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Everything You Need To Know About Period Underwear

I remember in high school when I switched from pads to tampons. I lived on a Caribbean island, and not being able to take my shorts off at the beach on weekends was becoming a real drag. Oh, the woes of teenage-dom. Tampons served their purpose for many years, but then in my mid-20’s, I found that I didn’t really love them anymore, and I ended up switching back to pads.

Part of the reason was that I had become aware of the awful ingredients in conventional tampons, and I no longer wanted any of that in my body. At the time there weren’t great alternatives, so pads (even the conventional ones would have to do). Let’s just say, when it comes to organic cotton pads and tampons we’ve come a long way in the last ten years.

Then I found out about reusable pads. Who knew there was such a thing?! I decided to fully embrace my inner hippie, and purchase some cotton pads from Lunapads and Gladrags. I know most women think this is crazy, but they have really worked for me. Big bonus –  they are machine washable and you are saving the world by not dumping single-use pads and tampons into landfills.

Then, almost three years ago I made a whole new discovery. Period underwear. I bought my first pair LONG before they were on anyone’s radar – yup, I’m always on the forefront of ground-breaking period technology! Haha.

There’s been a lot of talk about period underwear in the last 12 months. Nowadays everyone wants to up their period game and get in on the underwear action. I get texts, emails and FB messages almost weekly from friends who want to know whether they are worth trying out. Here are the most common questions and concerns from women who are considering buying these undies.

Do period panties really work?

Yes, yes they do. I was just as skeptical as you at first, but they really do. Just like pads or tampons, you have to choose the type of underwear that works for your flow on each period day. For instance, if your period is on the heavier side, you don’t want to be wearing a thong right? Also, they are not bulky and you won’t feel like you’re wearing a pair of Depends!

Does period underwear leak?

I know, leaks are literally the worst thing. The struggle is so real. I remember in high school, I leaked onto my uniform, and I pretty much wanted to leave the planet.

In three years I have not had any leakage issues so far, unless I wait too long to change my undies. This works the same for pads, tampons and menstrual cups. A lot of women I know use an organic cotton tampon or menstrual cup in addition to the undies as backup, especially when they are first starting out or on heavier days.

Do you feel blood or wetness in your period panties?

I personally don’t feel anything when wearing period underwear. They’ve got their design down to a science now, so there is no pooling or puddling happening. The materials used are highly absorbent (just like most pads on the market) and you will definitely not feel like you’re in a wet swimsuit. However, if you feel a whole bunch of wetness, it’s a sign that you should get your butt into another pair pronto (see leaks advice above). Again, it’s important to change your undies on heavier days. I go through either two or three pairs on a heavy day, and 1-2 pairs on a light day.

Do I have to soak and/or handwash period undies?

Actually no. You just have to rinse them with cold water, and pop them in the washing machine. Not any harder than washing a pair of nylon tights right?

What’s the best brand of period underwear?

My two favorite brands of period panties are – Modibodi and Thinx. They both offer a variety of undies that include thongs, hip huggers, boy shorts, bikini bottoms and high waist options.

Modibodi Underwear

My current favorite brand of period undies is Modibodi, because their undies are super comfortable, come in a ton of styles, colors and sizes, and they’re made of stretchy cotton. Most importantly, they DO NOT LEAK.

Helpful tip: The idea is to think of them the same way you’d think of pads and tampons – light, regular, heavy flow. Buy 2-3 pairs so you can try them out at different times in your cycle. Always start with light days to get accustomed to wearing them and change them the same way you would change pads or tampons.

How Do Modibodi Panties Work?

Made super-slim – only 3mm thick – it’s hard to believe that Modibodi underwear can hold up to 20ml or 2 tampons worth! Here’s how they do it…

  • The top layer quickly wicks away moisture, fights bacteria and stops smells, so you stay dry and fresh
  • The middle layer safely absorbs fluid and locks it away (2.5-20mls depending on the flow you go with)
  • The bottom layer is extra waterproof protection, so you’re super secure and sassy as always

What are Modibodi Undies made from?

Modibodi uses high quality natural fabrics and breathable tech-savvy blends (Bamboo, Merino Perform Wool and Microfibre) with antimicrobial fibres for a soft, silky fit.

Thinx Underwear:

Thinx offers only one type of underwear, where the pad is permanently sewn in.

What is Thinx underwear made from?

Thinx underwear materials per their website: Interior Innermost 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane; Middle breathable PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane; Outer 89% Nylon, 11% Elastane; Trim 100% Polyester. Update Fall 2017: They now also offer organic cotton undies.

What I love about Thinx and Modibodi!

I gotta say I lurrrve both brands of underwear. I’ve been using Thinx for longer but what I really dig about Modibodi is they are super comfortable and have an amazing array of different styles.  And, most importantly, they have NEVER LEAKED!

You’re gonna laugh at this, but my man used to call me the most unprepared period girl he’s ever known. Not that he’s known any period girls, but whatever! Without fail, I’d be caught off-guard almost every period with not a tampon or pad in sight. This happened mostly when we were traveling, but it was still way too often. Now I just throw my period undies in with all my clothes when I’m traveling, and I’m all SET.

At the end of each period, if you were to put all your pads and tampons along with their wrappers into one big pile, you’d see just how incredibly wasteful disposable menstrual products are. Multiply this pile by billions (of women) each month, and you can see how much garbage we create every single year. This is serious business, and it’s now something you have complete control over.

What’s the best way to use period panties?

I’ll preface this by saying that my period is not super heavy, and your choice in period underwear will look different to the next girl.

My period lasts about 3-4 days, and starts out pretty light, gets progressively heavier, and then goes back to being light on the last day. I use a Modibod Classic Thong for the first part of day 1, then switch to the Thinx Cheeky or the Modibodi Sensual High-Waist Bikini. I will sleep in either of those and use them on day 2 as well. Sometimes if day 2 is heavier, I’ll use the Thinx Hiphugger or the Modibodi Classic Bikini which has a longer secured gusset that provides that extra protection and support overnight.  I’ll use both of these for day 3 as well.

On day 4 I switch back to the thongs and I’m done!! You don’t need to go out and buy like 12 pairs of these undies either. I’d suggest you start with three pairs. Wear and wash, and see how you like them.

Check out all the Modibodi Underwear options here!

And go here to build a cycle set on the Thinx website and get 20% off.

I know this is like starting all over again for many women, but it’s very similar to the switch we’ve all made from pads to tampons or menstrual cups. It takes a little finagling but eventually you get into your groove. Don’t get me wrong, I still use an organic cotton tampon or pad every now and again, so this isn’t an all or nothing deal. These days, I am a very happy menstruating woman though, and I want you to be as well.