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We’re just going to come right out and say it: There has never been a better time to have a period. Sure, it may not be everyone’s favorite time of the month, but at least we now have several different menstrual product options, including several companies that are relatively new. And given that we’re experiencing a tampon shortage at the moment, it might be a bad time to diversify your medicine cabinet with a few different menstruation standbys.
If like so many of us your first exposure to periods came in an outdated copy of Judy Blume’s 1970 classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, perhaps you were dreading having to use the pads described in the book, complete with a belt and clips. Thankfully, those fell out of use soon after the book was published in favor of pads with adhesive backs that stuck right onto your underwear.
Nowadays, pads come with moisture-wicking technology to make you feel less like you’re wearing a diaper and wings to keep them in place. On top of that, there are tampons, reusable pads, menstrual cups, menstrual discs and free bleeding (if that’s your thing).
And we’re no longer limited to the brands and products we can find in our local grocery stores and pharmacies: There are several companies that sell menstrual products directly to consumers, either on a one-off basis or through a subscription service (which is especially handy when you’re dealing with something you use for a week each month, every month).
There are products for every size, shape and flow, including those that are environmentally friendly, made of organic cotton or designed to be used during period sex. Here are a few of the many options we have in 2022.
A version of this story was published June 2018.
Rael Organic Cotton Pads
These hypoallergenic pads have wings and a 100 percent organic cotton cover, making them safer for sensitive skin and pretty comfortable.
Flex Menstrual Disc
Want all the perks of a menstrual cup plus the bonus of mess-free period sex? If so, the disc may be a good option for you.
Thinx High-Waist Period Underwear
If you’re familiar with one brand of period underwear, it’s likely Thinx, which now comes in four varieties: high-waist, hip-hugger, sport and cotton briefs.
Not everyone is ready for the switch over to non-applicator tampons, so this offering from Lola, with BPA-free plastic applicators and 100 percent organic cotton tampons, is a good option. Better yet, Lola lets you customize your box of tampons, choosing the number of light, regular and super products.
GladRags Cloth Day Pad
Are you a fan of wearing pads, but not their environmental impact? GladRags may be a good choice for you, offering washable, reusable pads in a variety of sizes, styles and patterns.
These pads contain “effective particles with Nannogenic Technology to help reduce menstrual cramp” according to their website. While we’re skeptical about that claim, these are also hypoallergenic and made from organic cotton, so they’re not a bad option even if they don’t get rid of cramps.
Regular pads, $12 (for 20 pads) at Nannocare
Lunette Menstrual Cup
The menstrual cup gurus over at Lunette have teamed up with the designer Monki to create this limited-edition menstrual cup. But it does more than just look nice. Lunette is donating 5,000 menstrual cups to The Cup Foundation as well one cup to a menstruator in need for every cup sold through Lunette’s online store.
TomBoyX First Line Leakproof 4.5″ Trunks
Period underwear and period products don’t have a gender (much like how menstruation doesn’t have a specific gender) — so if you want a slightly less femme looking product, there’s options to make sure your period underwear are just as comfortable (and cute) as your everyday wear.
Aunt Flow Pad
Aunt Flow started out selling organic pads and tampons to businesses in bulk. They still offer those quantities, but also some smaller options for individuals looking to purchase their products.
Diva Inc. — which makes the DivaCup — was cofounded by a kick-ass mother-daughter duo. The product is offered in two sizes, and a specially formulated cleanser is also available for purchase.
Dame Reusable Tampon Applicator
If you prefer using tampons with applicators but don’t want the environmental impact that comes along with the disposable kind, Dame now offers a reusable version made of medical-grade materials.
The newest addition to the period product subscription service, Athena Club provides a month’s supply of high-quality tampons for less than $8 (and yes, that includes shipping).
They also have a referral program that gives customers the option to donate Athena Club tampons to Support the Girls or Period.org.
Cora Applicator-Free Tampons
Cora offers organic cotton tampons (both with and without applicators) and chemical-free pads. These applicator-free tampons are super-compact, allowing you to always have them on hand in your bag. Plus, there’s the added bonus that for every month’s supply of period products you purchase, Cora will donate a month’s supply of pads and health education to menstruators in need.
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