I'll hold my hands up and say that when I first heard about period pants — and subsequently THINX — maybe 18 months ago, I turned my nose up at the thought. I bet they feel like nappies, no thanks. As time went on, I heard more reviews in the press and on social media, but part of me was still apprehensive. They're probably paid to say all that. I took a look at the THINX website, and frankly, was turned off by the price point (I was on a very tight budget), plus the shipping and customs fees I would get lumbered with as a result of ordering from the States just all added up to too much. It just seemed like a lot of money to pay for something I didn't even know would work. And then the positive reviews began to trickle into my everyday life. I heard two girls talking about them in a coffee shop. An acquaintance compared THINX to cheaper versions, with the former still reigning supreme. A fellow panelist at an event I was talking at raved about how she couldn't live without them. And as I heard more, it dawned on me, that maybe I needed to see for myself if THINX would change the way that I live during my period.
I was ready to bite the bullet at the end of last year; I was ready to commit to giving THINX a go. But my then-undiagnosed PCOS had other plans. I've struggled with my periods since my very first, and their erratic and irregular patterns were being well-managed by the pill. Until they weren't. My periods, for lack of a better word, disappeared. My five-day, heavy monthly situation had evaporated into little more than an ultra-light 12-hour layover over time. I was taken off of the pill for testing, and my periods never came back. It was also during this time that I was invited by THINX to a press breakfast to celebrate their exclusive launch in the UK with Selfridges. The universe was giving me an opportunity to finally try period pants, but my ovaries were the party pooper. Intrigued, excited, I went along and met with the New York team, including CEO Maria Molland Selby.
Even that incredible technology aside, THINX impressed me. Their ethos, their passion, their inclusivity, everything. I never realised how much waste there was when it comes to sanitary products. I mean, of course, I knew there was waste, but I never realised just how much, and how harmful it can be for the planet. The average menstruator throws away 250 to 300lbs of disposable period products in their lifetime, and that statistic shocked me. Whilst I by no means meant to be ignorant about it all, I realised that I'd been pretty clueless, and whilst I recycle and think consciously about other things that affect the planet, I didn't think too much about the impact my period had. With price point being something that initially deterred me, after I realised how much use you could get out of a single pair of THINX, buying a few pairs to get me through my period served me way better financially than the equivalent amount of tampons or towels ever could. After the breakfast, I left, heading on to my OBGYN, hoping for good news that could mean I'd be able to give the Forest hiphuggers that they'd gifted me a run for their money.
Fast forward to last week, when finally, after what felt like an eternity, my period came. As the initial pre-period symptoms crept in, I got out my THINX, ready. Here's what happened:
Day One: I popped them on after my morning shower and, you know what, they weren't bad. In fact I'd say that they felt comfortable — really comfortable — like normal knickers would. As I moved around the house and took my dog out for a walk, it wasn't the nappy-esque nightmare that I'd previously anticipated. I also am very conscious about that 'period smell', but thanks to the four-layer protection (including its anti-microbial lining), it wasn't a concern. One thing I found though, was that I was very aware that I was bleeding, and frequently ran to the bathroom to check that I hadn't leaked. I rationalised the anxiety around leaking and the feeling of bleeding pretty quickly — as a tampon user for over a decade, I'd forgotten what it really felt like. I stayed leak-free, and the hiphuggers, which hold approximately two tampons' worth of liquid, done the job. At the end of the day, I put them — alone — in the washing machine, and hung them out before bed, ready for Day Two.
Day Two: Good lord. I know I asked for my periods back, but this felt like hell. It's like all of my previously missing periods ganged up on me and came all at once. Yesterday it was okay, pain aside, and with my day predominantly inside, I gave the pants a go solo. I split my day in half: the first half using THINX only, and the second half, sticking to my more traditional methods as I went into the city to attend an event, and wanted to ensure maximum security. On their own, the THINX definitely held up the fort for the half-day that I wore them, but they definitely would've needed reinforcements if they were to last me the whole day. What many people don't realise though, is that for heavier days, THINX serve as a great back up to tampons and cups, so the pressure doesn't have to sit on the THINX alone. I would definitely need to use the pants for back up generally, but I just wanted to see how they fared on their own for the sake of experimenting.
Day Three: I'm impressed with how these turn out in the wash. You rinse them immediately after wearing them, and throw them into a cold wash on laundry day. With only one pair to trial (for now), they're getting washed every night, and the only fault I can offer is that I noticed a small piece of elastic from the waistband of the hiphuggers was beginning to unravel after the second wash. I snipped it off with scissors and there seemed to be no problems after that. The Battle of the Womb was still ensuing throughout Day Three, so I wore them with tampons, and didn't even really have to think about them too much.
Day Four: Being the first day that I wasn't wearing jeans, or something with an equally more fitted waist, I've noticed that my hiphuggers have been struggling a bit to stay in place with my little belly pooch. Wearing a looser jumpsuit, the waistband rolls down under my stomach, and whilst I wouldn't say that they were uncomfortable, it was more of an annoyance, and I was definitely aware that they weren't sitting right. It does make me wonder if women with more belly than me would find this kind of thing happened more regularly to them (whilst I'm fat, my stomach is the flattest part of me). It doesn't deter me, and now I'm definitely considering giving the high waist THINX a go for these kinds of outfits. Aside from that, Day Four was a breeze.
Day Five: I went back to wearing just the pants because things had appeared to ease up significantly. By this point, I was used to the feelings that I had trouble making peace with earlier in the week, and my leak anxiety had near enough diminished. I have trust in THINX now, and I spent my lunch break looking at what other styles and colours to try.
It would be a lie for me to say, given the pain that I experienced across the week, that I was sad to see my period leave me for the month, but it almost felt odd slipping into regular knickers again. For those who were, like me, apprehensive, I can honestly say that trying THINX has changed the way I think about my periods, and it's allowed me to be more aware of the sustainability and the choices I make surrounding it. THINX can replace a tampon, cup, or liner — how you choose to use your THINX is up to you, because everyone's different. Now, I'm not sure what I'm looking forward to most: heading to Soda at Selfridges to pick myself out my cycle set, or my next period!