The 10 Best Period Panties of 2021

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Period Panties

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

First Look

Best Overall: Thinx Air Hiphugger at shethinx.com

"An all-around perfect period panty as it is lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and offers sufficient absorbency."

Best Budget: Bambody Period Panties Hipster at Amazon

"An incredibly popular option for exercise, as it keeps cool and dry, wicking moisture away from your body."

Best for Heavy Flow: Modibodi Sensual Heavy Absorbency at us.modibodi.com

"Crafted from a stretchy but silky bamboo and spandex blend, which makes it feel good on your skin while fitting snugly."

Best Thong: Knix Leakproof Thong at knix.com

"This body-conforming thong holds the same amount of fluid as one tampon."

Best Full-Coverage: Dear Kate Nellie Brief at dearkates.com

"High-waisted with a modest leg line and a classic style, it protects all the places that matter, ensuring a leak-free experience."

Best Extra-Stretchy: Ruby Love Extra Stretch at rubylove.com

"Each pair holds 2.5 tampons' worth of fluid, making them one of the most absorbent period panties on the market."

Best for Sleep: Bambody Overnight Period Panties at Amazon

"A blend of 95% bamboo and 5% spandex, these four layer, high-waisted briefs hold up to two tampons' worth of liquid."

Best Cotton: Thinx Period Proof Organic Cotton Bikini at packagefreeshop.com

"The outer shell and inner layer of these briefs are made from a blend of 95% organic cotton."

Best Lingerie-Style: Intimate Portal Period Panties at Amazon

"Each pair features super chic lace accents, giving them a little more sex appeal than the average period panty."

Best for Working Out: Proof’s Hipster at shopproof.com

"It is possibly the most absorbent period panty on the market with the ability to hold up to five regular tampons."

Ten years ago, women mostly relied on tampons or pads for protection during their menstrual cycle. In recent years, however, period panties—underwear designed to absorb period blood—have surged in popularity.

So what exactly are period panties, anyway? “Period pants are underwear with absorbent material built in,” says Alla Vash-Margita, M.D., chief, Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Yale Medicine. “They serve a great function of collecting blood in a near invisible way allowing for freedom of motion and a certain degree of independence.”

While the amount of blood that each pair can absorb varies—similar to other sanitary products, she maintains the average is about 2.5 tampons

Vash-Margita maintains that many of her patients are using them due to the fact they are reusable, cheap over time, and environmentally friendly—as they can be tossed in the washing machine and reworn. Additionally, she explains that some girls cannot tolerate tampons and “pads are cumbersome and annoying,” others have tactile or sensory issues and cannot wear pads or tampons, while a few simply don’t want to see blood on the pad or tampon. Because period panties don’t require any “insertion” or “handling”—and you can even avoid the visual of blood by opting for a dark color—they are a great alternative. 

“Putting them on is just like any underwear but with the built-in feature of menstrual blood collection,” she continues. “For many teens, young adults, and women, this is a great alternative.”

Keep in mind that period panties are not for everyone, per Dr. Vash-Margita. “Like any other product, a girl or a woman has to try it out and see if that is the right fit,” she explains. “There are no scientific trials comparing different types of menstrual products but from my experience with working with many patients, menstrual panties are a viable, environment friendly, and cost-effective option to manage menstrual blood flow.”

If you're thinking about giving period panties a try, consider these top-rated options as you shop.

Best Overall: Thinx Air Hiphugger

Thinx Air Hiphugger
Courtesy of Thinx.
Pros
  • Breathable fabric

  • Absorbent

  • Large size range

Cons
  • Price

  • Thin waistband

Thinx, the brand who basically revolutionized the menstruation market, will probably always be the gold standard when it comes to period-proof underwear. The Thinx Air Hiphugger is an all-around perfect period panty as it is lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and offers sufficient absorbency—it can hold 1.5 tampons' worth of fluid. While it is recommended for moderate or light flow, fans attest that it is also a viable option on their heaviest days, though some opt to wear with a menstrual cup for added support. 

The body of the panty is made out of an ultra-thin micromesh—78% polyamide, 22% elastane—that comfortably clings to your skin, fitting your body like a glove. Due to the fact that it is moisture-wicking and absorbent, it is not only perfect for day-today wear, but also rigorous physical activity.

Thinx’s Air Hiphugger is available in two colors: black and royal blue. Pairs are available in sizes XXS through 4XL.

Material: 78% polyamide and 22% elastane | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XXS-4XL

Best Budget: Bambody Period Panties Hipster

Pros
  • Non-bulky

  • Color options

Cons
  • Tight waistband

  • Low-to-medium absorbency only

Period panties are generally more expensive than your average undergarment. However, you should always think of them as an investment because a high-quality pair will last a long time—and end up saving you money in disposable sanitary products. However, if you don’t have it in your budget to spend over $30 a pair, there are budget-friendly options that won’t break the bank.

Bambody’s Period Panties Hipster is a sporty-looking hipster-style brief that costs a little over $10 a pair and happens to be one of the highest rated period panties on Amazon. This double-layered stretchy-meets-silky panty is crafted out of a bamboo and spandex blend, and each pair is moderately absorbent, making it the “perfect backup” for “light days or to protect you from random spotting.” It is also a popular option for exercise, as it keeps cool and dry, wicking moisture away from your body. 

Bambody’s Period Panties Hipster is available in a range of sizes—from XXS to 2XL—and comes in a few different colors.

Material: Bamboo and spandex blend | Fit: Can run small | Sizes Available: XXS-2XL

Best for Heavy Flow: Modibodi Sensual Heavy Absorbency

Modibodi Sensual Heavy Absorbency
Courtesy of Modibodi.
Pros
  • High absorbency

  • Non-bulky fit

  • Comfortable fabric

Cons
  • Long drying time after washing

During your heaviest flow, light to moderate coverage simply isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, there are period panties that offer maximum absorbency to keep you protected during the peak of your menstruation cycle. While most heavy absorbency period panties tend to cover more skin—think higher waist and lower leg—ModiBodi’s Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini offers the visual appeal of your average moderate absorbency style—with lace trim and a cheeky backside—while absorbing the equivalent of a whopping three to four tampons.

ModiBodi’s Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini is crafted from a stretchy but silky bamboo and spandex blend, which feels good on your skin while fitting snugly. The lace-trimmed waistband not only gives it a lingerie look, but also provides relief around the stomach, as it doesn’t cut into your skin like a thicker band would. 

These panties are available for every body type in sizes ranging from XS through 6XL.

Material: 95% Bamboo Viscose and 5% Spandex | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XS-6XL

What the Experts Say

“If their period is heavy, they may want to try them when they are at home in case of accidents or start using them on their lighter days.” —Dr Sarah Yamaguchi, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist at DTLA Gynecology

Best Thong: Knix Leakproof Thong

Knix Leakproof Thong
Courtesy of Knix.
Pros
  • Wide color range

  • Stretchy

  • Hideable shape

Cons
  • Light-to-medium absorbency only

  • Stiff fabric

Many women opt to omit thong underwear from their wardrobe during that time of the month—especially if they rely on pads. However, it is possible to wear the lowest profile panty and enjoy period protection simultaneously with Knix’s Leakproof Thong. 

This body-conforming thong provides the same amount of fluid as one tampon—more than that of other competing period thongs, while still managing to hide seamlessly behind your thinnest of thin black leggings without any panty lines. 

Constructed out of an adaptive four-way stretch nylon-lycra blend, it comfortably clings to your skin without digging in. The gusset offers extra protection in the form of moisture-wicking polyester reinforcement, which will help keep you dry and kill any odors lingering around. While it isn’t going to be your go-to period panty during your heavy or even moderate flow, it is a great option for light spotting or backup situations. 

The Knix Leakproof Thong is in six shades of nude as well as a few colors and patterns, in sizes XS through 4XL.

Material: 77% Nylon and 23% Lycra Xtra Life | Fit: Can run small | Sizes Available: XS-4XL

Best Full-Coverage: Dear Kate Nellie Brief

Dear Kate Nellie Brief
Courtesy of Dear Kate.
Pros
  • Full-coverage fit

  • Highly absorbent

  • Multiple colors

Cons
  • Visible seams

Dear Kate is one of those brands you can feel good about investing in. Not only are they one of the most cutting edge companies when it comes to period protection, but they also give back via the Through the Days for Girls initiative. For every $100 purchase, a pair of panties will be donated to a girl in need. 

The Nellie offers the fullest coverage of Dear Kate’s extensive collection. These panties are high-waisted with a modest leg line and a classic style, and protect all the places that matter, ensuring a leak-free experience. The brand is known for their three-layer, patent-pending fabric—a blend of 76% Nylon and 24% Lycra, that is leak-resistant, stain-releasing, and moisture wicking, in addition to being free of all plastic layers or films.

Material: 76% Nylon, 24% Lycra, 90% Micro polyester, and 10% Elastane (lining) | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XS-3X

Best Extra-Stretchy: Ruby Love Extra Stretch

Ruby Love Period Underwear Bikini Extra Stretch
Courtesy of Ruby Love.
Pros
  • Stretchy material

  • Multiple colors

Cons
  • Light-to-medium absorbency only

If you are looking for a little extra stretch, Ruby Love offers a pair of panties for that exact purpose. Their Period Underwear Bikini Extra Stretch is their most pliable panty, offering extra comfort during the time you need it the most. The 82% ITY knit blend and 18% spandex blend fabric stretches and molds to your curves, providing discreet protection, while the double layered 100% absorbent cotton and dri-tech mesh keeps fluids from leaking out. Each pair holds a little more fluid than two tampons, making them one of the most absorbent period panties on the market. 

As for fit, they are a great day-to-day panty featuring a mid-rise seam with full coverage and a high-cut leg. The Ruby Love Underwear Bikini Extra Stretch is available in a variety of sizes from XS to 3XL. 

An added bonus is that by purchasing a pair, you can support a Black-owned business.

Material: 82% ITY knit blend and 18% spandex | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XS-3XL

Best for Sleep: Bambody Overnight Period Panties

Pros
  • Highly absorbent

  • Breathable fabric

Cons
  • Thin waistband elastic

  • Visible seams

When it comes to overnight protection, maximum coverage, absorbency, and comfort are key. Bambody Overnight Period Panties check all three boxes and then some. A blend of 95% bamboo and 5% spandex, these four layer, high-waisted briefs hold two tampons' worth of fluid.

Users love them as they have an ample amount of stretch and a waistband that stays in place. They also love the price, starting at $14.90 for one pair. In fact, many reviewers who have worn them as well as Thinx—which are about double the price—claim they are just as amazing. Some even attest that they are better, as they are less likely to shift when wearing. They are available in black, beige, white, and a few other colors in sizes from XXS to 6XL.

Material: 95% bamboo and 5% spandex | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XXS-6XL

Best Cotton: Thinx Period Proof Organic Cotton Bikini

Thinx Cotton Bikini
Courtesy of Package Free Shop.
Pros
  • Comfortable material

  • Easy to wash

Cons
  • Light-to-medium absorbency only

  • Tight around legs

Organic cotton makes these bikini briefs from Thinx some of the most comfortable on the market. Unlike many of the other period panties on the market, which are constructed out of synthetic materials, the outer shell and inner layer of these briefs is made from a blend of 95% organic cotton and 5% elastane (nylon), while the middle layer is a super absorbent 100% polyurethane. 

This style is considered moderate absorbency, equating to about 1.5 tampons—so you might want to avoid them during your heaviest flows. According to reviewers, they fit snuggly and run a little on the small side, so you might want to consider ordering up in size. They are available in a wide range of sizes (XXS-3XL) and in two colors.

Material: 95% Organic cotton and 5% elastane | Fit: Can run small | Sizes Available: XXS-3XL

Best Lingerie-Style: Intimate Portal Period Panties

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Appearance

Cons
  • Tight around legs

  • Non-breathable fabric

The words “sexy” and “period panty” aren’t exactly synonymous. However, it is possible to find a pair of them that could actually double as lingerie. Intimate Portal, a budget-friendly brand sold on Amazon, is your best bet as they offer a few different styles that are racy enough for any time of the month. 

Constructed out of a blend of 95% rayon and 5% spandex, they feature two layers of absorbent fabric, holding up to two tampons' worth of fluid. They are available in a bunch of colors, including basic black, gray, and a few jewel tones, in sizes XS to 4X. Each pair features super chic lace accents, giving them a little more sex appeal than the average period panty.

Material: Rayon, Bamboo Viscose, Spandex | Fit: Can run small | Sizes Available: XS-4X

Best for Working Out: Proof’s Hipster

Proof Hipster
Courtesy of Proof.
Pros
  • Highly absorbent

  • Comfortable fit

  • Curbs odors

Cons
  • Visible seams

When it comes time to break a sweat during your menstrual cycle, maximum protection is key. Enter Proof The Hipster, possibly the most absorbent period panty on the market with the ability to hold up to five regular tampons. Proof has a patented, multi-layer Leak-Loc system, keeping your fluids where they belong while wicking odor away—making them the perfect panty companion during your workout. 

Proof’s The Hipster is available in black in sizes XS to 3XL.

Material: 75% Nylon 25% Spandex | Fit: True to size | Sizes Available: XS-3XL

Final Verdict

Due to their rising popularity, there is an abundance of period panties on the market. And, if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, you should seriously consider it. “It is worth trying period panties as an alternative to pads, tampons, and menstrual cups,” says Dr. Vash-Margita. 

Thinx, who revolutionized the industry, makes some of the most reliable and highly rated styles, and of them, their Air HipHugger (view at Thinx) is our all-around favorite for day-to-day wear. It checks nearly every box, providing 1.5 tampons' worth of coverage while remaining lightweight, low-profile, comfortable, and breathable. 

But here’s the deal: you need more than one pair of period panties to get you through your cycle. Therefore, we suggest trying a few different styles. For those days when your flow is the heaviest, invest in Modibodi Sensual Heavy Absorbency (view at Modibodi) or Proof’s The Hipster (view at Proof). A thong will come in handy when wearing tight leggings for other form-fitting clothes, while something with a little more coverage is nice for overnights.

What to Look for in a Period Panty

Price 

While most period panties tend to be on the expensive side, there are some exceptions. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that period panties are not disposable. You will wear them over and over every month—and think about all the money you will save on tampons! But Sarah Yamaguchi, M.D., a board certified gynecologist with DTLA Gynecology in Los Angeles, does recommend having at least one back-up pair if choosing to use period panties, which can add to the price. “Women might want to have a back-up pair with them just in case and change them on the early side as opposed to waiting until they are leaking,” she says. Some period panties come in bundles, which can help make them more cost-effective. 

Style

As with any undergarment, there are a variety of styles and fits available. Do you prefer a boyshort over a brief? Do you prefer more coverage or less? Or an athletic look over something more streamlined? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start your search. 

Once you’ve answered the questions, another important consideration is the type of material that can aid in the comfort and style of the undergarment. “They are made with a variety of natural and synthetic fabrics depending on the company,” Dr. Yamaguchi says.”The outer shell is made from the same material of normal underwear but the moisture wicking and absorbent layer depends on the brand.” Ultimately, she recommends people to find a pair that fits their comfort level and needs. 

Absorbency 

You should also take into consideration your menstrual flow and pick out a period pantry accordingly. Just like tampons, menstrual underwear are offered in a variety of absorbency options. And, if you are going to purchase more than one pair, you should consider picking out a variety. 

Women should consider the “amount of flow on your heaviest day as well as if you have clots, which may sit on the panty and not be absorbed as well,” says Nicole Williams, M.D., a gynecologist with the Gynecology Institute of Chicago. “Some of my patients will wear a tampon or cup and also wear a period panty as a backup.” Dr. Williams suggests testing the absorbency of the undergarments throughout their period to determine if the product works best for their personal needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do period panties work?

    How exactly period panties work largely depends on the company because each brand uses different types of material to get similar results. “It appears that period panties have many layers of absorbent material which seem to wick away any fluid and keep it inside the panty,” Dr. Williams says. The outer layer of the panty will most likely be made of material similar to what someone is used to wearing with their normal undergarments. But then the inner portion will be made of other material to help absorb and store a woman’s period flow. “They work like normal disposable pads in that they have several layers to trap and hold menstrual blood but they can be washed and reused,” Dr. Yamaguchi says.

  • Can period panties replace pads?

    Period panties replacing the need for pads will largely depend on someone’s specific period flow and how heavy it can get. “While it is unlikely that period panties can replace a pad on your heaviest day, they will probably work pretty well for the tapering off days,” Dr. Williams says. But periods can differ depending on the woman. So for some, period panties would likely replace the need for menstrual pads, cups, and tampons. “If you're a moderate kind of woman, you may be able to wear period panties your entire flow,” Dr. Williams says.

  • How often should you change your period panties?

    The duration someone wears the undergarments will again likely depend on how heavy their flow is and what day they're on within their period. “While many of the manufacturers say between eight-12 hours, I advise my patients to change their period panties to their level of comfort,” Dr. Williams says. “If you have a light flow, you may wear them like normal underwear, up to an entire day. If your flow is heavier, you may need a spare pair or two.”

What the Experts Say

“If your period is very heavy, make sure to see your doctor to rule out any major problems such as fibroids, endometriosis, or a hormonal issue such as PCOS.  Don't just keep changing your period panties.” —Nicole Williams, M.D., a gynecologist with the Gynecology Institute of Chicago

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Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you wear period underwear?

How long one pair of period underwear lasts depends on your flow each day. The panties come in different flow levels, and if you flow is lighter, one pair of underwear may last eight hours or more. With a heavier flow, you may need to change your period underwear a few times throughout the day.

Are period panties sanitary?

Yes, period panties are sanitary. They are created with antimicrobial materials to ensure they are safe and clean for women to wear during menstruation.

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  1. Planned Parenthood. How do I use tampons, pads, period underwear, and menstrual cups?