I first heard about Thinx period panties (or period underwear if you’re a person who hates the word panties, in which case this post will be very difficult for you) in the most unbelievably adorable, this doesn’t happen outside of a birth control commercial kind of way – from a friend gleefully sharing her experience over pricey tapas tacos at a mommies-only ladies night (that means any social gathering that ends by 9:30p and includes a discussion of potty training). It was the moment that advertising tells us will happen when the friends lean in over margaritas and overpriced guacamole to discuss their womanly things, like periods and birth control. We’ll call this friend “Erin,” because that’s actually her name and she’s fabulous, and I love people who talk about their periods at dinner. She had seen someone else post about Thinx in a moms group we’re in together and decided to give them a try.
Before I get to the magic idea of Thinx, we should probably lay out the ground rules for this post. I’m going to talk about blood, and I’m not going to mince words about my period. Really, we should all be like Erin and talk about our periods at dinner, and here’s why – people with periods will spend a lot of their lifetimes having them. (Side note – Thinx just featured a transgender model in his Thinx. I love this so much!) Your period isn’t going anywhere until it’s damn well ready to be menopause time, so why are we hiding it anymore? It’s not dirty or wrong, it just is. It’s time for it to not be a big deal here in the US, but also in other parts of the world, where a girl’s access to education is affected or where her safety can be threatened when she’s made to sleep in a shed during her period.
Another thing periods are is expensive if you think of all the tampons and pads you will use in a lifetime. If a woman uses 17,000 tampons or pads in a lifetime, divided by boxes of tampons, times the cost for each box, that’s a significant chunk of money that I would rather spend on literally anything else that isn’t a piece of questionable fibers to shove in/near my vagina to catch blood. Seriously, anything sounds better than that. But this cost can be prohibitive as well (which is yet another reason we need to end the Tampon Tax, now), and this financial burden can lead to women not changing tampons frequently enough, or using unsanitary methods to work as makeshift tampons or pads. Don’t worry, Thinx thought about this too.
Thinx are made by a badass crew of seriously smart and socially minded women out to help all of us period better. On their FAQ page they explain these magic panties as “patented technology (called THINX QuadTECH®) is made up of four ultra-thin micro-layers that all work together to do their thang. We developed the technology over three years before launching the product to ensure each and every pair is completely antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, leak-resistant, and absorbent. Take a look at our how it works page to learn more.” These fine people also send money to “AFRIpads, a social business in Uganda that hires local women and trains them to both sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads, turning them into local entrepreneurs.”
These magical period panties are designed to look good, feel good, and let you bleed all over them without leaking, feeling wet and nasty, smelling, looking like you’re wearing a diaper or being a pad. I was intrigued.
When I could tell I was about to get my period back after my second baby, I went online and snapped up a period cycle set of Thinx. If you’re thinking of trying them, I recommend you buy all of the pairs you think you may want to test drive, as there’s a 60-day no questions asked money back guarantee, so make it count! (There’s a link here and at the bottom of this post for $10 off to try them. You’re welcome.) I stocked up and waited for my menses to return. And holy fuck, did it ever.
A review of Thinx:
Now we’re going to talk about blood.
When my period came back around the ten and a half month mark, I thought it may be like when it came back after my first baby. That time, around the 10-month mark the first period was really light, faking me out that they would all be like that. Mind you, after the first one, the few I had before I got pregnant with my second were like like the prom scene in Carrie, or the elevator scene in The Shining, memorably including a moment where I gushed blood all the way into my pair of sparkly Jimmy Choos at a friend’s wedding. The team at Thinx says they’ll guarantee that you’ll period better, and considering how bloody awful my postpartum periods had been after my first baby, I was up to try anything. With that in mind, hoping the first one would be a light reintroduction, I pulled on my medium flow sporty Thinx and decided I would try to free bleed – no tampons, pads, cups, nothing – and see what happened.
Team Thinx says to know your flow, and really, they’re right. Erin, who turned me on to Thinx in the first place, is a lucky lady with a flow where she free bleeds like a boss and loves it. When I started to do my own research into Thinx, i.e. reading online reviews and texting friends who I thought may have tried it, I came across other people who went for the full on free bleed and also loved it, including an extremely hilarious clown friend of mine (yes, really a clown) who texted me “I love them, they have changed my life. It’s like a secret I have the rest of the world doesn’t know.” Two hours into free-bleeding I realized that my flow was too much for the medium flow underwear. I grabbed a tampon and gave up my undies for the day.
Turns out my flow is way, WAY too heavy for free bleeding. I’m actually not sure that my flow is normal and was just written an order for an ultrasound to make sure there’s nothing amiss. I have an autoimmune condition that affects clotting, which means there may be something wrong based on how heavy my flow has been these last two periods. But what I have learned is that without my Thinx as backup, I would have destroyed a lot of clothing items and upholstered furniture in the last week.
I wanted to be done with tampons, as the more I’ve read about the health risks of using them the more I don’t want to need them. I don’t like pads, as I feel like I’m wearing a wet, smelly diaper. I was never a pad user until after I had my babies and I had to wear them, but if I ever have another baby I’ll just wear Thinx. I think they would hold up to the postpartum bleeding really well, and it would probably make me feel prettier than my granny panties with a giant pad and/or ice pack shoved in there. I’ve heard some women wear Depends postpartum, and while that actually makes sense, I would much rather wear a pair of cute, lace trimmed period panties. They would be like my secret, sexy postpartum life saver. I’ll add this to “reasons why I should have another baby” Powerpoint I’ll need to convince my husband.
Let’s get back to the underwear that saved my clothes, sheets, and relationship with my husband who is very much not into waking up covered in my shed uterine lining.
The underwear itself does look nicer than most undies I own and they feel good too. They’re made of very soft, dare I even say sexy-feeling fabric. If you don’t know they’re period panties they just look like a nice pair of underwear. I bought the hiphuggers for heavy flow, the sport for medium days and the thong for light days. I am going to try the boy shorts next month as well.
I found that most of what Thinx promises does hold true. They will hold a lot of blood before they start leaking. I didn’t feel particularly wet, or as wet as I should have with the amount of blood involved, but I also didn’t feel totally dry. I think that’s reasonable considering that regular underwear would have felt awful, and this didn’t feel so bad. While I couldn’t free bleed like I had wanted to, I found that the hiphugger heavy day Thinx saved me from ruining my clothes in the moments – or with children sometimes hours – when I couldn’t immediately get a new tampon.
The cut of the sport underwear doesn’t work very well for me, which is a shame. I have a butt that likes to eat underwear, and it tried to make a meal of these as well. The hiphuggers are a better cut for me, but I didn’t like the feel of the hiphuggers under shorts, though they were good under dresses and in jeans. If you have some curves, I would experiment with the different styles to see what works for you.
I ended up getting a refund on a few pairs that I bought, and I must say their customer service is fabulous. The thongs I bought in my regular size were too big, so they sent me a smaller one on the house. The cut of the sport didn’t work for me, and one of the two of that style I purchased smelled terrible after I washed them. It wasn’t a period smell, it was a really awful smell like an ammonia public bathroom situation gone wrong. The real, live human that I spoke with assured me this was a fluke and suggested I splash them with white vinegar and wash them again and see if that helped, but she would also refund me on that pair. She was right, the vinegar took out the smell which hasn’t returned, or occurred in any other pairs I had.
Caring for your Thinx is easy enough too. Rinse them out when you’re done with them, wash them on a gentle cycle and line dry them. Apparently this is how we’re supposed to be washing all of our underwear, but my current routine of lobbing them in the load with kids clothes, then digging them out of the feet of footed pajamas is more my lingerie laundering style. I’m trying to take better care of my Thinx, but a stowaway has made it through the dryer and lived. I don’t recommend doing that regularly, but all hell won’t break loose if it happens.
Overall, I would recommend Thinx in the following situations:
- You have a period so light that you only change your tampon because you don’t want to get Toxic Shock Syndrome and not because it’s leaking. You could free bleed; you should do it and I envy you.
- You have a period where you will inevitably bleed through whatever method of feminine hygiene products you’re using and you don’t want to destroy yet another pair of underwear.
- You just had a baby. Congrats! Postpartum bleeding in Thinx would be great, and a really nice treat yo’ self present instead of those diaper-like pads you received in your hospital goodie bag.
What I don’t recommend is explaining in-depth to your husband about your period panties. Mine is freaked out by the concept of them, which I imagine someone who hasn’t had a lifetime supply of periods may be. When I left a rinsed pair in the shower he handled them like one would with a biohazard, if you handled biohazards with a long stick and terrified expression. This is the moment when I had to remind him what my placenta looked like when it came riding a wave of gushing fluid right out of my body just to keep it real.
Remember I said you can get $10 off? Here’s that full link: fbuy.me/dPkxG. Go treat yo’ self to some pretty period panties.
If you’re a person with a period, I recommend giving Thinx a try. While I was disappointed that my flow is too heavy to bleed freely without backup, and the cut of the sport didn’t fit my body type well, I liked not ruining anymore of my regular underwear, pants, or sheets enough that I just scooped up a few more pairs.