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Ditch the disposables: 6 of the best period undies to pull up each month

Photography By AWWA, Thinx, FEMMZE
Published 07.04.22

As anyone who menstruates knows, periods can be a pain. On our bodies, on our wallets and also on the planet.

It’s estimated that a menstruating person will use somewhere between five to fifteen thousand sanitary pads and tampons in their pre-menopausal lifetime. Most of these items are created with, and packaged in, plastic. Crunching those stats even further, this equates to over 45 billion single-use period products being thrown in the bin annually. Which is (and please forgive us for this) a bloody mess. 

It’s not all bad news though. Nowadays, there are plenty of brands and businesses creating alternatives to disposable sanitary products, one of which is period underwear. 

Entrusting a pair of briefs to handle your period is a slightly terrifying prospect, but these are no ordinary undies. Period underwear uses leakproof technology and a special in-built layer to absorb blood and prevent leaks. Some pairs are designed to hold as much liquid as it takes five tampons to absorb – which is pretty impressive. Well-made period undies can last several years, which replaces a significant amount of single-use sanitary products. 

Ditching pads and tampons for period panties feels like a no-brainer, but, if you haven’t pulled up a pair of these before, you might be wondering where to start (and which products you can really trust). That’s where we can help. We’ve tried and tested a bunch to bring you the comfiest and most reliable products worth investing in.



For first-time users

Naturally, there’s a bit of trepidation that comes with trying period undies for the first time. Will they leak? Will people notice you’re wearing them? Will they feel weird and uncomfortable? If these anxieties sound familiar, grab your first pair from the period panty OG: Modibodi. This brand has been revolutionising the reusable sanitary space since 2013 and its products cater for a broad range of shapes, sizes and needs

While there’s no shortage of styles to choose from, for first-time users, we recommend the Classic Bikini. Featuring a popular underwear cut, this style has a higher leg and sits on the hip for a snug (but comfortable) fit. Though they are designed for moderate-to-heavy absorbency (the equivalent of two to three tampons), the breathable patent technology is super-slim, so they look like regular undies – perfect for apprehensive beginners.

For the heavier days of your period 

Whether your periods are on the heavier side or you want something to safely see you through your first few days, it pays to have at least one pair in your rotation that can handle extra absorbency. Enter New Zealand brand AWWA’s All Day Skye High Period Brief

These are a high waist and full coverage brief with a 95 per cent organic cotton lining that can handle the same liquid as five regular tampons or pads. That means you can wear them all day, on your heavier days, without worrying about leaks. While these are certainly built for extra absorbency, they don’t look it, featuring mesh panel detailing and matte shine material (made from 80 per cent recycled nylon) that gives a chic look and feel. These undies are also available in sizing up to 6XL.



For overnight peace of mind

The ultimate test of any period product is whether or not it can see you through the night without any leaks. If you want to ensure you wake up in the morning with clean sheets, put Thinx’s Sleep Shorts on your list. 

These comfy boxer-like shorts look just like pyjamas but have a very distinct (and genius) difference: they feature built-in, super-absorbent period underwear designed to hold five regular tampons’ worth of liquid. If you like the boxer style but want a tighter fit, Thinx’s Cotton Boyshort is another great overnight option. These are made from super-soft modal cotton (a breathable, lightweight and low-impact fabric blend) and have the same absorbency as the Sleep Shorts. Both are available in sizing up to 4XL.

For ultra comfort 

Every period underwear collection needs at least one super-comfortable crotch to lean on, especially for those days when you just want to lounge on the couch in your undies and a slouchy tee. For the ultimate comforter, we recommend FEMMZE’s Cotton Brief.

These are soft and subtly sculpting undies, crafted from fair trade cotton and made using low-toxicity dyeing processes. The merino-blend mesh liner features moisture-wicking membrane technology and has a traceable sheep-to-shop supply chain so you can be assured the wool has been sourced to the highest ethical standards. They’re available in light-to-moderate or moderate-to-heavy absorbency and in sizing up to XL. All great things that combine with the fact they are also incredibly comfy.



For days when you still want to feel cute 

Who says period undies can’t be sexy? While a lot of products are designed to have more coverage, there are plenty of brands that also offer cheeky cut or G-string styles, including AWWA. 

Whether you just prefer this kind of cut or need a pair for outfit practicality, we love the Organic Cotton Period Thong. This uber-comfy, mid-rise G-string brief holds up to two tampons’ worth of liquid and is made from 95 per cent organic cotton. Similarly, the Recycled Nylon Period Thong has the same cut and absorbency but is made from 80 per cent certified recycled nylon. Like all of AWWA’s products, both have a traceable supply chain so you can see exactly where the materials were grown and where the product was manufactured. 

For working out 

Just when you thought the reusable world couldn’t get any more innovative, period leggings are now a thing.

If you like to keep your exercise up on your period, definitely check out Modibodi’s ⅞ Recycled Active Legging. These feature a hidden leak-proof gusset that is stain-, odour- and bacteria-resistant and can absorb up to three tampons worth of liquid. The outer fabric is crafted from 79 per cent recycled pre-consumer factory waste and has a moisture-wicking treatment to keep you feeling cool and sweat-free. On top of that, these leggings are a super comfortable fit, which is exactly what you want when working out on your period.

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