The average woman has approximately 450 periods in their lifetime, which means they go through A LOT of (typically) single-use products. Not only is that a lot of trash, but it also doesn’t help that the standard period-care options are expensive, usually made from harsh chemicals or plastics and are limited in terms of options. Thankfully, the last few years have seen a wave of new menstrual products that not only lighten the burden on the environment but also give women an array of better-for-you (and your wallet!) choices. Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Sustainable pads and tampons
Say goodbye to harmful chemicals and fragrances, and hello to clean, organic ingredients.
These biodegradable pads and tampons are made only from organic cotton and don’t contain any rayon, plastics or synthetic fibres that are typically found in these types of products. The reusable tampon applicator can be used with applicator-free tampons, and it comes with a nifty AirPod-like carrying case. From $9, getonly.ca
Ultra-thin pads are made with super absorbent (and compostable!) bamboo, while the applicator-free tampons are wrapped in a compostable package and are 100 percent cotton. Bonus: free shipping with no minimum spend! From $6, getjoni.com
This women-owned company has been creating plastic-free period products since 1989. In addition to organic cotton tampons and compostable pads and liners, they offer plant-based maternity pads and biodegradable incontinence pads. From $4, well.ca
These reusable pads are locally made in Vancouver from a combo of cotton, spandex, polyester and nylon with snaps to keep them in place on undies. Choose from a range of absorbencies (the Super Pad claims to hold up to 14 tampons worth of blood!) and then toss them in your washing machine when you’re done. From $16, periodaisle.ca
2. Menstrual cups
You’ve probably seen these disk- or funnel-like objects in the feminine hygiene aisle and wondered, what the heck do I do with this? Similar to a tampon, these nifty cups are typically made of medical-grade silicone and can be folded and inserted into the vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood. Instead of ending up in the landfill, they can be cleaned and reused time and time again.
This silicone cup comes in two sizes and can be worn up to 12 hours. $40, periodaisle.ca
This naturally antibacterial cup does not need to be boiled between wears meaning you can simply empty and rinse the cup before reinserting. It claims to be reusable for up to 10 years. $40, bfreecup.com (coming soon to Canada)
This cup holds two to three tampons worth of blood and has an easy-to-pull tab that breaks the suction and comes out similar to a tampon. Choose from two different sizes. $49, amazon.ca
This disc-style cup is made from super soft silicone and a one-size fits most model. Claiming to be easier to insert than traditional funnel-shaped cups with no suction upon removal, it offers up to 12 hours of protection (up to four tampons worth of period blood.) $54, nixit.ca
The disc offers a single-use option if you’re not quite sure about using a cup. Claiming to hold more than five tampons worth of blood, the disk can be worn for up to 12 hours, is said to reduce cramping and works well during sex. $19/12 disks, amazon.ca
3. Period panties
While these may require the biggest upfront investment, they’re probably one of the easiest (and most genius!) ways to manage your period.
When most people think of period panties, they think of Knix. One of the OG Canadian brands, the super leak-proof thong can hold up to six tampons-worth of blood and are machine-washable. $32, knix.ca
From the makers of the Bfree cup, these stylish hot pants are made in Brazil and offer protection without compromising look. Designed for heavy flows, they have the look and feel of regular underwear with an integrated pad that’s about a third of the thickness of a traditional pad. $58, bfreecup.com
Aisle offers a variety of styles of underwear, from boxer to bikini to thong. With varying levels of absorbency, they can be worn as a backup to a cup or tampon or to hold a heavy flow. From $38, periodaisle.ca