I spoke with over 30 women about the pros and cons of reusable menstrual products and which brands - here are the results of my research. For the sake of my small study, I only spoke to women with female bodies. We spoke about what they love and don't love about the brands. I am aware that some people, e.g., transmen or non-binary people, may still have periods without being woman-identified.
It's been said that menstrual products produce 300 pounds of waste for an average lifetime, that's a lot of trash. I had switched to reusable menstrual products a few years ago but it's still a bit taboo, so I wanted to write a little blogpost sharing women's real and candid experiences.
...alright, so let's get to it. I'll be highlighting the 3 main forms of period products:
The Diva Cup is probably the most famous brands, in fact, a lot of people refer to menstrual cups as Diva Cups, similar to the Kleenex / Facial Tissue relationship.
I have personally tried the Diva Cup 1 but found it to feel a little too wide for me- I tried the product prior to their release of the 0 size. They have a Model 0, 1, and 2 and they are of increasing size. If you've never tried a Diva Cup before, I suggest you start at 0 and see if that's sufficient. The 2 is for people who have wider vaginas and given birth to a child before.
They describe the product as: "an eco-friendly, cost-effective, durable and chemical-free vaginal cup that will save you both money and time. By switching to the DivaCup, you will no longer produce 300 pounds of waste, which is about how much an average person creates in a lifetime using disposable feminine hygiene products. This also means no more spending tons of money on pads and panty liners, since these menstrual cups last up to a year.
I am a fan of the DivaCup brand because they're a Certified B Corp, meaning that the company meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance.
Buy the Diva Cup 0 here on Amazon.
Diva cup: "When I first got it, oh gosh... it was a mess. I was leaking and everything, I didn't understand it and took a break from trying. I finally consulted a friend who explained to me exactly how to fold it and stick it up higher. I have no smell but it is a bit stained even though I boil it to clean. I noticed that when I'm using a cup, my cramps aren't as bad!"
"I love my Diva cup, especially since I travel a lot and am not always within reach of a nice public restroom to change pads. If you have a heavy flow, you could supplement with a panty liner to catch leaks. I boil to clean it, but I also soak in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to get rid of the smell and prevent staining."
Other brands and experiences:
"I preferred this on over the Diva Cup 1, it's much softer and the stem is easier to remove."
"I loved my Lunette but the tip of mine snapped after about 2-3 years of use, so sad. I think I was tugging it too hard and not releasing the suction well. My other friends love their Lunettes though!"
Organicup: "I love the mini size! It's a lot easier than the Diva cup to bend and fold; it's also a lot more comfortable to wear."
And now... one of the lesser ideal experiences using menstrual cups... getting stuck
"It actually got stuck, I think the suction or something was unfamiliar to me. It got stuck sideways... I actually had to go to the ER to get help to have it removed. I really liked the idea of it but it just didn't work out for me"
Brand options: Hannahpads, Luna pads, Glad Rags, Party in my Pants
"I have used multiple brands and they're easy to clean, comfortable, and don't make those crinkly plastic noises. I like that you don't have to change them as often as disposable pads."
"I'm concerned about what's touching my body and I prefer knowing that I have organic cotton as opposed to whatever plastic that disposable pads are made of".
"I've been so happy with my reusable pads, I have noticed a tiny bit of staining on the white colored ones but otherwise it's not bad at all. I wear them into the shower to wash them before I wash them later on in the laundry with my regular clothes."
"I was worried that my clothes might strain in the laundry when washing my reusable pads but it hasn't happened, it's amazing."
This is probably the most popular option from all the women I talked to in my research. This tops the list for being easy to use while also being more approachable than the menstrual cup option.
"I love my Thinx, I wear them instead of wearing pads or tampons now. My flow is pretty light so this is good enough for me."
"Love it. You have to get your own pairs, they're expensive but it's worth it! They also support some charity efforts in other underdeveloped countries so I like that buying the underwear supports women internationally."
"I heard some weird shady things about the founder of the company being quite controlling, but I think the management changed. I feel better about them now but I'm not sure if it's owned by women anymore, would maybe buy some other brand in the future."
"It feels a little spandex and I highly recommend you buy a few sizes, like one for heavier flow and one for lighter days etc. You can NOT survive with only a few pairs, I feel like you need 4 or 5 to really complete your whole cycle because I don't like to wear the same one over again because I need it to dry out a bit before I put it in the laundry after hand washing."
There were a few other smaller and lesser known brand as well that were popular:
Modibodi : "Huge, huge fan!" "Less problematic than Thinx" "Haven't tried any other brands but got this because my friends recommended it and I love it!"
No name brands on Amazon or eBay: "I honestly just bought mine off a no name brand online through Amazon and another time off of some Chinese market in eBay, it was like 1/4 of the price of Thinx so I'm pretty happy with it, haha."
[to be continued]