Here’s a sobering thought: you know the pad you used for your very first period? It’s likely still in a landfill somewhere. So, if you’re trying to adopt the 3 Rs: ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, then you might want to consider switching from tampons and pads to period panties.
How do period panties work?
Period panties look like normal underwear but they are designed to soak up menstrual blood and keep the moisture away from your skin.
There’s usually a waterproof outer layer that stops the liquid from leaking out on to your clothes, an absorbent inner layer and a moisture-wicking layer (the layer that touches your skin) that keeps you feeling ‘dry’.
Depending on how heavy your flow is, period panties can be used instead of other menstrual products like tampons or cups, or as a back-up to prevent leaks.
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Why use period panties?
There are two main reasons people choose to use period panties. The first is that they’re more eco friendly: it’s estimated that a woman will use up to 15 000 period products like pads or tampons in her lifetime – and that translates into a lot of waste in landfill. With period panties, there’s less waste created.
The second reason many people choose to use period panties is for the cost-saving benefits: while there’s the initial investment of buying the period panties (you’ll probably need about 5 pairs of panties), after that, you won’t have to spend money on sanitary products like pads or tampons.
How do I choose the right period panties for me?
Period panties are available in a number of styles from G-string to bikinis to briefs and more – and most offer different absorbencies so you’ll choose the one that’s best suited to your flow. Many brands offer handy guides explaining how many tampon’s worth of blood a specific pair of period panties will hold to help you choose.
How do you wash period panties?
Care instructions differ depending on the brand you buy but, generally, when you need to wash your period panties you’ll start by rinsing them in (usually cold) water, then pop them in the washing machine (usually on a gentle cycle that’s not too hot – and without fabric softener) and let them dry out in the sun.
Where can I buy period panties in South Africa?
Quite a few large chain stores in South Africa have started stocking period panties, including Clicks, Cotton On and Mr Price. And there are a number of small independent companies making their own period panties.
Blushproof period panties
At Blushproof you can shop by absorbency (from light to super heavy flow), style (includes thong, hi-waist, bikini, briefs), by fabric (bamboo or quick-drying nylon – both are hypoallergenic) or size (they cater for tweens, teens and adults). They even have postpartum period panties! From R275 for regular-flow bikini panties. You can shop their range of products HERE.
Biddikins period panties
Here’s a brand that’s well known for its award-winning cloth nappies, that has now branched out into making period panties, too! Available in sizes from extra-small to 3x-large, the Biddikins period panties can absorb up to two tampon’s worth of blood and come in bamboo- and nylon-blend versions. From R215 for one pair of period panties.
ModiBodi period panties
While ModiBodi do make period panties, they actually make three separate products to cater for different needs: panties for periods and bladder leaks, panties for if you’re worried about sweating (like during exercise) and panties that are specifically made for containing period or bladder fluids while swimming. And we love the range designed for teens – especially the cute sleep shorts! From R392 for bikini-style panties. You can shop the ModiBodi range of products HERE.
Smartunderwear period panties
If you want to replace your menstrual products with period panties you can try Smartunderwear‘s Flux Undies, which hold up to four tampon’s worth. The added bonus? These panties can also be used for light incontinence if you struggle with leakage when sneezing or coughing.
If you’re using period panties as a back-up to be worn with other menstrual products, go for the Adira panties. From R380 for Flux Undies, and from R155 for Adira period panties (hipster or boxer styles). Shop Smartunderwear HERE.
XO Underwear period panties
The mother-daughter duo behind the Feel Good & Co say that their company is proudly body positive and period positive and that they designed their XO Underwear range of period panties because they want women to feel comfortable, even during their period.
There’s a sleep range, a comfort range and an active range Through their Feel Good Foundation, they donate a pair of underwear for every five pairs bought – or you have the option to donate a pair via their online shop. From R350 for a comfort brief. You can shop the range online HERE.
Confidence period panties
When founder Danielle noticed how few sustainable menstrual products were available on the SA market, she bought period panties from the USA and tested them out. Disappointed in how they performed, she decided to make her own. The result? Confidence period panties. Made with four layers of absorbent materials and special qualities to reduce odor, these period panties look and feel just like regular panties.
Designed to be used on their own or as a back up to other menstrual products, the panties come in size extra small to extra-extra large and in bikini and boyshort styles. From R249 per pair (products are also available from Takealot), they even make postpartum boyshort period panties! You can browse the range by clicking HERE.
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