I Tried “Period-Proof” Underwear

I haven’t worn a tampon since the one time I tried it when I was 14. It just wasn’t for me.

Unlike a lot of people who get periods, I have always gone the pad/liner route. They’re quick and easy to change, don’t factor into the equation of peeing, and also don’t harbor any risks of toxic shock syndrome. But despite the appeals, I have always felt like there’s a ton of room for improvement — notably the issue that pads decide to reposition themselves whenever they feel like it, which has been a thorn in my side since my first pair of ruined underwear. More importantly, every time I threw away a pad, I thought about how that product was going straight into a landfill. According to HuffPost, “most disposable tampons and pads and their packaging contain nonbiodegradable — and potentially toxic — plastic and other synthetic materials like glue and petrochemical additives."

So when I saw an ad on my Facebook feed for reusable period underwear, I thought it was either too good to be true, or exactly what I was looking for. I naturally went ahead and ordered three pairs. See below for my assessment on “period-proof” underwear by the brand Thinx.

Image Courtesy of Thinx

Appearance

You can see for yourself that Thinx look pretty much like any other underwear. But what I couldn’t visualize on the website is how the lighter-colored pairs would appear when soaked with blood. As it turns out, each pair is lined with black on the inside, so this is a non-issue. Overall, I actually felt cute when wearing these.

 

Feel

I could not fathom how a pair of underwear could maintain the absorbency of a pad without feeling like a diaper, but somehow Thinx has figured it out. The section of the underwear where a pad would normally go is definitely thicker, but not so thick that you would notice it when wearing them. The material used for the outside of the underwear is also silky and stretchy, perfect for when you’re feeling your most uncomfortable.

Image Courtesy of Thinx

 

Effectiveness

Image Courtesy of Thinx

The first day I wore these without a pad, I kept running to the bathroom to check on how everything was going. Turns out, it was totally fine and I was worried for nothing. I started wearing the underwear during my cycle minus the anxiety after that.

It’s a lot harder to change out and find a place to store an entire pair of underwear than it is to switch out a pad, so once you choose which pair you’re wearing for the day, you’re sort of stuck with it. This only became a problem once, when I was wearing the medium flow style on what turned out to be a heavier day. I had to supplement with a liner because it actually ended up leaking through the pair of underwear to the inside of my jeans—the exact problem the underwear was supposed to avoid! So the system isn’t perfect. But again, this only happened once in the last 3 months, and it could have been a lot worse. 

Price

Image Courtesy of Thinx

 

It should be noted that I am not the type of person to spend $30+ on one pair of underwear. But borrowing some math from HuffPost, it seemed worth it to invest:

1 pad every 6 hours = 4 per day x 5 days of a period = 20 pads per cycle x 12 months = 240 per year. Based on Always’ regular absorbency pads at Target, at 46 pads per box that’s 5.22 boxes x $6.99 = $36.48 for a year of pads.

Given that I bought three pairs of Thinx at about the price of one year of pads (even with the buy 3 discount), these will have to last me three years to break even. Which brings us to the next section:

 

Durability

Seeing that I’m only wearing them each once or twice a month, I don’t anticipate any problems with the underwear lasting. I’ve worn them for three cycles already and each time they come out of the wash they are essentially like new. To be honest, I have been surprised every single time to see them magically come out clean after a day that would have absolutely ruined any other underwear.

 

Room for Improvement

Unfortunately, the two styles with the heaviest capacity (4 tampons worth of blood) currently only come in black. I would love to see Thinx find a way to offer these in more styles and colors. In general, there could be more colors offered in every style, and incorporating some lace definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Another issue I found is that the underwear can start to have a faint smell by the end of the day. It makes sense —you’re carrying your period blood around all day with you. I happen to be very sensitive to its smell. The thing is, if your pad smells, you can just throw it out. But if your underwear smells, well, that sucks for you. It should be noted that the smell was only was a problem when I pulled my pants down to go to the bathroom, and my boyfriend said I was the only one who noticed it. But I do wish there was a way to overcome this.

 

Recommendations

Image Courtesy of Thinx

Overall, I would definitely recommend trying Thinx! Despite a few flaws, I personally have found it to be the best approach to periods over any of the conventional ways. And if these pairs last as long as I hope they will, then financially they’ll make the most sense, too. So that’s all I got! I will leave you with a few recommendations:

  • If you’re in between sizes, definitely size up, especially with bloating as a factor. I am normally a small/medium, and the mediums were perfect.
  • If you have an irregular cycle and can’t predict how heavy one day will be over another, only use the heavy flow options. It’s definitely better to over-prepare.
  • The light pairs would be a perfect alternative for panty liners (for example, those who prefer to wear tampons with a panty liner as a backup could just wear Thinx with their tampon instead.)

 

Good luck, and have a happy period!