Skip to content
Menu
Menu

Period underwear is a fast-growing market in 2023 with many brands jumping on the ‘period panties‘ bandwagon in recent months. But while ‘period pants‘ might have meant your biggest, comfiest (and ugliest) stained pair of knickers to throw on during your time of the month, there’s now a real shift in women buying sustainable underwear specifically for their period, that do not compromise on comfort or style. As a result, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about period pants and the best period underwear brands to shop now.

Make sure you also checkout our article on Period Brands Doing Things Differently.

The rise of period underwear brands

Period underwear, much like reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups, has seen a boom in popularity over the past few years due to the growing recognition of the ruinous environmental impact of single-use menstrual products and the focus on sustainability. 

Disposable period products such as sanitary pads and tampons are major contributors to plastic pollution with over 100 billion produced and discarded worldwide each year.

Another contributing factor to period underwear’s growing popularity is comfort. We don’t have to tell you how uncomfortable, emotional and down right painful periods can be, so feeling dry and clean should be a given. But alas, it’s not always the case, disposable period products like pads come with a whole range of discomforts and tampons increase risk of toxic shock syndrome. Period underwear on the other hand are becoming more and more advanced, absorbing up to 4 tampons worth of liquid for some brands/models whilst remaining very soft and dry.

best-period-underwear
Credit: Laker, Pexels

What is period underwear and how do period pants work?

Period underwear are just like regular underwear apart from the fact that they are made with built in super absorbent layers which consist of a special odour eliminating fabric. Discharge and blood passes through different absorbent layers and become trapped to keep you feeling dry. It’s worth noting that just like pads, period underwear will not absorb clots and endometrial tissue that naturally occurs during your period, so you may find this sits on top but you can easily wipe it away when you go to the restroom.

Period underwear can also be used if you experience urinary incontinence or occasional leaks and they are a great alternative to adult diapers. Brands like Thinx for example also offer a postpartum set which consists of three different types of undies with a high absorbency. A great baby shower gift!

How long can you keep them on and do they smell?

Depending on the style you choose, they can hold anywhere from 1 tampon’s worth of blood to up to 4 for heavier days. This means that depending on your flow, you could keep it on all day, rinse it and pop-it in the wash in the evening. You can also use period underwear as a back-up on heavier days where you can choose to still wear a reusable cup, tampon or pad. That depends on your flow and the brand/style you choose.

Thanks to a special odour eliminating fabric, period underwear can keep you feeling clean for longer. But worth noting that just like with any other period product, it does not eliminate it completely. Our bodies are doing something amazing month after month, renewing the lining of a major organ and it’s important to realise that odours are a natural part of this process. Be kind to yourself and your body!

How do you clean them?

This is probably the question we get asked the most whenever we talk about period underwear. Cleaning them is actually very easy. Simply rinse them under cold water until it runs clear and pop them in the wash. If you’re planning on putting a wash on straight away, simply pop them in a little separate laundry bag. One thing to note is to not wash them with fabric softener as overtime this will reduce their absorbency.

Convinced? Here’s our round-up of 4 period underwear brands to know in 2023.

Shop the 4 Best Period Underwear Brands to Know in 2023

Wuka

wuka-period-underwear

Why We Love It

Wuka is the U.K’s #1 Independent Female Founded Brand when it comes to period proof underwear. And it’s easy to understand why. With hundreds of products available from briefs, to boxers, swimwear, postpartum underwear as well as items aimed at girls & teens, you are spoiled for choice. But what sets them apart most of all is the quality of their products. Incredibly comfortable to wear and reliable, you can choose from a range of absorbencies and sizes (from XXS to 6XL).

Take Note

If you fall in between two sizes, we recommend sizing up for comfort. Especially if like us, you tend to bloat quite a bit during your periods. The brand only offers a refund on one opened pair so if you buy 3 pairs of the same pants and open all three, you would only receive a refund for one. So make sure you open just one item to try on and ensure it fits and works for you before opening the rest.

Thinx

thinx-period-underwear

Why We Love It

Thinx were one of the first to launch period underwear on the market so they really know their stuff! With their own signature technology, you can have peace of mind that each built in layer is going to play it’s role in keeping you dry, clean and leak proof all day long. Just make sure you choose the right absorbency/model for your flow. We also love that Thinx gives back by fighting for better access to puberty education and for equity in access to period products for all.

Take Note

Thinx underwear is not necessarily for every budget. Although they are long lasting and work incredibly well, £30 can seem like quite a big budget keeping in mind you will need to purchase several to make sure you have spares to change into. Because they’re probably a little thicker than some other options out there, you can also sometimes get a little irritated in areas where a lot of rubbing tends to happen and if your skin is a little sensitive.

M&S

marks-and-spencer-period-knickers

Why We Love It

With a decent range of styles and absorbencies, M&S have recently jumped on the band waggon and started offering period underwear. Super-absorbent, anti-odour technology and a triple-layer weave ensure all-day comfort and freshness. We also love the cute designs and lacy options. Price wise, they’re also very affordable compared to other options out there at only £12.

Take Note

Make sure you select the right absorbency and even go for higher absorbency than what you think you need because leaks can happen with these. Many reviews also seem to indicate that the absorbent layer does not go far enough to the front which can cause some unfortunate leaks.

Uniqlo

uniqlo-sanitary-pants

Why We Love It

Uniqlo are also rather new comers in the period underwear department and this is by far the softest option out there with 4 colours available. Built with a special moisture wicking technology and 3-layer construction for extra confidence, they are remarkably comfortable. The absorbent layers also extend very far back and to the front which is not always the case and does offer extra peace of mind especially at night.

Take Note

Uniqlo only have one model available which compared to competitors doesn’t leave choice in terms of model, absorbency and look. Some reviews also recommend wearing these more towards the end of your period rather the first couple of days with a heavier flow. Although we did not experience any leaks using this product, we can see how for someone with a heavy flow, this might not make the cut on its own.

Primark

primark-period-underwear

Why We Love It

At an unbeatable £6 per pair, these are definitely the most affordable option out there. With three different models and two colours to choose from, these are made up of four different layers of protection. With two different types of absorbency (light to medium and medium to heavy), they can promise to hold up to 4 tampons worth.

Take Note

With an unbeatable price usually comes a downside. Although these are the most affordable out there, they really aren’t the most leak proof. We would not recommend wearing these on the first two days of your period if you have a normal to heavy flow. If you have a light flow, these might just make the cut but otherwise you might want to wear them with a cup or tampon. It’s also worth noting about the manufacturing practices of Primark which kind of counteracts the sustainability benefit of period underwear. As with any Primark product, you also cannot purchase them online so you will have to make your way to your nearest store to make your purchase.

Modi Bodi

Why We Love It

We love the number of options available in terms of absorbency and design but also in terms of who the products are for (women, men, teens, children, maternity). The brand is also highly inclusive with sizes ranging from XS to 6XL and models of all sizes, ethnicity, body handicap and age. Lastly, we love that Modi Bodi offers a risk free 60 day trial period for new customers

Take Note

Compared to some other options on this list, these period pants are on the slightly higher price point with prices starting at £20 for briefs and £14 for super light thongs. It’s also worth noting that some customers have reported they size a little small and that returns are not free so always check on the size chart before purchasing.

With many new comers on the market, period underwear are trending with good reason. Not only do they make your period more comfortable, they are also a very sustainable option with many women banishing disposable period products. They require a little more effort than a pad which you can just throw away but washing them is not as arduous as many believe. All in all, period underwear are a great option for anyone going through postpartum, anyone with a period or discharge/urine leaks who wants a more eco-friendly and comfortable solution than disposable period products or adult diapers.

And of course if you prefer to go with the flow and carry on using disposable tampons and pads, that’s completely fine too!

Make sure you also checkout our article on Period Brands Doing Things Differently.

Author

  • Violette Kraemer

    Violette is the co-founder of The Women’s Journal and Marketing Director with a penchant for editorial work particularly in Health & Wellness, Beauty and Fashion. She has nearly 10 years of Marketing & PR experience in industries varying from arts to fashion, events, weddings and beauty.

You Might Also Like:

Women’s issues, women-owned fashion and beauty brands, health & wellness.

Straight to your inbox