one afternoon, when When I was in fourth grade, girls were taken away to watch videos about periods, pads and tampons. This is where my public education about menstruation begins and ends—a secret discussion that boys can’t participate in. From that moment on, we’ve become ingrained in the belief that menstrual cramps are an embarrassing thing.
Of course not, some of us at WIRED talk at length about our menstrual flow and habits.Long before sanitary pads and tampons, people simply bleed on their clothes or used homemade flannels If the traffic is very large. Women often stuffed rags into their clothing, which were then washed and reused (hence the “on rag” parlance).
There are now menstrual underwear, menstrual cups, reusable pads, applicator-free tampons that reduce waste, and even a subscription service that delivers products to your door every month. We tested a bunch of new products to find the best budget and eco-friendly alternatives, as well as those that just made that time of month more comfortable. These are our favorites.
Update January 2022: We’ve added more of our favorite menstrual bras and cups. We’ve also added more information and updated prices throughout.
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Senior Associate Editor Adrienne So and Reviewer Louryn Strampe also tested and contributed to this guide.
Period underwear (and sweatpants)
Ditching the menstrual products you’re used to can be scary, but if you want to change your routine, period underwear is a great place to start—I’ve almost completely given up on tampons And there are no leaks. It absorbs blood without feeling wet, and it shouldn’t transfer it to your clothing if you’re wearing the right level of absorption. You can also wear them for minor incontinence, regular discharges, postpartum hemorrhage, or sweating. There are even leak-proof thongs and cute lace options.
Most period underwear isn’t cheap, but you’ll save money in the long run by not having to stock up on tampons or pads. Start with a pair and see what styles you like; eventually, you’ll have enough energy to last a full cycle. Menstrual underwear is rated based on absorbency level. Some brands state these by teaspoons of liquid, or compare it to the number of tampons they replace; we noticed them here.
Our Favorite Couple
Of all the period underwear in my dresser drawer, I reach for it Knicks ($23-38) first. The nylon pair is super silky and cool, like you’re wearing a fancy skirt, and they don’t dig anywhere. If you prefer cotton, this brand has it too. Even the superabsorbent pairs don’t feel very thick – they don’t even feel like pads.I wear Dream Shorts ($38) Sleep regularly, even when I’m not menstruating.
The brand has four levels of absorption: light (1 teaspoon), medium (3 teaspoons), high (4-6 teaspoons, depending on style) and super (8 teaspoons).there’s still one postpartum collect and teenage kit.
best budget pair
All standard underwear from Period Company for $12 ( Boxer is $22 and Pajama Shorts $24). At this price, you can get a whole week’s worth of gear without spending almost as much as some of the other brands on this list.
I tried the resorbable version that holds nine tampons, which is the thickest of all tampons I’ve tried. They don’t feel weird, but if you wear them in tight clothes, it can be uncomfortable (it looks kind of funny). I love them sleeping on my heavy days.is having a Sports series They have the same absorbency but are made from a more stretchy, moisture-wicking fabric to keep sweat away.and light version Made with fewer absorbent layers, so it’s thinner all around, and junior.
More of our favorite brands
I’ve tried a lot of underwear from different periods now and I’m sure everyone can find something that works for them.
- Modi Bodi ($19-45) Has the most style and absorption level of any brand I’ve tried. From extra light (half to full tampons), medium to heavy (2-3 tampons) to Maxi 24 hours (10 tampons), and everything in between, you can find exactly what Everything you need for every day of your period.it also has Detachable, maternity leave, swimsuit, and positive options.
- Salt ($29-$39) The underwear is made from three post-consumer recycled water bottles.it only provides Two-stage water absorption, light (1-2 light tampons) and regular to tall (2-3 regular tampons), but have a cute style with mesh and lace options. I recommend you to use other brands on heavier days.
- Bambodi ($12-19) There are also only two levels of absorbency — leakproof (for spot or ultralight days) and absorbent (2 tampons) — but it’s one of the more affordable options, like Period Company above.
- Proof ($25-43) There are more basic styles with four levels of water absorption: light (1 tampon), medium (3 tampons), heavy (4 tampons) and extra heavy (5 tampons).
- Pure Rose ($29-$32) Only available in three styles and one level of absorption (up to 2 lightweight tampons), but they’re cute and come with some lace accents—and the company says more options are coming in spring 2022.The company Partnership with DARE Women’s Foundation Providing underwear to young Tanzanian girls and providing food and water to communities in need.
- Cora ($30) There is only one style and level of absorption, so I want the company to expand.But if you buy warm season cream as stated below And wanted to try underwear, they are good.
- Adidas period proof Shorts ($45) and Bodysuit ($65) Expensive, but they are made with built-in period underwear. The brand recommends wearing these in addition to tampons, pads, or cups for added protection, especially if you’re going to be in the gym or practicing for a while, but I’ve found it absorbs enough and nothing else.This Bike Shorts ($45) The ones I’ve tried are still available from Nordstrom, at least for now (they’re not available on the Adidas website).
Tampons and pads need to be changed frequently and are not good for the environment – they are thrown away after a few hours. However, menstrual cups are reusable, durable silicone cups that hold blood and prevent leaks. Buy it once and it should last a few years. There’s a learning curve, so try it on your days home, you may have to try a few times to find the perfect one.
To use a menstrual cup, you need to fold it (with many different ways to do this) and insert it into your vagina. Touch to make sure it’s fully unfolded and a seal is formed. When you’re ready to take it out, Gently squeeze the bottom of the cup Breaking the seal – it’s a strange feeling, but don’t worry, it shouldn’t be torn apart. Most menstrual cups last up to 12 hours, depending on your flow, so you can work all day without emptying them in a public bathroom. put the cup in is a great resource to help you decide which cup might be the best. YouTuber RawBeautyKristi also offers Some good advice on her use of a menstrual cup.
Our Favorite Mugs
I appreciate and see the pros in all the mugs I’ve tried for this guide, but I always prefer other options. They don’t hurt, but like I knew pretty well I was using one until I tried the Lily Cup. As soon as you walk in, you forget it’s there. I even slept comfortably.
The secret lies in its shape and size. It’s angled, thinner and softer than most standard cups, so it folds smaller and feels more natural. If you’ve never used a mug, or, like me, haven’t found a mug you like, try this. Like most cups available, there is one for those who have not had a vaginal birth and those who have already given birth.
If the Lily Cup doesn’t appeal to you or you need more options, MeLuna is popular in this category. Available in a variety of sizes, firmness levels, and stem types, the company offers helpful tips to find the right fit.
There are also kits available including A steamer with a cup to sterilize ($56)Most people just boil them to sterilize, but if you live in an area like a dorm and don’t want to cook your menstrual cups in a communal kitchen, this is a good idea.
Menstrual discs we love
I think most people will love Lily, but there is no one-size-fits-all product when it comes to periods. There are more options that we like, and most are cheaper.
- This Nixit CD ($42) is a shallower cup, but otherwise it works the same way. WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe tested it and said it’s a good option if you don’t like the suction you feel after removing a traditional menstrual cup. Menstrual discs are further inside the vagina, which means you can still have penetrative sex while using them.
- Flex Disc ($11 for 8) and Floppy Disk ($11 for $14) It’s a throwaway version of the Nixit Disc above that some of us at WIRED have tried. If you hate regular menstrual cups but have never tried discs, you can start here, and if you decide you want a reusable option, Nixit –Flex has a reusable version ($35) Well we haven’t tried it yet. These also apply to promiscuous sex.
For some reason, the idea of reusable pads seems harder to wrap my head around than period underwear, but they’re basically the same thing. WIRED Senior Associate Editor Adrienne So tested the following and said they were all well made, even a little cute.Their wings will snap around your underwear instead of sticking to it, and depending on what you buy, there may be small pockets for adding inserts
The idea of carrying around a damn used pad with you is, uh, kind of weird.But you can use them at home or opt for a dedicated tote – our favorite pads, GladRags, have several options for you try. For storage at home, you may need a small sealed box You can soak the pad in cold water and wash it thoroughly at the end of the day, or at least rinse it so it can sit until you’re ready to do laundry.