During a woman’s lifetime, she can use upwards of 10,000 period-related products. And with the vast majority of these products full of synthetic chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and irritants, that can mean a lot of unwanted exposure to some pretty nasty stuff. It’s not something that most people think about, but thankfully it’s becoming more common knowledge, and companies are stepping up to the plate with organic options.
But as menstruation can be such a unique experience to each of us, it can be hard to figure out which products to choose. Not to worry, that’s what this guide is for! We’ll take you through the different things you should look for when deciding on an organic pad or tampon. If you’re still at a loss at the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorite products–5 pads and 5 tampons.
Should I Get a Pad or a Tampon? What is Each Good For?
Whether you’re new to the menstruation game or you’re looking to shake up your routine, here’s a quick rundown on the pros and cons for each.
Pads Offer More Security but Can Be More Noticeable or Uncomfortable
Pads are probably what you used the first time you got your period, and for good reason–they’re super easy to use. Just stick one on your underwear and you’re good to go! Plus, being able to see how soaked it is allows you to always know when it’s time to change, and their varying levels of coverage offer you a sense of security.
However, pads might not be the best option for those who prefer to wear thongs or tighter clothing, especially if your flow is heavier and you’re using a large pad. They can also be uncomfortable for some who are sensitive to the material against their skin or the feeling of dampness between changes.
Tampons Can Be Tricky at First, but They’re the Best if You’re Active
Tampons are great in situations where you’re more active and a pad might otherwise shift around in your pants or for when you’re swimming. They’re also great for those who prefer not to be reminded of their period–you don’t need to look at them very often and usually don’t even feel them once they’re in.
That being said, for those not used to using tampons, it might take a couple tries to get the placement just right, and there’s a small risk of toxic shock syndrome, a very rare but dangerous infection, if you keep them in for too long.
How to Choose and Organic Pad or Tampon – Buying Guide
Despite their differences, pads and tampons share many of the same criteria when you need to choose which ones to buy.
Read the Label: Look for Pads and Tampons Without Harmful Chemicals
The organic label on pads and tampons essentially means that they’re made from 100% cotton that was grown organically–without the use of pesticides or toxins. However, that doesn’t always mean that they’re completely free from anything that might irritate you. So aside from being labeled “organic,” look for products that are also fragrance-free and dye-free.
Better yet, check that they provide a full list of ingredients. This will ensure that you’re not exposing yourself to any unwanted chemicals or things that don’t mesh well with sensitive skin. For tampons, look to see that the applicators don’t contain BPA or phthalates, which can disrupt endocrine systems leading to cancer, fertility issues, and obesity.
Most mainstream tampons come with a plastic applicator. But because plastic contains harmful chemicals, some organic tampons don’t come with an applicator. There are organic tampons that come with plastic-free applicators, so if you’re worried you won’t be able to slide it in easily without an applicator, be sure to check for those!
Know Your Flow: Choose a Product Based on Absorbency and Pack Size
As with traditional menstrual products, organic pads and tampons also come in a variety of absorbency levels. Make sure to choose your products based on how heavy your flow is.
Also, if you know you’re going to need a lot, look for larger packs. Organic pads/tampons aren’t cheap, and generally speaking, buying a larger pack versus multiple small ones will give you a better price.
Find Your Fit: Why There are Different Shapes and What They Do
Every body is different, so of course you’re going to want products to fit your individual needs!
Pads Can Be Fitted to Your Clothing or Your Lifestyle
Pads are not one-size-fits-all. And depending on the clothes you’re wearing, your preferences, and your activity level, you might need a pad in different sizes/shapes. Pads range from very thin pantyliners that are indetectable to flared diapers for nighttime wear. For athletes, they can be angled so it’s more comfortable when you move.
Luckily, organic pads are mainstream enough that you can easily find your favorite size and shape (with or without wings)–even thong pads!
Tampons can be Optimized for Your Body Shape and Sports
Everyone’s body is different, so it makes sense that different tampons would be comfortable for different people. Find one that fits you. Most of the time, if the tip is slim and rounded, it goes in easily and is pretty comfortable. If you’re sporty, there are also tampons meant for active lifestyles. They’re usually flexible so they can follow the curves and movements of your body without leaking.
Another difference in tampon shape is the way that it opens up when it absorbs liquids. Some expand length-wise, which is better for those who prefer a slimmer feel. Others expand width-wise, which is better for security and for those who are more active.
Top 5 Best Organic Pads to Buy Online
Organic pads are becoming more and more popular, and these are the best five available online now.
5. Azalea, Made with Organic Cotton Pads (10 Count)
Small Pack of Super Absorbent Pads
One of the main complaints that new users of organic pads have is that their fully cotton construction makes them less absorbent. But that’s not the case here. These winged pads are super thin and just as absorbent as conventional pads. And you can rest easy knowing that even the waterproof plastic lining is completely biodegradable.
For those who don’t need too many pads at once, at just 10 pads per pack, this pack might be the perfect size. Unfortunately, this brand only comes in a limited range of sizes and doesn’t include longer options for overnight wear. Another thing that might not make this the perfect fit for some is that while some brands offer extra certifications beyond organic, this one does not.
4. Veeda Ultra Thin Pads with Wings (14 Count)
For Sensitive Skin and Lighter Flows
These pads are made from hypoallergenic organic cotton and are free of chemicals, rayon, chlorine, pesticides, dyes, and fragrances. In short, they’re fantastic for those with sensitive skin. Even the plastic is skin- and earth-friendly–it’s made from a special plastic that biodegrades without special disposal within a year.
These pads are thin and body-hugging, making them great for day-to-day wear. However, some reviewers have noted that they aren’t as absorbent as conventional pads of the same size. So these might be best for use on lighter days or as backup for a tampon.
3. Organyc 100% Organic Cotton Pads with Wings (60 Count)
For Those Who Like to Buy in Bulk
Unlike most organic pads which come in small packs, these pads come in a hefty pack of 60, so that you can be sure that you’ll always be prepared. These pads are hypoallergenic, biodegradable, made from 100% cotton, and free from fragrances, dyes, and synthetic materials.
These pads have wings and are shaped to prevent any leaking. To top it off, this brand comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from panty liners to overnighters to even post-maternity pads. So if you really like these, you can use them for the length of your entire period.
2. L. Organic Cotton & Chlorine-Free Pads (28 Count)
Absolutely Ethical Pads that are Certified Better for Workers, Communities, and the Environment
Like any good organic pad, these pads are free from dyes, chemicals, fragrances, deodorants, and even rayon. They’re hypoallergenic and ultra-thin, making them great for those who just want slap one on and forget about it for the rest of the day. Plus, they’re just as absorbent as conventional options.
Where this pad really shines is in the ethics of the company that produces it. L.’s products are not just organic but also cruelty-free (nothing in the production process uses animal materials or tests on animals) and it’s a certified B Corporation, which means that it’s recognized as being better for workers, communities, and the environment.
1. Rael Certified Organic Cotton Pads (28 Count)
Dermatologist Tested and Proven to be Real Good for Your Skin
For most of us, the skin “down there” is the most sensitive skin on our bodies, and these pads get that. Not only are they made from USDA-certified organic, USA-grown cotton that’s toxin-, pesticide-, and chemical-free, but it’s also dermatologist-tested to be good for sensitive skin.
Unlike most organic pads that are really thin and have a tendency to overflow or leak, these pads have a little more heft to them and include built-in side panels to prevent leaks for peace of mind. They’re also made in layers to facilitate air flow and prevent odors.
Top 5 Best Organic Tampons to Buy Online
Because they sit inside you, it’s extra important that your tampons are organic. These five aren’t just organic but also offer a whole host of positives.
5. Cora Super Organic Tampons with Applicator (18 Count)
Discrete Protection for Lighter Days
For those who don’t like to sound like they’re opening up a bag of chips in the bathroom every time they need to change their tampon, these might just be the tampons for you. Aside from being organic with no synthetics, dyes, or fragrances, they also come in a soft, quiet packaging.
These tampons come with a plastic applicator that, while BPA-free and recyclable, is not biodegradable. And although these tampons claim to be for heavy days, they’re definitely better suited for lighter flows as some reviewers have noted that they tend to soak through quickly.
4. Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons (240 Count)
If You Don’t Like Running to the Market, Here’s One Year of Simply Good Tampons
Natracare has been producing organic, plastic-free tampons since 1989, way before it was cool. Since the beginning, their products have been chlorine-, rayon-, and chemical free to keep toxins out of women’s bodies as well as the environment.
These tampons do not come with applicators, which make them fully biodegradable and better for the environment. However, applicator-free tampons can take some getting used to, so it might not be the best idea to invest in a year’s worth of these tampons if you’ve never tried it out.
3. L. Organic Cotton Tampons, Regular + Super Absorbency (48 Count)
For the Altruistic, Cruelty-Free Tampons with a Conscience
These tampons are organic as well as bleach-, rayon-, pesticide-, fragrance-, and dye-free. On top of that, they are hypoallergenic and come in a pack with both regular and super absorption to take you through your cycle. These tampons come with a small, BPA-free plastic applicator and wrapped in some seriously good looking packaging.
Where these tampons really shine though is in what they do for others. As a company, L. is a certified B Corp, and its products are all cruelty-free. Plus, with every sanitary product bought, L. enables a female entrepreneur in a developing country to produce pads for their communities.
2. Oi Organic Cotton Digital Tampons (16 Count)
Eco-Friendly and Super Secure
True to its labeling, these tampons are a “revolution in a box.” Completely biodegradable from the plant-based dyes on the box to the cornstarch-based bioplastic wrapper around the applicator-free tampons, you can rest easy knowing that your tampons are good for both you and the environment.
These super tampons open wide instead of long and are great for those heavy days when you need a bit of extra security. They don’t have applicators, so if you’re not used to using your fingers, these might have a bit of a learning curve, but at just 16 tampons per pack, this could be the perfect trial box.
1. Tampon Tribe Organic Mixed Absorbency Tampons (28 Count)
Multi-Pack with Biodegradable Applicators
One pack of these organic tampons includes 16 regulars, 6 supers, and 6 super pluses and can take you through your entire period. Plus, they expand width-wise so that you know they’ll stay put and won’t leak even on your heaviest days. And of course, they are certified organic and hypoallergenic.
On top of that, though, these tampons come with a biodegradable cardboard applicator. Unlike the scratchy cardboard applicators of conventional tampons, these applicators go in smooth and use a unique twisting mechanism. They also come in a super cute (and eco-friendly) burlap pouch.
Your period can be an unpleasant few days, but organic pads and tampons at least make it so that you don’t have to worry about your health! Hopefully this guide has helped to make choosing the right one for you a little easier.
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