If you’re absolutely over pads and tampons, there are always alternatives like menstrual cups and menstrual underwear. These period panties are designed to be worn without tampons or pads, and are meant to soak up menstrual blood while still keeping you as dry as possible. Think of a diaper, but reusable and without the bulk. Earlier versions of period undies have been around since before World War I, but these were made of all waterproof rubber, which meant leakproof protection, but weren’t very breathable or sanitary.
Newer versions of period panties use several layers of fabric to lock moisture in, while keeping you dry. And menstrual underwear has even become more mainstream with brands like THINX, which markets their products to millennials who otherwise probably missed the whole WWI-era galosh underwear. If you’re looking for a brief intro to period panties, here’s a rundown of some of the best known brands you can try.
If you’re a fan of Rael’s other organic period products, you’ll be happy to know that they also make organic cotton underwear designed for menstruation too. The panties come in a three-pack, making them come out to around $15 each, which def isn’t bad for period panties in general, let alone organic cotton ones. If you wind up loving them, Rael also has non-period use organic cotton undies for everyday wear too.
If you want some undies that won’t pinch your skin, Nalwort has one of the most convincing product images we’ve ever seen with their uber-stretchy waistband. Definitely clutch for days when you’re bloated AF. Another bonus: you have the option of choosing “shrimp color” which is *chef’s kiss*.
Probably the most recognizable brand is THINX. The company first made headlines when THINX claimed their subway ads were rejected by the NYC’s subway’s advertising partner. Their underwear come in a huge variety of options, ranging from thongs to boyshorts to pretty much every size and cut in between. One thong holds up to half a tampon’s worth of blood, while their highwaist and hiphugger styles hold up to two tampon’s worth. The underwear uses their patented 4-layer technology of moisture-wicking cotton, anti-microbial lining, super-absorbent fabric, and a leak-resistant barrier. They’ve also got a 60 day money-back guarantee, so it’s basically risk free to try.
4. Dear Kate
Dear Kate is another brand that specializes in period underwear only. They also have a patent pending on their Underlux material which uses three layers of breathable fabric to keep you dry. Their thong holds up to one light tampon’s worth of blood. Other styles include hipsters, briefs, and yoga pants (that yes, you can go commando in!).
5. Undie Pads
If you love the idea of period panties but are kinda squicked out by the idea of handwashing them every day, disposable UndiePads might be it for you. UndiePads have a built in pad, instead of using different layers of fabric, and claim to hold up to 12 hours of leak-proof protection.
6. Intimate Portal
Available in a ton of colors and styles, Intimate Portal undies are designed for period and incontinence protection. The company also makes maternity underwear, so you know they’ve got comfort at the forefront of all their designs. Their briefs hold up to two light tampon’s worth of blood, and are made with four layers of absorption and protection.
7. Yoyi Fashion
If you’re on a budget, check out Yoyi Fashion briefs. These have a pretty clockable-gusset, but for the price, you really can’t complain. They’re available in a bunch of neutral color packs, and they’ve got a 4-star review over 563 reviews, which isn’t bad considering the price at all.
Australian brand Modibodi features a huge range of styles, fabrics, and fits for their period-underwear including maternity and swim styles. Their classic thongs hold half a tampon, while their heavier-duty bikinis hold up to two tampon’s worth of blood for overnight wear. Modibodi also makes underwear in Girls’ sizes 8–14, so if you’re buying for a younger sister or daughter, these would be a good bet.