Warning: This post contains material that can be uncomfortable for some readers. Periods. Panties. Reality. Reader discretion is advised. (Rolls eyes and continues to type.) If you stick with me, I have a referral discount at the end.
I am a girl. I have a period. In fact, I have been having a period every month since that really awkward week in seventh grade when I arrived to stay at my grandparents’ because my parents went to Hawaii, armed with a giant bag of maxi pads. Totally not embarrassing at all! It’s probably my least favorite part about being a woman and wish that it had disappeared at the time I decided to be intentionally child free. No such luck.
Overall, I’ve been pretty lucky that my period arrives regularly and is never terribly heavy. I usually know it’s coming because my skin breaks out like a middle schooler and I have some moderate cramping. Ugh! Really though, mine is more of a nuisance than a burden. I am grateful for that. Still, I probably have at least ten more years to be annoyed by it.
When I was younger, I used pads during my period because my mom believed they were safer. However, I’ve been using tampons exclusively since I had my own buying power in high school. That’s a whole lot of non-biodegradable trash I have made over the last 25 years. That makes me feel like a jerk. As a teacher, I rarely have time to use the restroom at work. This is neither ideal for hydration or menstruation. (I have legit peed my pants when I sneezed twice this school year.) It concerns me on long school days during my period.
For the last year, my social feed has featured occasional ads for period panties. This style of underwear has a built-in filter that is supposed to be absorbent, leak free, and odor eliminating. They are a safer and more eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. I decided to give them a whirl. There are actually a lot of brands out there, in different price ranges. I figured for the purpose of the experiment, I’d order from a few brands to compare. In the end, I selected Thinx, Ruby Love, and Plumity. All three brands carry up to a size 3XL and are said to be designed for plus size women.
When my first order arrived I had to explain the whole concept to my husband. His reply? “So they’re like adult diapers?” No, they are not. That’s an incredibly unsexy thought! (Then again, who feels sexy during their period? I usually feel cranky, greasy, and generally unattractive.) I do realize that their construction is rather similar to the old fashioned “rag” idea. Convenience has killed the planet… so let’s reinvent old ideas.
Here’s the deal with the three companies I tried.
Plumity This brand was definitely the most cost effective, offering three pairs for just $29.99. They also appeared to ship the fastest, since I received my shipping notice the same day I ordered them. But that is where the positive stops! Plumity’s order tracking system did not work at all… and three weeks later when my order STILL hadn’t arrived, I reached out to the company. I received a very brief email several days later telling me that my order had arrived safely in my mailbox in Jonesboro, Arkansas. (Odd, since I live in St. Louis, Missouri!) When I emailed them back to find out more details, I received the exact same response. No one would reply to me on Facebook messenger either. In fact, Plumity’s Facebook page is sparse with not much content. To further make this whole adventure a mystery, the Plumity website magically no longer works either. Sketchy.
My package did arrive, finally. When I opened the bag, I knew that the fit was going to be trouble too. The package appeared to have some writing in an Asian language. Trust me, 3X in an Asian fit is NOT plus sized. I tried to put them on… just as I expected, I couldn’t pull them up past my knees! (Yeah, like I said… not plus sized.) In addition to that, the lining was a light grey and would be susceptible to stains. The lining appeared to be one layer thick and would not absorb anything. I would give this company negative stars if I could even find a place to leave feedback. Don’t bother trying.
Ruby Love This brand offers underwear in several different styles… hipster, bikini, hi-waist, and brief… in addition to swimwear, activewear, and pj’s for that special week of the month. I was attracted to Ruby Love because they offer panties in bright, beautiful colors and cute prints. Each pair is around $20 or less, and they do offer bundles that have a bit of a discount. I ordered three pairs that were all on sale to try… two hipsters and a brief. They shipped quickly and arrived in less than a week.
The panties are really vibrant, pretty, and feel like a satiny spandex. (Sometimes I would prefer to wear plain cotton, I don’t believe they offer anything in that style.) The lining is well-padded and feels really comfortable. Ruby Love panties are designed to be worn with or without backup, depending on your flow. There is space to put in an additional double-sided, washable liner if needed. I found that the underwear was perfectly absorbent on its own. I was amazed at how I didn’t feel gross and swampy (sorry…) but dry and fresh. At the end of the day, they require a little more maintenance than just chucking them in the laundry basket, but they are pretty easy to clean too.
As far as the underwear being a plus size fit, I think the sizing is fairly close to being accurate. I am a size 22 and ordered the underwear in a 3X. I wish they were a little more generously cut, but they weren’t uncomfortable. Oddly, the hipsters didn’t fit my body much differently than the briefs. Maybe I would be happier in a hi-waist cut… but then there are no cute patterns. Overall, I was relatively happy with the fit, but I would love to see them become even more size inclusive. You know, fat women have periods too! We like being cute, safe, and environmentally friendly.
Note: I wore a hipster style to run a 5K. Less than a mile into the race, my underwear had fallen into a wad in my leggings. I don’t recommend wearing them for running. I’m sure it is user error so try a different cut or regular panties with a tampon for the race. Ugh!
Thinx This is definitely a case of, “you get what you pay for.” Thinx is one of the leading brands in period panties, offering a wide array of styles and fabrics. They also offer different levels of padding for both heavy and light days during your period. The company is involved in education and advocacy for women’s health. Though they are the most expensive of the brand I tried, starting around $30 per pair, they do offer bundles that will save you some money when buying a few pairs.
I ordered two different styles, the hipster and the organic cotton brief. Both styles had a padded, comfortable lining that covers a good portion of your bum, which allows you to move around quite a bit without fear of leaks or accidents. They are quite absorbent and moisture wicking. Honestly, I didn’t even feel like I was on my period in them. The cotton is super comfortable and non chafing. They feel like a high quality product, and worth the investment.
The plus size fitting in the Thinx underwear seems to be a little more generous. Though I will say, the sizing also totally depends on the cut and your body type. The cotton briefs fit amazingly well. The hipsters on the other hand were not a good fit for me. Though they fit my butt just fine, the front kept falling down. That is totally because I carry my weight in my belly! I contacted the company and got an immediate response, helping me try a new style. They gave me credit for the hipsters to immediately try a new style… no hassle whatsoever. I selected the hi-waist and a super absorbent brief which I will try next month. The customer service at Thinx is top notch. Of the three brands I tried, they were the clear winner and I would recommend trying them.
In fact, if you’d like to try them out, I would really appreciate if you use my referral code. You will get $10 off your first purchase!
I love the technology of period panties. Wearing them during my period provides me safety and peace of mind, while allowing me to be more environmentally friendly. I was skeptical at first, but I have said goodbye to tampons and I am never going back!