At best, I would describe myself as a reserved astrology enthusiast. Sure, I called my mom to check when I was born while making my natal chart, and I often share astrology memes like this with my friends. But I don’t consider astrology to be an exact science.
When I heard about Stardust, a period tracking app launched last fall that describes itself as an integration of “science, astronomy and artificial intelligence to connect your hormonal cycle to the cycles of larger celestial bodies” like the moon, I was intrigued but skeptical.
Here’s what I found out when I tried it.
Funny • Well designed • Not nervous or clinical. Difficult to use if you have a very irregular or long cycle The humor and design of this app actually make tracking your period enjoyable.
The app can be downloaded for free. One thing to note: the 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 that can affect your period – your average cycle, your hormones, and the lunar cycle.
At the beginning, the app asks for your average cycle length and the date of your last period. The app’s AI uses this data to estimate the date of your next period. It adjusts as you add more information like symptoms or cravings on a separate tab. Stardust also uses your period data to assign a moon witch sign. These names work similarly to 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 will be considered a white moon witch (considered a caretaker or mother characters). Those whose cycles better match the full moon are considered witches of the red moon (associated with healing or wisdom). Because periods can be fickle and fluctuating due to hormone changes, age, and more, you may be considered a white moon witch one cycle and a red moon witch the next.
When you start the app for daily use, a scroll wheel will show you where you are in your cycle and the phase of the moon that day. There is also a daily blurb based on the current moon phase (e.g. new moon, full moon, growing gibbous, etc.). “Right now it’s just a little blurb every day, just like the energy forecast of your mood and the moon,” said the app’s founder, Rachel Moranis, on the phone. “And we leave it at that. It’s easy to digest. If you want to go deeper, there are places you can go deeper. ”
While scientists have found that certain animals’ reproductive cycles are synchronized with the moon, researchers have failed to cement the connection between the moon’s menstrual cycles and humans, so I took my classification of the Witch of the Red Moon with a grain of salt.
A nice, easy to use app
As a loyalist in dark mode, I appreciated that Stardust’s dark blue surface with neon pink accents didn’t blind me every time I opened it. The app’s fun and moody aesthetic makes sense given the Moranis backdrop in the design. A trained architect, Moranis designed the tiny cabin houses of Getaway House while she was a student, and initially viewed Stardust as a design exercise when she first started using period tracking apps and became interested in astrology.
“I was just pretty shocked that there wasn’t a lunar time tracker out there,” said Moranis. “Or even a really well-designed period tracker out there. I feel like those who exist are either offensively girly or nervous when they talk about sex and fertility. “
The app’s tabs make it easy to keep track of your flow, symptoms, cravings, or other optional notes for the day, and use previous cycles and symptoms to see when your next period is expected. For those concerned about the science behind Stardust, Moranis says that not only did she consult astrology experts for the app’s lunar predictions, but also a gynecologist, hormone-specialist reproductive endocrinologist, reproductive psychiatrist, and psychologist to help understand How hormone fluctuations occur can affect the physical and emotional well-being of menstruators during their cycles.
Humor and playfulness are a plus
When I used the app, I liked the humorous tone Stardust used to talk about symptoms or feelings people may experience during their cycle. There are traditional categories for cravings – think sweet, salty or chocolate – but also “Carbo Loading for Netflix”, cannabis and “Mac and cheese only”.
I’m not the best at keeping track of my own body, but Stardust’s playful tone made tracking my symptoms more fun than a chore.
A way to destigmatize periods
“Tracking your period with the moon is an extreme form of self-care … it’s important that we make fun of it a little …” Moranis said. “Part of the periods of destigmatization is just laughing at it and thinking it’s absurd. And yes, you should be doing yoga and eating green, but it’s also okay to watch TV and eat brownies, macs, and cheese when it’s week three 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 maps that show your estimated hormone levels based on where you are in your cycle, the current moon phase with a short horoscope blurb, or share the cravings you registered on a particular day.
Moranis said she hopes Stardust’s ironic tone will help destigmatize menstruators talking about their periods and that some are already doing so by posting their Stardust predictions, food cravings, or symptoms.
“I’m surprised how many people share it [on social media]I really am. “Said Moranis. “It is so helpful that the next generation is so body positive, so comfortable, and so destigmatized [about periods] already. It is an amazing thing. “
In my own experience with the app, my only complaint was that I couldn’t set my average cycle length longer than 40 days. Since I have a hormonal IUD, I sometimes go months off without 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, but Moranis said a feature to sync with friends is already in the works.
Overall, a great period tracking app with limited astrological components
While I’m still not 100% familiar with astrology, it is fun to read my daily blurb. I expected the analysis to be a bit more detailed (almost like a weekly horoscope you’d find in astrology apps like The Pattern or Nuit) and found the descriptions of the lunar cycle to be a bit more vague than other characterizations that I did 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 pushing notifications whenever I thought of checking them out.
Also, I have no idea whether my designation as the Witch of the Red Moon is correct, as the app’s longest average cycle length doesn’t take into account any skipped periods of my hormonal birth control.
That said, Stardust is a refreshing relief to your standard clinical looking and sounding period tracking app. Previously, I resisted the idea of using a period tracker because a lot of apps simply don’t target me: people who use period and ovulation trackers to help them conceive. In contrast, Stardust seems to be aimed more at menstruators like me who just want to be more in tune with their bodies but don’t necessarily want to take themselves too seriously.