Thinx period underwear is a great product for menstruators looking to save money, reduce period-related waste, and support a business that empowers women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community.

Periods can really be a drag. The financial burden, the cramps, stains, inconvenience, hormones… the list goes on. In fact, it goes on to include several detrimental effects on our Mother Earth. For a mother who does not actually have any blood at all, she sure takes a heavy toll from periods. For example, she produces the cotton and plastic used in our tampons, which we use once and dispose of in landfills.

The constant purchase and disposal of period products places stress on the Earth, and we can mitigate these effects. This is why it is so important to really think about what products we buy; what companies we support; the life cycles of the products themselves. Where do they come from and where do they end up? I’m not alone in my search for sustainable and ethical products that take the Earth’s well-being into account. I know this because I found Thinx.

Aptly named, Thinx is a brand run by women who think about more than their own financial profits. Unlike most US companies, its sole concern isn’t widening its profit margin no matter the consequences to animals, people, and the Earth. Instead, its products provide comfort and confidence, while mitigating waste and promoting body positivity.

In other words, the people behind this brand think a lot.

The Products

So what the heck does Thinx even sell? Thinx is known for period undies, which come in a variety of forms (hi-waist, cheeky, boy short, hiphugger, sport, etc). I was skeptical about leaking, longevity of the products, potential odor, and comfortability, but after reading the many rave reviews online I decided to give them a try, and I’m so glad I did. 

The online “Know Your Flow” quiz helps you find the best pair or set of undies for your cycle. A side benefit is that it encourages attunement with your body; you can find the right set by paying attention to what your body does every month. Some undies can hold up to four tampons worth, others just ½ worth – I just grab what I need for that day. 

Another option is to buy a reusable tampon applicator, or re.t.a., which is FDA-approved and has the potential to save a lot of plastic in the long run. Thinx also has athletic shorts, sleep shorts, as well as Thinx (BTWN) products for tweens and teens, and Speax products for bladder leaks.

Check out our collection of vegan, zero-waste self-care products in the Emeraldology Shop!

Does Thinx underwear work?

Thinx underwear comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes — my favorite is the boyshorts. They look and feel like normal underwear (sometimes I wear mine even when I don’t have my period). But secretly, they absorb up to four tampons-worth of blood, depending upon the version, with the potential to fully replace tampons and pads. They range from simple colors to bold leopard prints. After use, rinse them out in the sink or tub and then throw them in the washer. I’ve been able to use the same set for many months. So far, I no complaints: no leakage or odor as long as I don’t push my limits. If you use the product as directed, it is well worth the investment.

Since buying my first pair of Thinx in early 2018, I’ve paid closer attention to my cycle so I can fill my underwear drawer with functional and ethically sourced drawers (no apology for the pun!). I even bought an extra pair of boyshorts so I can sleep in them two nights in a row without having to wash one. 

Adjustment… Period?

It was pretty easy getting used to not spending hundreds of dollars a year on tampons, believe it or not. Though even when changing habits is pretty clearly beneficial in multiple ways, a habit is a habit, and it takes a minute to adjust. It wasn’t exactly intuitive to me to let myself bleed right into my underwear, but it feels just like wearing a pad.

Sometimes I pair a tampon with a pair of the underwear in case of tampon leaks or to get through the entire day. Some of my friends use menstrual cups and pair those with Thinx underwear, and others stick to what they know. 

I am happy with my decision to branch out and try something new. My next purchase will likely be a r.e.ta. so that I can buy tampons without applicators. 

One thing at a time.

Doing the Math

I sat down and contemplated how many tampons I would be throwing away if I were to use them my entire life, let’s say from age 13 to 53 (a conservative estimate). That’s 40 years, which is 480 months.  Assuming 3 tampons per day and a five-day cycle, that’s a total of 7,200 tampons for one person

According to the Thinx, “over 12 billion pads and tampons are thrown out every year, and the average person with a period uses 11,000 pads, tampons, and panty liners in their lifetime.” All this to say that women spend a great deal of money on period products in their lifetime and contribute to global warming in the process.

Empowered by Periods

What I really like about Thinx is that the brand empowers women and offers better options, while never shaming us for what our bodies do. In fact, it does quite the opposite through its inclusivity, which has attracted all sorts of attention. This brand doesn’t just support women — it actively supports black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community and the LGBTQ+ community. Thinx also partners with companies to increase access to basic period products for people around the world. I encourage you to check out their website to learn more about these efforts.

It’s also worthwhile to sign up for the Thinx newsletter. The articles range from “6 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Period Waste” and “Taking an Eco-Friendly Approach to Tampons,” to issues about post-partum health, period sex, and anxiety in relation to periods. I love the range of topics it covers, as well as the fearless approach to social justice and political advocacy — don’t even get me started about the lack of laws requiring tampon brands to label what is in their products (which then go inside our bodies). 

Check out Thinx blog, the Periodical (bonus points for the pun!) for some great period content.

More reasons to love Thinx

  • Woman CEO
  • Materials sourced from women-owned businesses
  • Organic options
  • Political activism
  • Punny
  • Body positivity!
  • The art is amazing.  (Even better than the puns!)

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Feature image from Thinx.