I would describe myself at best as a low-key astrology enthusiast. Of course I called my mother to check the time i was born while doing my birth chart, and I frequently share astrology memes As those with my friends. But I don’t consider astrology to be an exact science.
So when I heard about Stardust, a period tracker app launched last fall that describes itself as integrating “science, astronomy, and artificial intelligence to connect your hormonal cycle to cycles over and over. large celestial bodies “like the moon, I was intrigued but skeptical.
Here’s what I found out when I tried it.
The application is free to download. One thing to note: its actual astrology component does not use the sun signs that most people associate with astrology. Instead, Stardust takes a holistic approach to all of the different things it believes can affect your period: your average cycle, your hormones, and the lunar cycle.
To get started, the app will ask you for your average cycle length and the date of your last period. The AI in the app uses this data to estimate the date of your next period, adjusting as you add more information, like symptoms or cravings, in a separate tab. Stardust also uses your period dates to assign a Lunar Witch Sign. These designations work the same as traditional zodiac signs in that Stardust uses the terms to describe your “cosmic energy” and personality traits. If your period starts closer to the new moon, you are considered a white moon witch (seen as a babysitter or mother figure); those whose cycles correspond better to the full moon are considered red moon witches (associated with healing or wisdom). Since periods can be fickle and fluctuate due to hormonal changes, age, and more, you can be considered a White Moon Witch on one cycle and a Red Moon Witch on the next.
When you launch the app for daily use, a scroll wheel indicates where you are in your cycle as well as the moon phase that day. There is also a daily blurb based on the current moon phase (i.e., new moon, full moon, waxing gibbous, etc.). “Right now, that’s just a very small blurb every day, just like the energetic forecast of your mood and the moon,” app founder Rachel Moranis said over the phone. . “And we leave it there. It’s just digestible. If you want to go further, there are places to go further.
While scientists have found that some animals’ reproductive cycles are synchronized with the moon, researchers did not solidify the connection between lunar and human menstrual cycles, so I took my classification of red moon witch with a grain of salt.
A beautiful, easy-to-use app
Like a Dark mode loyalist, I liked how the dark blue interface of Stardust with neon pink accents didn’t blind me every time I opened it. The app’s fun and whimsical aesthetic makes sense given Moranis’ design background. Trained as an architect, Moranis designed the tiny cabins at Getaway House during her graduate studies. She then partnered with New York-based application development company Fueled to create and design the code for Stardust.
“I was just shocked enough that there was no tracking of the lunar period,” Moranis said. “Or even, like, a really well-designed vintage tracker out there. I feel like the ones out there are either offensively girly or cringey in the way they talk about sex and fertility.
The app’s tabs allow you to easily track your flow, symptoms, cravings, or other optional notes for the day, and see when your next period is due based on previous cycles and symptoms. For those concerned about the science behind Stardust, Moranis says she not only consulted astrology experts for the app’s lunar predictions, but also a gynecologist, a reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in hormones, a psychiatrist. and a psychologist to understand how hormonal fluctuations can influence the physical and emotional well-being of menstruation during their cycles.
Humor and playfulness are a plus
When using the app, I loved the humorous tone Stardust used when talking about symptoms or feelings people may experience during their cycle. There are traditional categories for food cravings – think sweet, salty, or chocolate – but also “carbohydrate loading for Netflix”, cannabis, and “just mac and cheese”.
I’m not the best at keeping tabs on my own body, but Stardust’s playful tone made tracking my symptoms fun rather than a chore.
A way to de-stigmatize the rules
“Tracking your period with the moon is such an extreme form of self-care… it’s important that we don’t care a little about it…” said Moranis. “Part of periods of de-stigmatization is just laughing about it and saying it’s absurd. And yes, you should be doing yoga and eating green, but you can also watch TV and eat brownies and macaroni and cheese during the third week of your cycle.
Another feature I liked while testing Stardust was the app’s tarot card inspired infographics which you can easily share on social media. There are cards that show your estimated hormone levels based on where you are in your cycle, provide the current moon phase with a short horoscope blurb, or share any cravings you recorded on a day. given.
Moranis said she hopes Stardust’s tongue-in-cheek tone will help destigmatize periods that talk about their period, and that by posting their Stardust predictions, cravings or symptoms, some are already doing so.
“I am surprised at the number of people who share it [on social media], I really, really am. said Moranis. “It’s so helpful that the next generation will be like, so positive for the body, so comfortable, so de-stigmatized [about periods] already. It is an incredible thing.
In my own experience using the app, my only complaint was that I couldn’t set my average cycle length to be more than 40 days. Since having a hormonal IUD, I sometimes go months without having my period, so I would have liked options that reflected more irregular cycles. I would have liked a more social component in the app itself as well, but Moranis said a “sync with friends” feature is already in the works.
Overall a great period tracker app, with limited astrology components
While I’m still not 100% on board with the astrology side of things, it’s fun to read my daily blurbs. I expected the analysis to be a bit more in-depth (almost like a weekly horoscope you would find in astrology apps like The Pattern or Night) and found the descriptions of the moon cycle to be a little more vague than the other characterizations I’ve read about my sun sign. I didn’t mind the brevity of Stardust’s astrological predictions, as I mainly launched the app to track changes in my cycle or symptoms of the day. And it was fun reading my lunar cycle blurbs and push notifications when I remembered to check them out.
I’m also not sure if my designation of Red Moon Witch is correct, given that the app’s longest average cycle time doesn’t account for skipped periods of my hormonal contraception.
Still, Stardust stands out as a refreshing relief from your standard clinical appearance and sound period tracking app. Previously, I was reluctant to use period trackers because I’m just not in the target population of many apps: people who use period trackers and ovulation to help them conceive. Stardust, on the other hand, seems to cater more to menstruation like me, who just want to be more in tune with their body, but don’t necessarily want to take themselves too seriously.
UPDATE: March 1, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET This article has been updated to include the name of the developer of the Stardust app.