To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Saska Graville, co-founder of Hylda, a beauty and wellness platform for midlife women. The platform supports women to take the brakes off midlife with expert information, products, and stories from inspiring midlifers. Saska gives us an insight into the story behind Hylda and shares tips on staying well at this stage of life.
‘Hylda takes the brakes off midlife’, we love this concept. Tell us more about the platform.
At Hylda, we believe that midlife is a brilliant time of a woman's life. However there are "brakes" which sometimes hold midlife women back, like the challenges of menopausal hormones.
At Hylda, we give women the information they need to understand their health and wellbeing needs, and the inspiration to get on with whatever their midlife has in store. We take the brakes off.
What journey led you to co-founding the brand?
I worked in women's magazines for years - I was the deputy editor of Red magazine - but I was clueless about the challenges of menopause and perimenopause.
When I was 49, I was hit with anxiety and a loss of confidence that I blamed on a new job. It was, in fact, perimenopause. I realised that if I was ignorant, with all of my magazine experience, then many other women would be too.
That's when the idea for Hylda was formed and we launched in 2019.
I knew that menopause would be the next big health conversation for women. The taboo needed to be busted.
What are some of the biggest midlife challenges you are hearing about from your followers?
Anxiety is the secret menopause symptom. So many of the Hylda community experience it, but most of us didn't know it was a symptom. Every time we write about it, we get a huge response.
We have a private Facebook group of over 5000 women from around the world, Women With Attitude, Ambition and Brain Fog, and anxiety is a huge topic of conversation.
Women are so relieved to know they're not the only ones suffering. Our midlifers are also struggling with insomnia and with what they refer to as the "menopause belly", which is weight gain around the middle. Many of us would like to shift a couple of pounds!
Are there any wellbeing practices which you have found to be really beneficial at this stage in life?
Wellbeing has to start with making yourself a priority. At midlife, more than ever, your emotional and physical needs really matter and need to be nourished.
For me, that means carving out time in my week for regular exercise.
If I can get to my yoga, spin and weights sessions at Third Space in Soho, then I feel more in control of the rest of my week. I've also turned into a tree hugger in my old age.
I lived in Australia for a long time and sitting under a jacaranda tree became one of my favourite things to do. An instant mood boost. Finally, I've also realised that, in midlife, wine is not my friend. I sleep better and feel better if I avoid alcohol. Although I'll never be able to say "no" to a gin and tonic!
Body care, skincare and supplements hold a big place on Hylda. What are your go-to products?
Does HRT count as a supplement? It's been a game-changer for my anxiety and sense of self. Not every woman will choose to take it, but for me it's essential. Plus, I take Vitamin C every morning and Magnesium in the evening.
I also love de Mamiel skincare. My midlife skin can sometimes feel dry and lacklustre, but the de Mamiel Gravity Fix is gorgeously moisturising. And I swear by E45 Moisturising Body Lotion every morning after my shower.
We both talk about menopause and peri-menopause as central to our brands. Any words of wisdom for women entering these life changes?
Be excited about this time of your life. You are at the height of your powers as a woman, you know who you are and you care a lot less about what other people think of you.
However, you do need to educate yourself about peri-menopause and menopause, and the impact those hormonal phases may have on you.
Knowledge is power, so get informed and find a way of managing any symptoms that feels right for you.
You’ve had some truly brilliant women feature on your ‘midlife survival kit’ blog, are there any women that you have worked with who particularly stand out in your memory?
Hylda has worked with so many brilliant midlife women. Menopause warriors like Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup, Meg Mathews and Carolyn Harris MP are all friends of Hylda.
Their campaigning and advocacy have made a huge difference to millions of women. Our medical advisor Dr Stephanie Goodwin is incredible and so helpful to the women in our community. And I'm inspired every day by the women in our Facebook group.
Their support and encouragement for each other make me so proud to be a midlife woman.
This International Women’s Day, I will be celebrating by…
Hanging out with my beloved nieces Ivy and Essie, who are 21 and 19. At Hylda, we are determined that the next generation of women doesn't sleepwalk into perimenopause as our generation did.
Find Hylda at Hyldalife.com, on Facebook
Today's young women are so fabulous and inspiring. I can't wait to see how they shape the world in years to come.