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For people who menstruate, pads and tampons are regular grocery list items. So much so that the average menstruator is expected to use between five and 15 thousand pads and tampons over their lifetime, the majority of which will end up in landfills and waterways as waste.
And while the period-having community has made ecological strides in the forms of menstrual cups and organic, biodegradable products, those options aren't always suited to everyone. Organic sanitary products, for instance, can cost upwards of $10/box, contributing to an average of $6,360 spent during a woman's reproductive lifetime. As for menstrual cups, although many brands claim you can use the product for up to 10 years, younger or wary menstruators may not feel comfortable with the insertion and sanitation required by the cups.
A more user-friendly option for eco-conscious Aunt Flo-ers are period panties. Period undies work by absorbing blood in lieu of, or in addition to, a tampon. They're washable and reusable, and if you care for them correctly (i.e. avoiding bleach and the dryer), they can last for up to two years.
For plus-size menstruators eager to reduce their carbon footprints, shopping for cute and functional period panties just got a whole lot easier thanks to the extended plus-size range from Thinx. A pioneer in the period undie movement, Thinx just released new and improved X to 4X sizes across all of their styles, including their sleep shorts, activewear, and original period panties.
Thinx previously offered extended sizes, but after feedback from consumers, they spent two years fit-testing with real people with periods to revamp and relaunch the collection.
With redesigned sizes X-4X with actual plus-size waist, hip and leg measurements, the Thinx period underwear is designed to hug every contour of your body so that you feel safe and comfortable out and about, even on your heaviest days.
To check out the new plus-size range from Thinx and give your monthly cycle an eco-friendly overhaul, shop our picks below.
The brand's best-selling Hiphugger's feature a full-coverage fit and a comfortable lace waistband. Designed to absorb the equivalent of three tampons, the Hiphugger's have earned an impressive average rating of 4.8 stars.
"I was not sure if this underwear would really work, but after the first use, I was pleasantly surprised," writes one shopper. "I kept checking each hour, thinking I would mess my clothes, but nothing went through my clothes. My only regret is that I did not buy enough."
SHOP IT: Thinx, $34
Designed for heavy absorbency, the high-waist panties are perfect for those first couple of days where you want to be held in and not worry about potential leakage.
"A pair of high-waisted [underwear] that don't roll from the top or give me a wedgie? Yes, please, and thank you!" writes one shopper. "These are so comfortable and don't show over the top of my high-waisted jeans! I mention this because I have a short torso, and this tends to be a problem for me. Not in these babies, though!"
SHOP IT: Thinx, $38
Get back to doing the things you love with Thinx's Sport panties. Designed with a flexible, workout-friendly fit, you'll feel comfortable going about your routine with these moderate absorbency panties.
"The Sport helps me feel sexy and remain true to my active lifestyle — I can go from dance class to nightlife without having to make major changes," says one shopper.
SHOP IT: Thinx, $32
Holding up to four tampons' worth of blood, these French Cut panties feature a comfy high-cut leg and extra secure elastic for added protection.
"My legs look a miiiiile long whenever I wear these," writes one shopper. "So flattering! I've never felt so sexy on my period before."
SHOP IT: Thinx, $35
Earning a staggering 4.8 out of five stars, users say, "I absolutely love the fit and feel of these! They're so comfy I want to wear them on their own! I never thought I'd like wearing boyshort underwear as I'm more of a sport or hip-hugger wearer...but these are amazing and a total game changer!"
The Thinx boyshorts offer a moderate absorbency and extra length in the leg for a full-coverage fit.
SHOP IT: Thinx, $39
These super absorbency shorts can hold up to five tampons worth of blood. "No more bulky overnight pads for me! I can just sleep and not worry about waking up to period stains," users say of the boxer-inspired pyjama shorts.
SHOP IT: Thinx, $50