Eco-friendly menstrual options for the modern woman

I’m honestly not sure why the word “period” got slapped with some voodoo taboo curse that makes people prefer euphemisms from “that time of the month” or “mooncycle” to more derogatory terms. Even the dictionary offers the informal “the curse” in its list of synonyms. Either you’ll be thoroughly entertained by this list or utterly insulted by the suggestions, among them “The Great Flood Cometh,” but seriously?! The list was compiled by a woman.

Suffice it to say, the need for a paradigm shift is in dire demand, and I hope that the letter to my daughters serves to refresh the way we think about our cycle (yet, another term of endearment). I think that I fall somewhere on the spectrum of wanting to discuss our periods, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies (had both!), and infertility struggles openly in an appropriate setting, but not exactly ready to let it all hang out like Kiran Gandi. As women, we need each other’s support and love during these trials in a way that masculine energy doesn’t always understand. (Most men are simply not built that way, and it’s ok. We love them like that.)

Regardless of which camp you support, most of us will not be going to the office free-flowing. One thing is clear: we do want our barrier protection to be reliable and comfortable, maybe even a little bit pretty? There is one market that totally gets it that we are ready to explore the conversation surrounding our periods and raise the bar on the selection.

Subscription boxes are having their moment, but I bet you never expected them to be filled with tampons. Oh but yes! A show of better-for-you, low environmental impact feminine products have been appearing that are ready to deliver—literally. These newbies and not-so-newbies will leave you wondering why you ever bothered heading to the drugstore for the Tampaxes and Playtexes of yesteryear. (Dear “feminine napkins,” I’m so over you.)

Why switch?

Honestly, writing about why things are bad for you is not exactly what I feel like spending my precious time on, especially when other people—oh like A Beautiful Pursuit and Time Magazine— already cover it thoroughly and do such a great job of it. So can we just say that your intelligent mind can figure out that organic, uncomplicated cotton—rather than chemically-treated, bleached, fragranced, dioxin-laden menstrual supplies—is a much healthier option? Obvi! And that’s not even covering the insane amount of trash that’s collecting from disposable feminine care and non-biodegradable options. Blech!

And pads…? Not any better. Just look.

Let's clean up our menstrual cycle!

Fortunately for the environmentally and health-concerned, there are enough eco-conscious varieties to meet every woman’s protection preference. Could these brands get any sexier? Yes! I actually used “sexy” and “period” in the same context. I am already looking forward to my next cycle (sorta)!

Tampons, delivered.

Tampon Tribe

Tampon Tribe is a movement—or in their terms an energetic social impact project. Kinda love that! The tampons boast an impressive number of features from using 100 percent organic cotton to ensuring that no fibers are left behind (not really something I ever considered before). They’re made minus all the nasties like perfumes, plastics, toxins, chlorine, or dioxins. Even the removal cord is sewn on to avoid the typical glues and enviro hazards.

Tampon Tribe uses cardboard applicators with recycled paper wrapper and recycled cardboard packaging, plus they have ICEA (Environmental and Ethical Certification Institute) and GOTS (Global Organic Standard) certifications.

According to this interview with co-Founder Jennifer Eden on Indigo + Canary: “We start from the growing methods of the cotton, to the manufacturing, personal use, and disposal, in ensuring that we are protecting the Earth and women’s bodies at all times.” Now that’s what makes an evolved mission!

How it works:

There are five options: your choice of a 6- or 12-month box of Regular, Super, or Super Plus tampons ($48/$96); Corporate Happiness: one delivery of 150 tampons in mixed sizes (reduced price $75 $61.50); Sorority Bliss (the names = LOVE♥): one delivery of 300 tampons in mixed sizes plus you’re equipped with enough ammo to help a sister out (reduced price $150 $120). Oh! And there’s a comedy night coming up and a run that you need to check out.

Cora*

Calling all swanky-gals. In your first order, you receive The Signature Kit including a little black storage box (too cute for words), a vegan leather clutch to slip into a purse, plus fully customizable tampons in different absorbencies. These tampons could be mistaken for a sexy lipstick tube. Alas, don’t inadvertently pull one out and apply to lips—at least not with anyone else around. That would make for a great story that you never want to tell. But I’d honestly LOVE to have a friend ask me if they could bum a Cora tampon off me. Please do!

With its own hashtag #fearlessperiod, you get the feeling that you’re in good company with this protection. Again, we’ve got some of the desirable features of an eco-friendly tampon along with some others that take the female anatomy into consideration too like width-wise expansion (as opposed to length-wise which can irritate the cervix); octagonal design for better fit and absorption; and a BPA-free compact plastic applicator. (They’re working on developing a bio-based plastic for an even more neutral environmental impact.)

How it works:

Choose from 6, 12, 18, or 24 tampons per month supply. Pay monthly, every three months, or yearly. Pricing varies according to package selected (around $14-$18 for the 24 pack).

Thanks to The Hermes Hippie for the reco! Speaking of The Hermes Hippie, let’s move on to the next brand. (I know…so tacky. Don’t hate me forever, oh my Lola!)

LOLA*

LOLA tampons come in different hues of blue to distinguish absorbency levels (light, regular, or super); the number of tampons of each absorbency level is fully customizable, which is a nice feature. (Take note: there’s a “Light” absorbency but no “Super Plus” option.) These tampons are ISO 14001, ISO 9001, CE certified. Sounds good, right?

How it works:

You get to choose one or two boxes, and how frequently you receive them. The applicator is plastic and that happens to be my preference, as some cardboard applicators don’t work well. More on that next. The first order of two boxes costs only $9 and then they go up to one box for $10 or two boxes for $18. Get $5 off your order when you use my sign up code srosenhauscoren1. Bonus: you’ll find yourself humming The Kinks more frequently than you ever thought possible.

Kali*

The Pampered Period: Eco-friendly menstrual options for the modern woman

Kali Boxes are just peachy. Literally. The $19.95 Kali Gift Box is showcased in an uber feminine peach and white motif and also includes pre-moistened individually wrapped freshening wipes and a mist. (Sadly, this contains phenoxyethanol, which was pretty disappointing to discover for an organic tampon company, since I usually avoid this ingredient. Here’s why). The ingredients of the mist and wipes are listed on the site under Product FAQs which took me a little while to find. On a more positive note, you choose from a full box of regular or super absorbency or half and half. If you don’t want the gift box, you can buy a box of individually wrapped tampons for $15 or a sample pack in which you pay the $6 for shipping only.

For anyone who loves a biodegradable cardboard applicator, these tampons have it. But I do have to share that there was a mud fight struggle between me and tampon to get the actual tampon to exit said biodegradable applicator, and this led to some not-so-pretty situations when they would not come out! My suggestion is to start pushing the tip of the tampon out through the applicator before inserting into your lady part, in order to avoid any mishaps. Trust me on this one.

How it works:

What’s cool is that Kali donates one dollar for every box sold to Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s Adolescent Girl Campaign. Subscriptions are offered as a monthly box for $19.95 or as a single order. You can take $5 off your first order with code “GOORGANIC.”

The Diva Cup*

If you want the mess-free feel of a tampon without all the waste, then The Diva Cup is the answer. Some women love this option, though personally I’m not a huge fan after trying it and not being able to get it out a couple of times (to this day, I don’t know how that happened, but it was an older and different version and not shaped the same!). It needs to be cleaned twice a day within a 12-hour period with water which sounds simple enough. Yes, you’ll have to get in touch with your female anatomy (literally!) at a messier than usual time. Lots of women love this option and say they don’t have to think about it most of the day. After all, it does offer 12 hour protection.

More pluses: it’s reusable and eco-friendly and uses healthcare grade silicone, never latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, or polyethylene. The cup is free of colors and dyes and is the only ISO 13485:2003 certified menstrual cup manufacturer.

Not a tampon user? Not a problem!

Thinx: options for the modern woman's busy lifestyleThinx*

These lacy to sporty panties may as well be called “the liberated woman’s undies” because they give a gal the option to go protection-free or provide enough backup to a tampon or menstrual cup to go backup-pad free on lighter days.

How it works:

The lining is made up of four bits of tech that makes them anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and leak-resistant. Styles include the Hiphugger for fuller coverage on heavier flow days to Thongs—yes, thongs!—for lighter days or as backup to a tampon/menstrual cup. Surprisingly, most of these do not look like granny undies, which is refreshing.

Pricing runs from $24 to $38, and buying multiple panties earns a percentage off depending on how many you want. Using my link above saves you $10 off your first order. Booya!

LunaPads

THE consummate resource for sustainable menstrual options. From Diva Cups to non-disposable LunaPads (not as gross as you’d think and cute designs!) to laundry and carrying bags for the intimates, this is the website you want to visit to discover how to experience a virtually waste-free period with low environmental impact. LunaPads offers their version of period wear with LunaUndies that come with removable liners. The Health & Home section also offers healthier detergents, deodorants, and other supplies.

GladRags*

We’re women. We LOVE choices especially when it comes to our Goddess parts. Here are some more cloth pads and panties with removable inserts! GladRags was around when I tried cloth diapers for my infant, so we shared a similar experience…in a way. I didn’t wind up using them for long (too much laundry to deal with at the time), but come to think of it, it really isn’t such a big deal. You can find GladRags and other panty picks on Amazon.

Natracare*

These 100% certified organic cotton pads and tampons are the easiest to find because they’re sold on Amazon and in stores. Veeda is another brand that’s said to biodegrade quicker than others, but I have not tried it yet. Probably next on my list!

Feminine accessories and embellishments (because—let’s face it— we LOVE them!)

Soft and sexy scents uplift moods during the moon cycle

It’s my goal to make my period and my daughters’ experiences with theirs as pleasurable as possible! I love surrounding myself with delectably scented oils that appeal to my senses. That’s different for everyone, naturally, but I love Olie Biologique Huile Claire Calming Oil, Prim Botanicals Mademoiselle Swell, Essence of Vali Sleep, and anything citrus to uplift my mood.

You may also want to freshen up with this.

Moody Sisters Feminine Hygiene Wash*

If you’re in the middle of a long day and a long way off from a shower, you NEED this! I love it and rely on its freshening powers. Plus you can use this coupon at checkout for $5 off.

What do I need to add to this list? Let me know in the comments! I read and answer every one (and I’m so much better at it now).

*I own these or have tried these.  Some links earn me a discount off my next purchase or are affiliates. Full Disclosure.