Pliny the Elder, the legendary Roman philosopher who quipped, “Home is where the heart is,” described menstrual blood as one of the most dangerous substances in existence. In his book “Naturalis Historia,” Pliny wrote, “The fluid could kill fields of crops, drive bees from their hives, and make caterpillars, worms, beetles and other vermin fall to the ground.”
Aside from Pliny’s warnings of its perils, there is very little documentation about women’s periods in ancient history — likely because most ancient scribes were men who were also scared of a woman’s menses. For as long as women have had periods, they’ve been trying to curb the flow.
According to historians, women in ancient Egypt made tampons out of softened papyrus and sea sponges. In the years that followed, women would use everything from rags to rubber pants as menstrual protection. Finally, the first disposable pads hit the market in 1986, followed by disposable tampons in 1933.
What Are Period Panties?
Along with other alternative products like menstrual cups, period panties are the next generation of menstrual hygiene products — and they’re pretty fantastic. Period panties look, feel and move like regular underwear, but absorb menstrual fluid to keep you comfy and dry.
Many period panties can hold up to a tampon’s worth of liquid or more for use as either your primary menstrual protection or as a backup to prevent leaks. Besides offering flexibility and comfort, period-proof underwear has the benefit of being eco-friendly, since reusable models can be washed and used repeatedly.
Period panties come in a variety of styles, from boyshorts and bikinis to briefs and thongs. Ultimately, the right style for you depends on your period flow and preferences. To guide you on your quest for the perfect fit for your flow, we’ve rounded up these period panty reviews of our favorite products on the market today:
10 Best Period Panties for Your Flow
1. Thinx Period Panties
Arguably the most recognizable name on this list, Thinx was one of the first major brands on the period-proof panty scene. The brand boasts the most variety, offering over 10 styles — including thongs, hip-huggers, boyshorts, sleep shorts, and sporty panties — as well as five different absorbency levels.
All Thinx period panties are machine-washable and have a moisture-wicking top layer over a core layer to absorb up to two and a half tampons worth of fluid. Our favorite is the Brief period panties, which have a full-coverage, mid-rise fit.
Price: $16 at Thinx
2. Victoria’s Secret Period Panties: PINK Period Panty Shorty
We were pretty darn excited when we learned that Victoria’s Secret has its own line of period underwear. The PINK period panties collection includes three styles with three different absorbency levels: thong (half-tampon absorbency), hipster (two-tampon absorbency) and shortie (three-tampon absorbency).
They make all three with a breathable, stretchy gusset fabric to wick away moisture. We’re big fans of the PINK Period Pantie Shortie, which offers the highest absorbency and the most easy-to-move fit for active endeavors.
Price: $19.50 or two for $30 at Victoria’s Secret
3. Bambody Period Panties: Absorbent Boy Short
The critically acclaimed Bambody period panties come in five styles: boyshort, bikini, hipster and traditional panty. Intended to replace your traditional menstruation products, all five styles offer the absorbency of two tampons.
They’re crafted from a cool, breathable bamboo fabric that wicks away sweat. Besides full-protection panties, Bambody offers leakproof panties designed for light days or everyday wear.
Price: $10.90 at Amazon
4. Knix Period Panties: Super Leakproof Dream Short
Another critic favorite, Knix is on a mission to disrupt an underwear market that has “too much frill and not enough function.” Besides supportive bras and anti-chafing activewear, Knix specializes in absorbent period swimwear and underwear with a lightweight, quick-dry design.
Their most absorbent model — the Super Leakproof Dream Short — holds up to a whopping 12 teaspoons of fluids, which is the equivalent of 12 tampons.
Price: $38 at Knix
5. Always Period Panties
From the time-honored maxi-pad brand, Always panties are different from the other titles on this list in one major way: They’re disposable. Always disposable period panties have a stretchy, polyester-spandex blend designed to feel like normal underwear. The period panties come in either small/medium or large and absorb the equivalent of five Always Ultra Maxi Pads.
Price: $7.99 for a seven-pack at Target
6. 4Period Panties: Classic Absorbent Hipster
From a woman-owned company, 4Period underwear features a cool, breathable viscose-spandex fabric blend. The chafe-free design holds up to four tampons worth of fluid. They come in French cut, thong, high-waist and high-thigh designs, but our favorite is the classic absorbent hipster. The most affordable reusable option on this list, 4Period panties come in packs of three or five and singles.
Price: $37.50 for a pack of three at Amazon
7. Ruby Love: Teen Period Panties
In addition to all traditional intimates, swimwear and activewear for men and women, Ruby Love specializes in teen period panties. Ruby Love offers two styles of period underwear for teens: hipster and seamless.
Their organic cotton period panties are built with a Dri-Tech mesh to stop leaks and a built-in absorbent liner that holds up to two and a half tampons worth of fluids. We like the four-piece hipster bundle that comes in randomized colors and patterns.
Price: $49.99 (Reg. $69.99) for a pack of four at Ruby Love
8. TomboyX First Line Leakproof Bikini
With sizes ranging from 3XS to 6X, TomboyX offers the largest selection of plus-size period panties. Antibacterial and odor-repellent, their collection features OEKO-TEX-certified cotton and spandex. We dig their Leakproof Bikini, which has a sturdy waistband and holds up to eight teaspoons or eight tampons worth of liquid.
Price: $15.99 (reg. $25) at TomboyX
9. AerieREAL Period Underwear
This new AerieREAL Period worry-free undie is made for light to medium days and can hold up to two tampons. The highly absorbent, moisture-wicking gusset offers comfort and protection with anti-bacterial and odor-reducing layers. It comes in seven colors for every day of the week. Note: Available online only.
Price: $10 (reg. $19.95) at Aerie.com
10. Honorable Mention: Harebrained Period Panties
Of all the period panties on this list, Harebrained period panties are hands-down the hippest. Created by Chicago-based illustrator/designer Anthony Hall, Harebrained panties don’t actually absorb fluid — but they do have playful designs and say fun things like, “Bless this Mess,” “It’s My Time” and “I Want to B-Leed” so they made our list as honorable mentions.
Price: $14.99 at Harebrained
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