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The term “period panties” used to refer to the undies we wore during shark week only — either because they were already stained from leaks or they were baggy enough to hold a bulky-AF pad.
But the world has gloriously given us actual period panties. So we no longer have to wear rags when we’re “on the rag.” These undies are designed to absorb and hold menstrual fluid, eliminating the need for a tampon, pad, liner, or cup — all of which have their pros and cons.
Yep, you can just pull on a pair of period undies and call it a day — just like any other day. But if you don’t have any of these super-absorbent skivvies in your unmentionables drawer yet, you may be wondering what brand or kind to buy.
We’ve done the research on the best period panties for when the ol’ crimson tide rolls in. We based our selections on absorbency (without bulk), style and activity, and products that had overwhelmingly positive reviews. No Aunt Flo fails here!
$ = under $30
$$ = $30–$40
$$$ = over $40
Sometimes a nighttime flow can turn your bed into what looks like a crime scene. The Modibodi Seamfree Full Brief in heavy/overnight absorbency holds four regular tampons’ worth, so you no longer have to worry about the state of your sheets.
The seamless design makes you feel like you’re sleeping in the buff. And during the day, you can wear this pair without fretting about panty lines. Shape-molding microfiber forms to your body to thwart leaks, but that might make them feel a little snug when you first wear them, users report.
Have you ever felt tampon slippage during a run or had trouble figuring out how to place a pad in the liner of your athletic wear? Taking the period panty one step further, the Thinx training short offers comfortable and breathable protection for when you’re sweating it out.
Of course, these moisture-wicking shorts are equally perfect for when you just want to lounge around the house eating chocolate, too. Best for moderate days, the training short holds two tampons’ worth. Reviewers report they run small. So size up, especially if your period brings on the bloat.
Opting for a thong on a period day can feel a bit like taking a gamble, betting nothing will come up red. The Knix Leakproof Thong will ensure that bet is a win.
Available in six core colors with occasional limited-edition choices, these thongs are best for light period days or as a backup method on heavier ones.
Plus, they’re great for non-cycle time too, like when you’re getting a different kind of flow on and you don’t want panty lines during your downward dog. Size up for the best fit, reviewers say.
Remember that awkward moment at the beach when your tampon string was dangling out of your suit? Well, that never has to happen again with the Ruby Love Swim Bottom.
The cute hipster style, which comes in four colors, goes with just about any bikini or tankini top you already have. They’re low-rise though, so they may not be your thing if you prefer more coverage. These bottoms offer three tampons’ worth of protection without adding bulk.
Plus, they double as a period panty when you’re not at the pool.
Maybe you’re totally new to period panties and aren’t ready to drop a lot of coin until you’ve put them to the test against your code red. Bambody has some of the most affordable and raved-about briefs on the market.
The Absorbent Midi Brief features a comfy, high-cut design and bamboo fabric that feels soft against your sensitive parts. In sizes XX-small to 4X-large, the Midi Brief fits bodies of all shapes and holds two tampons’ worth. Some users report they experienced a slight riding up in the booty.
You might not think of period panties as lingerie. But why not? If sexy undies give you superpowers, then behold the Dear Kate Ada Hipster Mini. They feature a luxe, but durable lace trim at the waist and a cute bikini cut.
They come in classic beige or black, or you can opt for the flirtier watermelon hue. Yes, please! Leak-resistant, breathable layers hold up to two tampons’ worth on your light-to-regular days. But you may need a backup for heavier flow.
Do you want a high-waisted wonder for all your high-waisted fashions? Flux Undies out of the UK has a naval grazing pair of period panties that holds four tampons’ worth on heavier days. The cheeky cut features hip-hugging mesh panels for added glam. Yes, period panties can be glam!
Soft modal fabric and a super-absorbent gusset keep you confident on any day of your cycle. Reviewers report they run tight in the waist and legs, so size up for comfort, especially if your uterus gets a little feisty.
Aisle Boxer Briefs offer a gender-neutral option for any person who gets their period. One reviewer writes, “I feel cute in my briefs which helps the body image issues that arise during my period.” And another adds, “They feel gender affirming, around a time of the month that can be tricky.”
They hold two tampons’ worth on their own. But each pair comes with an absorbency booster you can tuck into the gusset to soak up even more on heavier days. Wearers do report the elastic wears quickly, however.
Choosing a pair of period panties is a lot like choosing any other everyday undies, but with a few additional “flow factors.”
- Absorbency. If you typically have lighter periods and days where you just spot, you’ll be good to go with a period panty that offers two tampons’ worth of absorbency or less. But if your periods tend to be heavier, or you have a few heavy days, you’ll probably want a pair that can hold four tampons’ worth. For reference, a regular absorbency tampon typically holds about a teaspoon of menstrual fluid.
- Style. You likely already have a style of skivvies that you tend to wear. Maybe you like cheeky bottoms or always wear thongs. The undies already in your drawer are probably based on the styles of clothing in your closet. For example, if you like high-waisted jeans and skirts, you might prefer high-waisted briefs under them. If you stick to your usual style of underthings, you’ll be more likely to wear your period panties during your red badge of courage days.
- Comfort. With all their images of horseback riding and swimming, tampon commercials sure make periods look like a blast. But let’s face it: not all period days are a delight. You might be prone to cramping, bloating, and other not-so-fun symptoms. If that’s the case, consider styles that will also be comfortable to wear on the worst days. Think stretchy and soft materials. You may even wish to size up.
- Activity. You just might go horseback riding though! Or cycling. Or on a date. That’s why it can be useful to have styles that accommodate whatever activity you might be up to. The Thinx training short, for example, is great if you’re super active.
Period panties are a lot like your regular undies in that you wash ’em, wear ’em, and repeat. The big dif is that they’re meant to catch your flow via absorbency layers in the gusset — read crotch. Most use polyurethane laminate (PUL) to provide the same leakproof protection found on cloth diapers. But don’t worry — you won’t have diaper butt. Period panties are meant to be bulk-free but still hold 1 to 4 teaspoons of menstrual fluid, depending on their absorbency level. Period knickers are also typically made of moisture-wicking, odor-fighting, breathable fabrics, and you can typically wear a pair for about 12 to 14 hours.
If you’re tired of dealing with a menstrual cup, folding “wings” over your normal undies, or riding the cotton pony — aka wearing tampons — period panties will change your life, or at least your cycle.
They’re washable and reusable, meaning less waste for the landfill. And once you stock up on enough pairs to get you through those bloody 5 to 7 days, you’ll save money not having to buy “supplies” each month.
As an added bonus, period panties also absorb discharge on non-flow days and even work well as sweat-wicking workout underwear. You might like them so much you’ll replace all the unmentionables in your drawer.