Last Updated on April 27, 2023
It’s never been easier to have an eco-friendly period.
From menstrual cups to tampons made from sustainable materials and even biodegradable products, we have more options than ever before.
But I know from personal experience that changing up your period routine can be scary. After years of using the same trusted brand of tampons and pads, it’s never easy introducing a new menstrual product into the mix.
Fortunately thousands of people who have periods can’t be wrong. Now many of us are turning our backs on wasteful products that end up in landfill, opting instead for period pants that are comfortable, easy to use and one of the most eco-friendly options out there.
Even big companies are taking notice of period panties. In the US, Kimberly-Clark, the top producer of feminine products, has bought period underwear brand Thinx.
As far as personal experiences go, I’ve always been nervous to try them out. Surely they’ll leak, I thought. The idea of having to deal with the embarrassment and destroyed clothing seemed too much of a risk, so I never bothered.
Now many of us regularly work from home – myself included – there’s no reason not to try them out, so the Wear Next team and our readers tried out 5 pairs of period pants from Thinx, Flux, Wuka and more to discover which are the best.
We rated the period underwear on comfort, cost, sustainability, how easy they are to wash, and of course, how well they worked.
As well as using them for your periods, some can also be used to protect against urinary incontinence, which can be embarrassing for many.
Here’s how they fared.
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Super Hiphugger, £26.95 – buy now
Perhaps the best known period underwear brand out there, Thinx offer a wide variety of menstrual underwear that absorb even the heaviest flows.
From boy shorts, to thongs and everything in between, they offer styles to suit everyone who menstruates from sizes XXS to 4X and you can buy multipacks – also known as ‘saver sets‘ – too.
Thinx have also branched out into period-absorbing leggings, so you can work out without the fear of leaks.
Not satisfied? You have 60 days to try them out and if you’re not convinced, they’ll give you your money back.
Wear Next’s Editor Daisy Jordan tried Thinx’s Super Hiphuggers, which offer super absorbancy, and this is what she found.
“I was apprehensive to try out period pants, so despite having relatively light periods, I wanted good absorbency for my first go.
“I was so impressed with Thinx. I didn’t experience any leaks whatsoever and felt so confident wearing them.”
“For me, there’s nothing worse than uncomfortable underwear. I hate it when they dig in, but Thinx feel so comfortable.
“If you’re used to wearing tampons, period pants will naturally feel quite different. You can’t forget you’re on your period as it feels like you’re wearing pads again, but as underwear goes, these are über comfy.”
French Cut in Black, $35, Thinx – buy now
Cotton Bikini, $17, Thinx – buy now
Modal Cotton Brief, $35, one sale 24.50, Thinx – buy now
“At £27, Thinx are more expensive than a standard pair of underwear but it’s so worth it.
“If you stop buying tampons, you’ll make the money back in just a few wears but there’s nothing to throw away during your period.
“Not only are they friendlier for the planet, but they’re safer for your body too as there’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.”
“Thinx work with a family-run factory in Sri Lanka to manufacture their underwear and it operates under three pillars: female leadership, employee well-being, and environmental sustainability.
“They have a goal of zero waste by 2025 and prioritise ‘ethical, sustainable product development.'”
Check out Thinx’s Sustainability Policy to learn more.
Washing process: 4/5
“Unfortunately you can’t just throw them into the washing machine like normal underwear.
“You need to rinse them out first and wash them on a delicate cycle with the rest of your laundry, making sure not to use bleach or fabric softener. Once clean, they need to be air dried.”
“Since trying out Thinx, I’m never going back.
“They’re so much easier and more eco-friendly than tampons, and most importantly, they work!”
Modibodi Recycled Seamfree Full Brief, £25.50 – buy now
Modibodi has every base covered, offering period underwear, nightwear, activewear, swimwear, maternity, postpartum and adaptive styles for people with disabilities and a huge variety of bundle packs. They even offer underwear for men that absorbs moisture, perspiration or pee.
While most menstrual underwear brands were inspired by the idea of sustainable periods, the idea for Modibodi came from the CEO Kirsty‘s experience of bladder leeks after the birth of her second child.
Reader Lauren* tried Modibodi’s Brief and this is what she found.
“As a first-time user of period pants, I was really nervous about trying them but Modibodi’s briefs didn’t leak at all.
“I wore them from morning ’till night without needing to change them, which was less stressful than worrying about changing my tampon all the time.”
“I found these quite tight and restrictive to wear. I recommend sizing up if you don’t want them to dig in, as I prefer underwear that feels breathable.”
Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini in Abstract Pink, £25, Modibodi – buy now
Recycled Seamfree Hi-Leg Cheeky in Summer Sun Yellow, £22, Modibodi – buy now
Sensual Boyleg in Black Lace, £15, Modibodi – buy now
“At £25.50, these are more than I’d usually pay for underwear but when you add things up, it’s definitely worth the investment.
“You have 60 days to send them back if they don’t work for you too, so you won’t waste any money if you decide against them.”
“Wearing period underwear is more sustainable than using tampons and pads, regardless of whether they’re made from eco-friendly materials as it avoids waste.
“Fortunately Modibodi use sustainable and recycled materials in their underwear, such as merino wool, recycled nylon, and bamboo.”
Washing process: 4/5
“All period underwear requires a cold wash and to be air dried, but this doesn’t bother me.
“It’s much easier than changing your tampon all the time.”
“I was really impressed with Modibodi’s period pants. I’m planning to buy a selection and ditch tampons for good!”
Wuka Basics™ Hipster, £12 – buy now
Female-led start-up WUKA, which stands for Wake Up Kick Ass started making the first ever reusable period pants in 2017.
Not only do they offer sustainable and affordable menstrual knickers, but they’re also fighting to reduce the 20% tax on sustainable period products. You can sign their petition here.
Wear Next’s Editor Daisy Jordan tried their Basics™ Hipster for a medium flow and this is what she found.
“I can’t fault WUKA’s period pants. They worked perfectly for me, with no leaks whatsoever.
“This was the second pair I tried, the first being aimed at a heavy flow. Even though my periods are quite light I wanted to be on the safe side, but I didn’t need to as these worked so well.”
“When I first put these on, they felt like they dug in a little but I didn’t notice it at all throughout the day.
“In general, they were super comfy and easy to wear. Plus, their size range is wide ranging – from XXS to 6XL – so next time, maybe I’ll order up.”
High Waist Super, £25.99, WUKA Ultimate – buy now
Leopard Print Bikini, £19.99, WUKA – buy now
Lace Hipster Brief, £17.99, WUKA Ultimate – buy now
“This pair are the most affordable I’ve come across. At just £12, they’re definitely worth the money – especially as they offer free delivery online.
“Similarly to some of their competitors, they offer a 40-day trial and if you’re not happy, they’ll offer you an exchange or refund. You can’t go wrong with that!”
“WUKA’s products are certified organic, vegan and made using sustainable materials BCI Cotton, Tencel Modal or Econyl.
“BCI stands for Better Cotton Initiative, which promotes better standards in cotton farming and practices across 21 countries.”
Washing process: 4/5
“Like with all period pants, you have to to rinse them out first, wash them on a delicate cycle and air dry them.
“While it can be a faff, you get used to it pretty quickly. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
“I had a great experience using WUKA’s period pants and plan to buy more as they’re so affordable.
“If you’re looking to try period pants out for the first time, I recommend starting with these.”
Classic Bikini, £26 – buy now
FLUX undies recently rebranded to Fluxies, but the products are still the same we know and love.
If you haven’t heard of them yet, you might be missing a trick.
Much of their underwear, which is available from sizes XS (UK size 6/8) to XL (UK size 16/18), almost looks too good to wear while menstruating, so you can feel your best despite being on your period.
If you’re interested in trying them out, they also offer a 60-day trial period and if you’re not satisfied, you can send your underwear back for a full refund.
Reader Leah tried their Classic Bikini for a heavy flow and this is what she found.
“I experienced no leaks at all, they worked really well and I didn’t have to change them.”
“These were very comfortable to wear. The lace band was stretchy and the fabric was soft and didn’t dig in, but still felt secure and like it wouldn’t leak.
“They were quite big pants so I probably wouldn’t wear them under tighter clothing because you would get visible lines, but for a day of working from home they were perfect.”
Classic Boyshort in Heavy Absorbency, £28, Fluxies – buy now
Classic Hi-Waist Heavy Absorbency, £29, Fluxies – buy now
Swim Bikini Moderate Absorbency, £25, Fluxies – buy now
“The pants are quite expensive – around £26 a pair. If you were going to need an average of 4 pairs perhaps for your period (unless you’re doing laundry every day!), that’s an £80 outlay which is pretty pricey.
“However, Fluxies claim to last for 3 years so it works out eventually as around £2.20 per period. That’s not bad, considering they are better for the environment and much less faff than using my mooncup (which I would probably still use on lighter days). And it works out cheaper than using disposable period products.”
Their website says: “we ensure our undies are manufactured using the most sustainable materials and environmentally responsible processes possible” and “we use modal material to make your undies. this magic material is soft, shrink resistant, and easy to care for.
“Modal is manufactured from the beech tree, which is a renewable crop and considered carbon neutral when taken from a responsibly managed source. it is biodegradable, meaning at the end of its life, the fabric can return to the earth.”
Washing process: 4/5
“The washing instructions were to hand rinse when you take them off and wash at 30 degrees in the washing machine.
“It’s a bit inconvenient if you’re a single person doing one load of laundry a week, meaning you just have these damp rinsed pants lying around, but the benefits of the pants probably outweigh this.”
“Fluxies were really comfortable, I wore them all day and didn’t feel any dampness.
“I was really surprised and impressed with how well they worked. I usually use a mooncup but this is a great eco-friendly alternative, a bit less faff, and sometimes if I’m in pain I find it’s not great to be shoving mooncups in and out.
“I think I’m a convert – I’ll probably use a mix of these pants and my mooncup in the future.”
READ MORE: Is Sister Jane True to Size?
Fearless Bundle of Pants & Pads for Mild to Moderate incontinence, £99.95 – buy now
While many of the brands we’ve tried out offer underwear specifically for periods, Cheeky Wipes offers a huge variety of eco-friendly solutions to bladder incontinence, endometriosis symptoms, post-partum bleeding and even toilet paper and nappy alternatives.
Cheeky Wipes also offers a 90-day free trial, so you can try out their products without wasting your money if they don’t work for you.
Reader Sandra* suffers from bladder incontinence, so she tried Cheeky Wipes’ bundle of pads and pants. This is what she found.
“Unfortunately for the purpose of avoiding leaks for female incontinence, the kit didn’t actually work.
“The pads need extra surface area and absorbency nearer the front.
“I also found that the gusset of the pants themselves was too narrow to avoid any leaks, although it could have come down to just a bad fit for me).
“Another useful thing the brand could add is wipes for the inner thighs for leaks during wear and changes.”
“The pants were quite comfortable. The pads are soft as well.”
Feeling Comfy High-waisted Period Pants, £8.69, Cheeky Wipes – buy now
Feeling Hip High-leg Washable Period Pants, £12.49, Cheeky Wipes – buy now
Fearless Bamboo High waist Period Pants Heavy Flow, £15.99, Cheeky Wipes – buy now
“I’d say if it worked for me, it would be a good use of money.
“£100 for this set is a good investment, with the box, the pouch and the pads, and Cheeky Wipes offers 10% off your first order. Unfortunately, the pants and pads themselves didn’t work for my purpose.”
“Cheeky Wipes’ ethos is all about providing sustainable solutions, so it almost goes without saying that they’re sustainable.
“They offer a lot of information on their website about their packaging, but not what their products are made of.
“Regardless, I’m confident that using these products is much more eco-friendly than buying plastic products.”
Washing process: 4/5
“For my purpose, cleaning wasn’t an issue at all. I especially loved the plastic box that I could pop all the used items into as soon as I was done with them.
“I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. It’s really functional and makes cleaning much easier.”
“I was disappointed that the product didn’t work for me, but I love the idea.
“The kit offers an eco-friendly alternative to pads and with a few tweaks would be perfect.”