Ladies, you are probably going to spend over 6 years of your life on your period, so healthy period options are critical. Yeah, that’s a lot of periods when you put it like that but it’s true. We ladies take it in stride because it’s who we are. If you’re a healthy woman with a period that averages 5 days over the course of 35 years, you will have 455 periods. That’s over 2,275 days of periods or over 6 years. The average woman will use well over 12,000 tampons, pads and liners in her lifetime.
That’s if you start your period at age 15 and cycle until you are 50 with a generally average flow. Some of us will use many more! But how often do we talk about the safety of these products and choosing the best ones? Some of the Wellness Way ladies put healthy, organic period product options to the test! We want to share what we liked about healthy period options like organic tampons, period cups and reusable period products but, first, let’s talk about the why.
Why Are We So Worried About Healthy Period Options?
What’s the big deal about making sure we have good period products? Our vaginas are super absorbent. In addition to being a pretty personal space, the vagina can absorb chemicals at a rate faster than absorbed through skin. The things that go in through the vagina aren’t metabolized like the things we eat. That means they don’t get filtered and instead go right into the blood stream. (1) So, the stuff we put in our vaginas, like condoms, and tampons need to be chosen with care.
Roughly 70% of women use tampons making them the most used period product. Many women also use pads or liners which also get all up in your personal business. None of these products have to list the chemicals that can be inside. What kind of chemicals you ask?!
Many are bleached with chlorine which, gets left in the product. Fragrance is a common ingredient that can actually be hiding all sorts of nasty chemicals, that can be anything from irritating to harmful. Dioxins that have been found in period products are hormone disruptors that have been linked to cancer. Your menstrual arsenal can also be heavily contaminated with pesticides, like glyphosate. Cotton isn’t used for food so it can be more heavily sprayed with pesticides. We already talked about how the vagina is pretty absorbent and doesn’t metabolize things like when we eat food. Do we need to go on? Let’s get to the healthy period product options.
We Tested Healthier Period Product Options!
We got a group of ladies together to try a few safer options. This was our experience, and not a totally perfect study of products. You learn a lot about your coworkers when you test menstrual products together. Some products may not have scored well just because they weren’t someone’s cup of tea. I mean some people like pads and some people don’t. Some of us are coordinated enough to insert a tampon without an applicator and some of us are not. You know who you are, so take these ratings with a grain of salt. We have some commentary too to help you figure it all out.
It took us a little longer than we planned to compile all the info because periods can be hard to schedule around. We were also trying lots of products and wanted to give them a fair shake. Not all of us tried the same period cups because we have different vaginas, so different cups fit better. For the menstrual cup scores, we did an overall score.
The Cora tampons were a favorite among many of the ladies, and 100% certified organic. You can get a subscription to have these delivered right to your door. It helped that this tampon has a great applicator. You can also get it without an applicator if you prefer. It also came in cute packaging and there were no complaints about leaks. They would credit the leaks to their fearless fit technology that lets you brave the downward dog or white denim, depending on your style.
What testers said:
- Love Cora! These hold my periods the best! I like the tampon and the applicator is easy to use. These are similar to Kotex tampons without the extra chemicals.
- I really like this product! The only organic cotton tampons I’ve ever liked were Honest Company’s tampons. I like these even better!
Natracare has been in the healthier tampon biz since 1989. They have been holding down the block longer than other organic tampon companies. They are 100% organic certified and don’t come with the extra chemicals. We tried these in super absorbency with no applicator and regular absorbency that had an applicator.
What testers said:
- I like the no applicator! But if you’re uncomfortable touching your “vejay” then this is not for you!
- The best thing I got out of this product was that I realized how pointless applicators actually are. These worked well.
- I noticed more leakage out of this one then the rest. One thing that was defiantly a negative with both none dispenser tampons was if you left it in your pocket and got wet, the tampon was done for.
This organic brand was recommended by many people throughout The Wellness Way, so we had to include them. Their packaging is cute, and you can get these on subscription too along with a wide variety of crunchy products. These got pretty solid reviews from everyone.
What testers said:
- Packaging is great but I hate the applicator. And it leaks.
- Awesome, no issues with anything. Felt great, worked as well as a toxic tampon.
- Good tampon! I had no problems with this, and the packaging was super cute!
These cute little tampons are made in New Zealand and are 100% certified organic. They are produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides keeping the environment happy. Because BON is produced with premium organic cotton, they say their customers have told them they have less period pain and less irritation. No health risks and a happy vagina.
What testers said:
- As long as your flow is heavy enough it works great. If you were on a lighter day, I found it extremely difficult to get the tampon in without an applicator.
- Loved the packaging and could not wait to try these out. Out of the two without applicators, I enjoyed this one the best. It is a little weird to try to figure out what is the best way to put it in but after doing it a couple of times it was easy. I would use these again.
According to their website,
Veeda tampons are 100% natural cotton with no dyes, fragrance, chlorine, rayon, dioxides, or pesticides. They are not certified organic and did not get the best reviews from our testers. There were applicator issues and problems with leakage. These are still a good option but there are better ones available.
What testers said:
- I did not care for the applicator. Overall it worked as a good tampon, but I did not like them as much as the other ones.
- This was better than the tampons that didn’t have an applicator but (I hesitate to write this) I feel like they still didn’t go in right. It just felt uncomfortable at time. Maybe I just have to be smarter than the tampon? #neverhadissueswithkotex
Reusable Pads and Underwear
These got some skeptical looks from a few of the ladies when they arrived… A reusable pad? Is this really going to stay put with just a snap? Despite the initial skepticism, they got great reviews for comfort and function. We tried their Performa line. Lunapads website says they feature a patented, high-performance moisture management top layer that moves fluid away from your body. You get all the natural comfort and softness of cotton with the fast-drying performance of a technical fabric. Their comfort got great reviews!
- Was a good alternative to large pads at night. I was more impressed than I thought. I wore the super at night and did not leak. Easy to wash, I just threw it in the washer and dryer.
- Love, love, love! I tried the maxi size and I want one in every size. Because I have a heavy flow I wear a pad at night, but this was so much more comfortable.
- I liked my pad! It was nice for sleeping. My only complaint is that I feel weird about it sitting in my hamper until I do laundry. Let’s be real, I don’t have time to wash it in the A.M. before work.
These are from the same company that makes the Lunapads. Reusable period products are not only good for your body, they are good for the environment. They reduce so much waste. Over 12,000 tampons and pads for one woman is a lot of waste product! These were liked but not as comfortable as the Lunapads. They spoiled us with the pads.
- I liked the underwear material but hated the liner. When washing the liner, I lost it because it was not attached.
- The liner didn’t stay in well with only 2 straps to hold it down. And that whole sitting in the laundry thing again. These were really nice for sleeping though.
- I really like these and will keep using them. They were comfortable and were great to wear with a tampon or on lighter days. I didn’t use the extra liner for coverage. I was worried it would get away from me.
These had some raised eyebrows when they arrived. The thicker lining goes up further in the back. I think that’s what they mean by a longer, secured gusset. It was my fault because I asked for the super/overnight absorbency so that everyone would be covered. Some of us have heavier flows than others! If we are testing underwear nobody should be left with leakage. And nobody was. They do offer light/moderate absorbency options that don’t have a padding in the rear.
- Out of all the underwear I enjoyed this one the most. Yes, the underwear liner goes up the back of your butt more than the others but overall comfort, leakage and washing it was the BEST! I did wear these alone and as a liner with a tampon in. Both worked wonderfully with no leakage.
- I have to confess I started with these were on my light days, as I had to ease into it to trust they would work! For my lighter days I have loved them. It affords me the same comfort as not having a pad in my underwear, and yet takes care of any discharge from my period. This is something I will continue to use.
There are lots of different menstrual cups, also known as period cups. They were whole-heartedly recommended as a game-changer by lots of ladies throughout The Wellness Way, so even those of us who were a little squeamish were willing to give it a try. They weren’t wrong. The majority of us who tried them were excited about how much more convenient these were for periods. It’s like you don’t even have one.
Now, there is a learning curve if you don’t know or haven’t already read Dawn’s Awkward Adventures with the Cup. Some of us took a few months to get the hang of it. And because all vaginas are different for a few of us it took a couple tries with different cups. The cup quiz was very helpful at narrowing that down for a few of us. Some of us were too scared to try it so the cup is still hidden under their desk and one of us just didn’t find a cup that worked yet.
One study found 90% of women who tried the cup would use it again and recommend it to a friend but that leaves about 10% that it doesn’t work for. We tried several different cups and you can learn more about what we thought about the cup in our article, Girl Talk: The Cup is What’s Up.
Looking for a good cup option? Here are the cups we tried:
OrganiCup is a certified vegan and certified hypoallergenic option with no dyes, chemicals, or other junk you don’t want in your lady business. It comes in minimal packaging with recycled cardboard that has all the info you need printed right on the box.
Saalt Cup is an option that was obviously designed by ladies for ladies. Their packaging is amazing, and they donate 2% of their revenue for period care and education! We also learned from them that having two cup sizes is nice because your period needs change day-to-day. They know ladies and cups.
Lunette Period Cup is a high-grade silicone cup made in Finland with no BPA or chemicals. Their website is full of useful information for first-time and seasoned cup users! We can all learn more about our bodies, periods and cups and they want to help.
Lena Cup was voted by Cosmopolitan readers to be the #1 best cup for beginners and is the best-selling cup on Amazon. It’s also very affordable which is a big plus when trying new cups.
XO Flo Cup has a larger capacity than the other cups we tried. It also comes in a mini with the same unique shape but smaller. It has a unique U-shape in comparison to the bell shape of most cups.
MeLuna Cup has the most options for sizes, handle options, and firmness. The possibilities really are awesome since we all have different needs.
What Did We Learn Testing Healthy Period Options?
We learned that for how much time we spend on our periods, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about them or healthy period options. There are a lot of healthy period options out there! We also learned there is a lot we need to learn about ourselves! Most of us walked away loving the cup and having other new options to throw into our period care arsenal. Because most of us use more than one product.
Maybe if we talked about it more, the better options would grow. Not everyone knows how absorbent their vagina is. We also learned that it’s worth it to try new things. Many of us were skeptical at first but we all learned things that are making our periods better. You have to find out what works best for you. If I’m going to spend 6 years of my life on my period, I want the best period-care out there and so should you.
Written by Dawn Miller