Ever since we ordered THINX underwear here at the HuffPost office, I've been kind of dreading getting my period. Well, more than usual.
I have two concerns. One, that I'm soon going to become one of those people with an embarrassing period story. "...And then I stood up and there was a huge puddle of blood on the bus seat!"
Second, that this is going to be an awful period experience, due to the simple fact I can count the number of times I've used pads on one hand. I hate them. The nappy-like feel to them. The mess. The leaking. Nope. Tampons have always been the way for me. And a Diva Cup, more recently.
But because I'm a menstrual cup-wearing, anti-waste, plant-eating millennial, I thought it a great idea to put up my hand when the topic of THINX re-usable period panties (and whether they work) came up in the office.
Plus, if I test them and write about my experience, then at least you'll know what they're like.
We ordered three black pairs of THINX: the hiphuggers for heavy days ("holds up to two tampons' worth"), the sport for medium days ("holds up to one-and-a-half tampons' worth"), and the cheeky for light days ("holds up to one tampons' worth"). HuffPost Australia purchased the pants for this trial, they were not a 'freebie', so this is in no way sponsored.
On their website, THINX say the period panties can replace pads and liners, and be used as a backup or replacement to tampons or cup -- depending on your flow.
Because mine is low to medium, and because I want to truly put them to the test for you, I decided to (try to) rely solely on THINX for the duration of my five-day period.
This better be worth it.
My period welcomed me as it always does: by surprise (thanks, PCOS) and with a tidal wave of pain. Cue me rolled up in a ball on my bed, crawling to the pain relief and trying to get ready for work in between bouts of uterine stabbing and slicing.
The first pair of THINX I'm wearing is the black 'sport', as the first day for me is relatively light. They're comfy, definitely, and not daggy. They're thinner than I expected (yes, I visualised underwear with a built-in nappy). I also feel more secure than I thought I would.
I'm not sure if it's the Panadeine Extra kicking in, but I feel light and breezy. I put on my black mom jeans (I'm not taking any chances should leakage occur) and head to work.
Throughout the day, transcribing and writing away, I completely forgot I was wearing period underwear. It doesn't feel messy, leaky, wet, uncomfortable or any other adjective we hate using to describe periods. It's unnoticeable. Although, I haven't sneezed or coughed yet today. Will report back if and when that happens.
The whole day was surprisingly okay. At no point did I feel like the underpants weren't doing their job, nor did I feel like I was one minute away from a bloody disaster. Coming out of the shower and racing to do my nightly routine in the bathroom before putting on another pair, however, was not relaxing.
Also, I sneezed. It was fine.
I woke up and immediately checked the bed sheets. Clear.
Today I'm wearing the 'hiphuggers' as I felt I needed more support on a heavy flow day. The hiphuggers are a little more grandma-esque, but they still don't feel daggy, nor are they that visible through skinny jeans.
One thing I have noticed, though, is that you can't really get a feel for what's happening. Like, you can't measure what your period is like, compared to when you use a cup, tampon or pad -- whether it's normal, heavier or lighter than usual, and so on. But for the ladies out there who'd prefer not to know, this would be an advantage.
I'm still wearing black jeans because the fear of leaking blood in public still consumes me somewhat.
Despite being the heaviest flow day of my cycle, the THINX are doing their job. Having felt completely sceptical initially, I'm surprised. Pleasantly surprised.
Another note that's worth mentioning is pain, or lack thereof. Typically, using tampons or cups, the constant insertion and removal can contribute to the cramps and pains women typically feel. Apart from the first day, my cramps have been significantly less intense while using THINX. Perhaps it's coincidence, but it's important to note.
Regarding washing and drying the undies, the 'sport' pair I wore yesterday have been washed and hung up, and are now dry, about 24 hours later. The true test will be how quickly the hiphuggers dry.
I'm almost entirely used to wearing these now. Granted, I'm still wearing black jeans and have backup underwear packed in my bag just in casies, but it's been, dare I say, a positive experience so far.
I'm wearing the 'cheeky' today as the hiphugger and sport (which I've been alternating with the cheeky for nights) are drying on the line. They cheeky style is the closest to my everyday undies, but way comfier.
Holding up to only one tampons' worth, I feel like I've pushed the cheeky pair to their absolute limit and it feels damp, which I'm not loving. The hiphugger or sport would have been a better choice, were they dry.
I get home from work, have a shower and go to get the pair of hiphuggers that I washed last night. But they're still damp. Really damp. As are the sport pair. This is a pretty big drawback if you don't want (or can't afford) to buy many pairs to last you your whole period. At US$24-39 each, buying five or so pairs will definitely set you back.
It's for this reason that makes me think that, for most people, THINX would be a good complementary measure. Or that you'd alternate between regular tampons or pads or cups, or use them at night.
I return to my Diva Cup and feel a peculiar sense of disappointment. Have I really become a period panties kind of person?
With all the undies on the line still wet, I have no choice but to go about my business without them.
Despite the drying issue -- and I really didn't think I would be even close to confessing this -- I'm confident in saying I would use THINX period panties again, but not every day. The best bet would be alternating the days on which I wear them and wearing them at night.
So, if you're a pad-wearing lady, or wear a cup or tampons but want to 'break up' the days, these undies are worthwhile -- provided you have a low to medium flow.
I'm more surprised than anyone when I say, yes, they do work. Period.
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