Basic period products are so 2017.
When it comes to managing our periods, most of us rely on the two most popular options: lining our underwear with a pad or inserting a tampon. But with so many creative new innovations out there—including a few from women-owned companies—there are more alternatives than ever to traditional tampons and pads you might want to consider. As a bonus, many of these products are reusable, meaning they have a lower environmental impact. Below, a few game-changing menstrual alternatives we love.
The Diva Cup
The Diva Cup is a reusable silicone menstrual cup that collects your flow for up to 12 hours of leak-free protection. It's odor-free, and surprisingly comfortable and easy to use. When you're ready to remove the Diva Cup, pinch the base, pull it out, and wash well with hot water. It's listed as the number one best-selling menstrual cup on Amazon, with over 3,500 glowing five-star user reviews, so you'll be in good company.
GladRags Day Pad
This 100% cotton pad has a winged envelope-style holder that snaps around your underwear with a removable insert to absorb your flow. This two-part system allows you to swap out the insert when you're ready, then toss the dirty one into the washing machine for easy cleaning. GladRags are more eco-friendly than disposable pads, and meant to last for five years, saving you money in the long haul.
Softcup Menstrual Disc
The Softcup is a disposable menstrual disc that offers 12 hours of period protection. Though it's meant to be thrown away, it holds five tampons' worth of fluid, so you'll use fewer Softcups than you would pads or tampons, minimizing your carbon footprint. Also good: you can actually have sex with one of these babies in for no-mess period sex. Bingo! The discs are hypoallergenic and made without BPA, phthalates, or latex. Note: Some Amazon reviewers have commented that while the Softcup discs are comfortable, they're messier to remove than a menstrual cup. So, if you don't like sticking your fingers up there or are squeamish about getting blood on your hands, you may want to consider the Diva Cup instead.
Jade & Pearl Sea Pearls Reusable Sea Sponges
You want us to put these sponges where? Though you probably associate sponges with cleaning the dishes, hear us out. Sea Pearls are natural sea sponges that come from the ocean, which means they're free of chemicals, bleach, chlorine, fragrance, dyes, or synthetic materials. They're reusable for up to six months, and, because they grow naturally, can vary in color, size, shape, and texture. If you get one that's looks too big for you, you can trim it easily with some scissors for a custom fit.
Cora Organic Cotton Non-Applicator Tampons
Not only are Cora tampons 100% cotton, biodegradable, compostable, and vegan, but this variety also has a low environmental impact, since they have no applicator, creating less waste. Plus, for every box purchased, the company will donate a one month supply of menstrual products and education to girls in developing countries. Double win.
Purchase a box of 36 or 72 tampons to stash in the back of your underwear drawer, or sign up for one of Cora's monthly plans to have period products delivered directly to your doorstep. You can try it out free for the first month (just pay $3 shipping), and if you love it, monthly plans begin at $8.
Thinx period-proof panties have been made famous by their technology (and hilarious New York subway ads). No, they don't feel like you're wearing a diaper. And, yes you should still use another method of menstrual protection if your period is heavy. The underwear is meant to either provide backup protection or worn alone on days when your flow is lighter. As your period begins to wind down, you can opt for this pretty period absorbing thong.
For more active days, we love the Thinx training shorts, which can hold up to two tampons' worth of blood, making them great for running, hiking, and the gym. The Thinx unitard bodysuit can hold up to half a tampon, perfect for a yoga, barre, or dance class.
Dear Kate Go Commando Yoga Capri Pant
If you hate VPL ("visible panty lines"), you'll definitely want these in your activewear rotation. The Go Commando Capris have a lined crotch gusset so you can wear them sans underwear. These period-proof pants are sweat-wicking, too, and the crotch lining can hold up to 1.5 tampons' worth of blood. Wear them as your main coverage or as backup during your regular period routine.