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When it comes to natural period care for your yoni, the market has gotten pretty overwhelming. Here are a few thoughts on zero waste period and why reusable menstrual products are essential when it comes to period self-care. Yup! We’re gonna talk about women’s periods!
Period! It is that time of the month when my endometriosis reminds me that my body is broken. Even if I slow down, journal more and reconnect to myself, I’m in pain, sometimes I’m barely able to stand up and have a normal day at home. Of course, I make sure to kick my self care routines up a notch. But beyond that, it’s also about the products I use to care for both my body and the environment. So, I thought it was about time to sit down and get real in my latest post on what I use, why I use it and what works – naturally.
Ladies, real talk: how satisfied are you with your period products? You know—tampons, pads, menstrual cups, period panties—all the things you use to make that time of the month slightly more bearable?
If you are still using the same products you were using in the 80s, it’s time to upgrade!
How much does the average woman spend on menstrual products?
Sanitary maxi pads, panty liners, tampons, heating pads, and other period products can be quite expensive, especially when you consider buying them every few months. There is a price breakdown on various feminine hygiene products here .
In summary, women spend at least $144 per year on products but other estimates are as high as $300! The average woman will have a monthly period for 33 years so the costs over that timeframe can reach $17,000. These numbers are only about period products.
By 2025, the whole industry could reach up to $33.78 billion USD worldwide. More and more women are concerned with what they put into and on their bodies and feminine hygiene products are the most intimate items we use.
So, let’s talk about some options that are less wasteful and much kinder to the environment.
Reusable Menstrual Products: Menstrual Cups and Period Panties
With so many products on the market, it’s hard to know where to start or what to choose. Sounds impossible, right? No! It’s not impossible at all if you know where to look.
So what are the best options when it comes to zero waste period products?
Allow me to introduce you to Period Panties! We’ve been dating for a couple of months now, and we’re getting along grand!
So, what is a period panty? The period panties are designed to be worn without tampons or pads and meant to soak up menstrual blood while still keeping you as dry as possible. Think of a diaper but reusable and without the bulk. Earlier versions of period undies have been around since before World War I, but these were made of all waterproof rubber, which meant leakproof protection but not very breathable or sanitary.
Newer versions of period panties use several layers of fabric to lock in moisture while keeping you dry. And menstrual underwear has even become more mainstream with brands like Thinx, which markets its products to millennials who otherwise probably missed the whole WWI-era galosh underwear.
I first learned about period panties on internet. I saw some interesting articles and I got really curious. I tried finding similar products here in Bulgaria, where I live. But unfortunately period panties are not so common here yet. So I ordered online. Like every beginner I wasn’t sure which brand to choose so I tried different onces. And below is my favorite.
Curious how it works?
Mine are from the company Thinx, which are quite “classy” and simple. At first I was weary about how I would wash it, but it was surprisingly easy and not icky like I had anticipated. After that, I was convinced and ended up buying 3 more so that I wouldn’t have to buy pads ever again. Now I am proud to say that I have a 100% zero waste period! They look like regular underwear and are even a little bit “sexy” (for period panties, anyways).
I was very skeptical before buying these – how can underwear absorb my period and not leak? I am amazed, they are really cute, super comfy, and I can wear them a whole day (I have light flow) without even close to a leak, underwear stays dry, and no smell. I have never been this comfortable during my period.
Thinx has different cuts and styles based on your flow. For example, on my mid-light flow days, I will just wear my “period panties,” and on those days, they’re perfect. There are also thongs that are great for replacing panty liners on your first signs of spotting and your last few days of blood.
For sleeping I wear the high waisted styles, which tend to hold up to 2 tampons worth throughout the night. I don’t like wearing the cup to bed. On extremely heavy bleed days, I can get by with just my “period panties”.
Each of their designs states the tampon equivalent of how much it can hold, so you don’t have to guess which one will give you the coverage you need.
So what about Tampons?
When it comes to period care, there is one thing I hate and never use – tampons. No matter organic, or no, I don’t like it! For me, they are uncomfortable, I always feel a tampon inside, and when I have to remove it….OMG it’s always painful!
According to the National Center for Health Research, a women who primarily uses tampons will go through about 12,000 of them in her lifetime, and with approximately 43 million women currently using tampons in the US (SafeCosmetics.org), that’s an enormous amount of waste going to the landfill.
Now, some women simply prefer tampons to pads, and I totally get that. In the same way that I couldn’t figure out how to use tampons, some women don’t like the idea of sitting in their blood all day. If this sounds like you, then there is also an zero waste solution just for you. Hello Menstrual Cup! Insert it just as you would a tampon and the cup collects the blood. You remove, empty, and clean it between each use, leaving you with an infinite supply of coverage.
Lunette menstrual cup is made of medical grade silicone. Its BPA free, vegan, and contains no latex. It lasts for several years, and pays for itself after only 3 period cycles. Their “mission is to have [an] honest and inspiring conversation about menstruation so that we can motivate period positivity—and change the world one cup at a time.”
What’s great about the cup is: they’re environmentally friendly (you reuse it for many, many moons), you actually get to see how much blood you’re losing a month – and know your body better, you can go for up to 12 hours without changing (depending on your flow) and you lesson your chemical load.
You can shop Lunette in 2 sizes (one for pre-child birth and one for post) on their site here.
How to Use Reusable Menstrual Products During Your Menstrual Cycle
Zero Waste Period Day 1
I don’t know about you but the first day of my cycle isn’t terribly heavy. If anything, I feel more bloated and tired. My period itself is fairly light and so I started out with what I already knew worked: Thinx.(LINK)
They are really comfortable. As Thinx claims you can wear their panties for up to twelve hours and because my period is so light on the first day, I never felt damp or a panicked need to change them throughout the day. Also, they hold in any odor, which is another plus.
At the end of the day, I took them off, hand-washed them with a mild detergent and let them soak while I was in the shower. I rang them out and hung them up to air-dry overnight. I put on a fresh pair and went to bed. Perfect!
Zero Waste Period Day 2
Here starts my real period.
I changed out of my Thinx panty that I wore overnight and reached for the small-sized Lunette menstrual cup which is supposed to hold 3-4 tampons worth and can be left in for up to twelve hours.
The first time using a cup can be a little tricky, but don’t give up! Lunette is my second run around with a cup, and I love her for when I can’t avoid activity on my heavier flow days.
Throughout the day, I didn’t feel the cup but I knew that it wouldn’t last twelve hours with me. After about three hours, I decided to remove and empty the cup. It wasn’t full but I was so pleasantly surprised to notice that there was absolutely no leakage.
Removing the menstrual cup wasn’t terrible but it honestly is not my favorite thing to do. I think it’s important to be aware that yes, your fingers will get bloody.
Zero Waste Period Day 3-4
Over the next few days, I got into a good groove of emptying my Lunette cup about as often as I would have changed a tampon–three to four times a day. There was still no leakage on day 3 which is typically my heaviest day. I decided not to use the menstrual cup on the 4th day and solely use my period panties to see just how absorbent they were.
Zero Waste Period Day 5 (My last day)
The last day of my period is my favorite for obvious reasons. I made it to the end! I’m not bleeding heavily anymore! The bloat is gone! I didn’t feel I needed to use the Lunette on this day so I opted for just using the Thinx undies and they worked like a charm. I could actually wear them for the full twelve hours before putting on another pair after my shower before bed.
I have to say, I think I accomplished my goal of having a zero waste period! I used and reused only what I needed and never had to pick up anything single-use.
Are you currently using reusable menstrual products like Lunette or Thinx? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!