Updated: Sep 17, 2020
100 billion period products are thrown away every year, Most contain plastics that can't be recycled.
Menstruation is an important part of women’s lives and health. It happens 12 times a year, on average 2 280 days (about 6 years) in a woman's lifetime. For the past decades women have been conveniently using disposable menstrual products without really considering the environmental impact. One-time use tampons and pads can't be recycled and are thrown into the landfills after only 2-4 hours use. Disposable menstrual pads contain chemicals such as super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs), surfactant-laced gels and leak-proof plastic backings that take 500 to 800 years to decompose. And every tampon contains on average the same amount of plastic as 4 plastic bags.
Period underwear is a great new alternative to disposable menstrual products. The reusable underwear is made of several layers that are leak-proof, antibacterial, and odour resistant. These leak-resistant period undies are designed to hold 1 to 4 tampons (20ml). The technology is simple: the first protective layer absorbs and wick moisture, the second layer locks away the moisture and fluid, and the third layer acts as a waterproof barrier. Period underwear is designed to last 2-3 years and could save 17,000 tampons and plastic-lined pads going to landfill.
Here is an overview of 15 worldwide brands that specialize in comfortable and stylish sustainable period underwear. Supporting local brands reduces carbon footprint and CO2 emissions of shipping. Choose to shop locally and reduce single-use menstrual products.
Established: 2013, New York USA Claims: washable and reusable, moisture-wicking, odor-controlling, absorbent, and leak-resistant 12 Styles: Super Hiphugger, Hiphugger, Sport, Super Hi-waist, Hi-waste, Boyshort, Cheeky, Thong, Brief, Bikini, Training Shorts, Leotard Collections: Classic, Organic Cotton, Thinkx Air, Activewear Colors: 9 Price Range: USD 24-42, €22.48 – 39.34, £19.09 - 33.42 BIWN Collection (for tweens & teens): 3 styles Brief, Bikini, Shorty in 5 colors Price: US$ 23, €21.54, £18.32 Shipping: local $5 – free on orders above $99, EU/UK $9, Rest of the world $9-20 Absorbency: Super Days holds up to 4 tampons/2 pads (36ml), Moderate Days holds up to 2 tampons/1 pad (18ml),Light Days holds 1⁄2 tampon/ 1⁄4 pads (4 1⁄2ml) Certifications: organic cotton products are OCS and GOT-certified.
All products are REACH compliant and undergo testing that complies with the OEKO-TEX standard list of 100 chemicals.
Fabric treatments are moisture-wicking and anti-odor, which is OEKO-TEX certified Patented design that neutralizes bad odors and bacteria Manufactured: at award-winning family-run factory in Sri Lanka Giving back: GiveRise education and donation program
Established: 2012 New York, USA Product Range (leakproof): Underwear, Activewear leggings (6 styles), Yoga Pants (3 styles), Leotard (2 styles) Claims: 3-layer technology, leak-resistant, antibacterial, breathable, no plastic layer, anti stains and odours, high performance, made from Tactel® and LYCRA® yarns Styles: Hipster Mini (3), Hipster Full (3), Brief Full (3), Thong (3) Colors 5+: black, beige, blue, teal, burgundy, purple Price Range: US$ 32 - 44 Absorbency: Full Lining 2 tampons. Mini Lining 1½ tampons Material Body: 76% Nylon, 24% LYCRA® Shipping: local US$5, International $11-20 – free on orders above $175 Patents: patent-pending Underlux technology - protection against leaks, stains, and odours Giving Back: supports /donates to Days for Girls for every purchase of $100+ an underwear is collected
Established: 2015, New York, USA
Brand range (Leakproof): Underwear, Reusable Pads, Swimwear 13 styles, Sleepwear 3 styles, Bodysuit, Leggings, Plus Size Collection, Teens Collection, First Period Kit Box, Men’s Boxer Briefs. Claims: 5-later leak-proof technology. Dri-Tech mesh to secure additional replaceable pad. odor resistant, antibacterial. No: Plastics, PFA, Nano-Silver, Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) Styles: Bikini, Hipster, Brief, Hi-Waste Colors: 20, 16 patterns
Absorbency: up to 2.5-3 tampons Price Range: US$ 18.99 -22.99 Teens Underwear: 1 style, 24 colors, US$14.99-18.99 Shipping: USA $ 7.95 – free on orders above $65. International $14.95
Patent: patent-pending technology for underwear, swimwear, activewear and loungewear that provide leak-proof protection
Giving Back: donates menstrual products to women in need.
Established: 2018 New York, USA Brand Range: Leakproof Underwear Claims: 4-layer leak-resistant technology, antibacterial Styles: Bikini (2 styles), Hipster, Hip-Hugger, Hi-Waist, Thong Colors 4: Black, Beige, Pink, Red
Absorbency: 0.5 tampons, 2 tampons, 2.5 tampons (20ml) Price Range: US $24-32 Material Body: 75% nylon, 25% elastane Body Shipping: USA $4 - free on above $50, International $6-10 - free on above $75
Manufactured: in China, India Certifications: contain no silver particles and no PFAS. Only TPU with OEKO-TEX 100 certificate (European safety standards)
Giving Back: donates returned underwear to different not-for-profits for women in need
Established: 2017 California, USA Claims: breathable, moisture-wicking, hypoallergenic, stretchy and tagless. Brand Range: Leak-proof underwear, StainFree Underwear, Menstrual Cups, First Period Kit Styles: Bikini, Hipster (4 styles), Brief, Boyshort Colors 6: Black, Beige, Blue, Pink, Tie Dyed, Lace
Absorbency: 2 tampons (20ml) Price: US$ 29.95 - 31.95 Shipping: US free, Canada 12.50, International $14.50 Manufactured: in USA
Established: 2013 Toronto, Canada. Brand Range: Underwear, Leakproof Underwear, Postpartum: (Leakproof Nursing Bra, Nursing Tank, Bra pads), Wire-Free Bras/Sport Bras, Bodysuit, Teens Collection.
Claims: 3-layer patented technology, seamless, super-absorbent, machine-washable, 100% free from PFAS, Free from PFAS and other chemical treatments Styles: Cheeky, Bikini, Boyshort, Thong, Highrise Thong, Highrise, Core Highrise, Lace, Shorts Colors 10: black, beige, blue, purple, pink
Absorbency: 2 tampons 3 tsp Price Range: US$ 23-36, CA$ 27-42, Teens: 3 Styles (Bikini, Boyshort, Sleepover Short), 5 colors, US$16, CA$18
Material Body: 77% nylon, 23% LYCRA® Shipping: local CA$10 – free on orders above $95, USA US$ 7, International US$20 Patents: patented technology built into the underwear locks in moisture, helps get rid of odor, and stops leaks.
Certifications: OEKO-TEX® certified Manufactured: in socially and environmentally responsible factories in Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea - WRAP, SA 8000, and Oeko-tex approved
Established: 2000 Vancouver, Canada
Brand Range: Reusable Pads, Leakproof underwear, Menstrual Cup Clams: Leak-proof 4-layer technology, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, anti-antibacterial. Underwear has additional removable layer that could be changed during the day. Styles: Bikini, Hipster, Brief, Boxer Brief Colors 3: black, grey
Absorbency: 2 tampons or 2 pad Body Fabric: 95% Organic Cotton and 5% Spandex Price: CA$ 32 Shipping: US & CAN CA$10 – free on orders above $75, International $15 Made in: Canada
Certifications: B Corporation, Green America Approved Business, No Secrets, ClimateSmart Certified, LOCO Member Giving Back: One4Her Fund donating reusable pads and education program (supplied over 100,000 pads in 18 nations). Supports, educated and donates to AFRIpads Uganda, Days for Girls International, and Girl Stuff Period, Imagine1Day Ethiopia, Children's Future International Cambodia, Mariposa DR Foundation Dominican Republic, Midwives for Haiti, Hope for Haiti, Sustainable Health Enterprises Rwanda, GOONJ India, One Girl, Subz Pads South Africa, The Girl Effect, Because I am a Girl, Huru International Kenya, Days for Girls International, Zana Africa Kenya.
Established: 2017, United Kingdom Brand Range: leakproof underwear, first period pack, wireless bra Claims: 4-layer leak-proof technology, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, anti-antibacterial, vegan, uses Lenzing ® MicroModal fabric, CO2 neutral, washing machine safe. Styles: Classic, Teen sizes Colors 2: black, grey Price Range: £19.99-24.99 Absorbency: Heavy 4 tampons (20ml), Medium 2-3 tampons (15ml), Light 1 tampon (15ml)
Materials (body): Lenzing® MicroModal fabric/Organic cotton Shipping: UK free, international £10 - free on orders above £75 Certifications: made from FSC and PETC certified Beech trees in Austria Lenzing® MicroModal fabric that is CO2 neutral and 3.5x softer than fine cotton. Vegan Approved - Registered with the Vegan Society Manufactured: at social and environmental responsible factory in China. ISO standard Audits, BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) Audits, Confidence in Textiles (Testing for harmful substances) and Walmart certification. Awards: Good Brand Sublime Award 2019, NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Innovation Award, Sustainability Award winner. Giving Back: educates about re-usable menstrual products and donates to local schools, charities, communities in need
Established: 2017, United Kingdom Brand Range: leak-proof underwear Claims: 4-layer super absorbent leak-proof technology, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, Vegan Styles: Bikini (2 styles), Boyshort (2 styles), Hi-Waist (2 styles), Thong, Detachable Color 1: black Price Range: £24.95 - 28.95
Absorbency: Heavy - 4 tampons (20-25ml), Light - 2 tampons (15ml) Body Fabric: 95% TENCEL™ Modal, 5% Elastane Shipping: UK free, EU £4.95, International £14.95-19.95 or free on orders above £75 Manufactured: at ethically responsible certified factories in China - BSCI and use materials that are OEKO-Tex certified Certifications: uses Lenzing® MicroModal fibres that are sourced from certified Beech trees in Austria. TENCEL™ fibres are manufactured in an award-winning circular closed-loop process - chemicals used in processing are captured and reused. Fabrics have low ecological impact, biodegradable and compostable. the environmental footprint of TENCEL™ modal is a positive one and uses about 10-20 times less water than production of cotton.
Giving Back: By You, For Her – for every purchase donates reusable cloth pad to girls in need. To date donated over 10,000 pads to girls around the world. Supports and donates to Freedom4Girls.
Established: 2018 Paris, France Brand Range: leak-proof underwear Claims: patented leak-proof multi-layer protection, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, silent finish, no nanoparticles Styles: Brief (4styles), Hi-Waist, Shorty, Teenage sizes Colors 4: Black, Grey, Blue, Burgundy Absorbency: 3 pads
Body Material: 80% Polyamide, 20% Elastine, or 94% Cotton, 6% Elastine Price Range: €26-29.85 Body Material: 80% Polyamide, 20% Elastine, or 94% Cotton, 6% Elastine Manufactured: in France Shipping: local €7 – free on orders above €100, EU €11.32, International €26
Patents: patented leak-proof multi-layer protection Certification: OEKOTEX 100 certified materials
Giving Back: in the month of International Women's Rights Day, 50cents per panty sold is donated to the association Régles Élémentaires, which fights against menstrual poverty
Established: 2018, France Brand Range: leak-proof underwear, swimsuit Claims: leak-proof, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, no silver nanoparticles, washing machine safe. Styles: Classic (2 styles), Brief (4 Styles), Hi-Waist Brief (2 styles), Hi-Waist, Hipster (3 styles), Bikini, Shorty. Colors: 12 Price Range: €34-59 Absorbency: Heavy 3-4 tampons, Medium 2-3 tampons, Light 1 tampon Body Materials: 80% polyamide 20% elastane Shipping: free to France, EU €10, International €20
Manufactured: hand-made at luxury lingerie ateliers handmade in France Certifications: Certified OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 Giving Back: donates a portion of each sale to GRLPW
Established: 2019 Paris, France Brand Range: leak-proof underwear, teen underwear, sanitary pouches Claims: 3-layer super-absorbent technology, moisture-wicking, antibacterial, slow-fashion, Styles: Tanga, Bikini (3 Styles), Hiphugger Colors 3: black, azur, raspberry Absorbency: up to 4 tampons Price Range: €35-43
Material Body: organic cotton and eucalyptus fiber Shipping: France €5.50, Europe €12, International €20 Manufactured: France, hand-made on demand Certifications: Origine France Garantie certification, Oeko-Tex® textile certification Standard 100 Giving Back: donates to the Amazon rainforest reforestation project in the Parà region of Brazil. Supports associations that fight against endometriosis, 10% of Elia's profit is donated to research projects and support for women that have endometriosis.
Established: 2016 Barcelona, Spain Brand Range: leakproof underwear Claims: 3-layer leak-proof technology, absorbent, water-repellent, breathable, anti-microbial and antibacterial, anti-odour, wash machine safe. Styles: Classic (4 styles), Hipster, Hi-Waste, Thong Colors 1: black
Absorbency: light,moderate, heavy Price Range: €24.90-32.90 Material Body: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane Shipping: Spain and EU €4 – free on orders €75 Manufactured: in Spain
Established: 2018, Germany
Brand Range: leak-proof period underwear, teen sizes Claims: 5-layer leak-proof technology, moisture-wicking, vegan, free of silver and other biocides Styles: Classic (4 styles), Bikini, Hiphugger, Hi-Waste, Thong Colors 3: Black, Grey, Burgundy Price Range: €22.80 - 29.40 Absorbency: Heavy 2 ½- 3 tampons, Medium 2 tampons, Light 1 tampon Material (body): 95% cotton, 5% elasthane Shipping: only Europe €2.80 Certifications: 100% vegan, PETA certified, Eco certified membrane system Giving Back: donates locally and supports educational programs
Volume discounts: up to 20%
Australia & NZ
Established: 2013, Australia
Brand Range: leak/sweat-proof underwear, swimwear, tops, singlets, men's underwear
Claims: 3-layer super-absorbent technology, stain and odor resistant, antibacterial, breathable, uses high quality natural fabrics and breathable tech-savvy blends (Bamboo, Merino Perform Wool and Microfibre) Styles: bikini (6 styles), brief (7 styles), boyleg (4), thong (2), boyshort (2), swimwear (2), activewear leggings, maternity top.
Collections: seamfree, classic, curvy, sensual, vegan, maternity
RED - hipster collection for teenagers. Colors 10+: black, beige, red, orange, purple, blue, green, etc. Price Range: AU$ 24-36 (US$ 19.50-32, €16-28, £ 15.50-26) Shipping: Australia AU$ 5-15 (free on above 100$), UK free shipping, EU €10 (flat rate), US S 20 (free on orders above $75) Absorbency: super light 5ml - 1 tampon, light-moderate 10ml - 2 tampons, heavy/overnight 15ml - 2-3 tampons, moisture wicking 20ml - 3-4 tampons Patent: Modibodi Technology (leak-proof). Modifier Air ( Moisture Wicking/Sweat proof). Patent Pending Modifier Swim Technology (leak-proof swim) Awards: Finalist in the Retail Start-Up of the Year Awards 2018, finalist in the prestigious 2016 Mother and Baby Awards for best Maternity Bra, 2019 Telstra Business Award, 2019 National Winner Sustainability Award 57th Australian Export. Giving Back: Give a Pair Program - For every ‘virtual pair’ voucher purchased, donates two pairs of physical underwear to women’s shelters and women in need across the world. Supports Sustainable Period Project, Days For Girls (DFG), Samaritans, Choosereal.
Established: 2018, New Zealand Product Range: leak-proof underwear, teen underwear (3 styles), swimwear Claims: 4-layer absorbent technology, anti-microbial, and leak-resistant, carbon-neutral business, innovative super slim fabric, wash-machine safe. Styles: Brief (3 styles), Hi-Waist Colors 2: black, beige
Absorbency: 2 tampons Price: NZ$29-45, €16-25, US$18-28, £14-21 Materials Body: 95% organic cotton, 5% spandex Shipping: free AU & NZ on orders above $80, International $18 Manufactured: at ethical and sustainable family-owned factory in Sri Lanka Giving Back: donates 5% of period underwear produced to local charities and women in need in New Zealand
REUSABLE TAMPON APPLICATOR
Women who can't go though a period without using a tampon, should try DAME reusable tampon applicator. DAME applicator can be used with most standard-sized tampons, and each reusable applicator saves up to 12,000 single-use applicators from going to waste.
Established: 2018, United Kingdom Brand Range: world's first reusable tampon applicator, 100% organic, biodegradable cotton tampons
Claims: sleek, comfortable, easy to use. Made from medical grade, antimicrobial materials, it's safe, hygienic and easy to clean. NO: BPA, harsh chemicals, pesticides, biocides, heavy metals or other harmful substances.
Price: Reusable Applicator Set: £24.99, €28.91, US$32.1
Organic Cotton Tampons (34pc) Monthly Subscription: £8.50, €9.83, US$10.95 Shipping: UK £3+, worldwide $4+ Manufactured: in UK. Made from medical grade, recyclable materials Awards: Dezeen Product Design Award 2018, Business Green Leaders Award 2019, World Changing Ideas 2019 Certifications: Certified B Corp, Certified Carbon Neutral Plus Giving Back: DAME donates products to period poverty & education charities includes Rethink Periods & Brook - Let's Talk Period
Brands that i tried and liked
When I decided to switch from disposable menstrual products to reusable period underwear I was curious to compare several different brands. These are the period undies that I tried and liked :) Check my Instagram page for detailed reviews.