This is the first in a series of overly honest product reviews, bought to you by some cringe worthy experiences, one photo of my bum and a small amount of credit card debt.
After sharing my mooncup woes a lot of you requested feedback on my knickers, because, lets be honest now, how many pairs of your regular underwear has aunt flo destroyed? I know, I know. ALL. OF. THE. PAIRS. Including that very favourite pair that I refuse to throw away, even with the stains.
So here goes, the first in the series of overly honest product reviews is the much awaited, worryingly frequently requested, she thinx period panties. I'm sharing this because 100 million girls are missing school just because of their periods. Lets break the period taboo.
She Thinx // For People With Periods
Preface: The Moon Cup Revelation
I've been using a mooncup (a soft silicone menstrual cup that is a healthier alternative to tampons and pads and dramatically reduces the waste you produce) for over two years. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. We have good days, and we have bad days.
Whilst surfing a couple of months back I informed my fellow female surf friend Sophie B that my mooncup was very uncomfortable whilst sitting on my board (#grazedlabia), and to take down my 6mm wetsuit and correct its positioning was an almost impossible task in icy Atlantic conditions. It was during this conversation, me looking stunned, Sophie B laughing hysterically at my ignorance, that I found out about the required trimming. Thats right, everyones labia's are slightly different lengths, and after trimming a couple of mm's off my mooncup, we are back in love again - and I can't quite believe I went through 2 years of discomfort in my vagina because I hadn't read the box.
I must say, that I will never ever ever go back to using nasty bleached cotton wool tampons with single use plastic applicators, and despite my occasionally grazed labia, the mooncup prevails as my period product of choice. If you haven't tried one, go forth and purchase one immediately. Beginners, slather that thing in coconut oil and it will slide in a whole lot easier. But whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET TO TRIM IT. Yes, thats right, trim the little stem.
For anyone who already has a mooncup and wants to read some laugh out loud inducing material, I'd highly recommend reading this: 27 Hilarious Tweets About the Diva Cup That Will Make You Laugh and Cringe.
Anywho, in the meantime, pre my new found trimming knowledge, I had purchased myself some, drumroll please...
She Thinx: Period-Proof Underwear That Works
Style and Performance
High waist is my thing, and they fit perfectly and look amazing. 5 gold stars to Gryffindor for style and comfort. The kind of sexy that you'd totally send a flirtatious photo of to that cute guy (or gal) you've been texting (little does he/she know your pants are full of blood because you are womBan, mwahaha).
They say these are for heavy days and hold up to 2 tampons' worth. For the purpose of the review I thought I'd go all out and wear these solo with no mooncup on the first day of my period, which is my heaviest day. I was not looking forward to it and was sure there was going to be some squelchy wet feelings, and possibly the usual suspect stains leaking into the crotch of my jeans, but behold the magic of period pants, the blood seems to vanish straight away into a secret lining that you can't see, and we survived the whole day without any mishaps or discomfort.
Sporty pants usually aren't my style, but what with playing lots of sports I thought I'd give them a try. These are for medium days and hold up to 1½ tampon’s worth. They are uber comfy with high, wide, comfort-fit leg holes (adios, chafing), and a soft, breathable cotton interior, so you can period better, perform better, and play better. Or... just lay around watching netflix without lace better. My favourite thing about this style was that they totally passed as bikini bottoms for sunbathing in the park, take that period problems.
Thongs aren't my favourite looking thing either (age 30 with cellulite, I do not have an instagram worthy derrière) but what with spending most my life in yoga leggings my underwear drawer is full of them because normal pants give me weird unflattering double bumpy bum VPL. And this sexy little piece of stretch lace genuinely did end up in a photo being text to that cute guy I've been messaging, thats right, who wears thongs and looks sexy on their period? YOU can, my friend. You can. The thong is recommend for your lightest days and holds up to ½ tampon’s worth. I paired this with my mooncup for piece of mind, because I hate those days when mooncup leaks a little bit and ruins another pair of white pants, and it worked swimmingly [disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the privacy of your text photos, just your underwear staining]
Overshare Alert: I only wish I'd had the braincells to wear the thong to sleep in the night before my period was due, and it would have prevented waking up next to said cute guy looking like my vagina had been massacred, some very embarrassing moments and a bedsheet in the bin after a failed attempt at bleaching those nasty red stains out.
I'd say they run true to size. Mine are an XS and I'm normally an XS or a uk size 6-8.
The price point isn't cheap, between £18-30 a pair, but you get what you pay for. Please please don't be put off by the price and read the following points about manufacturing and giving back.
My biggest piece of feedback is beware of the import charges. At the moment Thinx come from the US, which means if you are buying in the UK or Ireland you get charged import duties. I think this was an additional €12 for me, but you need to factor this into the price.
About time there were some UK distributors and suppliers, don't you thinx?
UPDATE: Now available in the UK (wahoo) - from the thinx website and selfridges at the time of typing.
They replied same day with the following:
"At THINX we craft our undies carefully and consciously. From sustainable manufacturing processes to ethical working conditions, we ensure every pair is made with mindfulness and dignity. Our award-winning facility based in Sri Lanka operates under three pillars: female leadership, employee well-being, and environmental sustainability."
Thinx also have an amazing Pay It Forward program that empowers young people with safe spaces to learn about reproductive health and human rights. Period poverty affects people around the globe: from Nepal and Uganda to New York City and London. As part of their programme Thinx provide funding and services that support underserved people with periods, including survivors of domestic violence, refugees, and the homeless. They've so far donated 5,712 pairs of period-proof underwear, and contributed £242084 to grassroots organisations and local initiatives.
Thats pretty cool right? So if you thought £18 was too much, think again. Go buy some, now.
I think I've shared enough here, we've laughed (well I have), we've cried (just me again? #grazedlabia), and we've bled into our pants under every full moon since we were 13. I genuinely love my she thinx period panties and at some stage will probably invest in a 4th pair (my menstruation lasts 4 days).
My advice? If your period is heavy I think any of the styles pair perfectly with a mooncup. If your period is average or light, be brave and give them ago solo, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Save the environment and your dignity and invest in some before your next cycle. And after 60 days, if they don't help you period better, you can get a full refund, no questions asked. Oh, and make sure you follow the washing advice.
Please help smash the taboos around periods and share this real-life review with other women dealing with their periods.