One afternoon when I used to be in fourth grade, the ladies have been whisked away to look at a video about durations, pads, and tampons. That’s about the place my public schooling on menstruation started and ended—a secret dialogue that boys could not be aware of. It was, from that second ahead, ingrained in us that it’s in some way embarrassing to get your interval.
It is not, in fact, and a few of us at WIRED talked at size about our interval flows and habits. Long earlier than pads and tampons have been obtainable, individuals merely bled into their garments or used home made flannel cloths if flows have been significantly heavy. Women typically stuffed rags that have been then washed and reused later (therefore the phrase “being on the rag”).
Now there’s interval underwear, menstrual cups, reusable pads, applicator-less tampons for much less waste, and even subscription providers to get merchandise delivered to your door each month. We examined a bunch of recent merchandise to seek out the most effective budget- and eco-friendly different strategies, in addition to ones that simply made that point of the month extra snug. These are our favorites.
Updated January 2022: We’ve added extra interval underwear and menstrual cups we like. We’ve additionally added extra data and up to date costs all through.
Special supply for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This contains limitless entry to WIRED.com and our print journal (if you would like). Subscriptions assist fund the work we do day-after-day.
Senior affiliate editor Adrienne So and reviewer Louryn Strampe additionally examined and contributed to this information.
Table of Contents
Period Underwear (and Workout Bottoms)
It will be scary to ditch the menstrual merchandise you are used to, however interval underwear is a good place to start out if you wish to swap up your routine—I’ve just about given up tampons solely and have not had a leak. It absorbs blood with out feeling damp, and it should not switch it to your garments in case you’re sporting the correct absorption stage. You may also put on them for slight incontinence, common discharge, postpartum bleeding, or to soak up sweat. There are even leakproof thongs and cute, lacy choices.
Most interval underwear is not low-cost, however it can save you cash in the long term by not having to refill on so many tampons or pads. Start out with a pair to see what types you want; finally, you may get sufficient to final your complete cycle. Period underwear is rated for absorbency ranges. Some manufacturers state these by teaspoons of liquid or evaluate it to the variety of tampons they substitute; we have famous them right here.
Our Favorite Pair
Of all of the interval underwear in my dresser drawer, I attain for Knix ($23-$38) first. The nylon pairs are so silky clean and funky, such as you’re sporting fancy skivvies, they usually do not dig in wherever. If you favor cotton, the model has these too. Even the super-absorbency pairs do not feel thick—they do not even really feel like a pad. I put on the Dream Shorts ($38) to mattress repeatedly, even when I’m not on my interval.
The model has 4 absorbency ranges: Light (1 teaspoon), Medium (3 teaspoons), High (4-6 teaspoons relying on fashion), and Super (8 teaspoons). There’s additionally a postpartum assortment and teenage interval kits.
The Best Budget Pairs
All of the Period Company’s commonplace underwear prices simply $12 (the boxers are $22 and the Sleeper Shorts are $24). For that worth, you possibly can outfit your complete week with out spending practically as a lot as for another manufacturers on this listing.
I attempted the Heavy absorbency variations that maintain 9 tampons price of liquid, that are the thickest of any pairs I attempted. They do not feel odd, however in case you put on them below tight garments it will most likely be uncomfortable (and look slightly humorous). I really like them for sleeping throughout my heavy days. There’s a Sporty line which have the identical absorbency however are made from stretchier, moisture-wicking cloth to account for sweat as nicely. There’s additionally Light variations made of 1 much less layer of absorbency, and that are due to this fact thinner throughout, and Juniors.
More Brands We Like
I’ve now tried a ton of various interval underwear and am assured there’s one thing for everybody.
- Modibodi ($19-$45) has probably the most types and absorbency ranges of the manufacturers I attempted. From Super Light (half to a full tampon), Moderate-Heavy (2-3 tampons), to Maxi 24 hours (10 tampons), and ranges in between, you’ll find precisely what you want for day-after-day of your interval. It additionally has removable, maternity, swimsuits, and lively choices.
- Saalt ($29-$39) underwear is made from three post-consumer recycled water bottles. It solely gives two ranges of absorbency, Light (1–2 mild tampons) and Regular to High (2-3 common tampons), however the types are cute with mesh and lace choices. I like to recommend utilizing different manufacturers in your heavier days.
- Bambody ($12-$19) additionally solely has two absorbency ranges—Leakproof (for recognizing or tremendous mild days) and Absorbent (2 tampons)—nevertheless it’s one of many extra reasonably priced choices, together with the Period Company above.
- Proof ($25-$43) has extra primary types with 4 absorbency ranges: Light (1 tampon), Moderate (3 tampons), Heavy (4 tampons), and Super Heavy (5 tampons).
- Pure Rosy ($29-$32) solely gives three types and one absorbency stage (as much as 2 mild tampons), however they’re cute and have some lacy accents—the corporate says extra choices are coming in spring 2022. The firm works with the D.A.R.E. Women’s Foundation to offer its underwear to younger Tanzanian women, in addition to meals and water to communities in want.
- Cora ($30) has only one fashion and absorbency stage, so I hope the corporate expands. But in case you’re shopping for the warming interval balm talked about beneath and wish to give some underwear a attempt, they’re good.
- Adidas Period-Proof Shorts ($45) and Tights ($65) are expensive, however they’re made with interval underwear built-in. The model recommends sporting these along with a tampon, pad, or cup for added safety, particularly if you are going to be within the fitness center or at apply for some time, however I discovered it absorbed sufficient with out the rest. The Bike Shorts ($45) I attempted are nonetheless obtainable from Nordstrom, at the very least for now (they don’t seem to be obtainable on the Adidas web site).
Tampons and pads require frequent altering and aren’t nice for the surroundings—they’re made to be thrown away after just a few hours. Menstrual cups, nonetheless, are reusable, long-lasting silicone cups that maintain blood and stop leaks. Buy it as soon as and it ought to final a number of years. There’s a studying curve, so attempt it on days you may be house, and you’ll have to attempt just a few earlier than you discover your excellent one.
To use a menstrual cup, you may must fold it (there are lots of other ways to do that) and insert it into your vagina. Feel round to ensure it fully unfolds and creates a seal. When you are able to take it out, pinch the bottom of the cup barely to interrupt the seal—it is a unusual feeling, however don’t fret, it should not really feel prefer it’s being ripped out. Depending in your movement, most menstrual cups can keep in for 12 hours, so you possibly can go an entire workday with out having to empty it in a public rest room. Put a Cup In It is a good useful resource for serving to you establish which cup could be greatest. YouTuber RawBeautyKristi additionally gives some good tips about her expertise utilizing a menstrual cup.
Our Favorite Cup
I admire and see the professionals in all of the cups I’ve tried for this information, however I at all times most well-liked different choices. They do not damage, nevertheless it was like I used to be very conscious I used to be utilizing one, till I attempted the Lily Cup. Once it was in, I forgot it was there. I even slept in it comfortably.
The secret is in its form and measurement. It’s angled, thinner, and softer than most traditional cups, so it folds up smaller and feels extra pure. If you have by no means used a cup, or like me, did not discover one you liked, do this. Like most cups obtainable, there’s one for individuals who haven’t given delivery vaginally and people who have.
The Most Options
If the Lily Cup would not attraction to you otherwise you want extra choices, MeLuna is in style within the class. There are a number of sizes, firmness ranges, and stem varieties to select from, and the corporate gives useful ideas for locating the correct match.
There are kits obtainable, too, together with one which comes with a steamer for sanitizing the cup ($56). Most individuals merely boil them to sanitize, however in case you reside someplace like a dorm the place you do not wish to be boiling your interval cup within the communal kitchen, it is a good thought.
Menstrual Discs We Like
I feel most individuals will just like the Lily, however there isn’t any one-size-fits-all product in relation to durations. There are extra choices obtainable that we additionally like, and most are cheaper.
- The Nixit Disc ($42) is a shallower sort of cup, however in any other case, it really works the identical approach. WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe examined it and says it is a good possibility in case you dislike the suction feeling after eradicating conventional menstrual cups. Menstrual discs return additional within the vagina, which implies you possibly can nonetheless have penetrative intercourse whereas utilizing them.
- Flex Discs ($11 for 8) and Softdiscs ($11 for 14) are disposable variations of the Nixit Disc above, and some of us at WIRED have tried them. If you hate common menstrual cups however have by no means tried a disc, you can begin right here after which get the Nixit in case you determine you desire a reusable possibility—Flex has a reusable model ($35) as nicely that we’ve not tried. These additionally work for no-mess interval intercourse.
For some cause, the considered a reusable pad appeared slightly tougher to wrap my head round than interval underwear, however they’re principally the identical factor. WIRED editor Adrienne So examined the next pads and says they’re all well- made and even form of cute. Their wings snap round your underwear as a substitute of adhering, and relying on which you purchase, there could also be little pockets for added inserts
The thought of carrying round a bloody used pad is, uh, slightly unusual. But you possibly can both use them once you’re house or go for a devoted carrying bag—our favourite pads, GladRags, have just a few choices so that you can attempt. For storing at house, it’s possible you’ll wish to get a small sealed bin the place you possibly can soak the pad in chilly water and both absolutely wash it on the finish of the day, or at the very least rinse it sufficient so it will probably sit till you are able to do a load of laundry.