Menstruation isn't exactly a favorite hot topic of conversation.
A slew of brands are trying to change that -- not just by producing products and services that make periods so much easier (which they do a great job of), but by delivering them in insanely chic packaging, speaking up about the stigma around periods, and empowering anyone who gets a period to embrace their cycle. It is a totally natural (and crucial, we might say) part of life, after all.
No product may be the total antidote to all of anyone's menstrual woes, but after decades of minuscule innovation in the period product industry, these companies want to make your monthly cycle less frustrating.
Intimate skincare company
DeoDoc is a skincare company for your skin down there. Designed by doctors, DeoDoc offers vagina-friendly hygiene products, including a body wash, deodorant spray, body wipes, a shaving kit and what the brand calls an "intimate calming oil" -- a blend of chamomile, almond oil and shea butter to prevent itching, dryness and chafing. The entire line of products is vegan, paraben-free and hypoallergenic.
Not only does DeoDoc offer products to relieve some of women's worst period problems (namely odor), but founding sisters Dr. Hedieh Asadi and Hasti Asadi encourage women to speak up and break the taboo about female hygiene.
The DeoDoc line of products is a bit expensive ($25 for a 1 fluid ounce bottle of the calming oil), but they may be well worth it for women who struggle with discomfort or odor during their period.
Absorbent underwear for periods
If you get a period, you're probably familiar with this popular line of period panties by now. One of the originals, Thinx remains one of the most buzzed-about period panty brands.
Thinx was born to help you "period better" and does this by offering a whole range of absorbent underwear that can replace your disposable pads, or complement your existing period routine.
You can choose from the classic hip hugger ($34), hi-waist ($38), sport ($23), cheeky ($30), boy short ($39) and thong ($24) designs. You can also customize a set of Thinx for your cycle. That is, you can purchase a set of three, five or seven pairs of different Thinx to match your flow.
They even released Thinx (BTWN), a period panty line for tweens and teens, so they can teach the next generation about menstrual care options, too.
The Thinx mission is twofold. The brand aims to reduce period waste from pads and tampons, revolutionize the way we talk about periods, and to end period poverty by making sure everyone has easy and affordable access to menstrual hygiene.
Saalt is "period care simplified." It started when co-founder Cherie Hoeger learned that her Venezuelan family had gone far too long without proper period care -- stores in their area hadn't stocked pads or tampons in years.
Enter: the Saalt cup, a reusable period cup.
The period cup concept has exploded in popularity in recent years, after brands like Lunette and DivaCup started speaking out about period waste and decided there had to be a better way. Millions of women trash dozens of pads and tampons and the packaging they come in every month.
An average period lasts from three to seven days, once a month, and the average person menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That means the average amount of lifetime periods is about 450 -- that's a lot of tampons, especially if you change it at the recommended frequency of every four to eight hours. It's estimated that 45 billion45 billion feminine hygiene products are thrown out every year around the world.
The Saalt cup lasts for up to 10 years if you wash, sterilize and store it properly, and you can wear the cup for up to 12 hours (even menstrual cup evangelists don't recommend surpassing the 12-hour mark, because things can get smelly).
Because it's made of medical-grade silicone, there are no toxins in the cup, and your risk of altering the delicate pH levels in your vagina is much lower than it is with tampons. (A higher-than-normal pH level can leave you at risk for certain infections.)
For a one-time cost of $27, plus $18 if you want to buy the cup wash and travel bag, you can save yourself the monthly cost of buying pads or tampons. Plus, the packaging is cute and gives off beachy vibes, and who couldn't use a little help with improving their period vibe?
Organic tampon subscription
Yes, this one is simply called "L." The single-letter name might get a little confusing during conversation, but there's no confusion about this brand's product or purpose.
L. is angry that the FDA doesn't regulate labeling on feminine hygiene products, so it took it upon itself to start doing so on its own products.
Organic and free of chlorine, dyes, fragrances and pesticides (which, hello, should not be present in any product anyone puts into their bodies), L. tampons and pads are hypoallergenic and use natural materials, such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton.
You can order your period products in what's called a pouch, with one or two products -- from pads, tampons and liners -- to meet your menstrual needs. Pads and tampons are available in regular or super. Your pouch is then delivered on a monthly basis, and you can adjust your delivery date to make it work for you.
For every tampon, pad or liner purchased, L. donates one to a person in need, joining the oodles of other companies putting an end to the overwhelming scarcity of menstrual care in other parts of the world. L. has international charity partners in Guatemala, Kenya and Cambodia, as well as local partners in the US.
Period subscription box
Sustain NaturalSustain Natural
Subscription boxes are ever-popular, regardless of industry. There are fitness subscription boxes, fashion subscription boxes and shaving subscription boxes. Sustain Natural is a different kind of personal care subscription.
Sustain wants you to pay as much attention to your menstrual health products as you do to your skincare products, hair care products and any other products you use in or on your body.
As another brand with 100 % organic period products, Sustain offers a delivery subscription service for pads, tampons, liners and body wash, as well as sexual health products including condoms and lube.
The period box subscription is set to auto-renew every two months, while the sexual health box is delivered monthly. You can customize both boxes to suit your needs. If Sustain doesn't carry what you need, don't worry: There are more reproductive health subscription services out there, such as Lola and Cora.
A New Way to Period
This isn't an exhaustive list of period care companies. There are many more out there, and women's health care seems to keep getting more avant-garde as time goes on -- a very good thing.
Whatever your period needs, you now have more options than drugstore tampons and body wash with questionable ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, fragrance and certain common preservatives and chemicals that raise concerns.
Every brand on this list shares a similar mission: Make period care easier and more accessible, and make it not-so-weird to talk about menstruation.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.