What is it? Period underwear.
What does/should it do? Replace/complement other forms of period protection.
Period undies are gaining traction, aren’t they? I’ve had reusable period protection – pads and cups – for over a decade now, so I haven’t looked into the undies version until very recently. Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Undies are the first I’ve tried because I could grab them in my weekly supermarket shop.
First, a disclaimer. Because they’re the first I’ve tried, I can’t tell you how they hold up against other brands, which makes this more of a first impressions than a proper review. If you’re a period undie user, please let me know in the comments or Twitter/Instagram/other usual stalking places if there’s a brand you prefer, because I am keen to try more.
The first thing I noticed here was that I needed to size up. My usual undies size is one down from my clothes size, but those were far too tight around my legs. So, I went for my usual clothes size, and they fit comfortably. Snug, but not tight, which gave me a feeling of protection in case things went (literally) sideways.
I opted for Classic Brief style, with the heaviest absorbency: Bonds claims this is equivalent to four tampons and so suitable for overnight use. Everyone’s experience of ‘heavy’ is different, but the estimate of four (super) tampons-worth absorbency was fairly accurate. That makes this style of undies the thickest in the gusset, with five layers built in: moisture-wicking, absorbency, and odour control. The reusable pads I’ve been using for years are thick wads of absorbent fabric – if you’re thinking surfboard, you’re on the right track. In comparison, the undies feel like almost nothing – I would say no more than a centimetre thick. The absorbent layers cover the whole gusset area where you might want protection when standing, sitting, and lying down.
I was extremely impressed with the moisture-wicking layer at the top. Not as effective as plastic disposable pads, but also without the feeling of sitting on sweaty plastic for hours. Not the fresh, dry feeling of tampons or a cup, but of course that’s not going to happen with pads. I was most impressed with how the undies coped with flooding. Coughing, sneezing, getting up off the chair, ninja-rolling out of bed at 2am: if you know, you know.
The fabric on the outside of the gusset area is the same as the whole brief, which makes it comfy to wear, but is also where I noticed the biggest issue. I was expecting a waterproof PUL (polyurethane laminate) layer, as with the pads I use and the cloth nappies I used on my kid before that. No such layer here, and so when the absorbent layers were full the undies began to leak through. No different to other protection, really.
The absorbent layers didn’t twist when I washed the undies, although I did put them in a lingerie bag for a little more protection. Bonds suggests the Bloody Comfy undies will last as long as their regular undies. All my regular undies are also Bonds, and from that experience it’ll likely be the elastic in the waistband that goes first.
The Bloody Comfy undies do come in a range of absorbency and styles, but I’ve met my uterus before: there was no point going anything short of maximum power. If you’re into gee, tanga, bikini or boyleg styles, and can compromise on absorbency, Bonds have you covered.
The biggest question to consider, if you’re thinking of investing in period undies, is how they will fit into your lifestyle. How often you will need to change them, and if you’re able to do that. I wouldn’t wear these to a job where I’d need to change throughout the day. It would be tedious to use these with trousers because you’d have to take off half your kit to change your period protection. If four tampons-worth will last you all day (or night), or if you’re just going out for a few hours, I think these are a fantastic addition to your reusable protection arsenal. You don’t need to be more comfortable with your downstairs than you would when using a pad, except for popping the undies in the wash. It’s not messy or especially confronting.
Bloody Comfy undies are not going to replace my current period setup. To be fair to Bonds, that’s the fault of my reproductive system: the period where I first tried these was the heaviest of my life, which is genuinely not exaggeration. Trial by
fire blood and all that. They will be great as a backup to the cup, on days when I can be at home and change as needed, and on lighter days when I don’t need to replace over-full protection hourly.