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I saw Thinx period underwear advertisements for months before I even considered making a purchase. The underwear promises to protect women from leaks and keep us dry without having to use liners or even tampons. All. day. long.
Frankly, I didn't really think something like period underwear would work for someone like me. I am a tampon-plus, jumbo-pad kind of gal. I have a heavy flow from start to finish, and I bleed for eight full days. (yeah, I know.) So I kind of just assumed period underwear would only work for the lucky ladies who have a few days of light spotting each month.
But the more I read about Thinx, the more interested I became. As a mom with a heavy flow, I was really into the idea of having some extra protection during my heaviest days and then getting rid of my tampons for the lighter days.
After multiple visits to their online store, I finally took the plunge, buying the hip hugger ($34) designed for heavier flow and then waited anxiously for my first pair to arrive.
Since their products have become really popular, really quickly, I waited for over a month for my back-ordered underwear to arrive. When I got them, I was surprised by how heavy they felt. They are more like a pair of Spanx, but without the whole squeezing, suffocating feeling.
Thinx period underwear are made from multiple layers of moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, absorbent fabric. They are specifically designed to keep the woman wearing them feeling dry while absorbing up to two tampons worth of blood.
When day one of my next period rolled around, I decided to brave using just the underwear with no extra protection. I found myself nervous for a lot of the day, making multiple trips to the bathroom to make sure everything was going OK down there. To my delight, the period underwear lasted for the entire day. Since I only ordered one pair, I cleaned my underwear that evening—I washed it out by hand, rinsed it, soaked it with a bit of laundry detergent, rinsed them again and hung them to dry overnight. Thinx outlines washing instructions on their site. They advise you to rinse your underwear before washing them in cold water and then hanging them to dry.
The next three days of my period, I had to double up, using both tampons and the period underwear. But with the extra protection the Thinx provided, I could relax knowing if I soaked through my tampons (which just happens sometimes, let's face it), the underwear would take care of it.
Washing my underwear each night, I was able to use it for all eight days of my ridiculously long period. During the last few days when my flow wasn't as heavy, I stuck with just the underwear, and I cannot tell you how much more comfortable I was.
I loved wearing just my Thinx all day, but I didn't love washing it each evening. So I went for it—I hopped online and ordered another pair, and I will probably add another few pairs as I can (their options currently run from $29 to $34, ranging from light to heavy).
What also sold me was the company itself. I'm impressed by how they are working to empower women in developing countries by using a portion of the profits from their sales to fund AFRIpads, a social business that works with women in Uganda, who don't typically have access to feminine hygiene products, and trains them to sew and sell reusable pads. One set of reusable pads allows girls living in Uganda to stay in school all month, instead of missing school during their period.
I also dig how frankly their company talks about menstruation. As a mom of girls, I am in full support of the movement toward removing the stigma and shame from such a basic part of being a girl. I don't always love my period, but I love what it symbolizes in my life. It is a reminder of my womanhood and a reminder of what my body is capable of. Thinx made this part of my life a little more comfortable, a little more economical, and little more earth-friendly. I guess you can say this skeptic is now officially a believer.
In addition to their period underwear, Thinx just launched their new line of Icon Undies, pee-proof underwear made specifically for moms who deal with occasional incontinence since giving birth. Maybe we should give that a try next so you don't have to. (Allergy season, anyone?)