Howdy, all you curious folks!
Today I’m posting a detailed review of THINX, a period panty company that is “reimagining feminine hygiene products to provide support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind”.
I'd like to start things out by setting the right tone. To do this I shall now quote one of my favorite authors, and an all around righteous babe, Brené Brown:
"I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few."
The conversation about menstruation is RIDDLED with this "inability to lean into the discomfort" that's associated with discussing the subject matter in full, leaving a lot of young women—and even some older, wiser ladies (myself included)—in the dark about what is truly happening with their bodies. Even though Brené might not have been referencing the period topic specifically, it is her wise words on vulnerability and shame that I keep coming back to whenever I see the bold and wonderful ads for THINX:
It's like I can hear Mrs. Brown whispering "Lean in, girl. No shame." I remember how conflicted, confused, and upset I was about my period as a pre-teen/teen, and I am SO grateful that companies like THINX are starting to drag the "rag"—if you will—out of the darkness and talk about it openly. It's insane if you think about the fact that within an average lifetime women will have spent somewhere between 2,300 and 3,220 days on their period!! That's 6.5 to 9 years of self conscious nonsense that has got to stop.
With that in mind, I am giving a full and unabridged review of the THINX products I purchased. I encourage all of you (men and women alike) to read on. Please fight the squeamish feeling you might experience at certain moments in my review, and sally forth. We don't talk about menstruation openly because of a silly, out-dated stigma around this super normal thing that happens monthly in the female body. I am about to talk about my period openly, and I would hope that this might bring a few of my other fabulous lady friends to do the same. I mean DANG, I bleed constantly EVERY MONTH for 5-7 days, and I've somehow been led to believe there's shame in that. No thanks. I'm opting to "be the change"...or whatever. Alright, let's DO THIS.
My cycle is pretty regular. On most months it goes something like this:
Typical Day One: This is sort of a pre-period day for me. I'll have a little breakthrough spotting throughout the day, but usually no bright red blood or clots. I'll need a panty liner, or maybe a pad if things are a little heavier than usual.
THINX Day One: For Day One I bought the THINX high-waisted style. They are super cute, but I did have a few issues with them. After wearing them for a few hours I found the lace and waistband contained fibers that were a little itchy on my super sensitive skin. But they definitely did the trick as far as replacing any feminine products I was using on Day One in the past. I put them on in the morning, and wore them through the night, no problem.
The other issue I had with the high-waisted style is that they don't really stay put as well as the hiphugger style.
Typical Day Two: Within the first hour after getting out of bed, I usually experience what I will refer to from here on out as The Gush*. I have a feeling this label will resonate with my lady friends without much explanation, but for those of you craving more details:
The Gush is something that occurs suddenly upon standing after laying down or sitting for a long period of time. The opening of your vagina is no longer closed up by the pressure of sitting, and you feel a significant amount of blood and clots rush out of your body all at once. If you are laying down, things sort of work like a bottle with a small amount of liquid in it that is open but turned on the side. When you stand up, the liquid just comes pouring out. The Gush. You get it. Moving on.
On the second day of my period I'll go through 4-5 tampons on average, give or take a few depending on the kind of month it is. Lighter months might just be 2-3 tampons.
THINX Day Two: On this day I went with the original THINX product: The hiphuggers. I LOVE THEM. They have an absolutely amazing way of hugging your body, staying put so that when The Gush happens, you hopefully won't have any leakage. Going into this experiment, I really had anxiety about leaking, but this style really does work. I did not use any tampons for Day Two at all! It was crazy. I will, however, admit to taking more than a few trips to the ladies room to check on how things were progressing. During these trips I did quite a bit of personal clean up. Clots do not absorb and must be wiped away with toilet paper. Moving forward I think I would wear these underwear as a back up, and pair them with tampons or a menstrual cup just to be safe.
*SIDE NOTE: The Gush does not usually happen if I am wearing a tampon, which acts as a kind of plug. BUT it can also happen sometimes while I'm just trying to go about my day minding my own damn business. Not cool.
Typical Day 3: Very similar to Day 2, but I had a heavy Day 3 this month, so I ended up caving and wearing tampons throughout the day (I think I went through 3 total, with quite a bit of leakage).
THINX Day 3: For this day I tried out the sport style of THINX. My problem with this design is that, like the high-waisted style, it just did not stay cemented in place the way the hiphuggers did. They are also not at all as absorbent as the hiphuggers, which, to be fair, is how they are advertised on the THINX website. This was the dreaded day I experienced leaking. I was not super happy with these as an option to wear when I'm having a heavier day, even when paired with tampons. At this point in my experiment I realized that I should have just gotten 3 pairs of the hiphuggers. That said I'm certain the sport style will come in handy on day one, or the days after my period is pretty much over but I have some residual discharge.
Typical Day 4: The worst is over. I'll usually move to pads for this day. Full disclosure, I actually really don't like tampons anymore for a number of reasons (maybe I’ll do a separate post about my tampon woes), and I avoid using them if I can. I’m curious about menstrual cups but I’ve never used them, and would love any advice from those that do on the regular. If any of you ladies would be so kind as to answer this review with a detailed review of your favorite menstrual cup product, that would be awesome!!
THINX Day 4: I ended up switching back to the high-waisted style for this day (I hand washed them after Day One), and they did the trick once again, but after having tried the hiphuggers, I really wished I had an extra pair of those to use on this day instead!
Typical Day 5: Usually identical to day 4.
THINX Day 5: I had hand washed and dried the sport style at this point, so I wore them again. As predicted, they worked well after my heavier days had passed, and I was pretty happy.
Typical Day 6: Light spotting so I'll move back to panty liners.
THINX Day 6: My hip huggers were also hand washed and dried at this stage, so I wore them a second time, also. No problem. Once again, the hiphuggers come out on top! So comfy, and I felt super confident all day long.
In the end I followed the wash instructions exactly, with one adjustment: I soaked them in a bowl of cold water first for a few minutes before I scrubbed. I found that this allowed for most of the staining to be lifted enough to make the rinse/wash process a little faster/easier. After I wore each pair twice (6 days of coverage) I threw them in the washing machine with the rest of my laundry then hung them out to dry. Pretty simple.
While this is definitely no problem for a lady like myself, I could see some folks not loving the bloody scrubbing you have to do. It's not bad by any means, but it takes a few minutes with your hands submerged in icy cold, bloody water to get the majority of the mess gone. I feel like the other online reviews I've read have oversold how simple the clean up is. To be honest I even had a few moments where that line from the musical Chicago kept playing in my head:
"It wasn't until later, when I was washing the blood off my hands, I even knew they were DEAD."
MY PURCHASE RECOMMENDATIONS: Get the hiphuggers! Don’t hesitate! They are the cat's pajamas! They have a great design that really raised my leak-free confidence no matter how heavy my flow was. Anywhere I'm seeing the "free bleed" chatter, I assume it's most likely only when people are wearing these bad boys. I think the other newer designs (high-waisted, sport, thong???, etc) will probably catch up in quality/design, but in my personal experience, this was the pair I loved the most and wanted more of. The sport style was my second favorite, followed by the high-waisted style.
THEY ACCEPT RETURNS!
You get 60 days to decide if THINX work for you or not. I will probably return the high-waisted style (They were $38!! Youch.) and exchange them for another pair of hiphuggers! We’re all different, and as such we’re bound to have varying experiences when navigating unfamiliar territory. I’m so grateful that THINX has a policy in place that allows room for improvement of their already badass product! This review outlines what worked for me, but try them for yourself and keep them ones you love, but return the ones you don’t.
THE TAKE AWAY:
Overall I think THINX—specifically the hiphugger style—are pretty sweet! There are, however, aspects of the products that didn’t work for me. There are a few folks online posting reviews claiming you can free bleed into these underpants all day and all will be well in the world. I don’t want to completely discount another woman’s THINX experience by any means, but my personal experience did not reflect the same “magical panty” sentiment. Perhaps some ladies with shorter, lighter, 3 day cycles can, infact, replace all other menstrual products with THINX with total confidence. I'm here to tell you that as a lady with a heavier 5-7 day flow, this is slightly false, and in my opinion these reviews create somewhat unrealistic expectations of the product's performance. On one of my two heaviest days, I was wearing THINX in addition to tampons, and I still had leakage. Granted I was wearing the sport style which offers less protection, but still. The fabric was soaked through, and I nearly ruined a really expensive pair of jeans. If I could have a purchase do over, I would get three pairs of the hiphuggers, and avoid the high-waisted and sport styles. Trust this little nugget of wisdom straight from the THINX site:
"THINX replaces panty liners for good, and can be used in conjunction with tampons and menstrual cups. You know your flow though, so we suggest testing your own limits."
I tested my limits, and found that free bleeding is NOT a good idea for me on heavier days.
To wrap it all up with a pretty bow, it's high time we stop allowing ideas that are literally centuries old dictate how we discuss periods. The only way a product like THINX can really take off is if we open up to each other and discuss what's working, and what needs improvement based on our personal experiences. So share!! Talk!! Let's arm the next generation of women with the knowledge we so desperately wish we had when we were young. Simultaneously we can also choose to support THINX knowing that they are actively driving the knowledge train forward through the development of a potentially game-changing product.
Please comment below if you have any questions about my review. I’m happy to keep the discussion going!