When we think “periods,” it’s easy to think about nursing cramps with Notebook reruns and chocolate everything. But there’s been some serious innovation in the world of period products, making this time of month easier, and dare I say, even more interesting to deal with. The days of the month that used to take over your life, are now about making choices to support your overall health, and even girls’ health around the globe (see BeGirl below).
When it comes to choosing your period products, it doesn’t just have to be about using your mom’s favorite tampon brand anymore. There are tons of hygiene products to explore, and beyond that, there are some pretty high-tech ways to manage the flow, discomfort, and even awkwardness of monthly menstruation.
Pads, Tampons, & Menstrual Cups: Choose Your Own Adventure
1. Traditional feminine hygiene products. Companies like Tampax, Kotex, and Always have been by women’s sides for decades, keeping menstrual blood contained. Chances are, your mom, and maybe even your grandmother use(d) them. They’re relatively cost-effective and readily available.
Select Base Pricing:
- $3.99 for 16 Regular Radiant Plastic Tampons, Tampax
- $2.97 for 16 Regular Maxi Pads, Always
Where to get them: If you need them in a pinch, you can find them at any drugstore or supermarket.
2. “Natural”/Non-Toxic hygiene products. No one can say for sure what is or what isn’t in mainstream tampon and pad brands. We know some of them have scents and some of them are made of plastic and cotton, but there’s debate around whether there are unhealthy chemicals and materials hiding in some of the most popular brands.
More “natural” products, those advertised as being produced without harmful chemicals, dyes, and materials, can be more expensive, but they can also give you some peace of mind. If you have sensitive skin, natural products can also be a good option to help you avoid irritation. Honest, Seventh Generation and Lola are three leading companies.
Select Base Pricing:
- $6.95 for 16 Regular Tampons with Applicator, Honest Company
- $5.99 for 16 Regular Tampons with Applicator, Seventh Generation
- $10.00 for 18 Regular Tampons with Applicator, Lola
Where to get them: Natural food stores or online.
3. Reusable hygiene products. It’s true, there are washable pads from brands like BeGirl & LunaPads. and menstrual cups by DivaCup (cups inserted into the vagina to “catch” menstrual blood). You can find more details in our guide to hygiene products, but if you are looking for an earth-friendly option, one of these might be the way to go!
Select Base Pricing:
- $29.99 for DivaCup
- $84.95 for 5 LunaPads
*You may have to save up, but these products last and mean you don’t have to buy products every month.
Where to get them: You’ll find DivaCups in some supermarkets. Go online to find reusable pads.
If you a) don’t want to ask your parents to buy your feminine hygiene products every month or b) don’t want to have to go to the store and by them yourself all the time (and text nervously to avoid making eye-contact with the sales clerk), you can get period paraphernalia delivered right to your door. Amazon.com is always an option, but we’re also loving these two companies that were launched with menstruation in mind:
This company, known for their AMAZING viral ads, will send you a serious care package complete with your choice of pads, tampons, and even menstrual cups, along with other surprise goodies like funky undies, snacks, and hair ties. Why not ring in your week or womanhood with a gift?!
Select Base Pricing:$29.95 for the Signature Kit.
Where to Get It: www.helloflo.com
Lola tampons are “natural,” sleek, and delivered to your door monthly. Honestly, they feel like high-fashion tampons, the chicest around. And they’re a natural product. High quality delivered to your door? Don’t mind if we do.
Select Base Pricing: 18 Regular Tampons with Applicator,$10.00, avoiding drugstore awkardness, priceless
Where to get them: www.mylola.com
THINX: Wouldn’t it be nice if your period was just another week during which you didn’t have to stress about when to take your tampon out or replace a pad? THINX, a new high-tech line of underwear that eliminates the need for pads or tampons, has answered our prayers. No, you aren’t dreaming! With four different layers of state-of-the-art, scientifically engineered material for the utmost dryness, sanitation, absorbency and leakage protection, THINX and their “Period Panties” have changed the way we think about menstruation hygiene. All you have to do is rinse, wash, and hang them to dry after a day of wear and you’re good to go! They even have different styles to fit your flow’s (and wardrobe’s) needs, with a selection of thongs, “cheekies,” and hiphuggers. And for anyone who thinks this is too good to be true, you can find numerous testimonials online in addition to a speedy return policy.
Select Base Pricing: $24 for light day panties & $34 for heavy day hiphuggers
Where to Get Them: www.shethinx.com
BeGirl: The good news doesn’t stop there! BeGirl is a new organization like THINX, but with a charitable and educational twist. Their products of undie/pad combos are available now. BeGirl wants to change the fact that, especially in poverty-stricken parts of the world, the onset of a girl’s period causes embarrassment or even isolation without proper means to regulate menstruation. Choosing between U by Kotex or Tampax might be a dilemma for us, but in fact, 250 million girls across the world have zero access to clean, safe ways to manage their periods. Often they resort to using unhygienic items like leaves or mud found on the ground.
BeGirl wants to change this. In addition to providing girls in places like Rwanda, Kenya, Jordan, and Ethiopia with their safe and reusable menstrual products, they’re educating them about their cycles while promoting the sense of pride and body-positivity that should be associated with periods! After all, without them, we wouldn’t exist!
Select Base Pricing: For $25, you get one EmpowerPanty, and one EmpowerPanty gets donated to a girl in need!
Where to Get Them: www.begirl.org
Tech Tools Cutting Down on Surprise Period Stains, Aches, and Pains
Obviously, your iPhone can’t do everything when it comes to your period.
But it can help you track your cycle (and moods) and let you know when your period is probably coming, so you can know when you’re PMSing and prepare. (The end of surprise period stains? Yes please!) Apps like Clue and Period Tracker Lite have easy-to-use interfaces, helping keep an eye on your cycle.
TamponMinder is another AWESOME app that will help you remember to change your tampon. Forgetting about your tampon can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome ( a dangerous condition that results from tampons being left in too long), and NOBODY wants that.
Select Base Pricing: Tampon Minder – Free & $0.99 versions.
Where to get them: iTunes Store, Google Play
Chocolate, sweatpants, and romantic comedies will always be there to help ease our period pains, but we’re pretty excited about all of these advances in period tech, too!