Why should you pick Reusable Period Products?
There are a couple reasons to switch to reusable menstrual products.
- You’ll save a bunch of money. The average cost per year for tampons is currently around $60, pads are an additional $60. The average cost for a menstrual cup or a pair of period underwear is around $30.
- You’ll be ditching plastic. Tampons and Sanitary Pads have tons of plastics in them or in their packaging. None of it is recycled. By moving toward greener options you reduce your carbon footprint. Also you are assured that there aren’t any petroleum products inside you.
- Reusable is Comfortable! Really! Because so many new products have come out there’s so many options. This makes it easier to find the period combination that’s right for you. You can even be leak-free in them.
What are my Reusable Menstrual Product Options?
Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming. So let’s narrow it down. Today’s better period options come in four different styles of protection.
1. Period Underwear & Swimwear
Products in this category use thin layers of super absorbent material to line the crotch region. All the protection and none of the bulk of pads. You can get underwear designed for your lightest days to your heaviest flows. There’s even overnight options. Simply rinse at the end of the day and then launder like normal. They now also make swimsuits! How I wish I could time travel to my 12 year old self and drop one of those babies off.
One of the great features of period underwear is that they now make them sized down for young ladies. I was able to find super fun prints and different styles. Modibodi (average $24/ pair) offers underwear that addresses everything from the first period to 4th trimester leakage. Thinx (average $35/ pair) is perhaps the most well known of the period underwear brands, but they are no means the only option. Ruby Love ($$ varies depending on style) offers cute swim bottoms, tops and one pieces all with period absorption.
A lot of women prefer to purchase 1-2 pairs of period underwear in a lightweight absorbency to act as a replacement for pantiliners or to complement their other period protection.
2. Menstrual Cups
Menstrual Cups are simply cups, made usually from high grade silicone, that can be inserted into the vaginal canal. These cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The majority come with a cloth bag to store the cup in when not in use. The website Put a Cup In It has a quiz to take that can help you narrow down which choices might be right for you. There’s quite a range in price points for cups but the average is around $30.
Cups are probably the least maintenance of the reusable period protection. Simply dump, rinse and reinsert. You can always opt to purchase a larger and smaller cup for your different flo days, but it isn’t necessary. If you’re out in public I recommend a wipe to help you clean your fingers prior to stepping out of the stall.
3. Washable Sanitary Pads
Washable Pads aren’t exactly a new invention. Women have been using rags, sponges and other washable items to absorb flow for a long time. Most current reusable pads have layers of bamboo, fleece or flannel to absorb the blood. Pampered Shop Pads from San Diego has some great options. She even has a special made super-absorbent pad for ice packs postpartum. If you’re looking for a liner to back up your cup or disc, check out these cute prints from Hello Cup ($40 for 3)!
Care for your Sanitary Pads is very similar to the period underwear above. Simply rinse when full and then launder normally. The great thing about reusable pads is that they are a comfortable switch for those that are apprehensive about reusable products. Because they are so familiar, I found it was easier to estimate what level of absorbency I’d need. Local stores like Outpost Natural Foods and Whole Foods also carry reusable pads in the feminine care aisles.
4. Menstrual Discs
Menstrual Discs are relative newcomers to period protection. Most are designed to be used for 12 hours and then disposed of. This means they are not a completely sustainable option, but they do mean less waste. A lot of reviewers have mentioned using one per period and washing it like a cup to reduce waste as well. Menstrual Discs sit higher up in the vaginal canal near the cervix. This makes it possible to have sex if you’d wish. It also changes how the disc feels inside you.
Softdisc ($10 for 14 One Size Discs) and Flex ($12 for 8 Mediums Discs) are two popular brands in this category. Intima Ziggy Cup ($35) and Nixit ($49) are two menstrual cups that are disc like in their shapes, but are completely reusable. So if you like the shape of the disc but prefer silicone check out one of those options.
Some bonus suggestions
Reusable Tampon Applicator & 100% Cotton
If you can’t swing going completely reusable, consider a reusable tampon applicator (from the UK, ships worldwide). It’ll keep your hands cleaner and reduce plastic waste. In order to avoid microplastics and other harmful chemicals consider switching to 100% organic cotton absorbency options. This is L available at Target has a range of tampons and pads to help you get through your period chemical free. Cora is another online brand of period protection using 100% cotton.There are even tampon subscription services that provide organic cotton options.
Bidet Toilet Attachments
Having the ability to rinse off quickly and thoroughly can make your period a lot fresher. Pick up a handy attachment for your toilet. We got ours to spray off cloth diapers, but it works so well to clean up during my period. These lovelies come in a range from super simple hand held sprayers ($35) to the completely installed with hot water and a blow dry ($200). This quick refresh really helped me not be so crabby and helped me feel a lot better during my period.
I hope you’ve found some great options to help you tackle your period days and nights. I’m wishing you a happy and clean period, whether it’s your 4th trimester or your first cycle. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments. I’ve tried many of the options out there in order to find my perfect fit. If you have a favorite brand I’ve missed let me know!