Thinking of trying reusable alternatives to sanitary pads? Here’s where to get them, how to use them, and our tried and tested reviews.
It’s been a full year since I’ve switched from using sanitary pads to a period cup, and it’s safe to say my life is forever changed. Since I’ve gone sustainable with the cup, I’ve bid goodbye to sitting for hours in icky menstrual gunk and having to feel a waterfall of blood leak out of me whenever I stand up. Of course, I’ve shared my experience with every person who has a uterus. And many friends have asked me how they can get started – hence this handy guide. But if you’re looking for other sustainable alternatives to sanitary pads ‘cos period cups just aren’t your “cup” of tea, don’t fret! I’ve got that covered too.
Where to get sustainable alternatives to sanitary pads
1. Period underwear: Mooncheeks
Adorable brand name aside, we love Mooncheeks for its collection of practical and fashionable period underwear. Yes, you can look cute and not worry about getting a stain! Say goodbye to itching and chafing from bulky pads. The clean up is super easy too. Just rinse them under cold water and pop them into the washing machine when you’re done. You can shop them by underwear style or absorbency.
Mooncheeks, available online and at #05-K3, The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 278994
2. Period cups and biodegradable tampons: Luuna
This women-led B Corp-certified menstrual care company is an absolute powerhouse. Founded in Hong Kong, Luuna is a growing presence in period care. It was created with a drive to combat the unhealthy and unsustainable options that we currently have in the market. If you’re not ready to venture into the world of menstrual cups just yet, no worries. Luuna supplies organic tampons, pads, and liners too! They’re made with natural, hypoallergenic cotton free from pesticides and fertilisers. The tampons are biodegradable and the pads come in water-soluble wrappers.
Luuna, available online
3. Period cups: Freedom Cups
We love that Freedom Cups offer two period cup sizes – mini and grande. This makes it the perfect sustainable sanitary pad alternative for beginners and experienced users alike. You can get the different sizes separately (if you only need one). Or go for a duo pack with one of each size. Freedom Cups even operates on a buy-one, give-one model. So when you purchase a cup, it donates one to women in underprivileged communities!
Freedom Cups, available online
4. Period cups, discs, and underwear: Saalt
The generic period cup is already pretty comfortable on its own – you don’t even feel it once it’s been inserted. But Saalt takes comfort to the next level by offering two different firmness levels! Get the original cup if you prefer a more resistant one that pops open and seals with ease. Or try the soft cup if you’re looking for a period cup that feels barely there. And if you aren’t ready to take on period cups yet, get some period underwear instead!
Saalt, available online
5. Period underwear: Thinx
Thinx was started by three friends. Tired of experiencing gnarly period accidents, they aim to help women around the world continue to do the things they love while on their period. From hip huggers to boy shorts, it sells period underwear for every sort of lifestyle and flow. It’s a great option if you don’t like the idea of inserting something inside you. Goodbye, ridiculously large sanitary pads and nasty night leaks!
Thinx, available online
6. Menstrual discs: Nixit
Tried the period cup and just can’t get it to fit right? Perhaps consider a menstrual disc instead. It’s a great sanitary pad alternative that’s touted for being easier to insert and remove than the cup. Nixit’s menstrual discs offer 12 hours of protection and hold up to 70ml of liquid (as opposed to cups that hold up to 30ml). Amazing if you experience heavy flows.
Nixit, available online
7. Menstrual discs: Ziggy Cup Menstrual Disc
Another worthy menstrual disc contender is the Ziggy Cup, which boasts a revolutionary flat-fit design that moulds perfectly to your body, and has a petal thin membrane for maximum comfort. You’ll never dream of wearing a sanitary pad again! We also love that it comes with a protective silicone case, so we can easily pop it in our handbag when we’re on the move.
Ziggy Cup Menstrual Disc, available online
Not sure how to use them? Check out these resources
How to: Period cup
We love this YouTuber’s highly informative video! She explains and demonstrates in detail (in a super soothing way) how to insert and remove a period cup with ease for a pain-free, leak-free experience.
How to: Period underwear
Sure, period underwear sounds pretty straightforward. But how do you ensure you choose the right pair for your flow? How absorbent are they, and how long can you wear them for? This vid answers all your burning questions, so you can have a stress-free time picking out your new pair of period underwear.
How to: Menstrual discs
We love how informative this video is! It touches on the basics of using a menstrual disc, the various brands available and how they perform, and how to pick the right disc based on your shape and preference (because vaginas aren’t one-size-fits-all).
Real-life experiences with reusable period alternatives
If you’re still hesitant (which is totally understandable), we’re happy to share experiences from users of sustainable sanitary pad alternatives to give you a little more insight into what it’s like! First, check out this menstrual cup review by our team at HoneyKids Asia. Consisting of young adults and parents, they share what it’s like using cups and discs (some for the first time!).
On period cups
“I move around a lot for work and recreational sports, so period cups seemed like a great alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. They’re also more environmentally- and cost-friendly in the long term. I’d definitely recommend a period cup because it helped me spark a healthier relationship with my bleeding and my body. I was more conscious of how much I was bleeding, the varying shades of period blood, and also became more intimately aware of my body in the process.”
“Although the learning curve was tough for me and I’m still in the process of learning how to use the period cup, I’d recommend it to friends. Not having to wear a sanitary pad is such a liberating experience. It felt great the first time I set it in properly!”
“It’s been an amazing experience so far! I’ve been using the period cup for four years, and I feel it’s actually more sanitary than using a pad. While it was intimidating at first, I watched videos, browsed through forums and spoke to friends, and this helped me tremendously in overcoming the initial worries and challenges I faced.”
On period underwear
“I’ve never been comfortable inserting a tampon inside me, and I couldn’t bring myself to use a period cup for the same reason. So period underwear just seemed like the most logical alternative to sanitary pads for me! It’s definitely made bleeding a less messy experience, and I enjoy being able to go to sleep at night knowing I’m not going to stain my mattress.”
“The different styles of period underwear available have given me more options during that time of the month (rather than having to wear gross granny panties to fit my large maxi pads). I also love that the thong makes me feel super sexy even when I’m bleeding. When I’m wearing my period underwear, it makes me forget that I’m on my period because of how well it absorbs.”
On menstrual discs
“I find the menstrual disc so much easier to use than the period cup. I didn’t have a very hard time getting used to inserting it since I was already using tampons. It holds so much blood, I don’t have to worry about it leaking on my heavy days. It’s also a big bonus that I can have mess-free period sex with it. No surprise, my husband has zero complaints about this.”
Here’s to experiencing a more comfortable way to bleed with sustainable sanitary pad alternatives!
[This article was originally published in 2022 and updated in 2023 by Ashe Liao]