Here’s What I Think About Thinx, the Period Underwear That Replaces Tampons


For weeks now, my morning New York City subway commute — a typically grim, high-tension, overpacked affair — has held an extra sparkle of joy for me: the chance to watch men squirm as they find themselves face to face with a barrage of poster ads (like the one above) for Thinx, “underwear for women with periods.” The controversial campaign has blanketed parts of the subway system with photos of women — beautiful women, of all shapes and sizes and colors — wearing panties. And talking about wearing the panties while having their periods. “No, they don’t feel like diapers,” notes just one bit of straightforward copy. “And no, it’s not like sitting in your own blood. Boom.”

Boom indeed.

Still, as fun as it’s been to watch men reading the ads and never once making disgusted comments, because they are outnumbered and therefore shamed into silence, I had to wonder: Did these panties really work? So I ordered some. And they arrived, conveniently enough, on the first full day of my period. I put them right on, removed my tampon — which isn’t required, but I wanted to try going all in, as the Thinx literature says is fine to do — and went about my day of writing.


The Hiphugger (Photo: Thinx)

I had ordered two pairs of the Hiphuggers ($34 each), in black, which the website notes is for “heavy days,” able to hold two tampons worth of blood. Other styles — Hi-Waist ($38), Sport ($32), Boyshort ($34), Cheeky ($29), and Thong ($24) — hold less and less as you go down the line, from ½ to 1½ a tampon worth. They’re all cute, with lace and flattering stretchy material, and do not, in fact, look like diapers or even panties with pads.

Related: This Is How Horrible It Was to Get Your Period Back in the Day

So why does anyone need them, and what do they do? At the very least, they take away the possibility of leaks while you’re wearing a tampon (thereby filling in for panty liners). At most, they replace tampons. And this is spectacular news if you’re anything like me — always vaguely worried about toxic shock syndrome and settling for strictly organic-cotton, bleach-free, applicator-free tampons but cringing about the waste (you’ll dispose of approximately 17,000 tampons in a lifetime!) after not-so-happy attempts with the reusable Glad Rags and Moon Cup.

Related: Are ‘Man Periods’ a Real Thing?

So here’s what happened: I wore the undies on that first day for six hours. They felt totally comfy (if slightly large, but that’s my fault, I should’ve chosen one size down), and though I kept nervously checking for leakage for the first three hours or so, there was nothing to feel or see. Pretty cool.


The Hi-Waist (Photo: Thinx)

But then — again, my fault, people — things took a damp turn. And then a wet, cold, pretty unbearable one. I’m not sure what I was thinking, except for this, which was illuminating: that I simply never bothered to count how many tampons I went through on my personal “heaviest” day. But in my world, six hours on day No. 1 equals quite a bit more than two tampons. I pushed my Thinx too far, and it wasn’t pretty. I should’ve stopped at the halfway point on that particular day. But then I thought: Wait, so I’m supposed to change my underwear in the middle of the day? Who does this? Who would do that? But then I realized, ah, no, Thinx alone on my heavy day just won’t work. So if you’re like me, don’t ditch the tampon altogether.

But then, because I had another pair at the ready, I tried Day 2. And that’s when things really came together: no leaks, no dampness, no blotting my bloody panties just to get through the day. They seriously worked — dry, comfortable, even slightly sexy. They worked! It just took some work (as in thinking) on my end, too. (As the website warns: “Know your flow.”)

And the washing part — you need to hand-rinse them before tossing them into the cold cycle and hanging to dry — was really no big deal, as long as you’re not averse to squeezing out and watching your own blood swirl around and down the drain like you’re in the Carrie shower scene.


So bottom line: If you’ve never thought twice about tampons and couldn’t be bothered to change your routine, maybe don’t worry about it. But if you’re any or all of the following — worried about toxic shock syndrome, freaked out over environmental waste, into being philanthropic (I forgot to mention that a portion of purchases go to AFRIpads, which helps girls in Uganda stay in school rather than drop out because they have no pads!), or just wildly curious, go for it. Because to tell you the truth, now that I’ve got Thinx, I’m kind of looking forward to my next period just a little bit.

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