The Best Period Underwear of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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The Core Free-to-Flow pair tops our list

<p>People / Jhett Thompson</p>

People / Jhett Thompson

Anyone with a menstrual cycle deserves the peace of mind that they can go through their period with comfort, protection, and confidence. While tampons, pads, and diva cups all have their pros and cons, period underwear is the unsung hero of menstrual products.

Period underwear feels much like standard underwear and comes in all of the same cuts, like hipsters, boyshorts, and thongs. Now, to a bust a few of the common misconceptions about period underwear: one, it doesn’t feel anything like a diaper (the best period underwear is basically indistinguishable from regular underwear), and two, the right pair of period underwear for your flow should absorb all the blood you expel, so you won’t feel like you’re sitting in wetness all day.

Don’t believe us? Just ask Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist in New York who is an expert on all things menstrual cycle. “The purpose of period underwear is not only to absorb the flow, but to wick it away from the vulva skin so that it doesn't cause odor, irritation, or the feeling like you're sitting in something wet,” Dr. Dweck tells PEOPLE.

All those with a heavy flow, worry not — period underwear can work for you, too. “Period underwear comes in different absorbency,” Dr. Dweck says. “Some can hold quite a heavy period, the equivalent of a super tampon.”

Comfortable, flexible, and absorbent — three words we’d use to describe the best pairs of period underwear, which we’ve rounded up for your shopping convenience. Each product we chose was put to the test in our PEOPLE Tested Lab so that you can feel confident through every stage of your period.

So, keep scrolling to discover which period underwear the PEOPLE Tested team recommends.

Best Overall: Cora Period Underwear

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Buy at

For those lighter-flow days (or as a backup when paired with other period products), this comfortable period underwear from Cora look as good as they feel. The lower-rise bikini cut allows you to move freely without constraint. These underpants instantly absorbed the 3 teaspoons of liquid that we poured over the gusset in our testing. There was a small amount of transfer, but the gusset did remain dry through our entire testing process.

Our tester was impressed by the soft fabric and thick, comfy waistband. “From the feel to the absorbency — these are worth $25,” the tester said. Though they noted that they wouldn’t reach for this period underwear on heavier flow days without another form of protection, our tester says that they’d feel confident wearing a pair on lighter days.

Cora’s period underwear is certified by STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX, an independent international association that inspects safety in textile products. All factors considered, we’d absolutely recommend the Cora Period Underwear on days when you’re spotting, have a lighter flow, or when paired with another menstrual product.

Price at time of publish: $25-$30

Cut: Bikini | Absorbency: 5 tsp. | Material: 95% cotton, 5% elastane | Size range: XS-XXL

<p>PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida</p>

PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida

Related: The 13 Best Yoga Pants for Everything from Vinyasa to Hot Yoga

Best Coverage: Proof Leakproof Hipster Underwear

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When you need your period underwear to have you covered (both literally and figuratively), the Proof leakproof hipster underwear is a solid choice. Unlike a lot of other options on the market, these underwear have absorbent protection that extends up the entire front and back of the panties, not just on the gusset. This mid-rise, medium coverage, seamless underwear easily absorbed 5 teaspoons of liquid in our tests without any overspill. The gusset remained dry, while the interior was just slightly damp.

“The fabric feels very soft and technical,” our tester commented. “Even though these are billed as being the highest absorbency, they actually feel lightweight and very wearable.” Whether our high praise is enough to justify the price tag is ultimately up to you, but if you’re looking for a pretty darn absorbent pair of period underwear, we’d recommend giving the Proof Leakproof Hipster a try.

Price at time of publish: $43

Cut: Hipster | Absorbency: 5 tsp. | Outer material: 75% nylon, 25% spandex  | Gusset material: 100% cotton | Size range: XS-3XL

<p>PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida</p>

PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida

Best Thong: Knix Leakproof Thong

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Yup, period thongs are actually a thing, and these ones from Knix are just as comfortable as your favorite pair of seamless panties. This machine-washable thong has an ultra-thin and absorbent gusset that can absorb one tampon’s worth of liquid.

Because of its minimalist shape, thongs are less protective than fuller-cut period underwear — but, that being said, our tester was pleasantly surprised with how the Knix Leakproof Thong held up in lab tests. “This thong absorbed water quickly, with no spillover, and the outer gusset stayed dry," they noted. "I can't believe I'm saying this about a thong — but wow.”

While we don’t recommend using this underwear on your heavier days by themselves, they make for a good backup to other menstrual products or for spotting or discharge.

Price at time of publish: $26

Cut: Thong | Absorbency: 1 tsp. | Outer material: 70% nylon, 30% spandex | Gusset top layer material: 84% modal, 8% seaweed, 8% spandex | Size range: XS-4XL

<p>PEOPLE / Jhett Thompson</p>

PEOPLE / Jhett Thompson

Related: The 8 Best Bralettes of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Lingerie: Dear Kate Ada Full Brief

Dear Kate
Dear Kate

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Save yourself the frustration of staining your favorite underwear on your period with cute underwear that’s actually meant for your period. The Dear Kate Ada Briefs have a waist-hugging high fit and delicate lace hem that looks more like expensive lingerie than the protective period product that it is.

While these period underwear are rated to hold three tampons' worth of blood, we think Dear Kate is being a tad too humble — our tester found that the underwear actually held about five tampons' worth in our lab assessments. This extra absorbency doesn’t mean any compromise on softness. “The body is silky soft,” our tester noted. “The lace waistband seems durable.”

This product is absorbent enough to be worn on lighter flow days by itself or as a stylish backup on heavier days. The gusset extends up the back of the underwear to provide protection against leaks, and the flattering cut makes this pair of panties worth the price.

Price at time of publish: $46

Cut: High-waisted brief | Absorbency: 5 tsp. | Outer material: 76% nylon, 24% lycra | Gusset material: 90% micro-polyester, 10% elastane | Size range: XS-3X

<p>PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida</p>

PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida

Related: The Best Shapewear of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Size Range: TomboyX First Line Leakproof Bikini

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Buy at

Period underwear should be accessible for anyone of any size — that’s why we love the First Line Leakproof Bikini from TomboyX, which comes in sizes that start at 3XS and go up to 6X. Made from an OEKO-TEX-certified material, these bikini-cut panties have a thick band that’s both cute and comfortable.

“The 95 percent cotton base feels nice to the touch, and I like how the gusset isn't too thick or stiff," one tester noted of this underwear. These underwear are billed to hold up to 8 teaspoons of liquid, but we found that it’s realistically closer to 4.5 teaspoons, which is still pretty decent protection for lighter days.

We’re impressed by the size range, quality, and price of this period underwear, so it’s hard for us to find any fault in them. If you don’t like the feeling of a thicker waistband or are looking for underwear that doesn’t show under leggings, these might not be what you’re looking for. But if you want a quality pair of underwear that you can feel comfortable and confident in during your cycle, we couldn’t recommend the First Line Leakproof Bikini more.

Price at time of publish: $25

Cut: Bikini | Absorbency: 4.5 tsp. | Outer material:  95% cotton, 5% spandex | Gusset material: 90% polyester, 10% spandex | Size range: 3XS-6X

<p>PEOPLE / Jhett Thompson</p>

PEOPLE / Jhett Thompson

Related: The 10 Best Plus Size Shapewear of 2023, According to Style Experts

Best Seamless: The Eco Woman Seamless EcoPanties

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Buttery soft fabric and zero VPL (visible panty line) make the EcoPanties Seamless underwear a winner in our book. The gusset provides some of the best front coverage we tested and stayed dry through our testing, easily absorbing 4 teaspoons of liquid.

Seamless underwear isn’t only great under leggings and tights — it’s also great for exercising or lounging in. “I really like the flat seams — no protruding stitching,” our tester said. The Eco Woman website doesn't list the materials used in their underwear, but they do indicate that to wash your EcoPanties after wear, you should soak them in cold water for 30 minutes beforehand or machine wash them.

Price at time of publish: $22

Cut: High-cut seamless | Absorbency: 4.5 tsp. | Material: Made with cotton and bamboo | Size range: S-4XL

<p>PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida</p>

PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida

Related: The Perfect White Tank Does Exist — and We Found 14 of Them

Things to Consider Before Buying Period Underwear


One of the most important things to consider when buying period underwear is the level of absorbency you need in a period product. While some period underwear can handle heavier flows, most are only designated for light and moderate days. Your considerations should also include any preferred backup protection products, like tampons and periods, which can be paired with period underwear to decrease the likelihood of leakage. The Proof Leakproof Hipster Underwear is one of a few pairs of underwear we tested that absorbed up to 5 teaspoons of liquid.


Just like normal underwear, period underwear comes in a variety of cuts and shapes. (Yes, even thongs! The Knix leakproof thong is a great one.) The right one for you is totally up to your preference, from bikini to full briefs to shorts.


While the right material for your underwear is definitely influenced by your personal preferences for feel and look, Dr. Dweck shares some advice: “As a gynecologist, my favorite material to touch the vulva is 100 percent cotton. That's because it's absorbent, it's moisture-wicking, and it's a natural fiber.”

<p>PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida</p>

PEOPLE / Leticia Almeida

How We Tested Period Underwear

In order to determine the best period underwear, we conducted extensive testing in our labs with real period product users as the testers. Our testers started by smelling their selected underwear upon removal from the packaging to see if it came with any sort of scent. They then created a mixture of apple cider vinegar and food coloring to use for absorbency tests. After marking down the intended absorbency rating listed on the product’s packaging, the volunteers tested the real absorbency of their chosen underwear by slowly pouring the dyed apple cider vinegar into the interior of the underwear, one teaspoon at a time. Once the liquid was fully absorbed, the testers pressed dry filter paper on the interior gusset for 30 seconds, then noted how wet or dry the paper felt and appeared.

Related: The 10 Best Postpartum Underwear That Are Supportive, Protective, and Comfortable

Frequently Asked Questions

Does period underwear really work?

The short answer is yes — when used correctly! A good pair of period underwear should keep you dry, comfortable, and protected. Every kind of period underwear will perform differently, which is why we rounded up and tested the best of the best for your shopping convenience. If you’re experiencing a heavier flow and you’re worried about leaking, you can always pair another form of period protection, like a pad, tampon, or cup. It’s important to read the directions on the packaging of whichever period underwear you choose to see how often it’s recommended to change into a fresh pair, but if you start to feel any kind of discomfort, that’s a pretty good indication that you should put on a clean pair.

Can period underwear be worn all day?

This is totally up to your flow level, but barring any kind of discomfort, the answer is yes! To keep your underwear lasting longer, if you have a heavier flow, it might be helpful to pair it with another form of period protection.

How do you wash period underwear?

Before tossing soiled period underwear in with the rest of your laundry, it's advised to thoroughly hand-wash them in cold water first and let them completely air-dry before machine-washing. You should also wash them on a delicate cycle (in cold water) like you would your regular underwear as period underwear is often constructed of several layers and should be delicately laundered to keep them in prime condition.

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Cai Cramer is a commerce writer who covers such areas as beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle. To compile this review, she consulted our testers about various aspects of period underwear, such as absorbency, cut, and material. While researching period underwear, we spoke with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist based in New York.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

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