Whether you are tired of ruining your bedding, are dealing with unpredictable spotting, or just want added protection, the best period underwear could be the solution you’re looking for. With a range of absorbent underwear on the market, there’s a number of factors to consider before choosing the right style for you, from the heaviness of your flow to your plans for the day (or night).
When shopping for something so personal, testimonials from happy customers can offer added trust in the product’s efficacy, so we did a deep dive to find out which period underwear is worth writing home about. These are the period panties women are logging on to sing the praises of—the undies that changed their lives for the better, from comfy, size-inclusive briefs to barely there thongs.
Before you shop for the best period underwear, there are some things you should know about wearing them. Read up on the information to know now, from an ob-gyn and period underwear manufacturers, ahead.
How period underwear works
In essence, period undies work the same way as regular underwear does—but with the added absorption setting them apart. Expertly designed menstrual underwear shouldn’t feel different to the touch or on the body, but they should include an added layer of fabric that can either work in lieu of a pad or tampon or provide extra protection to avoid leakage.
“Just like each woman, period underwear types are unique and serve different purposes,” says ob-gyn and pH-D Feminine Health adviser Ruth Arumala, D.O. “Some create an extra barrier of protection from leakage; others take the place of other feminine hygiene products.” Different brands use various patented technology to ensure optimal absorption, and every company in this roundup is backed by real women who swear by the products.
How to use period underwear
First step: Put them on. Second step: Breathe easy and forget about ’em. But in all seriousness, the most important factor of period underwear is convenience, and how you choose to use them will depend on your personal needs and preferences. While some women seek added protection to avoid disaster stains during busy days when their menstrual flow is extra heavy, others are looking for worry-free REM cycles and workouts, and period undies can help provide peace of mind (even if you choose to wear a tampon with them).
How to wash period underwear
The first thing to do once you take off your period underwear (never wear them for more than 24 hours) is run them under cold water until the water runs clear. Once most of the blood is removed from the gusset, you can throw them in with a regular load of laundry on a delicate, cold-wash cycle (be sure not to use hot water to avoid setting any remaining blood into the underwear). You can also put them in a delicates bag to keep them extra safe in the washer. Due to the high-tech nature of the fabric, you’ll want to hang-dry rather than tumble. Once the underwear is nice and dry, fold them up and bring them out on your next moon cycle.
Can period underwear replace pads?
Every body and flow is different, but the short answer is yes, period underwear can replace pads. Because of technology used to develop fabric that can hold multiple tampons’ worth of blood, it’s generally not recommended to wear pads with your absorbent undies. Experts at Modibodi, Thinx, and Knix agree you can nix pads altogether. Arumala cosigned this point, explaining it’s more common to pair period panties with tampons or menstrual cups. “Most period-panty users either wear them solo or use tampons or cups,” she says. “It is rare to use pads or panty liners with period panties.”
Benefits of using period underwear
From keeping your clothes clean to going easier on the environment and saving money, there’s a wide array of benefits to using period underwear. Knix founder Joanna Griffiths dished on a few key benefits: She says period panties “take away the worry of not knowing exactly when you might get your period throughout the day and remove the need to carry panty liners, pads, and tampons”; “positively impact our environment”; and “revolutionize menstruation worldwide, especially for those who may not have access to, or cannot afford, expensive disposable products.” Arumala adds that they’re useful for “preventing vulvar and/or vaginal irritation, as well as when culture or religion reasons preclude use of internal products.”
Where to buy period underwear
Now that we’ve covered the most common questions surrounding period underwear, it’s time to shop! Ahead, the 16 best period panties online reviewers can’t imagine their life without—and that’s on period.