Have you ever thought underwear could start a revolution?

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Period underwear is refashioning how women manage their menstrual cycles, offering comfort, eco-friendliness, and cost-effectiveness. But with many options, how do you find the one that fits you just right?

Zero shame here, we’re unveiling the top 8 options for period panties in 2023. From very light flow to overnight protection, we’ve got you covered.

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What exactly is period underwear?

Period underwear, also known as menstrual underwear, is a product that has been reinvigorating the world of feminine hygiene!

The concept has been around since 1967, when a patent for a “protective petticoat” was issued to a woman named Gladys Ruppel Williams. However, in recent years, female entrepreneurs behind companies like Dear Kate and Thinx have made it more mainstream. 

These underwear are designed to absorb menstrual blood and can reduce or eliminate the need for traditional products like pads, tampons, or menstrual cups.

Multiple layers of absorbent, moisture-wicking, and leakproof fabric make up these unique undies, offering a secure and comfortable way to manage your period. They can be worn alone on light to medium days or as a backup on heavy flow days.

Period underwear is reusable and can be put in the machine wash, making it a more sustainable and cost-effective solution for period management. They come in various styles, sizes, and absorbency levels to cater to different body types and menstrual needs.

It’s not just underwear, it’s a game-changer!

A glance at the Top 8 Best Period Underwear in 2023:

  1. Best for High Absorbency: Thinx | Hiphugger Period Underwear
  2. Best for Teens: aerie | Aerie Real. Period.® Boybrief Underwear
  3. Best for Sustainability: Modibodi | Classic Bikini Period Protection Underwear
  4. Best for Active Lifestyle: Knix | Super Leakproof Boyshort Period Underwear
  5. Best Budget Option: LOLA | Washable Period Underwear
  6. Best for Night Use: Thinx | Sleep Shorts
  7. Best for Minimal Coverage: saalt | Seamless Thong Period Underwear
  8. Best High-Waisted: Goat Union | Overnight Period Underwear

Best for High Absorbency

Thinx | Hiphugger Period Underwear

Best for High Absorbency

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Why We Love It

Hiphugger by Thinx is a classic, flattering design that looks like regular underwear! It is a cozy, full-coverage fit accented with a pretty lace waistband.

Thinx period underwear is made with innovative technology to control odors, prevent leaks, and wick moisture away from the skin. This particular style comes in three gorgeous colors and is made to manage your heaviest menstrual days, absorbing up to the equivalent of 5 tampons.

  • Made out of 89% Nylon, 11% Elastane

Best for Teens

Aerie Real. Period.® Boybrief Underwear

Best for Teens

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Why We Love It

Made with the young woman in mind, the Aerie Real. Period.® Boybrief Underwear is soft and stretchy, combining cotton fabric with a leakproof finish.

It can hold up to 2 tampons of fluid, perfect for lighter flow days. Plus, there are multiple styles and patterns to choose from!

They are created for all body types, look like normal underwear, and complement outfits with their anti-bacterial and odor-reducing layers.

  • Made out of 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane

Best for Sustainability

Modibodi | Classic Bikini Period Protection Underwear

Best for Sustainability

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Why We Love It

This classic bikini style by Modibodi is primarily constructed from breathable bamboo viscose and looks like everyday underwear.

These period panties are comfy and discreet (no bulky diaper feeling here!) with a high-cut leg. They are made to last 100 washes, hold the equivalent of 2 tampons, are Climate Pledge Friendly, and have the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification.

  • Outer: 95% Bamboo Viscose, 5% Spandex; Gusset Top Layer: 100% Merino Wool; Gusset Mid Layer: 80% Polyester, 20% Polyamide; Gusset Bottom Layer: 100% Polyester

Best for Active Lifestyle

Knix | Super Leakproof Boyshort Period Underwear

Best for Active Lifestyle

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Why We Love It

Offering protection during physical activities, the Knix Super Leakproof Boyshort is perfect for women who don’t want period days to interfere with their active lifestyle.

These comfortable period underwear feature leakproof technology and superior absorbency, ensuring you can focus on your workout without worrying about extra moisture or discomfort. They can absorb up to 8 tampons of period blood so that you can get on with your day!

  • Main Body: 70% Nylon, 30% Spandex; Gusset Top Layer: (Moisture Wicking + Anti-Odor) 84% Modal, 8% seaweed, 8% spandex; Gusset 2nd Layer: (Absorbent Fabric) 100% Polyester; Gusset 3rd Layer: Fresh Fix Technology; Gusset 4th Layer: (Waterproof Membrane) Polyurethane Film

Best Budget Option

LOLA | Washable Period Underwear

Best Budget Option

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Why We Love It

If you'd like to try and wear period underwear, our choice for the most affordable price point goes to LOLA. They are made to keep you odor-free, dry, and comfortable!

You can sport these while expecting your period to arrive, alone during the menstrual flow, or as an extra layer of backup protection along with your traditional feminine hygiene products! LOLA period panties can hold up to 3 regular tampons of liquid, ideal for average flow days. If you’re in between sizes, it’s recommended to size up.

  • Body: 90% cotton, 10% lycra, Gusset: 100% polyester, Core: 87% polyester, 13% polyamide, Leakproof Barrier: 100% polyester with TPU layer

Best for Night Use

Thinx | Sleep Shorts

Best for Night Use

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Why We Love It

Wondering how to get nights of worry-free snoozing during your menstrual flow? Thinx Sleep Shorts could be the answer.

Designed with a built-in super-absorbent pad, these boxer-inspired period pajama sleep shorts provide maximum coverage for nighttime use. They are a little pricey, but many reviews claim that it’s well worth the investment. Thinx Sleep Shorts are made to hold up to 5 tampons worth of blood, making these bottoms perfect for a peaceful rest!

  • Made out of 96% Modal, 4% Elastane

Best for Minimal Coverage

saalt | Seamless Thong Period Underwear

Best for Minimal Coverage

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Why We Love It

Silky-smooth soft fabric, reliable protection, and no panty lines. Need we say more? saalt period underwear is an ideal choice for light-flow days, made with a patent-pending gusset technology that keeps you dry with moisture-absorbing leakproof layers.

This seamless thong can protect up to 2 light tampons worth of period blood, is not treated with PFAs, and is proudly made in the USA!

  • Made out of 62% Nylon, 38% Spandex

Best High-Waisted

Goat Union | Overnight Period Underwear

Best High-Waisted

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Why We Love It

For those who prefer extra protection and support during their menstrual cycle, Goat Union Overnight Period Underwear offers an adorable, high-waisted solution.

These stylish and functional period bottoms are designed with 4 “highs” in mind: high waisthigh functionhigh absorbency (they are comparable to 3-4 tampons), and high material safety. Meeting the human-ecological requirements of the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, Goat Union is a small business on a mission to reduce single-use menstruation product waste.

  • Crotch lining: 95% cotton, 5% spandex, absorbent layer: 80% polyester and 20% nylon, leakproof layer: 100% Polyester coated with TPU, outer body: 95% bamboo cellulose fiber, 5% spandex
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How to Choose the Right Period Underwear

Selecting suitable period underwear is fundamental to ensure comfort, protection, and confidence during your time of the month. Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing the best one for you:

  • Absorbency: Determine your typical flow level and choose period underwear with the appropriate absorbency rating (light, moderate, heavy, or super flow.)
  • Style: With a variety of period underwear styles available, you can likely find one that resembles your regular underwear preferences, whether it be full-coverage, boy shorts, or high-waisted.
  • Personal preferences: Consider factors such as comfort, material, and design features that are important to you. For example, opt for soft fabric like cotton or bamboo if you have sensitive skin.

Consider these factors as you shop for your body’s unique needs.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Care and Maintenance

Want to ensure the longevity of your period underwear? Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you!

  • Cleaning: Period underwear can be easily cleaned in the washing machine. They should be washed with cold water on a delicate cycle. It is recommended to rinse or soak period underwear before adding them to other garments and to use gentle soaps or mild detergents.

    Why is this important? Period underwear is made from special absorbent materials that can be damaged by harsh chemicals found in regular detergents. Using mild detergents or gentle soaps is recommended to preserve the integrity of these materials.

    To take it one step further, rinsing or soaking the underwear before machine washing helps to remove most of the menstrual blood, which can otherwise stain the fabric or even other clothes. It’s a small but crucial step to maintain the cleanliness and longevity of all your laundry!

    Every brand and style of period underwear may have slightly different care needs. Always check the care instructions for each specific product and maintain them accordingly.
  • Drying: Line dry or lay flat to dry your period underwear. Avoid exposing them to high-heat electric dryers, which can damage absorbent underwear. The heat from a dryer can cause the material to shrink or become less effective over time.

    Opt for air-drying methods to preserve your period underwear’s integrity and help reduce your carbon footprint. Remember, proper care of your period underwear extends its lifespan, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

Addressing Common Concerns About Period Underwear

Let’s debunk some common misconceptions and address concerns related to the safety, odor, and effectiveness of period underwear:

  • Safety: Period underwear is an effective alternative to traditional period products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. Unlike tampons, period underwear does not carry the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare but serious condition associated with tampon use.

    Additionally, period underwear eliminates the discomfort and irritation that can sometimes occur with pads. The materials used in period underwear are usually soft cotton or another breathable fabric, reducing the risk of rashes.

    Period underwear is also free from forever chemicals and fragrances found in some traditional menstrual products, a growing concern for many women.

    Period panties are not only a convenient and comfortable option, but they also contribute to the overall health and well-being of the user.
  • Odor: Proper maintenance and care of your period underwear can prevent the development of odors.

    Many period underwear options feature antimicrobial layers to inhibit bacterial growth and reduce smells. They are constructed from naturally antimicrobial materials, like bamboo or silver-infused fabrics. These help to keep the underwear fresh and odor-free for longer.

    Moreover, the ability of period underwear to wick away moisture from the body also contributes to odor control. Keeping the skin dry creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, which are the leading cause of unpleasant scents.

    Of course, regular washing and drying of period underwear, as per the manufacturer’s instructions, can further help minimize odors.
  • Effectiveness: Period underwear has been tested and proven effective. The innovative design utilizes multiple layers of absorbent material that work together and draw fluid away from the skin, each serving a specific function:
    • Top Layer - usually made of a soft, skin-friendly material, wicks away moisture to keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
    • Middle Layer - often made of highly absorbent material like microfiber, traps, and locks in fluid to prevent leaks.
    • Outer Layer - is typically water-resistant to provide an extra line of defense against leaks.

This multi-layered construction ensures that period underwear can effectively manage menstrual liquid, providing reliable protection and peace of mind.

There’s period underwear out there for each stage of your cycle!

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Best Period Underwear FAQs

Still wondering how period panties work? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers!) before pressing “add to cart” on your first pair of period underwear.

How does period underwear work? 

Period underwear utilizes multiple layers of absorbent, moisture-wicking, and leakproof fabric to capture and contain menstrual fluid.

The top layer closest to the skin is made to draw fluid away from the body quickly and into the absorbent middle layer. This middle layer is typically made from a highly porous material that can hold several tampons’ worth of fluid, depending on the specific design and brand. The outer layer of the underwear is usually waterproof to prevent leaks and ensure you stay dry and comfortable throughout the day.

Unlike traditional menstrual products like pads and tampons, period underwear can be washed (on a gentle cycle!), making them a more sustainable and cost-effective solution for managing your period.

It’s important to remember that, just like other menstrual products, you’ll need to change your period underwear regularly – typically every 8 to 24 hours, depending on your flow and the underwear’s absorbency level.

What period undies are the best?

When it comes to top-notch period underwear, Thinx has many fans and leads the pack with its stylish, comfortable, and highly efficient leakproof designs. We’ve recommended Thinx’s Hiphugger for high absorbency and Thinx Sleep Shorts for best night use.

However, everyone has their preferences, so try some out and see which is your favorite!

Do gynecologists recommend wearing period underwear?

Gynecologists tend to recommend menstrual underwear as a reliable, worry-free solution for managing periods and caring for our planet. You can read more about one doctor's thoughts here.

What is the best period underwear for heavy flow?

Need to keep up with an active life, even during heavy flow days? Super Leakproof Boyshort by Knix is an excellent option. It can hold up to eight teaspoons of fluid and is constructed from super soft PerformaStretch fabric.

Can period underwear replace traditional period products?

Period underwear can be a great alternative to cups, pads, and tampons (that may contain harmful chemicals), depending on your flow and preferences. Period underwear, as opposed to tampons, also has no associated risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

TSS is a rare but potentially fatal condition caused by bacterial toxins that can occur when tampons are left in for an extended time. Period underwear provides a safe alternative, especially for those who forget to change their tampons regularly, and significantly reduces the risk of developing TSS.

How do I properly care for and maintain my period underwear?

If hand washing laundry isn't your thing, you can machine wash period underwear on delicate or gentle cycles with mild soaps and detergents. Then air dry to ensure they last as long as possible!

What are the drawbacks of period underwear?

While period underwear provides an alternate approach to managing menstruation, like any product, it does come with a few potential disadvantages:

  1. The initial cost can be high. While period underwear is a one-time purchase that saves money in the long run, the upfront investment may be cost prohibitive for some.
  2. Washing and drying period underwear can be time-consuming. They require special care, which may not be ideal for those with a busy lifestyle or limited access to laundry facilities.
  3. For those with a heavy flow, period underwear might not provide sufficient protection on its own and may need to be used in conjunction with other menstrual products.

Despite these drawbacks, many women find that the benefits of period underwear outweigh the negatives, offering a comfortable, eco-friendly, and body-safe alternative to traditional menstrual products.

How do you know when your period underwear is full?

Knowing when your period underwear is full can depend on a few factors, such as the heaviness of your flow and the absorbency level of the underwear. Generally, you'll start to feel a wetness or a sense of fullness, similar to when a tampon or pad needs to be changed.

However, it's important to note that period underwear is designed to absorb and lock away fluid, so it might be a bit more challenging to discern compared to traditional menstrual products.

As a general rule, most period underwear can hold up to 2 to 4 tampons' worth of blood, which means they can typically be worn for up to 8 hours on light to medium flow days. On heavier flow days, you might need to refresh them more frequently.

A Pair of the Best Period Underwear For You

Period underwear offers a comfortable and cost-effective solution for managing your cycle. With a wide variety of options, choosing the right product based on your needs and preferences is essential.

By considering factors such as absorbency and lifestyle, you can confidently select the perfect pair to keep you dry and protected throughout your menstrual flow.

It’s now your turn to experience the freedom and confidence that period undies provide!
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How We Choose

Our carefully curated selection comes from vetting the top-rated period underwear. Our team evaluated hundreds of customer reviews to narrow down the best of the best. There is something here for every woman!

If you are still wondering whether or not period underwear works and is right for you, please consult with a gynecologist.

The content on this website, including text, graphics, images, and other materials, is provided solely for informational or educational purposes. It is important to note that individuals seeking personal medical advice should always consult with a healthcare professional. Her Happy Health and its authors are not responsible and will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in the content of this site.