’s still full due to the weight. I would imagine that people with very little strength in their hands or suffering from bone issues (rheumatism, arthritis, deformities) will really struggle to use this effectively. A conventional spray cap for using this upright would be easier.
For all products mentioned so far you can use the disposable wash gloves which come either as plain version or with an inner foil lining. They can be used to spread the cleaning agents on the skin, but also to wipe them off. When you suffer from fecal incontinence like I do, obviously the laminated ones are more relevant. You wouldn’t want any of the feces to seep through.
The regular version is also particularly thin, which you can see in the image with the piglet shining through. In any case, you are going to need more than one glove per cleaning most of the time, so be prepared that they run out quicker than you may think. I really only use them when I’m being “lazy” in combination with the waterless cleaning products. This to me makes even more sense since then I can wrap them up in my used diaper as well and throw them into my “dirty” bin. Never dispose these products in your toilet!
A complementary product to the whole cleaning proceedings are the Air Laid tissue wipes, an advanced version of your paper kitchen towel. Similar to the wash gloves you can quickly run out. Thirty pieces really isn’t that much. In addition having them packaged in a shrink-wrap bag has the disadvantage that you already tear them to shreds when attempting to pull them out (unless you have a quiet corner in your home where you can unpack the entire stack and have it handy). Because of those two points it would make more sense to me if Seni were selling the product in cardboard boxes with a hundred pieces or something like that. Would make life a lot easier.
A lot of people love wet wipes, but I don’t necessarily fall into that category. Again refer to the previous article in the series for some reasons. The Seni Care line has two variants of this product type – regular and sensitive. Since my skin isn’t particularly irritable and I don’t suffer from any allergies I can’t judge whether the sensitive lives up to the promise. The noticeable difference for me is in the smell, which is much fainter than on the regular, though not necessarily the perfumes are always what’s causing reactions. On that note, the scent also deviates from the standard smell in that it is more flowery-fruity-sweet and very pleasant. I guess they could adopt this for the creams etc. just as well and we’d all be happier for it.
The Seni wipes are rather large, making it easy and efficient to use them to clean up larger areas. Unlike some other products, you really only often need a single wipe instead of a handful. There’s a slight downside to that. The individual pieces are more difficult to pull from the package. It also seems that their overlap in the stack is a bit too large, so you often inadvertently pull out more than one and have to stuff in the rest again. This could pose a hygienic problem.
One thing that irked me a bit is that the regular wet wipes were extremely moist. This kinda defeats the purpose of a quick wipe as you really have to wait until things dry off again. This could be a flub with the specific batch I go my sample from, of course, but if it’s the norm, then perhaps they should take it down a bit to make things more user-friendly.
In addition to the various cleaning products there are some skin regenerating/ moisturising creams and lotions. They are by no means essential and like I said I’m not great with this stuff, anyway. There’s a neat twist with the body balm (yellow), however. It is a very firm and greasy product and therefore can be used as an alternative to genuine barrier creams if you feel like it. It leaves a thin, slightly sticky layer on your skin (at least on mine), which is just enough to offer some insulation against urine and slight soiling. The advantage here obviously is that it will wear off during the day, possibly sparing you extensive removal procedures.
Barrier products are a bit of a love-hate-relationship for most people with incontinence issues. You can’t do without them at least part of the time, but sometimes they are more trouble. As I already wrote, so far I haven’t found the perfect one for me, but at least Seni have two types on offer. The first is the more conventional one based on a Zinc oxide mixture with the other being solely built on forming a greasy layer. I’ve already discussed the Pros & Cons of every variant a bit and this isn’t much different here.
Where the actual use of the product is concerned, the grease-only product wins hands-down quite literally. The Zinc version is unfortunately a bit too liquid for its own good, so it’s almost impossible to apply without having it all over your hands. Whether or not you wear gloves – things can get messy with all the extra cleaning this may entail. To its credit one must say, though, that the liquid nature also makes the product dry and settle very quick, so you can move on without much waiting.
For the green version I would recommend that you really only use it cautiously for your crotch/ pubic region, but keep it away from your butt and other extended areas. It may not seem much, but this thin layer of grease is enough to give a very sweaty effect, which can get very uncomfortable in your Rima ani or even the skin folds in the groin area. In this case less is better.
The package I received came with the full line-up of products, so I’ll give the rest of the lot at least an honorary mention here, even though I don’t have much else to report. The creams are basically just variations on the normal body cream. I couldn’t say that they have made my feet much softer or any of that. ;-) Same for the oil, but who knows, it might come in handy for giving massages to some handsome guy one day.
In the grander scheme of things it becomes clear pretty quickly that the Seni Care products are not necessarily aimed at people of my age or even younger and cater more for the 60+ generation. That’s all fine, but offers little incentive to get the whole range. You really have to cherry-pick and be selective about what you use. Some items make sense, some not so much. Even so, the products in themselves are somewhat inconsistent even if you figure in the older age demographic, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. It’s often little things like the handling of the large foam spray can making no sense or the inadequate quantities and packaging for the Air Laid product. This should be possible to rectify easily.
On my own dime I’d simply leave out the extraneous products and focus on the barrier creams, the cleaning foam and the Air Laid wipes with one of the wet wipe variants thrown in plus possibly the thick body balm. In my little world everything else would be strictly optional. I’m of course not saying that this may not be totally different for you. Stranger things have happened and that very rich shower cream could be totally up your alley. In fact it could even be relevant for me one day, but I’m just not there yet age-wise. That said, as so often Seni surpasses many of its competitors when it comes to actual prices, so there’s nothing lost by just trying out some items. Depending on how much product you need the math could work out in your favor, after all.
Again thanks to TZMO/ Seni for providing the products for this review.
While I made a conscious decision to go with “real” diapers due to my fecal incontinence issues, the world of incontinence products is of course a much larger one and includes a numerous other options. I’ve been pondering on how to expand on that for a while and integrate it into the site. I’m not going to lie about it – these alternate product reviews will be much less regular and more limited than my other activities, which basically boils down to the fact that I’m not gonna spend my limited cash on things that I may not be using that much. So expect these things to only pop every now and then based on how I get access to them.
As a first start we are going to have a look at the Kolibri Compact line of inserts/ shaped pads. I got those packages with the same batch for the Kolibri Comslip tests earlier this year and since then have used them rather sporadically every now and then. The reason why I didn’t go out of my way to use them more frequently should be easily apparent. Being a diaper minus the wings, the biggest issue everyone is facing is how to get the pad fixated, which in itself has a number of repercussions for the actual use. Let’s explore the product and see where those things come into play.
The Kolibri Compact series comes in two flavors: A simpler Normal version and the higher-end-ish Soft versions. In contrast to diapers this distinction usually not only extends to the absorption levels or things like the outer cover material, but also directly the shape of the product. Therefore you can’t always be sure that a product with the same name will give the same results in different versions. Lucky for us, here those options are limited and there is, for wont of a better term, only two “sizes”.
The Kolibri Compact Normal only features the smaller version in two absorption strengths, according to the Kolibri naming conventions labeled as special and ultra. While this is familiar from the diapers, in the end it bears little resemblance to the identically named levels there and is totally arbitrary. Understandably, the pads simply aren’t as large and thick and thus never can even get close to holding the same amount of liquids.
The two levels are distinguished by their color, with the purple one being the special and the eggshell blue the ultra. For my photos I opted for the special to add a bit of visual fancy and bring out the details better, but as you may have guessed, that color may be slightly problematic in real life situations. It’s quite intense and may show through anything that isn’t opaque enough, be that thin cloth or plastic pants, which then may ripple through to the outside if you’re wearing light white summer pants or a skirt. First problem there and you may want to go with the more neutral variant just for that reason then.
The outer surface is made up of a semi-breathable material, not quite conventional plastic foil, but not fully tissue, either. It doesn’t leak through in any way and is pretty soft, though I must say at times the extreme wrinkling from the pieces being stuffed in the package kind of defeats this. It’s quite difficult to straighten out the rim to ensure a convenient wearing experience.
Getting to a point, my images shot through a transparent plastic pant should illustrate the aforementioned potential issues with fixation to some degree. Trust me, it was pretty hard to get the pad to sit reasonably symmetrical and even to make it look convincing. It’s a bit easier on your own body, where things may sort of slide and snap into place based on your anatomy, but the actual point sticks: You have to make an effort to get it to sit correctly and even then there’s no guarantee it won’t move out of place as you yourself move during the day.
As the images show, these smaller pieces are more or less only ever meant for urine incontinence, with the major functional part being clearly in the anterior parts of the body. In addition to getting a stable positioning that’s ultimately the reason I only have limited or no use for many shaped pads – it is inevitable that in case of a serious “accident” the feces would simply overshoot the edges of the pad. That, plus even under normal conditions it just seems awkward having to deal with these inserts. There never seems to be a good way to remove your fixation garment without the whole affair dropping to the floor immediately or at least contaminating other areas by accidental smearing. To me it’s like you always could use a third hand for a change.
Due to the limitations in the changing procedure you will most often end up not at all exploiting the full capacity of the product and freshen it up quite early just to avoid making a mess or getting your hands all too dirty. That said, with this brand you get the nice soft pad that also works so well on the actual diapers. A fresh insert will be almost feel like nice underwear and after a while you won’t notice it much. Therein of course lies another potential caveat as you may forget about it and then still dirty up your clothes.
The liquid distribution is good as is the absorption rate and overall absorbency. The sideguards are even relatively wide/ tall as well, adding a good bit of additional safety. As previously mentioned, despite identical naming the effective capacity differs considerably from the diapers, though. Even the special at best measures up to a low to medium absorbency level diaper like the Tena Slip Plus or Super or Kolibri‘s own Comslip Ultra.
Moving on to the Soft versions, the same rules can be applied, at least to the ultra flavor. The special and supra are a completely different story, being that they feature a completely different shape and are noticeably larger. Unfortunately with shaped incontinence pads bigger is not always better. Many of the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraphs can easily multiply, the biggest of them being that the pad crumples up even more as you have to somehow wrangle it to comply with whatever you use for fixation.
As depicted in the images, the larger variants are pretty square-ish, making it even more tricky to get them to cooperate. It’s not impossible, but I’d strictly reserve those versions for use at home where you have the time to deal with such annoyances and can make things easier for yourself by e.g. flattening the pad out by lying on it on your bed.
Of course the question that lingers in everyone’s mind is “What the hell do you even use for fixation?”. I’ve discussed some of this in one of my introductory articles way back then. I’m still loathe of those thin net panties that you are supposed to use based on what’s illustrated on the package by the vendors (and in turn them trying to sell you something extra). They are way too weak and uncomfortable. At the same time using plain plastic pants is just as odd, as too much of the PVC in direct contact with my skin still ticks me off. Therefore I much prefer synthetic fiber briefs or swimwear. This also has the advantage of being simple to clean, should things go wrong.
Another way of using the products is of course using them as stuffers/ boosters for full diapers, or if you want to say it euphemistically, use a diaper as a fixation garment on top of the shaped pads. Here things admittedly get a bit muddled up as it really comes down to an infinite number of combinations. I find that I can use the smaller versions in combination with my daily Attends Slip Regular in size M just fine, but always only one pad at a time. Otherwise the “spacer” effect with the pads stacking up becomes to great and things start to leak.
With the bigger pads things get a bit more complicated as you are going to need a larger diaper to even cover them up sufficiently, which then again depends a lot on your physique and how well the diaper fits. The same is however true if you use textiles or plastic pants. It’s really amazing how huge such a pad can suddenly (seem to) be, when you need to hide it adequately. Therefore it may be worthwhile to first try out the smaller variants until you feel confident. And yes, of course the usual step of shredding the surface to make it penetrable would apply, if you use these products as stuffers.
No matter how you use them, the capacity of the large versions is almost comparable to that of the full diapers of same name – within the limitations imposed by different procedures. You can wear a supra pretty long and if you can find a good way of getting it affixed nice and tight it might even work for the night. Even the special isn’t that bad.
Conclusions? While I enjoy going off the trodden path and experimenting around, integrating different type incontinence products into my daily routine remains a somewhat ambiguous matter. At best I could say I’m indifferent to them, at worst that they’re really not for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t see them working for people with specific types of incontinence, though. Things just don’t gel for me. Changing procedures just seem convoluted compared to the simplicity of wrapping your butt with a full diaper and for my bowel-related issues the feeling of safety just isn’t there, either.
Based on my limited experience, compared to some other products (more articles coming in the future, obviously) this fares reasonably well, though admittedly mostly by inheriting some good attributes from the full diaper products, in particular the good absorption behavior. If you really want to try your hand at inserts/ shaped pads this could be a good starting point. A pack of the smaller versions isn’t too costly and since the absorption ratings only start at a reasonable level you don’t have to fear throwing money out of the window for cheap paper towels.