Your Guide to Period Underwear

by Kate Hofmann

Period underwear has become the newest innovation in menstrual products that aim to give the wearer more comfort and less mess. Many people don’t enjoy the invasiveness of tampons or menstrual cups or don’t like the feeling of pads, so what do they do? Period underwear has helped fill that void for many people to feel more comfortable while they’re menstruating.

But does period underwear actually work? And what helps period underwear be effective in the first place? There are so many brands that are producing period underwear these days, but how reliable are they? And which brands tend to rank higher above others on the market?

What Is Period Underwear?

Period underwear is the supposed answer to a lot of issues that people who menstruate experience. They look and behave like regular underwear, except they are made of special fabrics or are double-lined to hold menstrual blood. Period underwear is a reusable solution, so you don’t have to rely on disposable products.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, period underwear is designed to be more economical. When you invest in a pair of period underwear, they last you for a few years before you have to buy new ones. This means no more pricey single-use products that can’t be recycled and may be filled with chemicals.

Most of these brands of period underwear are made of a mixture of cotton and spandex, so they are easily washed and don’t produce the same waste that traditional products do. They also don’t pose the same kind of risks to your health and comfort. There is no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and a reduced chance of yeast infections and other irritations.

Popular Brands

Brands like Thinx, Dear Kate, and Knix have cornered the market on period underwear, providing reliable and clean comfort for various sizes. What makes them truly unique to this niche?

  • Thinx: This brand is highly popular on the market due to its moisture-wicking, hyper-absorbant, odor-control, and leak-free design. They boast that their period panties can hold up to five tampons worth of menstrual blood without feeling heavy or gross. They are also plenty breathable to prevent sweat or strong odors, so you don’t have to worry about smells while you’re going about your daily routine. They come in a variety of styles and have sizes from XXS to 3XL. They also recommend their products for postpartum mothers as it can be difficult in those days following birth to keep things clean and comfortable.
  • Dear Kate: This brand comes recommended for its everyday usage, not just for that time of the month. Their products protect against everyday discharge, spotting, bladder leaks, postpartum discharge or blood, and sweat. They are specially designed to be anti-microbial to prevent fungal or yeast infections. One note, they say they are “leak-resistant” rather than “leak proof,” this is because they don’t use any plastic lining in their products to prevent liquid from being trapped in the lining so you can stay fresh and dry all day.
  • Knix: This brand is all about efficiency and body positivity. Their products vary in protection, going from light to super absorbent for whatever your specific needs are. Light can handle up to one teaspoon of fluid, medium handles three, high handles four, and super can handle up to eight. Their sizing chart goes from XXS to 4XL, so you can be assured you’ll find the right fit for your body. They also offer a virtual try-on feature where you can chat with professionals about what style and absorbency would be right for you.

Do They Work?

There have been mixed reviews on whether these period panties actually do the job they are designed for. Some people think they are worth the purchase, while others prefer to stick to traditional period products. Essentially, these reviews have to do with individual comfort, a feeling of cleanliness, and whether the brand the individual purchased worked as designed.

A vast majority of people don’t enjoy the feeling of free flow and prefer to have a tampon or a cup that they can remove and either dispose of or empty. So if you’re one of those people, pads and period panties may not be right for you. If you’re someone who has a fear or a dislike of tampons or menstrual cups, you might find that period underwear is exactly what you’re looking for.

Test out some of these brands to see what feels right for you, but don’t be discouraged if they don’t end up feeling right.