Don’t use tampons?
That doesn’t mean you can’t comfortably do things like swim or dance — not when there is now all sorts of apparel that come with liners sewn in.
Or use tampons and sanitary pads, but hate how much waste you generate as a result?
There are a couple of reusable accessories that will significantly reduce the impact of your usage of plastics when it comes to your period.
And these are just some of the many types of products that will change how you live through shark week every month.
Here are some of our top picks.
1. The smooth operator
A period panty features a built in liner that’s way slimmer and more comfy than actual pads.
Our vote for the best of these undies goes to Dear Kate, which really does make the most breathable pants.
Dear Kates feature a three-layer gusset, and are made from fabric that’s super-smooth on the skin. They also dry really quickly when washed and line-dried.
Your options are for hip huggers, briefs and thongs.
A thong holds one light tampon’s worth of blood, while a hipster “full” style holds up to two tampon’s worth. For your heaviest days, use them with a tampon as well, but move towards using them fully as your flow lightens.
These babies must be hand-rinsed and wrung out before you throw them into a cold machine wash. (This process is easier, and less messy, than you might fear.)
Prices are from US$32 (S$46). Discounts when you buy in sets.
2. Suited for swims and no VPL days
Modibodi, the Aussie brand with period pants, wins for its huge selection of styles. The Classic ranges of period panties have a great fabric that feels like your very best, normal underwear.
But what you must get is something from the Seamfree line that rivals the best seam-free, non-period pants out on the market. This means no VPLs!
Where other brands don’t give many options for specialty lines, even the Seamfrees offer you protection all the way up to heavy and overnight flows.
Prices start at AU$37.50 (S$34) for a brief, which has light to moderate absorbency.
Other lines of note run from Sensual to Curvy, Contour and Maternity.
Modibodi even features a Vegan line, and has also made options with a water-resistant fabric that are good for swimming.
The Swim styles, found in the basic bikini set, one-piece, and single brief, absorb and dry super-fast. The single brief is so ultra-thin and light that you’d be tempted to try it out just as a normal period panty.
A plus is that the labelling is clear on Modibodis, so you know exactly what amount each pair absorbs, making it easy to see which underpant you need when you’re switching from heavy to light flows.
They do need to be rinsed before being cold machine-washed. (Again, this is less messy than you might first assume.)
3. So solid
You’ll have heard of Thinx undies because they’ve been in the news (bigtime) for a few years, and are also now carried at Nordstrom.
We love them because they’re all for busting the taboo that periods are gross. They encourage you to get real with your body, and love it — regardless of size, or flow cycle.
The panties work really solidly, holding from half- to two tampon’s worth of blood.
The overall material on the whole pant isn’t as smooth as a Dear Kate, in comparison, and the design much bulkier than a Modibodi Seamfree pant.
But they work great and last well. A thong holds 1/2 a tampon’s worth. A brief, made with four-layer fabric tech, holds up to two tampon’s worth.
Prices from US$30. There’s also a line for teens, and a line for older women who pee when they laugh.
4. Made for movement
We’re intrigued by Dear Kate’s dancewear, which could be styled with a pair of shorts or jeans, and worn out anywhere.
Made in collaboration with dancewear brand Capezio, a leotard can hold up to 1 1/2 tampon’s worth.
The overall material feels beautiful on the skin and makes you look like, well, a dance star.
Prices are from US$25 (styles are on sale now!).
Dear Kate also has a range of activewear, with leggings made of super-comfy material. These hold up to 1 1/2 tampon’s worth. Prices from US$49.50.
5. Go eco
Okay, so one of the reasons I hate pads and tampons is because I’m hyper-aware that with each use, I’m contributing to waste – plastic and otherwise.
I’ve eliminated 3/4 of my own tampon use be deploying period undies (yasssss! And also, seriously, I don’t use pads anymore).
But I’m still not satisfied. I don’t like tampons without applicators.
Therefore, I was happy to get an email from Thinx, saying it had released re.t.a, its reusable applicator. It’s made with medical-grade materials that do not include BPA or latex.
At US$60, it’s small (3.6” x 1″), easy to store, and works with most applicator-free tampons.
6. The cup does not runneth over
Twelve hours. That’s how long you can go without changing a cup.
Compare that to a tampon, which has to be changed every four hours or so.
Try the Intimina Lily Collapsible cup, which does what its name says, and fits into a small compact case. It even has a neat no-spill rim, so no leaks, ladies. It’s made from medical-grade, ultra-soft silicone and rolls up to the size of a tampon.
Once inserted, it expands and unfolds — like a flower, if you want to be poetic.
When you need a change, bring a bottle of water with you into the bathroom. Empty out the Lily and rinse it out before re-inserting.
The cup comes in two sizes (the smaller size is for those who’ve not had a baby) and costs US$29.95. There’s also the Ziggy Cup, which ensures mess-free sex while you’re on your cycle.
7. Hello, a recyclable
Another cup for you to consider is the Hello Cup, which is made from a medical-grade material from Germany called T.P.E.
This one is hypo-allergenic, and is recyclable when it’s time to dispose of it. They hold more than three tampon’s worth of blood, and are good for five years.
Comes in three sizes (XS is for teens, for instance) and costs NZD$49 (S$42).
8. The reusable sanitary pad
hannahpad Singapore produces reusable sanitary pads that are vegan and cruelty-free and made from organic cotton cloth.
What’s there to not love about something that not only cuts your expenses, but also the waste your generate?
A small reusable pad retails at $14.95 while a medium, $19.95. Think about all the move you’ll save over a period (no pun intended) of three years.
9. Drinkable comfort
This tea made with a traditional herbal combination of raspberry and nettle works to promote balance and good health within the body, and especially so during the time of the month.
It retails for $6.90 for a box of 16 sachets on iHerb and has raving reviews—women have said that it not only relieves their menstrual cramps, but also helps them relax.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.