Saw It On Social: Thinx (Period) Underwear

Aug 3, 2017

Last year, I was preparing for my trip to Cuba when I had a terrible revelation, my period was supposed to start on the first day of our trip.  Fabulous.  Just the thing to make a trip to a developing nation go smoothly, right?  What was a girl to do?

I heard about Thinx on Facebook.  The company bills itself as making underwear for “women who get periods.”  Their underwear is supposed to function as a replacement for traditional feminine hygiene products by absorbing 1-2 tampons worth of blood.  Frankly, the whole idea of walking around in blood soaked underwear gave me a queasy feeling, but these were desperate times.

I ordered two thongs and two pairs of boy shorts.  While I planned to pack a box of tampons, I needed a backup option for long drives where finding a place to stop along the route might be impossible.  But even as a backup option, I wasn’t sure they would work, or if they did, I’d just be totally grossed out by wearing them.

It turns out that I was wrong.  Thinx are made to be moisture wicking, heavily absorbent, and anti-leak.  I never felt wet.  There was no discernible odor.  My clothes never got any blood on them.  And I never felt gross while wearing them.  Overall, I was fairly impressed by how well they worked.

While talking about periods isn’t a glamorous business, it’s certainly a necessary one.  I’m blessed with a fairly easy cycle, two heavy days followed by 2-3 very light ones.  I wear Thinx on the light days, when I’d rather not wear a tampon for the small bit of blood I have to deal with.  And if I have to travel or work long hours on a heavy flow day, Thinx are more comfortable than a heavy pad by far.

I really have only one complaint about Thinx, specifically the thongs.  Unlike my beloved Hanky Panky thongs, which are so comfortable I forget that I’m wearing them, the straps on the Thinx thongs roll and shift throughout the day.  It’s not a major complaint, but it is a noticeable design flaw.

The other issue that will bother some readers is washing them.  After wearing them, you first have to rinse them out under cold water before washing.  It’s a little gross, but I let Veronica Mars talk be into buying the Samsung washer with the built in sink, so it’s not so bad.  After washing them, you can’t dry them.  I feel a bit like a ’50s housewife line drying my unmentionables, but drying them causes the absorbent material to breakdown, and that would defy the purpose of buying period underwear.

I wasn’t aware when I bought them that Thinx fancies itself as a socially active company.  They are proponents of something called “free bleeding,” which they believe tackles the social stigma associated with menstruation.  They also promote feminist causes and values, though these ideals clash somewhat with the behavior of their former CEO has been accused of workplace harassment and inappropriate touching by employees.

All that aside, I like the product.  To my great surprise, the underwear absorb without making you feel gross.  They’re a good primary or backup option.  I just wish they’d do something about the damn straps, the last thing I need is visible panty line.

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  1. HH says:

    Well, hello new blog design! It’s so pretty and I liked looking at the different tabs, etc.

  2. aLLISON says:


    • aLLISON says:


      • HH says:

        When I commented earlier today the text in the text box was all caps, but then it was normal, mixed-case in the comment. This comment here is mixed-case in the text box, so maybe it was a temporary thing?

  3. Jess says:

    I’ve actually been wearing fleece pads that you reuse to get away from all the harsh chemicals in disposable pads. and i will totally second that getting over washing the blood out is the hardest part about it. but you do and then you move on! ditto on the caps thing.

  4. Rachel says:

    First, i’m on the mobile site and it’s forcing capitals. Sorry for screaming, i guess periods are just thAt exciting.

    Thanks for this review. I’ve seen these and considered them for working out. i’m blessed with an insanely light flow, so eVen light tampons don’t work for me. These Would be much better than working out with a pad.

  5. Loving the new site! It looks beautiful!

    I bought a menstrual cup two years ago and couldn’t be happier with my choice. I can go 8-12 hours without emptying it, though I try to empty it every time I go to the bathroom. It is comfortable, though it took a little while to get used to removing it. It is silicone, so I can sanitize it easily. Totally worth it.

    • Monica T says:

      Ditto on the cup (I use Diva Cup). It’s probably got the same adjustment to washing it out as the Thinx, but it’s cheaper (those Thinx are expensive for a week a month!) and then I can wear whatever underwear I want.

  6. Jenn s. says:

    Haven’t read the post yet but dear heavens do I love the new layout.

    Worth the wait from my POV.

    • Jenn s. says:

      K, read it now.

      I was curious about Thinx but wrote them off because I hadn’t encountered a review I could trust. Three years ago, the idea of reusable sanitary items bothered me to the core, but then I learned about menstrual cups (like DivaCup, MoonCup, etc). Is it gross? Sure. It’s always going to be gross and unpleasant *regardless* of what I use to deal with it so why not go with a lower-waste option?

      I bought a cup … and then ended up not needing it because I got an IUD which all but obliterated my periods. Not enough to use my cup, but perhaps enough to justify a pair or two of Thinx because I hate liners.

      • Cx says:

        FYI: My gyno advised not to use a menstrual cup with an IUD. Apparently it could potentially dislodge the IUD.

        • Jenn S. says:

          Yeah, I’ve heard conflicting info on using them together. My gyno said it was fine but I’d personally prefer not to chance it even on the rare occasion I have enough going on to make using it worth it.

  7. Minnesota says:

    Sadly, something about the new site causes the blog to be on my office’s blocked list, so I can no longer access.

    • Cx says:

      Same! The site is now blocked on my work network as well, interfering with my usual coffee-break reading :-/

    • Belle says:

      Try going directly to it might be the redirect
      If that doesn’t fix it, tell me everything. What browser are you using? What error message are you getting? Screenshot it if you can, maybe my developer can fix it. Maybe.

      • LS says:

        Also blocked at my work. I emailed our security folks and they said our third-party secuirty vendor flagged it for suspicious content. They reaced out to them to find out exactly what. I’ll let you know what I hear

  8. Anna says:

    Hmmmm, my period is super light (like maybe 1-2 tampons a month). These might be a good alternative.

  9. B says:

    Interesting! Thanks for the honest review. I travel internationally for work and after reading your review these could be a good option. It’s no fun trying to change a tampon during a long international flight, or keeping track of the 8-hour rule when you’re changing time zones!

  10. A says:

    I have them and they are a lifesaver for heavy flow days. I typically use them as a backup to a tampon. Also, despite their washing instructions, I don’t rinse them out before washing and I do put them in the dryer. I’ve had no problems from this and I’ve had them for over a year. Rinsing probably is wise if they have absorbed a lot but air drying is totally unnecessary from what I can tell.

    • RT says:

      I rarely comment but felt the need to second the above. Thinx are awesome for tampon backup. I don’t rinse before washing and I dry on low. I’ve been using them for about 8 months with no issues. I do wash them separately though or with other “technical” fabrics like workout clothes.

  11. Mica says:

    I’ve been looking for something to replace the cotton pads I’ve had for years. So glad they have them in black (less worrying about stains).

    Also, kudos to THINX for not photoshopping out stretch marks and body hair.

  12. LExi says:

    Buzfeed did some video reviews, and I think Safiya Nygaard did the best one. Found it very helpful. I appreciate they have plus size options too. I will have to break down at get a few, but I’ve been really wanting to try a DivaCup.

  13. Sarah says:

    You should try a Ruby Cup! They are amazing – they last 10 years, you can leave them in for 10 hours, and you can’t even feel it in! Environmentally sound and it’s so freeing not to have to remember when to change my tampons, etc!

  14. Jen says:

    OMG, thank you so much for this post! I have been toying with buying myself a pair or two for a long time and this review just sold me. Also, can we all talk a little more about the cups? How do you find the right size/shape? Can you really leave them in for 10+ hours? What about going to the bathroom? Can you be active like work out or swim? TIA!

    PS: love the new site!

    • Jenn S. says:

      From what I can tell, the cup size/shape thing, as well as the stem length, are a bit of trial-and-error. It sucks because they aren’t cheap.

      There are some forums and blogs out there from folks who have done a lot of trial-and-error and can describe differences between the products and, for example, the layout of their internals (so why X product works better than Y for them).

      Since they aren’t absorbent, can be left in for 10+ hours (I’ve seen 12) without the risk for TSS. Of course, depending on your flow, you may need to deal with it sooner than that, but it won’t harm you otherwise. You can work out and swim, and because no part of it is external, using the restroom ought to be unaffected.

      • katherine says:

        2nd the recommendation to look onto a few blogs/forums (livejournal had an awesome one eons ago) that described the difference. I like the Lunette but hated the little stem so carefully cut it off w/ small scissors and have never looked back.

        I wear mine a lot….even when its not my cycle I’ll wear it on the plane to feel a bit fresher

  15. Fifty50 says:

    I have a pair. For me it’s a back up on my heaviest day but a helpful one for sure. I want to get some more pairs. The one I have had lace that ripped pretty quickly. I do hand wash and rinse first(so I’m not getting blood on my other clothes), machine wash on cold, and dry on low for about 15 minutes then remove.

  16. CeeCee says:

    Ohh I love my Thinx (cheekie briefs I think). I need to get another pair. I wear mine at nights because I hate wearing pads and think tampons are dangerous to sleep in of course. Especially nice when I can sleep in on the weekends with them and not have to worry. Nice update btw!

  17. BB says:

    “Just the thing to make a trip to a developing nation go smoothly, right?” Wait, women in developing countries don’t get periods!? Do they use banana leaves?

    • Jenn S. says:

      Going to go out on a limb and guess that it was more of a, “Not sure what to expect from what they have available there and if what is available is something I am comfortable with,” not something ignorant.

      • gigi17 says:

        Would concur with Jenn above – trying to figure out how and where tampons are in a country you don’t speak the language is just one more hassle you don’t need to deal with.

    • J says:

      Agree with the two other responses–I travel regularly to such countries, am pretty comfortable doing so, and can confidently say that availability/access to the “standard” (for us) options isn’t a given. Plus, I think Abra mentioned somewhere that she hadn’t traveled outside of the US much prior to that trip, so it seems obvious that she would have a contingency plan for minimizing things on this front. Much better than getting there and having a silly thing like your cycle create an unnecessary inconvenience or annoyance that distracts from the reason for the visit, be it work or play.

    • Belle says:

      As someone mentioned, this was my first overseas trip and everyone I knew who had been there told me that the likelihood of being able to find ration’ed items like tampons was really low. Further, a reader pointed out that in Cuba, tourists often leave their extra feminine hygiene products behind for the cleaning staff, since tampons and pads are hard to get even for locals. Yes, this is a first world problem, but given what I knew about the availability of staple items in Cuba, I knew I wouldn’t be able to just pop into a pharmacy and find Kotex.
      If you’re concerned about the availability of feminine hygiene products, there are a number of excellent charities that work to provide solutions for girls and women in developing nations. Days for Girls is one of the best ones, though a lot of NGOs have taken on this work to ensure that young women don’t miss school as a result of their periods.

    • SN says:

      Excuse me, but women in South India at least don’t “use banana leaves”. When I was about 15, I visited relations in India in the early 70s, and had my period. I used cotton menstrual rags that we washed out after soaking them overnight in a bucket of water with salt. Quite practical. Banana leaves were for eating off. Please, use your brain before making remarks like that. And the amount of squeamishness about washing out a little blood. Get real-you all have it very easy.

  18. Mila says:

    The new site looks fantastic! Congrats!

  19. Kat says:

    Thinx recommendation regarding thong straps — buy a size larger and wear the straps a little higher on your hips. Also, as a runner I wear Spanx almost exclusively when I run. They’re quickly becoming my favorite underwear.

  20. Orla says:

    I have actually been looking at Thinx and I was going to ask you to write a review! There are also similar companies, such as dearkate and knixwear , that sell similar products. I really wish I would have known about this stuff sooner- it probably would have improved my quality of life! I have had heavy periods all my life and never had an ob/gyn talk to me about using an iud to make periods lighter until just recently. I just had an endometrial ablation because I just couldn’t take it any more. I really have hope there will be more innovations in this area for women going forward. Thank you for all of these comments, they are so informative!

  21. Eliza says:

    I have several pairs of Dear Kates, which are the same concept, and I love them. With unpredictable periods, I’m always worried about issues when we’re traveling (stained sheets at the B&B? OMG) and these add an extra layer of protection and mental security.

  22. I have been really really really wanting to try these and I think you’ve just convinced me to do so. They seem like a glorified and washable panty liner. Amirite?! Haha.

  23. CB says:

    My sister got me on the Thinx bandwagon about a year ago. I have the same pairs as you and they’ve been absolute lifesavers, especially when I travel and have long days stuck in meetings. The thong’s design did change a bit (although I don’t know why). The straps on the ones I got last year don’t roll, but the newer ones do. It is annoying, but at the end of the day, the pros of this underwear definitely outweigh the cons.

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