Thinx Period Panties Review
I first heard about Thinx on the Creative Warriors podcast with Miki Agrawal, founder of Thinx, hosted by Jeffrey Shaw. She’s an entrepreneur who asks herself three questions. What sucks in my world? Does it suck for a lot of people? Can I be passionate about this for a long time? Her first business was a gluten free pizza restaurant. Her second business was Thinx.
She talked about how the word taboo comes from the word menstruation and that because no one wants to talk about it, there’s been little innovation. In 1931 the tampon was invented (the menstrual cup was invented around the same time, but was considered scandalous) and in 1969 an adhesive strip was added to pads. Since then, there’s been almost no innovation even though underwear fails women one week a month.
Miki and her twin sister set out to change that by inventing Thinx, which is supposed to have antimicrobial properties so they don’t smell, with a moisture wicking layer so they don’t feel wet, and an absorbent layer so they are leak proof.
When I first listened to the podcast, I’d just had a baby and was nursing, so even though I wouldn’t need them for a loooooong time, I went ahead and ordered three pairs.
They have several different styles of underwear that absorb different amounts. For example, their hip hugger panties are the “champion in the absorbency olympics” and supposedly hold up to two tampons worth of blood. I got the hip hugger style because that’s the kind of underwear I like. Now you know.
Sound too good to be true?
It is. Even though I’m very excited about the concept and love the innovation behind fixing something that’s broken, the dissonance between their claims and my experiences was sorely disappointing. I’ll talk about each claim and why I think it doesn’t hold up.
But first a disclaimer. People RAVE about menstrual cups. I tried a Diva cup at least 15 times and it was like wearing my husband’s pants. After reading this article which explained why I was having problems in great detail, I ordered a MeLuna which comes in 8 different sizes (as well as two firmness levels and three handle types). It is entirely possible that after falling love with my MeLuna, which I’m really hoping will happen, I might change my tune with Thinx. For now, this is essentially a review of the Thinx/tampon combination, which I think is an important review to write for those not ready to make the menstrual cup plunge.
Claim 1: Thinx are period proof (e.g. they do not leak).
OB tampons have four different absorbencies that are wildly different. On a very heavy day some women go through a super plus tampon in an hour and a regular tampon would be like slapping a band aid on an open artery. When I listened to the podcast for a second time, Miki said that Thinx holds 5 teaspoons of liquid, or 25mL or 25g. If this is true, they would hold more than an OB superplus tampon (the ones as big as your forearm).
For me, having skipped out on this thing for the better part of a year and a half, this was a no joke kind of situation I had going on. Wanting to test the claims (2 tampons worth!), I used just the underwear as backup. When I needed the backup, it lasted for less than 10 minutes. Blood seeped from the inside part around the edges to the front, where it got on my pants (if you’re into graphic things and want a visual, click here). For the record, this has never happened to me using a pad as backup.
When I opened a chat message with Thinx, the conversation went something like this.
Me: My Thinx leaked.
Thinx: They’re meant to be used as backup.
Me: I know, I was using them as backup.
Thinx: We only recommend them for use as backup.
Me: Yes I know, that’s what I was doing. (Repeat 3 or 4 more times).
Thinx: Well we can issue you a refund. Click on this link.
Ummm, okay. So I emailed customer service. They asked if I’d used fabric softeners. I said no, that I’d followed directions. They sent me a replacement pair, which I found odd because it happened with two pairs and seemed inherent to the design. I didn’t feel like my concern was being addressed.
If you look at the design, there’s really nothing to keep the blood from seeping onto the lace and around the edges to the outside, which is what happened to me. Twice.
Claim 2: They don’t feel wet or smell.
Here’s the official statement from the website: “The top layer fights bacteria and absorbs any liquid into the über thin layer right beneath it, so you always stay dry.”
Unless your period is a drop or two, I don’t understand this claim. When mine leaked, wet was the word I would have used to describe the feeling. Wet is also the word I would use for a light flow as well. When you take them off you can see that they’re wet and if you touch them, your nerve endings will say “wet” to your brain.
As for the smell – it’s no different than pads. Unless you have friends that smell your nether regions, there’s no noticeable odor. However when you take them off it’s not butterflies and sunshine.
Claim 3: You can wear them all day and you don’t feel like you’re sitting in your blood.
If you don’t have nerve endings in your lady parts or if your periods are a drop or two, this may hold true. If you’ve had babies or your uterus gets down to business anyway, you most definitely will not want to wear them all day and you will certainly feel like you’re sitting in your own blood. And unless you can change your underwear a few times a day, this will be a no go.
Why I’ll still keep them and use them.
Their marketing is such a shame because it’s dishonest. Thinx makes wild claims and with an unnoticeable out. They say, “Holds two tampons worth! You don’t feel like you’re sitting in your own blood! They’re period proof! You can wear them all day!” and then when you say they leaked, they say “Oh, it’s just for backup. Know your flow.” I would be 100% on board with the product if the marketing wasn’t so misleading. Having said that, I probably won’t buy any more (at $35 a pair) but I won’t get rid of the ones I have either.
What Thinx are great for:
- When you’re expecting your period. It’s fantastic not to have to wear a pad any more than you absolutely have to (and if you’re using disposables you’re not throwing out extra pads, yay!). Knowing that you’ll be covered when things are light at the beginning offers great peace of mind.
- When you would need one pantyliner all day. For super light days, they’re great because it’s one less thing to think about and one less thing to throw away.
- Overnight. When you’re laying down gravity can work against you and this way you can avoid any overnight leakage-in-weird-places issues.
- Backup if, and only if, you have immediate access to a bathroom. If you’re caring for small children and you can see a bathroom, that doesn’t count. You have to be able to use it whenever you want. And God help you if you’re trying to avoid kids supervising you and asking questions.
What Thinx won’t do:
- Be your primary workhorse. Unless, as noted previously, you have that-doesn’t-count periods.
- Back you up for any flow that is actually heavy (as defined by me and anyone who uses more than a regular sized tampon)
I also want to note that I started out loving the mission of the company and their earth saving efforts, but after signing up for their periodical learned that their political point of view is a huge force behind the company. I have a problem with companies using their products as a platform to push unrelated political agendas (even if I happen to agree with a particular agenda). So I want to share that with you in the event that it would be a deal breaker for you.
I’d love to know if any blog readers have any experiences with Thinx. If so, please leave a comment! If I have somehow convinced you to try them out, please use this affiliate link (click here) to help support the blog (which also means more give aways!!!).