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There are four pairs of period underwear that stand out in our testing: Thinx, Bambody, Aisle, and Goat Union.
- Best bikini: Thinx Hi-Waist | Skip to review
- Best budget bikini: Bambody Panty | Skip to review
- Best shorts: Aisle Boost Boxer | Skip to review
- Best budget shorts: Goat Union Overnight Period Shorts | Skip to review
Period underwear are a popular — albeit controversial — reusable menstrual product.
The first thing to know about period underwear (and tampons, pads, and yoga pants) is that even if brands aren’t intentionally adding in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), these products can still contain PFAS, aka “forever chemicals,” unless you wash them first.
It’s very hard to guarantee there are no PFAS in the finished product, despite a brand’s best efforts to keep them away.
If you want a truly PFAS-free way to manage your period each month, a menstrual cup may be the safer choice.
But if you’re still interested in period underwear, I rounded up the most reliable pairs based on our experience using these products over several months and up to two years.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$40
- $$$ = over $40
- Price: $$
- Absorbency: 5 tampons
I first tried these for postpartum — I started using them late summer in 2022 — because they were pretty, functional, and a much preferred replacement to the postpartum pads from my hospital stay.
They helped me start to feel like myself again (in addition to these amazing compression undies, but I’ll save that for another article).
If you prefer a high waist fit, these fit beautifully. They don’t add extra poof, and the mesh detail makes them feel pretty instead of designated period underwear you’d usually hide in the back of your drawer.
They’re advertised to hold five tampons’ worth, and I found I could wear these just about as long as the Goat Union shorts below.
To address the elephant in the room, the lawsuit against Thinx was due to the brand incorrectly marketing the lack of harmful chemicals, not because personal injury or health claims. Since the settlement, the brand says they do not intentionally add PFAS, and they will take steps to ensure they are not accidentally added.
This is pretty much the case with all reusable period underwear. A brand may not intentionally add PFAs, but given the prevalence of PFAS in our entire supply chain and daily life, exposure is still possible.
If you prefer a low rise fit, Thinx Hiphugger is also a reliable option. In my experience, they have more poof around the booty compared with the Hi-Waist but not so much that it’s a deal-breaker.
Another Healthline editor used these as her go to pair until lawsuit freaked her out enough to toss them (she is since willing to try Thinx again).
She found the fit was just right, not restrictive or tight. They lasted her through many, many washes and were still in perfectly good shape when she threw them out. They can leak overnight on heavy days, but they are otherwise reliable without leaks.
Best budget bikini
- Price: $
- Absorbency: 4 tampons
Another Healthline editor tried these and found them to be as absorbent as Thinx but for less than half the price. The waistband is wide so they don’t have a restrictive fit, yet they still feel secure and soft. They’re a more budget-friendly pair and the fabric feels like it is of lesser quality than the Thinx or Aisle pairs on our list.
The fact that they’re less expensive than other brands and work just as well keeps them high on our list.
- Price: $$$
- Absorbency: up to 4 tampons’ worth, or up to 8 with booster insert
I especially appreciated that these period shorts weren’t puffy despite being super absorbent (not the case with all the period underwear I’ve tried). They do not feel bulky or like you’re wearing padded bike shorts.
I successfully wore them all day without leaks on many occasions — though minor leaks did occur once or twice in the early evening after a day of wear.
I found they can easily be worn under comfortable shorts and jeans during the day without giving away a dreaded panty line. If you prefer shorts to a thong — which Aisle also makes and is great for lighter days when you’re less worried about leaks — for more security while you’re out and about, these are a reliable option.
I also like that these boxers comes with an extra removable liner that can increase absorbency. I started the day wearing the liner and then removed it once I felt like it was full. Aisle claims this gives you eight tampons’ worth absorbency, and while I haven’t measured, I attest they are definitely suitable to wear for longer period of time and have done so on many occasions.
I have washed and worn them through many cycles, and they are holding up with minimal wear and tear. For reference, I bought them in late 2021 and have used them in rotation since — sans the 18 months or so I was pregnant and postpartum without a period.
Best budget shorts
- Price: $$
- Absorbency: 3–4 tampons
While the Aisle boxers above feel like a higher quality fabric and fit slightly better, these Goat Union shorts are a suitable and reliable option if you want to spend about half as much. I found they had a little more of a “rustle” when wearing them, making the fabric feel less luxurious, but not enough to deter me from wearing them.
The shorts don’t come with the liner that the Aisle boxers do, so they are less absorbent, but I still found that they rarely leaked, and when they did, it was in the early evening after a full day of wear.
I purchased these in late 2021 and there’s no detrimental wear and tear from washing and wearing many times over. They have still held up well. Aside from the fact that the fabric feels cheaper the Aisle boxers and you don’t get an extra liner, these are comparable performance-wise.
At half the cost of the Aisle boxers and only a tiny but bulkier, these period shorts held up overnight and during longer day wear.
A bonus to Goat Union is that they publish their third-party testing results for PFAS. Other brands state they test their products, but Goat Union is the only one I’ve found that is transparent about their results.
The ModiBodi Classic Bikini is another great period brief for anyone who prefers a low rise fit. It’s on par with the other brands we tried absorbency-wise. From a sustainable standpoint, ModiBodi gets a lot of points, too.
One Healthline editor found the durability of the ModiBodi Classic Bikini fell short of the Thinx brief. She said her Thinx pair was still going strong at the 2-year mark, but her ModiBodi Classic bikini was getting holes despite following the brand’s washing instructions.
The ModiBodi pair might not be right for you if you prefer a hip rise or high rise. We found the Classic Bikini to be pretty low rise compared with the other pairs; they felt less fitted and secure. That said, the brand also sells high waist pairs we have not tried.
I also tried the Thinx Sleep Short, which performs well absorbency-wise. But the bum area also has a poofy fit. I still keep them in rotation and they work just fine, but I prefer to sleep in the Aisle boxers or Goat Union shorts because they feel more secure and fitted.
We chose our picks based on the following criteria:
- Safety: All the brands we recommend claim to take steps to ensure PFAS are not added by their suppliers.
- Absorbency: The pairs we recommend all offer medium to high absorbency.
- Comfort: We all deserve to be as comfortable as possible on our periods, so our picks had to be soft, secure, and not feel like we were wearing a diaper all day.
- Reliability: We tested period underwear as a standalone menstrual product, not as a backup to protect against leaks while wearing tampons or menstrual cups.
That said, period underwear likely doesn’t post any greater risk than other menstrual products when it comes to PFAS, but experts suggest washing before your first wear to reduce exposure.
While most brands don’t intentionally add in PFAS, the product can unintentionally be exposed to these chemicals before making it to your doorstep.
Period products, in general, are not highly regulated. The
Once you’re done wearing a pair, rinse with water and run it in the washing machine in cold water. I tend to wash my pairs on their own cycle together, but this may not be necessary.
Most brands recommend using cold water and mild detergent. The delicate cycle is preferred, and cold water is a must. Machine drying is a no-go in most cases, so lay flat or hang to dry, depending on what the tag says.
Is period underwear comfortable?
Yes. In general, most period underwear is pretty comfortable, but some fit more securely than others.
One of the biggest concerns for many before trying period underwear is, “Will it feel like wearing a wet pad all day?”
The answer is not really. However, you may notice a damp feeling as they start to fill up, which is a good sign it may be time to change.
Does period underwear really work?
Yes, it does work. That said, bodies are different and so are periods, and what works for many doesn’t necessarily work for all. If you have a very heavy period, then period underwear might be better used as a backup to other period products.
Period underwear is a great option for those looking for a reusable menstrual product. They are definitely worth a try on their own or as a backup since they can provide more comfort and security.