Updated: Apr 6
Product Review Articles.
The Benefits of Period Underwear
Better than pads/panty liners: Since I got an IUD last year, my doctor advised me not to wear tampons anymore since my flow would be too light and I’d be putting myself at a greater risk for TSS (toxic shock syndrome). Up until my IUD insertion, I had always used tampons, even at night. I hadn’t bought pads or liners in over a decade, simply because I found them uncomfortable, annoying to use, and frankly, gross. Period underwear is a great substitute because I don’t have to deal with icky pads or liners!
Reduces your environmental footprint: Based on my own period, which typically lasts 6 days, I used 8-12 tampons on average per cycle. That’s 96-144 tampons a year, flushed down the toilet into a septic tank, where they take time to break down because of plastic applicators. While I don’t use tampons anymore because of my IUD, plenty of women still do. By using period underwear instead, we can completely eliminate that waste. Plus no more worrying about tampons clogging the toilet, which is a real issue in places with weaker plumbing systems.
In case you’re early/late: I was never one of those people who tracked their period and knew exactly when it was coming, despite having a fairly regular cycle. Sure, I had a general sense of what week to expect it, but as for the day it came, it was always, “Surprise!” I’ve ruined my fair share of lighter colored underwear from a period arriving earlier or lasting longer than I expected, and with period underwear, I don’t have to worry about that.
Great for traveling: Again I was often the person who forgot to carry extra tampons on a trip and would have to ask my fellow females for extras. In some cases, I had to drag whomever I was with to a drugstore, including male family members or friends. While I am not someone who is embarrassed to talk about periods in front of men (in fact, I think we need to do it more often to normalize the conversation), many people are. Period underwear can prevent awkward stains and awkward conversations!
The Cons of Period Underwear
Finding the right fit: It can take a few tries to find a brand whose style works for you. I am incredibly picky about how my underwear fits. I need full butt coverage, and my butt isn’t the smallest. Not every brand offers the butt coverage I need (i.e. I want a low-rise hip hugger with butt coverage), so I had to experiment with several brands before finding the one that fits the best (more on that below). Luckily other brands of period underwear have followed suit since Thinx first came onto the scene, giving us a variety of styles, colors, and absorbency levels to choose from.
Cost: Period underwear isn’t cheap. Thinx, the most well-known brand, averages between $32-34 a pair, and so if I were to buy enough pairs to cover the length of my period plus a few buffer pairs, it would cost a sizable chunk of change. Realistically I will buy more pairs gradually so that I avoid the sticker shock of dropping hundreds of dollars on new underwear all at once. Other brands like Bambody have dropped the price of an average pair by half, so less expensive alternatives are an option.
Feeling the lining: As someone who has shunned pads and panty liners since I was in middle school, I had to adjust to the feeling of underwear with a thicker lining. While it’s nowhere near the discomfort of a regular pad, I do feel a difference. I equate the feeling to wearing a panty liner, which is far more comfortable than a pad is. Nevertheless, it’s not the exact same experience as wearing regular underwear.
Thinx: The OG Brand
Pros: Thinx clearly indicates the absorbency level of each panty (from one drop to five drops) so you know what level of protection you are getting. When you enter their site, you are prompted to with a “Know Your Flow” quiz, which asks you a few short questions about your period to help guide your selection process and the absorbency level you’ll need for each day of your period. In addition, Thinx has a wide-ranging variety of cuts, from super high-waist to thong to super hip-hugger.
I bought the Sport pair, which comes with a chic side cut, is moderately absorbent, and is lower-rise. I loved the side cut and overall look of the underwear, and I could tell my pants would be well protected even on a heavier flow day. Combined with their inclusive branding and well-designed, easy to use website, it was a great shopping experience.
Cons: Thinx only comes in a few colors, namely beige, black, and dusk (rusty pink). For those who need variety in their underwear colors, their muted colors might be boring. Nearly all of my underwear is black, so this doesn’t bother me. As previously mentioned, Thinx are on the more expensive end of the spectrum, with one pair costing $32-34 on average. Should you want a pair of Thinx for every day of your period, this will be more of an investment than other brands.
While I liked the chic side cut of the Sport pair I purchased in black, it wasn’t quite enough butt coverage for me, which is super important to my overall comfort and experience. Will I continue wearing this pair? Yes. Will I buy enough pairs to cover the length of my period? No.
Bambody: Nifty & Thrifty
Pros: Bambody is a Florida-based company that does free shipping for period underwear, regardless of purchase amount, to other countries as well as the U.S. Their price points are much lower than other brands, with one pair costing $15 and a three-pack costing $37. In addition to having a wide variety of underwear styles, Bambody has more color options than Thinx, offering some styles in royal blue, light pink, purple, green, print, etc.
I bought the Absorbent Midi Brief in the multi-color 3-pack (light pink, teal, lavendar), and what I loved about these pairs is that they all came with black lining. This style also had more butt coverage than the pair of Sport Thinx I tried, so another plus for Bambody.
Cons: Bambody doesn’t distinguish different absorbency levels as clearly as other brands. They call one line ‘Absorbent’ and the other line ‘Leakproof’, so there seem to be different options, but without a clear ranking system, it’s hard to easily distinguish which pairs are better for heavy vs. light days. In addition, some of their pairs are branded with ‘Bambody’ at the seam of the underwear, similar to how Calvin Klein brands some of their underwear and lingerie lines. Some people may like this, but I personally prefer unbranded products, especially when it comes to underwear.
Knix: One Stop Shop
Pros: Knix is a Canadian-based brand that makes a range of products, from period underwear to activewear to loungewear. For their period underwear, you can purchase pairs individually, or you can purchase ‘kits’, which are bundled sets of underwear for each stage of your flow (i.e. ‘heavy flow kit’, ‘light flow kit’).
I bought the Leakproof Bikini, and what I loved about this pair was how thin and seamless it was, making it a great choice for tighter pants and leggings so your seam doesn’t show. The price point is more affordable than Thinx, and the kits allow you to get more pairs at a lower price.
Cons: Knix has a shorter gusset (i.e. length of the crotch area), which can be tough if you are a taller lady (5’10”) like me. Because you may not get full coverage absorbency, this pair is better for lighter days. Since my IUD, my period has reduced to spotting, and so this is less of a problem. The other con for me was length of delivery time. I ordered Knix directly from the website, and it took nearly a week for them to arrive. If you aren’t in a rush, then it’s no problem.
Comparing Your Options