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Whereas some of the underwear on this list looks cute and passes as regular underwear, these are clearly not. Unfortunately, they resemble adult diapers—which is essentially what period underwear is, anyway. Despite being slightly bulky, they’re soft, stretchy, and breathable. On the inside, you’ll find what looks like an overnight pad built into the underwear, which Always says can absorb as much as five of its Ultra Thin pads. Stolyar was skeptical of the claims, but not a drop of blood leaked through onto her sheets during the night. And, importantly, they don’t feel gross and soggy.
The downside, though, is that they’re scented. Pads and tampons sometimes add fragrance but this can throw off your pH balance. We haven’t had any issues with these, but we hope Always drops the fragrance.
More Brands We Like
I’ve now tried a ton of different period underwear and am confident there’s something for everyone.
Tampons and pads require frequent changing and are not great for the environment—they’re made to be thrown away after a few hours. Menstrual cups, however, are reusable, long-lasting silicone cups that hold blood and prevent leaks. Buy it once and it should last several years. There’s a learning curve, so try it on days you’ll be home, and you may have to try a few before you find your perfect one.
To use a menstrual cup, you’ll need to fold it (there are many different ways to do this) and insert it into your vagina. Feel around to make sure it completely unfolds and creates a seal. When you’re ready to take it out, pinch the base of the cup slightly to break the seal—it’s a strange feeling, but don’t worry, it shouldn’t feel like it’s being ripped out. Depending on your flow, most menstrual cups can stay in for 12 hours, so you can go a whole workday without having to empty it in a public bathroom. Put a Cup In It is a great resource for helping you determine which cup might be best. YouTuber RawBeautyKristi also offers some good tips on her experience using a menstrual cup.
Our Favorite Cup
I like the concept of a cup, but I always preferred other options. They don’t hurt, but it was like I was very aware I was using one, which is the opposite of a tampon. That is, until I tried the Lily Cup. Once it was in, I forgot it was there. I even slept in it comfortably.
The secret is in its shape and size. It’s angled, thinner, and softer than most standard cups, so it folds up smaller and feels more natural. If you’ve never used a cup, or like me, didn’t find one you loved, try this. Like most cups available, there is one for those who have not given birth vaginally and those who have.
If the Lily Cup doesn’t appeal to you or you need more options, MeLuna is popular in the category. There are several sizes, firmness levels, and stem types to choose from, and the company offers helpful tips for finding the right fit.
There are kits available, too, including one that comes with a steamer for sanitizing the cup for $63. Most people simply boil them to sanitize, but if you live somewhere like a dorm where you don’t want to be boiling your period cup in the communal kitchen, it’s a nice idea.
Menstrual Discs We Like
I think most people will like the Lily, but there is no one-size-fits-all product when it comes to periods. There are more options available that we also like, and most are cheaper.