While organic tampons might get all the hype, there are just as many organic pad options out there worthy of your attention. Just because you’re not putting it directly into your body like a tampon, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the material you’re wearing all day. Sure, there’s no TSS risk with pads, but that doesn’t mean all pads are by default better for you.
Dr. Jennifer Wu, OB/GYN at Lenox Hill Hospital, explains that she often suggests organic pads as they have fewer additives and dyes. “For many patients with sensitive skin, the dyes and perfumes in regular commercial pads can be irritating and abrasive.” Wu also adds that organic pantyliners are also worth looking into if you wear daily pantyliners for discharge. Regular liners, she explains, are not as “breathable” as organic liners, so patients using regular liners may be more at risk for yeast infections.
It’s also important that you look for organic pads that are free (or nearly free) of pesticides and herbicides, as the skin of your vulva can absorb these chemicals more easily than skin on other parts of your body, adds Samantha Radford, PhD, a chemist who specializes in exposure science and owner of Evidence-Based Mommy.
And if you’re researching organic pads because you like the sustainability or eco-friendliness of it, you might also want to look into menstrual cups, which are technically the most environmentally-friendly option. “Organic cotton still requires a lot of energy to produce, and requires more difficult labor for farm workers than does conventional cotton,” says Radford.
If you are looking to make the switch from non-organic to organic pads and pantyliners whether for health reasons or environmental reasons, try starting with these eleven popular options.
1. Eco by Naty
These European imported pads (that you can get on Amazon) seem best suited for lighter flows, according to reviewers. Eco by Naty’s whole shtick is that their pads are natural and renewable, and use plant-based plastics instead of petroleum-based plastics (in packaging and in the backing of the actual pad). Many reviewers who said they suffered from plastic sensitivity with other pads liked these as an option, but do note that you may have to shop around a bit to find your perfect absorbency and size as the European sizing is a bit different (while all the other pads on this list have wings, the default version of these don’t.)
2. La Vie Organic Top Sheet Pads
These pads are made without chlorine, fragrances, or artificial dyes. They’re also pretty economical, as a 64-count will only cost you $24, but this low price is likely due to the fact that their top sheet (just the part of the pad that touches your skin) is only listed as organic cotton. They throw around the term “top sheet” a LOT which presumably means that the rest of the pad isn’t as organic, but for what it’s worth, they are VERY highly reviewed and cost-effective.
3. The Honey Pot
If you don’t have sensitive skin and can handle it, The Honey Pot makes herbal-infused pads, which sound very fancy and contain cooling mint, calming lavender, and soothing aloe, all with a clean cotton base free of chlorine, pesticides, or fragrances. The herbal infusions are not only supposed to help with comfort, but also serve as an all-natural method of odor control. The pads are also pH balanced and clinically tested and gynecologist-approved.
Rael pads are free of the four chemicals listed above, as well as chlorine free and fragrance free. They use non-GMO cotton grown in Texas, and their cotton is 100% organic, OCS and USDA certified. Rael pads come in regular, large, and overnight sizes with wings. They also promise to be hypoallergenic, absorbent, and have maximum airflow. As one of the best selling and highest rated brands on Amazon, you’ll definitely want to check them out.
Lola pads are made with 100% organic cotton and come in regular or overnight. They’re also free of synthetic fibers, fragrance, deodorant, dyes, chlorine bleach, latex, parabens, and formaldehyde. They’re a subscription based company, so you gotta buy in advance, but if you know how many pads you’ll need for each cycle, it could be worth the extra effort.
Another subscription service, Cora isn’t organic, but they do use premium materials that are free of rayon, polyester, fragrances, deodorants, chlorine, styrene, chloromethane, chloroethane, chloroform, acetone, and other toxic adhesives. Their materials are also sourced and made in the US, and for every monthly supply of Cora you get, they give a month’s supply of sustainable pads to a girl in India. The pads are available in regular or overnight as well.
Sustain’s pads are made with 100% organic cotton, hypoallergenic, and breathable. They also promise to be free of harmful chemicals, dyes, or fragrances. They’re available in regular or overnight styles, and they also make ultra thin liners of the same material if you like the pads enough.
8. Seventh Generation
These come in a ton of varieties, so you’re sure to find one you like. For winged options they have regular, overnight and super, plus a wingless regular maxi pad, and pantyliners.
These pads are made of 100% biodegradable and compostable organic cotton bleached without chlorine. They’re also pH neutral, which is perfect for the sensitive skin down there. It might not have the sleek packaging or marketing of some of the other brands, but if you’re truly looking for an ec0-friendly organic pad option, this is it.
Oi, which stands for Organic Initiative, uses 100% pure certified organic cotton in their pads, and uses vegetable gum glue backing for adhesive. These pads are also free of perfumes, dyes, synthetics, and toxins. Plus, the packaging of the box and each individual wrapper is also 100% biodegradable.
11. The Honest Company
The Honest Company also has one of the most reasonable prices for organic cotton pads. They’re available in super or regular, come with wings, and are made without fragrances, deodorants, rayon, polyester, artificial dyes, phthalates, chlorine, or chlorine dioxide processing.