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Sex + Relationships

I Went Applicatorless And So Can You!

I was studying abroad in Sweden, and I had only been there for a couple of weeks when Mother nature struck. “No big deal,” I thought as I went to the local grocery store to find some hygiene products to remedy my situation. I looked all over for tampons, but I couldn’t seem to find any. Did they only sell tampons at pharmacies in Sweden? I was about to give up the search when I saw a tiny box that said “tamponger,” but I was still totally confused. How were they so small? How could there be 16 tampons in such a little package? That’s when I realized what was really going on, and the culture shock set in: the store only sold applicatorless tampons. 


Being a typical American woman, I had never used applicatorless tampons. I never knew anyone who used them, and I had hardly even thought about their probable existence! Being in a foreign country, I had no choice but to use them for the rest of the semester. So, still baffled by this finding, I picked up a couple of boxes and went home to desperately use them. 


These new tampons required a learning curve, to put it mildly. I’ll spare you the bloody details (pun intended), but using those little guys required a few attempts to get it just right. After a while, though, I felt more and more comfortable using them so that by the time I left Sweden I much prefered them to tampons with plastic applicators. I never thought that after studying abroad I would have made a lifestyle change quite so intimate, but now I can confidently say that I am fully on board with applicatorless tampons. 


After returning home, I told all my girlfriends about my strange discovery. They were skeptical, to say the least (you use your finger?!), so I gave them some of my leftover Swedish tampons and told them to give it a try. Although all my friends came back to me defeated by these strange devices, I still stand by the applicatorless tampon.


There are a few really good reasons to switch to applicatorless, most importantly of which is their sustainability. Plastic applicators from tampons create vast amounts of non-recyclable, landfilled waste. The average woman uses about 9,600 tampons in her lifetime, and she throws away a single-use plastic applicator with each one. Applicatorless tampons are wrapped in a thin plastic coating that you remove before inserting, drastically reducing the waste accumulated during a menstrual cycle. Not to be a downer, but with the increased threat of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, we’re all going to need to find ways to consume less plastic and reduce our waste. Additionally, as my trip to the Swedish grocery store demonstrated, tampons without applicators take up much less space, allowing you to pack more into your toiletry bag wherever you go. Oh, and did I mention that they cost less, too?


While switching from plastic applicators to your index finger seems like a huge leap, remember that it’s not impossible! Think of all the Swedish ladies who don’t have the luxury of Tampax or Kotex. There are lots of places online and in-store to find applicatorless tampons, as well as websites with tips on how to use them. I get mine from Whole Foods, and they’re organic! 


Go out there and be the strong and socially-conscious collegiette that I know you are! Switch to applicatorless tampons– because If I can do it, anyone can!

Margot Bond

Xavier '20

Margot is a senior Economics, Sustainability, and Society major with minors in Political Science and Gender and Diversity Studies from Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to writing articles for Her Campus, she is a Resident Assistant at Xavier and involved in student sustainability. She loves listening to John Mayer, watching Netflix, and doing crosswords with her boyfriend. Most importantly, she is 100% a cat person.
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