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In this guide
Periods suck. Period. But at least there’s period underwear now, which somewhat ups the comfort level of your monthly visit from Aunt Flo. Designed to be used alone, or as back-up to other period products, you might choose period panties to help reduce your monthly environmental impact that comes from using disposable products. Or you might choose them because you can’t be bothered with the faff of tampons / cups, etc.
Whatever your reason, the best period underwear is most importantly, comfortable to wear. It keeps you feeling fresh, clean and dry for hours, with no worries about staining your favourite pants (or couch or sheets, etc.). Maybe it comes in a decent range of styles and designs so you can feel good while wearing them. It definitely comes in sizes to fit all bodies. Here’s our guide to the best period underwear in Australia. These period underwear reviews are informed by hours of research and hands-on testing.
How we picked
We threw our research net far and wide when it came to choosing the best period underwear. Which is when we discovered that period panties are really subjective, especially when it comes to important stuff, like leakage. While some people found some period underwear really great at absorbing blood without feeling heavy or soggy, others found the same pair to be terrible. It all comes down to your personal flow and your comfort level. You might be really attuned to a wet feeling that someone else wouldn't even notice.
We would say from our research that it seems that currently period underwear is best used as back-up protection. So, you might choose to use them with a tampon or menstrual cup rather than by themselves, especially on heavy days. All the period underwear we reviewed could be used by themselves on light days - those ones where you think you might be getting your period or towards the end of it.
That aside, we first looked to gain personal insights into period underwear. We did this by heading to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion site. Where we found all of 2 contenders.
So instead we did some virtual window shopping, searching for period panties that are widely available in Australia. We focused on key features, including:
- The range of styles and sizes: would they suit every body type? We didn’t pay too much attention to colours and designs because we quickly learnt that black is the standard. (Anything else is a nice-to-have bonus, we reckon.)
- The range of absorbencies: would they suit every type of period?
- Whether they offer a free trial: this is an important way of checking they’re right for you and your flow, without losing your hard-earned dollars.
- Whether they’re Australian owned or not: supporting local is important to us.
- Their ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes: not only is this better for your planet, it usually results in a better quality product that lasts longer - making it better for your wallet too.
- The price: We found options ranging from $15 to over $30. If you’re using multiple pairs during your period, the investment can add up.
We also considered whether they offered a girls / teen range and packs, to help you save a little money.
Plus, I (Sarah, Cosier Editor) have some period underwear. We took our personal insights into account too. And there you have it: the best period underwear in Australia.
How does period underwear work?
Regardless of what brand or style you go for, period underwear works in the same way. Period underwear contains layers of material. Although the number of layers differs, it tends to be around 3-4.
The first layer sits next to your skin. It’s comfortable, breathable and wicks away moisture. The second layer is super absorbent. It’s what holds the blood. The final layer stops the blood leaking through to your clothes. Another layer might be used to prevent smells.
How do you wash period underwear?
It should be easy to wash and care for your period underwear. Normally, this involves rinsing (but not soaking) your underwear in cold water to help remove the blood. You then pop them in a delicates bag (ideally) and put them into the washing machine on a cold wash - skip the fabric softener. (Yep, you can wash your underwear in a load of your regular laundry.) Ideally, dry them on the line outside, although you can lay them flat inside too. Your period panties won’t enjoy the tumble dryer.
Does period underwear smell?
No, it shouldn’t. The layer of period underwear that absorbs blood is normally treated in some way to control smell, usually by ‘locking’ it in. Cared for properly (see above!), period underwear shouldn’t retain a smell over time either. If you’re worried, you can try a vinegar soak. Pop them in a bucket or basin with 1 cup of white vinegar and 1-2 cups of water. Leave them in there for around 15-30 minutes then wash as normal in the washing machine. Check with the manufacturer first as not all period underwear can handle being soaked.
How long does period underwear last?
Most manufacturers of the period underwear we reviewed reckon their panties should last at least 1 year and sometimes up to 2 years. It depends on how often they’re used (some periods last a few days, others over a week. Sigh) and how well you care for them.
If you’re wondering how long you can wear them without changing, you should be ok using 1 pair a day then swapping to a new pair overnight. This does depend on your flow though. You might need 2 or more pairs on a really heavy flow day.