Period underwear: are they worth it?

By Alma Fabiani

Published Nov 3, 2020 at 02:25 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes


If until now you’ve solely relied on disposable menstrual supplies such as tampons, pads or liners while on your period, then we understand why period underwear might sound like a miracle solution to you. Period panties look and feel just like normal underwear, only they have an added protective layer that helps prevent blood from seeping through, instead absorbing it completely. What are the positives of period underwear, and do we think they’re the best period product to use? Here’s everything you need to know.

No more leaks? It depends

Period underwear is often advertised as ‘unleakable’. But according to many early adopters (me included), compared to disposable pads, tampons or even menstrual cups, period panties are not the best for those with heavy periods. The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab even tested the absorbency of several pairs and found that the panties couldn’t absorb liquids as well as other period products.

So, the first thing you should keep in mind when looking to buy period underwear is that they’re best for lighter days or as a backup on heavier days. Usually, they can hold around 2 tampons worth, which means that if you thought you could just rely on your period underwear for the first day of your period, think again, because it will leak in no time.

Period underwear is comfortable

This one cannot be denied: simply wearing panties is definitely more comfortable than any other kind of period product. Potential leaks put aside, there isn’t much difference between being on your period or not when you find the right type of period underwear.


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What about the way they look?

On your search for the perfect period underwear, you might have stumbled upon some serious grandma-style ones. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can actually find period panties that are really stylish too. The most famous brand for these is probably Thinx, which offers comfortable, cute and functional underwear in a wide range of colours.

If you’re looking for underwear that looks less ‘mature’, then Thinx BTWN period panties have the same functionality of the originals, except the styles, colours and styles are designed specifically for younger women. My advice? Start with the brand’s Fresh Start Period Kit for $59, which includes one pair of each of the three different styles.

How sustainable are period panties?

In terms of sustainability, period underwear is one of the best options you could go for, just after menstrual cups. That’s because although you might end up using your new period panties for a few years, I doubt you’ll be using it for 10 years, like you can with a menstrual cup. On top of cutting back on waste, period panties can also be cost-effective as you won’t need to buy a new pair every month.

But keep in mind that if you have to add an extra period product to your period underwear in case you’re worried about a leak, then this might not be the best choice for you.

Should I go for it or not?

As listed above, period underwear have some positives as well as some negatives. While I would not recommend them as someone’s first option for period care (my number one will always be menstrual cups), I would advise you to buy one pair just to see how you like them for yourself. On heavy days, just forget about period panties, but towards the end of your period, why not treat yourself with one of these above? The time to wear them is when you’re light enough to avoid using another product, and where you can toss them straight into the wash after you wear them. You wouldn’t want to stuff a used pad into your bag for the rest of the day now, would you?

They do definitely come in handy, especially when you want to avoid the risk of a leak in a white party dress. I would personally recommend the Dream Short by KNIX just because I like their tomboy look and because they’re probably the most absorbent period panties. They’re slightly pricier than other pairs, but trust me, just try them for one night when you’re nearing the end of your period—you’ll thank me.

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