Here is a Trigger Warning for the squeamish: this post is going to talk about menstruation and sanitary products for managing same. If you can’t deal with that, then maybe this post isn’t for you. When I was telling Eliza about these pants and, rather coyly introducing the subject she sagely shook her head and said, “Mum, no-one should be ashamed of discussing their periods,” and she’s right. Except that it is all a bit yuck and it’s in your pants and these aren’t subjects one raises with an airy flick of the hand over afternoon tea. Or maybe one does. I don’t know.
Several years ago I wrote about the Mooncup and how I was hoping that starting to use it would dispense with any need for tampons or sanitary towels. Well, the practice doesn’t always work out quite as well as theory and some women find that they need to supplement the Mooncup with a sanitary towel. Leakages happen. Leakages often happen with sanitary towels and tampons, let us not forget. In this post I talked about some of the places where I’ve had the most embarrassing accidents. I can add to that a day of sudden and heavy flooding at a relative’s funeral when I was eternally grateful that there was a public loo at hand in the cemetary, where I could rinse this accident out of my purple wool dress.
I’d seen Thinx advertised before on Facebook and immediately dismissed them but recently I’ve been quite happy with the things I’ve become aware of through this sort of advertising so I clicked on the ad and looked in more detail.
Thinx are absorbent pants. Think grown up Pampers Dry Nites, but they look like a piece of lingerie instead of a big nappy. You put them on and bleed into them. Here’s no need for leaky sanitary towels and they absorb up to two tampons’ worth of flow, depending on the design, each time. And because the absorbent part is not limited to an unstable little strip in the middle of your crotch, they don’t leak.
I was sceptical but intrigued so I ordered a “Cycle Set,” of different styles with different levels of absorbency. I tried some of the styles on their own on light days – there’s even a thong design! – but the real test came in the couple of heavy days and nights when I’d usually be emptying my Mooncup every hour or so (this is often a reason for women wanting to stay close to home, to their stash of STs and a loo on some days of the month. The anxiety can be limiting especially when you fear bleeding over everything you sit on.)
I used the hiphugger style along with my Mooncup. I did get up during the night to empty the Mooncup and lay in bed in the morning, a perimenopausal sweaty mess, dreading standing up to find that I’d been generating a pool of blood in my bed. But NOT A DROP leaked. Not one.
I went for a run on a heavy day and that can be quite messy too, but the Sporty style absorbed everything.Thinx might be a little slower at wicking your flow away from your dainty bits than sanitary towels, but they’re not much slower so you’re just damp for a little longer.
The beauty of Thinx is that you reuse them: you rinse them out in cold water, which I do as a machine prewash then pop them in the wash with the rest of your clothes. I wash them in a cool, gentle wash with my running stuff and bras. As they’re so absorbent, they take a while to line dry, and that’s worth bearing in mind when you decide how many pairs to buy but it takes them the same amount of time as perhaps a sports bra. And that’s it.
All of the blood flow has either disappeared down the loo from the Mooncup (or tampon if you can get on with them – I haven’t been able to for many years) or down the drain with your dirty washing water. If you use a Mooncup there are no plastic disposal bags; no tampons clogging up the drains and washing up on beaches and no plastic-laden pads taking hundreds of years to rot in landfill sites.
Thinx have recently started making period pants in grey organic cotton as well as slinky black (there’s even a thong for lightest days ) and I’ve ordered some of those but I imagine that is more of a gory and disturbing sight than the black ones. Apparently I have several years’ worth of eggs for my body to destroy systematically every month, but I really wish these Thinx had been invented forty years ago! I’m not sure whether I’ll be inspired to go rollerskating in tight white denim shorts on days 3 and 4, but Thinx have made that week in the month far less annoying than it was.
Thinx are a little expensive to buy, at around $30 per pair but no more than high end pants and they pay for themselves over time as you’re not buying STs and tampons. I’m really happy that they’re probably* better for the environment too. I know that they’re a US product and that they flout my one-woman economic boycott of the Trump US, but I was persuaded by the OH that perhaps the NYC company that designed them doesn’t think highly of Trump and his gang. They’re made in Sri Lanka, and a proportion from their sales goes to help educate and empower girls in developing countries.
There is much talk currently of period poverty affecting girls’ education in the UK too. Perhaps it’s a pipe dream but wouldn’t it be great if every girl in the country could be issue with a Cycle Set? Or perhaps Thinx pants could be donated to food banks so that women didn’t have to make the choice between their own dignity and feeding their children? Just a thought.
*I’m aware that I don’t have solid figures for the carbon footprint or the use of oil-based fibres and power to make these pants. Maybe they outweigh the burden imposed by conventional sanitary protection products. I don’t know. But it’s something worth considering, I’d say.
As with all of my reviews, this has not been funded by any organisation. Sometimes I try things that I think deserve to be promoted more widely and that’s it.