Getting your period is not fun. Cramping, bloating, craving, and well, messiness – it’s a tough time of the month. Thankfully, plenty of new startups like Thinx, Modibodi and Speax are focused on creating products that women can use for their monthly friend. While we may have all heard of organic tampons and gummy vitamins for PMS, there is a new category of innovation using surprisingly sophisticated technology: period-proof panties.
The concept of period panties has always existed—just not quite in the way that these new ones do. Traditionally, they’ve been the rattiest pair of granny panties you’ve owned for a decade that you don’t mind “ruining” with leaks and such. (It goes without saying that this is probably your least sexy pair.)
With this in mind, Thinx, Modibodi, and Speax are here to change your idea of period underwear, and show you new products that will blow your pants (ok, maybe tampons, pads, and menstrual cups) off.
What are period panties, and who needs them?
Period panties are underwear that you use during your menstrual period. They are made with special fabrics that absorb discharge and draw them away from your body, yet lock the moisture in the fabric itself. They’re leak-resistant, but also breathable. So that’s basically magic, right? Actually, it’s science!
These fabric features have been around for some time now as a development of the technology of disposable diapers. However, it took a lot of trial and error to get them in the right combinations and blends to make them the reusable products that they are today.
For the most part, women use period panties to spare their nicer knickers from potential mess. These new products achieve that and much more. Depending on how heavy your flow is, Thinx, ModiBodi, and Speax all eliminate the need for tampons, pads, and menstrual cups — allowing you to skip an entire step in your Shark Week routine and just jump right into undies. Wearing these reusable panties also reduces your environmental footprint since you’re not consuming menstrual products on a monthly basis.
Conversely, some girls use them as a back-up protection on top of traditional feminine products. You know those days when your flow is just relentless, and you need to wear white. They’d also be more comfortable overall since it’ll feel just like wearing any other pair of undies in your drawer. Lastly, free bleeding is very much a thing, and period panties can help you dip a toe into that movement.
Period Panties – OK, we like them
So, we were skeptical that we’d actually like using period panties over tampons. But, guess what – now we can’t imagine not having them. Not only do they do a surprisingly good job, they also can give you some serious confidence at particular times and parts of your cycle. Here is where we now find them indispensable (and thanks to Modibodi for sending us a couple of free pairs – it worked, we love them now!)
- Before your period starts, but when you are worried that it might – this can give you the insurance you need if you aren’t quite sure when you’ll start your flow.
- When you are sleeping, they do a great job and I now prefer to wear them at night vs. tampons or pads.
- On heavy flow days, they can give an extra bit of protection and confidence.
Here’s a look at the top three period underwear brands
Thinx is one of the biggest names in the period panty space. Going back to 2014, they’ve been trying to break the taboo around menstrual products by making their underwear sleek, cute, and modern, which is a total departure from what period undies are usually thought to be.
Thinx offers a slew of different panty styles, with varying materials and absorbency levels.
Their Classic underwear can usually handle up to 2 regular tampons’ worth of fluid (10mL), and can go up to 4 tampons’ (20mL) worth with their Super products. They also sell a line made with organic cotton and an ultra-thin line called Thinx air.
Thinx keeps women fresh and dry by using a patented design that has four layers of fabric, each layer with a specific purpose — moisture-wicking, odor-controlling, leak-resistant, and a last layer to hold it all together. This technology is in both their underwear and activewear, which is really handy since staying active is one of the biggest concerns when women are on their rag.
Lastly, Thinx applies non-migratory silver that controls odors and the spread of bacteria, making sure that its users stay fresh throughout the day.
From the Land Down Under comes Modibodi. Bothered by the lack of innovation in women’s period products and underwear, founder Kristy Chong came up with the idea shortly after she gave birth and experienced bladder leak issues.
She started developing the product in late 2013 and took a couple of years to create her patented product. Today, it’s used not only in underwear, but also Modibodi’s activewear, shapewear, swim wear, and maternity underwear.
Between the three companies, they offer the widest range of sizes from 3XS to 6XL, and absorbency from moisture wicking to heavy overnight (capacities of 10 to 20mL as well).
Like Thinx, Modibodi uses multi-layer fabric technologies called Modifier and Modifier Air Technology™ for their wares, with two to three layers depending on what absorbency the item is designed for. They also use fibers like bamboo, merino, nylon, and microfiber in different parts of their products. Modibodi offers more shopping options by having seam-free, vegan, and curvy lines, catering to people with specific needs and preferences.
Modibodi also has mostly compostable packaging, which is pretty awesome.
It’s also interesting to note that Modibodi sells a breastfeeding singlet for new moms who may experience breast milk leaks—a pretty unique offering in this period panty market.
Last on the list is Speax (recently acquired and rebranded from its previous name Icon), which is technically marketed as pee-proof undies rather than period panties, because its sister company Thinx already takes care of the latter.
Since they’re made by the same parent firm, Speax utilizes the same fabric technology as Thinx. In fact, panties from both Speax and Thinx are very comparable, with the exception of absorbency.
Speax vs Thinx: what’s the difference?
Even though they are both the same company now, a big difference of Speax vs Thinx is that Speax can absorb double the amount, up to 8 teaspoons of fluid which is about 40mL. This is probably due to urine flowing at a faster rate and in more volume than menstrual fluid, which makes the Speax capacity more ideal for that purpose. It’s hard to say if Speax and Thinx are actually interchangeable though—their FAQs just refer them to each other when that question comes up.
Like most modern companies, all three engage in their communities through corporate responsibility programs. Both Thinx and Speax are manufactured in a family-run facility in Sri Lanka that observes ethical and sustainable product development.
They also participate in the GiveRise program where they advocate for puberty education, support gender equity and inclusivity movements, and donate underwear to girls in underserved communities.
Similarly, Modibodi also has a “Give A Pair” program, where customers can purchase a voucher that provides two pairs of underwear to women in need across Australia. They also participate in the Sustainable Period Project, which educates schools and health professionals about biodegradable and reusable sanitary options to encourage their use over conventional disposables. Additionally, they work with an off-shore supplier that complies with Oeko-Tex fair work standards and wages.
Thinx vs Modibodi vs Speax: Period Underwear Comparison
Here’s a table to help you quickly compare these three prominent period panty offerings, Modibodi, Speax and Thinx, once and for all:
Thinx vs Modi Bodi vs Speax: The Best Period Undies Compared
|Pricing||Starts at $24, up to $90 for sets||Starts at $19, up to $160 for bundles||Starts at $28, up to $104 for sets|
|Discounts / Promo Codes||Free shipping on first order||20% off and free shipping on first order||Free shipping on first order|
|Tech||Four-layer technology||Three- and two-layer technology||Four-layer technology|
|Capacity||10 to 20mL||10 to 20mL||Up to 40mL|
|Sizing||XXS to 3XL||2XS to 6XL||XS to 5XL|
|Extra features||Organic cotton line air (ultra-thin)||Seamfree line|
|Guarantee||60 days, free returns||30 days for first time buyers||60 days, free returns|
|Product care||Rinse after use, wash in a mesh laundry bag on a cold cycle, and hang dry.||Wash in a mesh laundry bag, on a cold, gentle cycle then hang dry. No softener or bleach, which can affect the special fabrics.||Rinse after use, wash in a mesh laundry bag on a delicate cycle, and hang dry or tumble low. Also no softener or bleach.|
What are women saying about Thinx, Modibodi, and Speax?
When it comes to “unmentionables,” you best believe women are going to scrutinize everything – especially when it comes to helping out at that time of the month. Since each person will have their own views on MobiBodi, Speax and Thinx, we complied some reviews from women who have used period panties, and what they think:
This user puts money on you loving Thinx.
The true testament to a woman loving a product? She buys it again and again!
Like the founder of Modibodi, this user has found a gem for her postpartum days:
For this woman, Modibodi is the Best. Underwear. Ever.
Not too many females will admit that there’s too many bladder leak triggers from doing everyday things. This reviewer says Speax/Icon covered it all for her.
Speax will save you from your post-workout crotch sweats, and other things too!
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The Verdict: Which period panties are better, Speax, Thinx or Modibodi?
Since the price points of the three brands are pretty similar, it really comes down to what features in the product you’re looking for. Here are our recommendations, tailored to your particular needs:
Best for overall accident protection: Speax. If you’re only looking for something for pee accidents and sweat mark protection from hot days and tough workouts, give Speax a try.
Best for various sized women: Modibodi. If your size it tricker to shop for, then Modibodi might have the right item for you in their vast inventory. They have panties in sizes from 2 XS to 16 XL! The team at Modibodi really have done a great job creating a range of period panties for women of all sizes, from small to full figured.
Best for women with allergies or dietary needs: Modibodi. Modibodi even has a line of vegan products, so if you are trying to eliminate allergens or animal products from your life, they are the best.
Best if you are undecided: Thinx. If you’re still on the fence about period panties at all, Thinx would be a good option because of its 60-day guarantee and free returns. They give you the peace of mind to try it out and see if period panties are comfortable and work for your body and lifestyle.
Technology is finally helping women better enjoy being women. Period panties are here to help women take their mind off lady business, and take care of actual business. Let us know if you try Speax or one of these other products in the comments below! Another period panty brand you might want to consider is Ruby Love, which we’ve review here.
The main two differences are that Speax is for urine-proof underwear, while Thinx is more for period-proof underwear. Because of that, there is a big discrepancy in absorbency, with Speax being able to hold much more liquid than Thinx.
Thinx Super Hiphuggers are, by far, the best period underwear overall. They absorb up to five tampons' worth of blood, offer a comfortable fit that doesn't bunch up, and come in a wide range of sizes.
Yes, while you can wear them for bladder leaking, you will be glad to know that they have an entire line dedicated to bladder incontinence. Speax not only works for periods and bladder leakage, but they are so comfortable!
What are the best period panties for heavy flow? The Thinx Super Hiphugger, Cotton Briefs, and Boyshorts are all great for heavy flows. You can choose how absorbent you want them from three regular tampons, four regular tampons, or five regular tampons. For a heavier hold, I recommend getting the full 5 tampons worth.
Thinx generally has better absorbency, whereas most customers say Knix is better as a backup only. Customers say Knix is typically more comfortable than Thinx. Knix is also great for other loungewear and undergarments that are comfortable and keep you fresh all day.
Thinx also don't leak from the sides when you walk around or even when you exercise, because the design in the gusset part (in your crotch) fits really well. However, if you go over the load of the pair of Thinx you're wearing, then they leak. This is the same as for using pads, tampons, or mooncups.
No, if cared for correctly, your Modibodi garments won't smell. If left soaking for more than a few hours or stored when the undies are not yet fully dried, your underwear can end up smelling mildewy and musty.
Absorbed blood can build up in the gusset, which may cause an odor or affect the performance of your period-absorbing underwear. If your Thinx needs a little TLC, try a vinegar soak. Before washing your Thinx, soak them in the sink or a clean tub with one cup of white vinegar and some cold water.
Feels - Safe, secure & dry – all day or all night. For - Very heavy flow, frequent bladder leaks, or up to 24 hours' wear*.
According to the complaint against Thinx, “some customers have developed physical symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, thyroid issues and unexplained infertility.” A separate lawsuit against Thinx was filed in Massachusetts in 2021.
One way to tell when your undies are full is looking at the side seam of the gusset and feeling if it is wet. If you notice blood at the seam, this is a good indication that your Thinx are full.
Because of the technology used to develop fabric that can hold multiple tampons' worth of blood, it's generally not recommended to wear pads with your absorbent undies. Experts at Modibodi, Thinx, and Knix agree you can nix pads altogether.
To wash your Thinx underwear, you'll need to rinse them before you machine wash them. As soon as you take off your Thinx, rinse them in cold water to get rid of any blood. Hold them under the faucet and squeeze them until the water that comes out is clean. Then, put them in the washing machine when you get the chance.
If your period-absorbing underwear accidentally goes through the dryer, don't stress! Thinx can take a tumble or two in a dryer without affecting their integrity. To prolong their lifespan, however, we recommend steering clear of the dryer for the most part.
Each pair holds up to 5 regular tampons' worth of flow, which is the equivalent of 2.5 pads (45mL). For some flows, Thinx Teens™ will last all day, no other period products needed!
When she launched her brand in 2013, Knix was one of just three period underwear brands on the market, including Thinx and Dear Kate. Now, however, the industry has exploded, with dozens of period underwear brands popping up on Amazon search results.
Knix's top competitors include Modibodi, FLUX Undies, and WUKA.
Knix, the incredibly popular Canadian menstrual and incontinence underwear brand, is currently facing a class-action lawsuit in the U.S that alleges, despite marketing claims to the contrary, that Knix products contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of synthetic chemicals commonly known as PFAS.
As a result of wearing Thinx period proof underwear, some customers have developed physical symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, thyroid issues and unexplained infertility, Kanan's class action complaint says.
🎥 Thinx Are Clean INSIDE after 3 Years!
The Thinx that you wash at the end of the day all together might take a little longer to wash. If you want to make sure they are clean, you can rinse out most of the blood with cold water, put all of them in the washing machine and run the full cycle on them.
Back in January 2020, Sierra first reported that when a nuclear scientist tested Thinx period underwear, they discovered high levels of a group of chemicals called PFAS in several pairs.
You should do this just after you take the undies off and try not to leave them to soak, but instead just rinse until the water runs clear. A lot of our customers like to take them into the shower with them to rinse.
How often should you change your period underwear? Most of our customers report wearing one pair all day long and feeling GREAT! They'll simply change into a new pair to sleep in if they want overnight protection. We just recommend going with the absorbency level that you feel best reflects your flow.
Can you swim with period underwear? Even though period underwear has leak-proof fabric, it won't keep you protected from period leaks while swimming and are not suitable to wear in the water.
machine wash cold, or hand wash with a mild detergent.
Just throw your Thinx in with the rest of your laundry on a delicate or gentle cycle (your other clothes will be fine!) with mild detergent.
Machine-wash your Speax on cold. The standard cold wash is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C - 27 C). If you're hand-washing, the water should feel close to room temperature.
Period panties collect the blood and bacteria but leave them cooking in one place with no way to escape. When the blood stays in your panties and mixes with bacteria, those panties just get stinkier and stinkier. Odor won't go away until you change your period panties, shower, and apply a whole-body deodorant.
While you can tumble dry on low and machine wash your Modibodi garments, you can also wash them by hand and hang them up to dry on a nice sunny day!
The products use all the same incredible patented technology which is used in Modibodi underwear (and the same level of care and love is put into every pair). The difference with RED is that there are more patterns, prints and our sizing is designed for younger women and girls.
Speax is machine washable and reusable underwear for bladder leaks; our undies feature three layers of absorbent technology built in the gusset: an innermost layer of moisture-wicking cotton, a super absorbent inner lining, and an outermost layer that acts as a leak-resistant barrier — so, you stay fresh and dry while ...
Machine-wash your Speax on cold. The standard cold wash is 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C - 27 C). If you're hand-washing, the water should feel close to room temperature.
The design of the product is great—the cut is sexy and the fabric is soft. You don't even notice the “absorbent” part. They're super comfy, and feel like a regular pair of underwear. I wore them on the second day of period, when my period is normally a medium flow.