NOTE: none of the products listed in this post are sponsored, meaning no company has paid me to write about their products, including the ones I have a company discount for. I genuinely support all the companies I list here, and all words said are my own.
‘Jess, you talk about periods too much’ is something I hear on a regular basis. And you know what I say?
‘When you are a strong enough creature to bleed for a week straight, every month, and not die, that’s worth talking about’.
AND ALL MY LADIES SAID
So that’s what we’re going to do today. Talk about periods. Specifically, the non-negotiable products we as women have to think about paying for, every month, to catch aunt flo before she ruins our favorite yoga pants.
The fact that these necessities are now being called “luxury items” by the government, and are being taxed as such makes me want to laugh and punch someone in the face all at the same time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening. So, in order to make it more bearable, I’ve compiled a list of my fav all natural, nontoxic period care products that either get you OUT of paying the Tampon Tax OR are worth the extra $$.
Before we get into the goods, you might be wondering why you should consider foregoing your Kotex to brave the world of “hippie period products”, as my sister calls them. Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that most of the personal care products on the market contain what are called ‘xenoestrogens’: estrogen-mimicking chemicals that disrupt our endocrine system. This can cause estrogen dominance, contribute to horrible PMS, and make us more susceptible to estrogenic cancers down the line.
Not only this, but did you know tampon and sanitary pad manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the ingredients of their products because they’re considered “medical devices”?
Ironic, how they can be considered “medical devices” to escape transparency, and then “luxury items” in the same breath to get more money.
When asked about the ingredients in Always Infinity pads, a very popular product, the reps only disclose 2 things: 1.” foam” and 2. a “patented ingredient: infinicel”. When I asked what it was made of, I was told ‘disclosing that information was not an option”…..um. what? You want me to stick something UP THERE, knowing next to nothing about what it’s made out of?
HOW ‘BOUT NO.
There is so much more to this, but for time’s sake, I’ll quickly mention that in traditional tampons and pads you can find bleach, chlorine, BPA filled plastic, GMOs (they spray pesticides on the cotton of nonorganic tampons), Phlatates, and ‘odor neutralizers’…whatever that means. Each of these has been linked to either cancer, gene mutation, immune suppression, abnormal cell growth, endocrine disruption, endometriosis, birth defects, bacterial overgrowths, dryness, and infertility.
Not to mention, this is your vaginal canal we’re talking about here: it is INSIDE your body, connected to your uterus, and a large player in your fertility. You do not want to be shoving things up there that have been linked to anything other than healthy and happy uteruses. Okay?
ALRIGHT, on to the goodies. Here are products to get you out of the tampon tax, or make it actually worth your money.
*Get excited! I’ve included a special discount just for my readers for one of my favorite products because as we all know, Y’all are the best.
1.Organic cotton Tampons and Pads
This is the best option if you want to easily transition to a non-toxic product life with as little change as possible to your current routine because you apply these in the same way as Kotex or Playtex. There are FABULOUS products on the market now, including organic all natural cotton tampons (with or without applicators), nontoxic pads and pantyliners, etc. They tend to run a little more expensive than Kotex, but there are many ways to save money on these beauties. PLUS, I believe and want to encourage you that if there is something to invest in, it’s definitely the health of your uterus.
TIP: buy these from discount natural food stores, like THRIVE market or iHerb. They sell healthy non-toxic products at wholesale prices! Also, the company you choose matters for the price. For example, Natracare tampons are a safe, effective option and cost less than half of Honest Company tampons, because Honest was created by an actress and is much more glamourized. I list some of my favorite companies at different price points below.
- Natracare Pads and Tampons – my favorite for price and efficacy. You can also find them almost anywhere, especially most health food stores
- Lola Tampons– They have great absorbance, and when you order through the website directly you can customize a non-toxic feminine care product box to get delivered to your door every month. How cool is that!? It is more expensive than Natracare, but many would choose this for the convenience
- Maxims Sanitary Items
- Puristics Sanitary Pads– very affordable and available everywhere, including Walmart
2. Menstrual Cup (DISCOUNT ALERT!)
MY ALL TIME FAVORITE WAY TO CATCH THE FLOW.
If you’ve met me, you’ve probably heard me talk about menstrual cups. I had no idea they existed until one of my close friends (another woman who loves talking about periods, naturally) mentioned them to me. They are medical grade silicone ‘cups’ that you fold to insert, and when inside of you they open to create a suction vacuum, catching your flow. Every 4-8 hours, depending on flow, you pull it out and empty it in the toilet, rinse it, then re insert it.
NOW. Before you turn your nose up at a suctiony, big, vaccumm cup inside your vagina, let me clear the air as to why I love them so much.
- Each cup lasts 5 YEARS. It’s about a $20-30 investment (cheaper with my discount!) every 5 years. You can’t beat that financially
- Its amazing for the planet, no waste, no trash
- NO TAMPON TAX
- You don’t have to worry about bringing anything with you. ‘Oh crap, I forgot a tampon’ is a thing of the past. When I start, I insert it and then it’s with me for the duration of my period. My little Blood Buddy!
- It’s not NEARLY as intimidating to insert as you’d think. Depending on the size of your canal and the amount of your flow, you can find a size to suit your needs
- There’s a common fear it will ‘spill’ and leak. This is not true when you insert it properly: the vaccum it creates doesnt allow it to move or spill anywhere.
- There is also some hesitation because women think it “stretches” their canal. Also false. The flexible silicone molds to fit your perfect shape, not the other way around.
- When you properly insert it, you seriously forget it’s in there. I workout with it, sleep with it, do yoga, etc. Can’t. feel. a. thing.
The LENA CUP is my all time favorite brand. For 3 main reasons: They are 1) Beginner friendly 2) the stem is long enough to adjust for a wide variety of cervix locations and 3) the company itself has TONS of info and how-to videos on their website. You can learn exactly how to insert it, get answers to any questions you may have, and learn more about using a cup in general. It’s incredibly helpful. They have 2 sizes: the small and large. I use the small, and it is perfect for my average flow needs. I plan on buying the large, though, for night time use because I love them and can’t resist a good discount;)
DISCOUNT: LENA has graciously offered a discount for my readers of $5 off your first cup using code WHOLLYHEALED at checkout. They are also currently on sale now for $25 so that’s a 20% discount! Run and get yours HERE.
TIP: I have never had a problem with my cup overflowing EXCEPT on the 1 or 2 nights during my heavy days, because I’m in bed and don’t change it for 8+ hours. Now I just wear an organic pad to bed in addition to my cup once or twice a cycle on my heavier nights. If you find you’re overflowing the cup, you might want the larger size, to change it more often, OR make sure you’re inserting it properly. As I mentioned, LENA .com has videos all about this stuff! Over all, the cup holds a lot and most days you can get away with changing it a lot less than you would a tampon. It just takes trial and error to figure it out.
3. Period Panties
These are absorbable, washable, panties you can buy in a wide variety of absorbancies to wear while you’re on your period. They provide IMPRESSIVE absorbancy, and are really great for those of us that don’t have periods like clock work and our start days are usually a “ehh, I think Ill start Wednesday…or maybe Friday” kind of thing. That way you dont have to put a tampon or cup up not knowing if it’s neccessary or not. Also, they have everything from thongs, cheeksters, boyshort, bikini, or full coverage ranging in absorbancy from half to 2 full tampons worth. THE POSSIBILITIES PEOPLE!
TIP: THINX Panties is my favorite brand because of their wide product range to choose from, the style, and their efficacy. To wash: soak in cold water, then run through a delicate cycle in your washing machine and hang dry. Easy Peasy.
4. Reusable cloth pad
For all my ladies that really care about reducing your carbon footprint, or you really don’t like using anything you have to stick INSIDE you, these are for you! They offer the external protection of a pad, without the thick diaper-like feel most of us are all too familiar with. You buy a set, usually along with a sanitary bag to throw your dirty ones in, and since one pad has the equivalent use of 150 disposable pads, you’ve saved yourself mucho money.
Tip: You wash them like period panties: soak them in cold water first then wash and hang dry. If you’re in a hurry, you can throw your dirty ones in a reusable bag and do an entire load at once. These offer all the pros of a Menstrual cup or a sea sponge (cheaper, no tampon tax, and eco friendly) but you don’t have to insert them inside your canal. I know a lot of women who just aren’t comfortable with that, or have trauma associated with insertion, and I want to give options that respect that.
5. Sea sponges
Yes. Sponges. From the sea….in your v.
This one is for all my mermaids out there. If you like trying really weird things, you’ve GOT to explore this option. Sea sponges are what women used for YEARS wayyy before tampons were a thing. Ill admit, when I first tried a sponge, it was purely for curiosity sake. I love my Lena cup and didn’t need to find another alternative, but the thought of using a SEA SPONGE as a tampon was just too weird and funny, I had to do it. And I was SHOCKED. It works and feels like a tampon. For an average flow (like mine), it’s enough absorption, was easy to rinse out and clean between applications, and made me feel like a sea princess.
BONUS: sea sponges naturally contain enzymes that can discourage odor and bacteria growth, so all my ladies with recurring yeast infections or bacterial overgrowth, this might be an option worth exploring!
The best part? They are cost effective (a pack of 6 costs like $10-15, each sponge lasting you at least 3 cycles), eco-friendly, AND get you out of the tampon tax. BOOM.
TIPS: Clean before use, and make sure it is completely dry before storage! I recommend getting the larger sizes, as it gives you more absorption and it’s the same to insert it; you can also trim it to be more of a custom size. Once you compress it, it’s very small and easily glides up. It will slowly shrink the more you use it because it is bio-degradable, so once you feel it’s not absorbing enough, switch to a new one. Mine impressively lasted about 4 cycles: take the round sponge, wet it with water, squeeze the excess out, and stick it up there.
Well, there you have it, ladies: 5 products to get you out of the tampon tax, and all non toxic natural ones to boot! Don’t forget, use code WHOLLYHEALED at checkout when you grab your LENA CUP and you’ll get 20% off. Snap a pic of your nontoxic product of choice and use #whollyhealed so I can see and we can start a Period Club…. We’ll be the coolest girls in school.