For almost three years now I’ve used a menstrual cup and, occasionally, some reusable pads. But I’ve always been intrigued by reusable menstrual underwear, especially since everyone who has tried them swears by them.
The main reason I never tried them was that I didn’t know of any UK based brand and I didn't want to have to rely on the carbon intensive international shipping, so when FLUX launched their crowdfunding campaign last year I was very happy to support it!
A couple of months ago they contacted me to offer me the chance to try one pair of their period underwear, in order for me to be able to then share my experience with you!
The more I did research on this company and the more excited I got about this opportunity, as I definitely enjoy talking about great companies that think about every small detail in order to make their products environmentally and socially sustainable.
The plastic-free parcel with a sweet handwritten message and the informative postcards!
WHAT IS PERIOD UNDERWEAR?
Period underwear are a 2in1 reusable menstrual product, they consist of a pair of underwear which has a padded an absorbing part so that you don't need to use any additional product (such as a menstrual cup, reusable or disposable pads or tampons).
They are are made with several layers of fabric to absorb, leave the skin dry and avoid any leaks.
Their absorbing power is of about 20-25ml of blood, which is similar to that of a menstrual cup or that of 4-5 tampons!
(Image taken from www.fluxundies.com // property of FLUX)
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND ETHICAL PRODUCTION
So one of the many things that make this company so great is that women empowerment is at the core of their business, and this results in a series of admirable choices:
- Not only FLUX is a UK based company but they also produce here in the UK, relying on a local family run factory. As they say "We don't believe in exploiting women in one country to empower them in another", and I couldn't agree more!
- In addition they have a "By You, For Her" programme, where they donate a pair of reusable washable pad to a woman in a developing country in an attempt to reduce period poverty (meaning not having access to menstrual products due to their cost)
- But there's more! Their pictures are unedited (they don't change the shapes or smooth the skin of their models) and virtually anyone can model for them! If this is something that could interest you you can find more information here
- Lastly, they have a section on their website called "Periods 101" where they share informative articles on periods, in an attempt to open a dialogue that is often still a tabu
Menstrual underwear already provides a low waste and more sustainable alternative to disposable menstrual products such as pads and tampons, but FLUX went the extra mile trying to create their products using sustainable fabrics:
- For their inner layers they used natural organic fabrics created from cotton, bamboo and modal
- Because they need to be leak-proof avoiding synthetic plastic-base materials was impossible, so they decided to use regenerated Nylon, which is created from recycled fishing nets!
- Because Nylon is still plastic and can't be composted, I asked them if at the end of the life of my pair of underwear (in about 2-3 years time) I could separate the layers, and yes you can! All you need to do is cut or unstitch the sides, and then you can separate the various layers to dispose of them accordingly!
- Also, their fabrics are all OEKO Tex certified, meaning that they're completely safe and free of harmful chemicals
(Image taken from www.fluxundies.com // property of FLUX)
Another thing I noticed instantly when reading their information was their focus on inclusivity, their products are designed to be used by anyone and are not just for periods!
- They have a variety of designs and sizes, allowing people of any gender, shape or age to use them comfortably
- They can also be used for post-partum bleeding, discharge and incontinence. And while other products may also be used this way, I deifnitely appreciated them mentioning it several times, as these are topics that I've seen rarely discussed in the zero waste world
So let's talk about how I used them and what my practical opinion was:
- Packaging-wise, they arrived plastic-free in a simple cardboard box, with a layer of protective paper wrapping the actual pair of underwear and some cardboard postcards with some additional information on their products and on how to take care of them
- The first thing I noticed is that, compared to reusable menstrual pads, they have a wider absorbing area, which increases the protection when walking/doing sports (and sleeping!)
- The absorbing area is thicker than the rest of the material, but it's not bulky. It's just a couple of mm thick, and is thinner than most reusable and disposable pads, making it more comfortable
- When I used them on their own, on the first day of my period, they lasted me the entire day and absorbed well all the fluids, leaving of course the less fluid components on the surface. Being used to an internal menstrual product (a menstrual cup) I was a bit anxious to use them on their own, but everything worked out well with minimal mess. I hand washed them in order to be able to use them again the following day, which took only a minute, and left them to dry overnight.
- I then used them in addition to my menstrual cup, and wow it was like a dream! I love using a menstrual cup but on the first couple of nights and when travelling (so when I change position a lot) they often leak. I usually wake up instantly when it happens but I don't exactly love changing my menstrual cup at 3-4am while I'm all sleepy! So using both allowed me to literally never having to worry about leaks, which made these past two periods the most stress-free I've ever had!
- On the last day of my period, meaning that annoying time in which your period is almost over but you still need a bit of protection, I used them again on their own, saving me the hassle of having to change an almost empty cup several times a day!
My pair of Black Bikini FLUX period underwear!
Overall, I really enjoyed using them and I will definitely get another pair soon, I love all their designs and I would really like to also try either the detachable ones or the boy shorts, so I'll keep you updated!
- For people that prefer external menstrual products I think that, while they are a bit more expensive (£28-30 per pair), they are without doubt much more comfortable than reusable menstrual pads. They absorb better, have a larger absorbing area, don't move and don't leak!
They suggest getting 4 pairs to cover your entire period without having to wash them all the time, but if your budget is tight and you don't mind the extra minute to wash them in the evening/morning I think that starting with just two pairs (one for the day and one for the night) would also work!
- For people that, like me, prefer internal menstrual products (like a menstrual cup), I think that, if you can, they're definitely worth the investment. They made my period so much better and stress-free that, on the first day of my last period, I literally panicked when I couldn't find them and thought I hadn't washed them yet! I will therefore definitely buy a second pair as soon as I'm done with getting/making my Christmas gifts!
[for reference I tried the black Bikini pair in size M, and I am a UK 10/EU 38 and I have average flow]
WANT TO GIVE THEM A TRY?
- They were kind enough to offer me a 15% discount code (ZWP) to share with you, so remember to use it at checkout!
- Also, standard shipping to the UK (with Royal Mail) is free!
- The link to their website is here
- And the link to their sizing guide is here