More than 200,000 metric tonnes of disposable period products are thrown away every year and they’re unsustainable. They don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years and litter our coastlines, being ingested by marine life.
Reusable period products, with the reigning champion (in pebble’s opinion) being reusable period pants as they cater to all menstruating people.
But with so many period pants to choose from, which ones are best for you?
From undies that fight menstrual poverty to carbon-neutral pants, pebble has rounded up and reviewed five of the best period pants that make periods easy and eco-friendly.
Quick links to pebble’s top picks for period underwear
Best Period Pants In The UK: Our Top Picks
1. Best seam free period underwear: WUKA
All of its period pants have seamless styles for a smooth silhouette under your clothes.
As for eco credentials, WUKA’s period pants are carbon neutral through certified offsetting projects.
They’re also at least five times less damaging to the environment than disposable period products.
All pants are made from certified sustainable materials. Plus they’re vegan friendly. The brand is also campaigning to remove the UK period pants tax!
pebble’s Editor and Founder, Georgina Wilson-Powell, tested the WUKA’s High Waist Heavy Flow period pants.
“Perhaps it’s the eco-friendly Tencel in these period pants, but they were softer and lighter than I expected, happily so and the sheer panels is a nice touch, and moves these period pants out of granny knicker territory.
While the first time you wear period pants can be a bit daunting, (who wants leaks), happy to report that actually I felt secure, comfortable going about my day and no dramas. It’s easy to wash the pants and reuse, although you prob need a few pairs to see you through each month’s cycle.”
I really like the fact these pants range from XS to 5 XL, and they have a range of cuts including boxers, proving waste free periods are something everyone can move into if they want.”
- Find out more about WUKA: Wake Up Kick Ass: Why This Periodwear Founder Is Taking On The Government
Pros: Sustainable and vegan-friendly materials | Good range of sizes and styles | Relatively affordable price point | Carbon neutral certified
Cons: Not a huge range of colours | Some reviewers have noticed sizing inconsistencies
Buy the WUKA Ultimate High Waist from £25.99 (with free shipping) on WUKA.
2. Best high-waisted period underwear: Ohne
If you don’t know where to start, the brand has made it easy by giving you the option to shop by symptom (e.g. cramping) or product range.
All of Ohne’s period products are plastic free, GOTS certified and certified organic by the Soil Association so a win for sustainable period care!
Ohne’s period pants are fairly new on the scene. There are currently just two in the range – a bikini brief and a high-waisted brief. However, both styles have four colours to choose from so it’s easy to find a preference.
Francesca Brooking, pebble’s Features Editor, tested the high-waisted pair.
She comments: “the underwear is super soft and comfortable to wear with enough coverage to make me feel secure and supported in all the right places.
“I love that they feel lightweight and smooth so there’s no odd baggy nappy type situation going on – ideal for tighter clothing!
“I got my size in a small but it’s worth mentioning that Ohne has got a great inclusive range of sizes from XS to plus size period pants.
“The only drawback for me is that they only have a moderate absorbency (which is about 15ml).
“Depending on your needs you may need to wear them towards the middle-end of your cycle otherwise, use them paired with a menstrual cup for extra security.”
Pros: 1% of period product revenues to school club in Zambia | Plastic free | organic and GOTS certified | Ultra absorbent to reduce moisture | Odour-eliminating to wear with confidence | Vegan
Cons: Only a moderate absorbency
The high-waisted period underwear is priced at £29.00. View on Ohne.
3. Best bamboo period underwear: Modibodi
Award-winning brand, Modibodi is here to tackle all manner of leaks with period pants, maternity bras and now even reusable nappies.
The brand is big on positive impact, championing period equity and environmental sustainability.
It launched the world’s first biodegradable leak-proof pants which can break down naturally at the end of use.
Modibodi has a range of period pants styles to suit your preference and absorbency needs.
pebble’s Social Media Executive, Farnosh Tolou, put the Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini Pants with Heavy-Overnight Absorbency in Spring Pink to the test.
“First and foremost, these pants are SO comfortable,” she says. “For reference, I usually wear thick pads to tackle my period flow. These pants are a great alternative to that.
“I didn’t have to worry about the seam of my period pad peeking through my jeans, nor experience any discomfort.
“You can tell that a lot of effort has been put into making these products good quality. For the price point of £24, you can reuse and rewash these pants as opposed to buying many pads.
“I struggle with extreme heavy flows and I can’t say that the heavy-overnight absorbency did it for me. For the heavy-flow folk, I would recommend wearing a thin pad or tampon along with these pants to take away from the paranoia of leaking all over your bedsheets.
“I’m a fan of the fact that Modibodi period pants made a conscious effort to make being on your period somewhat fun. With different colours and patterns, they stand out from the crowd by having not-so-basic underwear.”
Pros: A lot of pant styles and absorbency levels | Reasonably price point | Uses natural materials like merino wool and bamboo | Fights for period equity
Cons: Not all products are vegan | Not all materials are eco-friendly (spandex) but the brand is working to change this
The Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini Pants are priced at £24. View on Modibodi.
Read more: detailed ModiBodi review
4. Best period pants for teenagers: Hey Girls
Community interest company Hey Girls is here to eradicate period poverty in the UK and beyond. That means for every product sold, a product is donated to someone in need.
On top of that, Hey Girls makes award-winning and eco-friendly period products from pants to pads and menstrual cups. All products are plastic free and made from sustainable non-toxic materials.
The Hey Girls period pants are a relatively small range with five styles to choose from to suit your needs and preferences.
The colours are simple too – black or red, however, there’s an impressive range of sizes from XS to 4XL.
Sarah Lazell, pebble’s Community Manager, reviewed the Super Soft Black Cherry period pants.
She was particularly impressed by the brand’s commitment to tackling period poverty, commenting: “Did you know that period poverty affects 1 in 10 schoolgirls across the UK?
“Hey Girls want to eradicate this statistic by making their sustainable period collection buy one, donate one, meaning that they donate the equivalent product to someone in need.
“Since 2018 they have donated 20 million products.”
“The website houses a variety of classic designs available in black or cherry red,” she says.
Of the period pants themselves, she finds “they have a flattering fit, with the added bonus of being made of bamboo which made them, in my opinion, a lot more comfortable.
“In terms of price, they are very similar to equivalent pairs on the market, perhaps slightly on the cheaper end, but well made and will likely last a long time.
“They were up to the task and washed well.”
Pros: Super soft to touch and helps reduce period poverty | More affordable than some of the other period pants on the market | Use of eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials | Plastic free | Tackling period poverty in the UK
Cons: Comes in an unnecessary drawstring bag which seems wasteful | Smaller range than some
Period pants are priced at £18.95. View on Hey Girls.
The problem with disposable period products
The biggest problem with disposable period products is plastic. Whether it’s a little or a lot, plastic can be found in everything from tampon applicators to tampon strings – and pads are a lot worse.
That’s not even factoring in the plastic wrappers the products are packed in…
The sheer amount of plastic waste is actually unknown as waste from menstrual products is classed as medical waste and therefore, not tracked.
However, the majority of it ends up in landfill where it takes 500-800 years to decompose.
Since women and menstruating people have periods for about 2,400 days over the course of a lifetime on average, that’s a lot of waste building up.
- Learn more: What Are Microplastics And Why Are They Harmful?
Period pants are the sustainable choice
Menstrual underwear is sustainable because it’s reusable. You can wear, wash and repeat.
Not only that, they’re easier to manage than messy menstrual cups and provide better coverage than reusable pads.
They’re also more comfortable. They’re safe and hygienic to wear – and for the sceptics yes, period pants actually work.
However, it’s worth noting that the growing period knicker trend has seen a rise in fast fashion brands jumping on board.
Just like fast fashion, period pants can also be made with unsustainable materials and worker exploitation.
Just like any garment, period pants should be viewed with the same scrutiny.
How period pants work
Good quality period pants are cleverly made with moisture-wicking fabric that’s made up of thousands of small filaments that move moisture away from the body but don’t leak. They’re odour-free too.
In terms of how to use period pants, it really depends on your flow. When buying a pair, pay attention to their absorbency (usually demonstrated through tampon symbols) and go for the one that works best for you.
As a guideline, choose the pair you can wear comfortably through the night without leaks.
The best way to know when to change them is to check the seam of the gusset. If it feels wet then the pants are full.
As you get into the rhythm of wearing period underwear, you’ll get to know how long you can wear them with your flow.
When out and about, it’s always recommended to have a spare pair with you. Some brands offer bags to stash your pants in on the go.
How to wash period pants
To wash them, simply run them under the cold tap until the water turns clear. You can then pop them in a normal wash.
It’s then recommended that you wash them at 30℃ and then hang dry them as heat can damage the fabric and make it less effective.
With proper care, period pants last from six months to two years in general. As highlighted, the better the quality, the more wear you’ll get out of them.
How to choose the best period pants for you
With period knickers seeing an exciting surge in popularity, there are now hundreds of brands and styles to choose from.
Since purchasing a pair isn’t immediately as cheap as a pack of tampons (you save money in the long run), getting it right the first time is ideal. But where do you start?
That’s where pebble can help.
The pebble team believe shopping for period pants should be as easy and pain-free as possible. After all, we get enough pain from period cramps…
So on that note, we’ve tried and tested the best period pants on the market to help.
As part of the review, we rated the pants on:
So, without further ado, here are 5 of the best period pants that have been tried and tested by the staff at pebble magazine.
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