When it comes to period protection, there is always room for improvement – and it now appears that more and more women are swapping traditional tampons and sanitary napkins for more environmentally friendly options.
It has taken 70 years since the invention of the disposable tampon for viable alternatives to find popularity in the mainstream, but there are now several options on the market for women who don’t want to spend their fortunes on new products every time. months, which will end up just going to waste.
Surprisingly, however, while some of the alternatives are brand new technology, some have been around for ages.
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Lady business: more and more women are looking for alternatives to tampons and sanitary napkins
In search of something better: Some new favorites are as old as the disposable tampons themselves, while others are much newer
For the “new,” there’s Thinx, a line of reusable “rule-proof” underwear that launched two years ago and is now splashed in New York City subway ads.
Thinx CEO and founder Miki Agrawal said the company has sold around 500,000 pairs of vintage panties at a price of $ 24 to $ 38 each. They consist of four ultra-thin absorbent layers and are considered to be completely antimicrobial, moisture wicking and leak resistant.
This means that while they don’t need to be worn with a tampon or pad – and can hold anywhere from half to two swabs of blood, depending on the style – wearers don’t feel damp or messy. All day long.
“If you ask a woman in your life, ‘Have you ever had a leak, a stain, an accident during your period? “Each woman will say:” obviously. “And so that’s an obvious idea,” Agrawal said.
And they’re not grandma’s panties, either: Thinx is available in hiphugger, sport, high waisted, cheeky, boyshort, and even thong styles, and can be tossed in the wash with the rest of your underwear after you get it. ‘they were worn.
Underwear: Thinx underwear can be worn in place of a towel or tampon and is available in several different styles
Popular: the company was launched two years ago and is gaining more and more buzz
Comfortable: Technology absorbs menstrual blood while keeping a woman’s body clean and free of moisture
In addition to new innovations, however, some women are switching to older, more proven products over disposable tampons and pads.
Cloth napkins, which can be washed and reapplied, are still in use, and bell-shaped menstrual cups worn inside the vagina are making a big comeback.
First sold by a company called Leona Chalmers in 1937, these cups can be worn for four to 12 hours and collect menstrual blood. They can then be cleaned in a sink before being worn again.
They usually cost between $ 35 and $ 40 and are now sold by popular brands like Diva Cup. Fans of menstrual cups say they’re easier, cheaper (one cup can last up to ten years), and better at preventing leaks.
Morgan Battista of Douglassville, Pa., Switched to reusable cups in March after hearing about them online. The 29-year-old said she wanted a more natural product that created less waste.
“I will definitely never go back to tampons,” she said. “It changes the game. “
Moving forward: Diva Cup has become a popular menstrual cup brand and claims to have seen double-digit growth in the past three years
Don’t be disgusted: the cup is inserted inside the vagina and collects the blood, which can then be emptied
While these products have yet to significantly reduce sales of over $ 3 billion in disposable pads and tampons in the United States last year, they have changed the conversation about menstruation.
“When I started talking about these issues about ten years ago, my students had never heard of alternative products. They had never even considered a cloth swab or a sponge, and the underwear weren’t even on the market, ”said Chris Bobel, associate professor of feminist studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
Diva International Inc., which makes silicone menstrual cups, sold about 350,000 reusable cups in the United States last year, and millions more of brand names purchased around the world, said Daniela Masaro, carrier. word of the Diva Cup. The company was launched in 2002 and has seen double-digit growth over the past three years, Masaro said.
Other companies would not disclose actual figures in dollars or units.
Driven by the social media buzz, “these products are increasingly available in online retail as well as through third-party retailers,” said Svetlana Uduslivaia of Euromonitor International, a London-based global research firm. It also points to a recent increase in sales in the United States among reusable products.
New ideas: Chris Bobel, associate professor of feminist studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, said attitudes have shifted towards alternative products in recent years.
“The mindset is maybe a little more open to experimenting with different products and not just what mom uses. So that’s where the opportunities really lie for manufacturers of alternative products to really build that relationship, ”she said. “A lot of them are quite small, so capital investment in TV commercials or some sort of traditional media advertisement is not always an option.”
However, some women are skeptical about the cleaning and maintenance required. Gabi Chepurny, 25, of Los Angeles, said she was initially hesitant to try the menstrual cup.
“People think it’s great, super weird,” she said.
Will traditional disposables sellers step in? So far no, including the makers of Tampax, Procter & Gamble and the company that sells Kotex, Kimberly-Clarke. It could change.
“We are always listening to women to better understand what they would like more from their skincare products,” said Laura Dressman, spokesperson for P&G.