I bet there's a lot of you reading this title thinking "Period underwear? Yuck!". It's not the sexiest visual that's for sure, but after some solid testing I'm here to convince you to open your mind to them.
I've had a weird fascination with period underwear and Thinx since I heard the founder Miki Agrawal on Sophia Amarusso's Girl Boss podcast a few years ago. I asked just about everyone of my girlfirends if they'd tried or though about them and i'll admit I thought I was a bit weird since most of the responses that came back were "ewww no". Period underwear technology has emerged over recent years and there are numerous brand jumping on the bandwagon per se.
I don't know about you but I fall into the 'I hate having my period and skip it regularly' category of girls because a. I got sick of putting chemical tampons in my vagina and b. I hate those 2 days a month I just can't handle my emotions. A coworker will ask how my breakfast was and I'll burst into tears for no particular reason. no ideal right? But those emotions get 10 times worse when I do skip my period for a few months then decide to check it's all still there and working ya know. (I'll point out at this stage I'm on the pill hence the skipping period part).
How it works
So Thinx explain the idea and technology pretty simply on their website here. The underwear is made of a few layers of material at the crotch area to help absorb but no they aren't like nappies, in fact they feel thicker but don't look like you've got anything more than regular underwear on. Note though that Thinx (and many similar companies) don't claim to completely replace traditional period products. Essentially every woman is different and they can be used as replacement or back up depending on your flow (because let's face it, if Mean Girls taught us anything some girls have a wide set vagina and a heavy flow and that's totally ok).
What do I get? Basically Thinx are structured for you to build up a cycle set - there are the pants that claim to hold up to 2 tampons worth and others that are for the day of spotting. You've got options - hip hugger, sport, cheeky, boyshort, high waist, brief, thong, bikini (yep that that covers just about everything). But don't go in naively, that thong is definitely not going to cover yo ass/ yo flow on your heaviest day - don't even kid yourself.
They have pretty clear symbols for working it al about but for reference I got a high waisted pair, some cheekys, a hip hugger, a brief and a cotton bikini (they have a cotton range too).
The instructions are pretty simple - rinse, wash in cold water and hang dry. Avoid chemical and don't use hot water.
"But do they actually like work?"
Look I'll say this - everyone is different and therefore I cannot speak for everyone in saying they do work or don't. For me, it was a bit of trial testing and yes a few days of running to the bathroom at work every few hours to check myself. But they surprisingly work and aren't that gross. There's no smell and you don't really feel like you're wearing more than a large pad around.
If your cycle is unpredictable and it varies then I'd say they won't be ideal for you but maybe a pair or two just for a day. If you're looking for an eco friendly and chemical free alternative to period products then I say give them a go. It's a fair amount of money up front (talking $40-55 AUD per pair x 4 or 5 for a cycle) but in the long run what you're spending on tampons and pads outweighs.
Sure it's easier to carry a small tampon around than an extra pair of underwear and then there's the question of what do you do with your underwear you've taken off to replace but as I said, everyone is different and you have to base it on your own body and cycle. For example I like wearing them on a day I know I'll be home most of the day working and then I can change a pair before leaving to go out in the evening. Or if I am going to the gym I can wear a pair in class and shower afterwards and wrap the pair in a wet bag to wash when I get home later (side note: just don't try doing a barre class on you're heaviest day - those kicks and open legged movements won't survive a pair you've been using all day). Hell I might even wear them on a date but I'd have to work up to that one...
All in all I'm here for the period underwear. The lighter days are certainly stronger than heavier days for me but I can deal with one day a month!