We invited three of our head office employees to conduct tests on eco-friendly and more sustainable alternatives for period products. In this article, they share their experiences and feedback on cotton period products, menstrual cups and reusable sanitary napkins, which they have tried or already adopted.
Trial 1 - Cotton period products
I am typically the type of person who goes to the store and buys discounted products without really caring about the brand. I started this adventure with very little knowledge of eco-friendly period products. When it came time to test the cotton menstrual products, I wanted to understand the difference between typical products that are and are not 100% cotton.
It's still a disposable option, of course, but I learned that the products I had selected were much more sustainable. Several brands offer similar Ecocert-certified fragrance-free, dye-free, and chlorine bleach-free solutions. These organic solutions use limited ingredients to eliminate contact with chemicals as much as possible.
The applicator, although made of plastic, is plant-based in the case of the tampons. The comfort during the application remains the same as with the other usual options. Otherwise, I didn't see any difference in absorption, day-to-day comfort or even appearance. I will probably continue to use cotton tampons. If it can be healthier for me in the long run without causing major changes in my life, it's definitely the way to go.
Cotton sanitary pads
The differences were more noticeable with cotton sanitary pads, especially regarding their thickness. Indeed, they are quite thin.
As for comfort, they were very pleasant to wear. The cotton texture resembles clothes, so you don't feel them very much. It is soft and less irritating. The only drawback I noticed was that it could leave very small cotton balls, especially if you moved a little more.
There are several types of absorption levels available. I tested the regular option. I was concerned that it would not be as effective, given its composition. However, I did not have any problems with leakage.
In terms of quality and price, there is no huge difference between typical and eco-friendly period products.
- A rather thrifty employee
Test 2 - The menstrual cup
I hesitated for a long time before buying a menstrual cup. However, my sister and mother adopted this alternative period product a while ago and praised its merits, but I was still on my guard.
About ten years ago, I took the plunge. I finally decided to try the menstrual cup instead of tampons. Let's just say that unpacking the product can be scary, as it's significantly bigger than a tampon. The first try was, well, complicated and nerve-wracking. I even thought I would have to go to the emergency room to have it removed. Fortunately, by letting gravity do the work and breathing through my nose, I was able to remove it. Since then, I've gotten used to putting it in and taking it out.
The menstrual cup may be more expensive to buy, but its many benefits:
- Eco-friendly: The life span is several months
- Affordable: The purchase cost is quickly minimized by the fact that it is durable
- Comfortable: Even when running, I never feel it—and I run a lot
- Long-lasting: During normal flow days, I can easily put it on in the morning before going to work and take it off in the evening
- Discreet: No risk of having an unsightly rope when you are at the pool
- No leakage: When the cup is properly inserted, leakage is rare
- Hygienic: No irritating chemicals
I am now a menstrual cup fan! I will never go back to pads or tampons. Menstruation is no longer a hassle since I have a menstrual cup, even when travelling!
- An employee who is totally convinced
Trial 3 - Reusable sanitary napkins
I have to say that when I bought the reusable sanitary napkins, I was a little reluctant to experiment. At first, I was skeptical about the fleece-like interior.
After trying them at the beginning of my period, I can say that they are very soft. You don't feel the texture, and it's not as hot as a cotton pad.
They are very affordable and come in pairs. So it's easy with just one pair to give them a try and see if you like them. After using them, I admit that I would have liked to have had some information on cleaning. I found that you can just wash them by hand or in the washer. For drying, I preferred to air dry them rather than the dryer to not damage the fabric.
In my opinion, the negative aspect of this model is that the towel can end up moving around in your underwear. Since it doesn't have adhesive wings like disposable pads, there is a chance that the reusable pad will move on an active day since it only holds on with snaps. Therefore, I would recommend using it on a telecommuting day or a day with less menstrual flow. I was worried about leaking if the pad moved around.
I will surely try it again, however; it was a positive experience!
- An employee who moves around a lot
Menstrual hygiene remains an area where we often prefer to stick to what we’ve always known. Nevertheless, you may want to try more eco-friendly products. The experience turned out to be rather positive for our three employees who started out being nervous—but ended up enjoying these new period products.