I believe that underwear that can absorb your menstrual fluid (and, spoiler alert, even urinary leaks) is one of the most important inventions of this century.
It’s comfortable, beautiful, washable, ecological, practical, economic, and even a healthier option. And if all this wasn’t enough, it works. Seriously.
So, I must confess: I’ve cheated on my beloved menstrual cup. I definitely can’t say that it was love at first sight, or an irresistible attraction, but the love I have for period underwear is strong. Without a doubt.
In order to be fair to my lovely menstrual cup, which is still an important invention from the 19th Century (yes, it only became famous in the 21st Century because ingenious solutions concerning the vulva or vagina must break down hundreds of years of taboos in the hopes of becoming mainstream, and once they do arrive late to the party, nobody even cares about it anymore) - anyway, I want to say that the cup will always remain a very valid alternative to sanitary napkins.
I’m always in the mood to be upfront, so I’m just going to be completely honest: I’ll probably do something like a ménage à trois, because I’ll put the cup back as my first choice whenever I go swimming in the pool or the sea.
What is period-proof underwear and how does it work?
Alright, I’ll come back to this point. Let’s take this step-by-step for now. So, how did I find out about period underwear, and specifically the Cocoro brand? Like I said, it wasn’t love at first sight. When I first grasped the idea of “period underwear”, or underwear that’s able to absorb menstrual flow, I immediately said to myself “Nahhh, that won’t work.”, as I’m sure many of you did as well.
I was already familiar with a group of American women who had invented this so-called “underwear with superpowers”, so I jumped at the chance to learn more about it and try one on. I won’t get into how only a group of women could finally come up with such a brilliant idea like this. In order to be completely fair, though, I should also add that the inventor of the menstrual cup was a man.
How does such a thin pair of cotton panties absorb menstrual flow? Cocoro’s superpower lies precisely in its material - or rather, in its 3 layers of super-technological and highly absorbent materials - which allow it to retain menstrual flow and even small urine loss. At the same time, though, it’s extremely breathable in order to avoid any feeling of wetness.
Cocoro briefs can be worn just like any other type of underwear, but they also eliminate the need to use other feminine hygiene products (like a cup or a tampon) and they can be changed when needed.
Considering that every person with a vulva is different, and the intensity of one’s menstrual flow can vary, everyone will need to find their preferred “rhythm and flow”, just like with any other period product out there. Personally, I have a pretty average flow that is more intense during the first two days, and lighter at the end of my cycle. In my case, I can confidently wear Cocoro underwear for 8 hours without having to change them.
Since each type of flow is different, the underwear comes in two types: one for lighter flows, and another one for medium/heavy flows. (For the record, I use the Culotte Aran model for my heavier days, and the Classic Aran pair for my lighter days).
As if this wasn’t already enough to make me fall in love with period panties, I also want to add why I think this product is absolutely worthwhile:
You’ve never gotten up in the middle of a meeting with blood stains on your pants? Well, nope. It hasn’t happened to me (yet). I did have to take a few measurements during the first few cycles, in order to understand which style to use, as well as when and how often I should expect to change them. Other than that, though, I always sit on my white sofa.
Each pair costs between €24.90 and €32.90. If you’re looking to make the complete switch to these underwear and ditch the menstrual cup or your traditional sanitary napkins, you’ll need to buy at least 4/5 pairs. This way, you can have enough pairs for changes and be able to wash the used ones in the meantime. I repeat: this is a completely personal choice, and you could also choose to be polyamorous and use more than one period product! The expense would total around €149, but the products would last you for 2 years. By doing a quick calculation, you could expect to spend more on average by buying disposable sanitary napkins.
This year marks the approval of a sort of “tampon tax” in Italy, after years of tiresome battles to decrease the amount of tax that must be paid on sanitary products. However, only biodegradable sanitary products apply, and this decrease cannot be applied to these underwear, or even regular sanitary products. But please, don’t make me open up this can of worms...
The technological fabric is extremely breathable and antibacterial, which helps minimise any chance of irritation. The vulva only comes into contact with cotton (and in some models, you’ll even find Certified Organic Cotton, for the most demanding of vulvas).
Period underwear can be washed either by hand or in the washing machine, and can be used for up to two years - if you use them very time you have your period.
In the hopes of making small efforts to help the planet, period underwear, similar to cups, help reduce the one billion sanitary products that we produce yearly.
You may also like: Ziggy, the Cup of Mess-Free Period Sex
What’s more practical than taking off and putting on underwear?? Plus, Cocoro underwear is anti-odor and anti-wetness. There are only two times that you may feel a little damp. First, it could happen when you lose a lot of blood (similar to how you would feel when wearing a pad), but then it quickly passes due to its quick-dry aspect. Secondly, if you feel dampness that doesn’t go away, that could mean that it’s time to change the Cocoro underwear.
The briefs are made from a stretchy cotton, and they’re truly comfortable enough to wear all day long. I also use them for sleeping or while doing intense Zumba moves! Current sizes available range from XXS to XXL.
They’re definitely not granny panties. In addition to those who use them during menstruation, it’s also great for all the women (over 1 million of them) who suffer from urinary incontinence. Before products like this came along, they had to opt for adult diapers, a solution that I honestly find quite demeaning. Let me remind you all that urinary leaks can be solved most of the times at any age with pelvic floor care.
Of course, not all that glitters is gold. If I had to find any “cons” related to this type of product, I’d have to say that you need to be comfortable with changing your underwear two or three times a day, perhaps in the office setting, or while you’re out and about. With this in mind, you’d have to carry around a bag for your dirty Cocoro before you can rewash them, just like we’ve done in the past when carrying our pads to the bathroom.
This ingenious product was designed in order to give women an alternative; an opportunity to choose how to manage their bodies and menstrual cycles. Not everyone can use menstrual cups (and it’s difficult if you’re not familiar with your vulva/vagina, and it could be impossible for some women who may be victims of genital mutilation). Not everyone is comfortable with external absorbents (they can often cause irritations or leaks) nor internal ones (containing questionable ingredients), nor washable ones (they’re not that stable and it’s easy to get leaks).
Pureeros places values in helping women to be free while having the opportunity to choose from the best options. We are thrilled to have brought the Cocoro period underwear to Italy!
Let’s go back to my ménage à trois between the underwear and the cup for a minute. Obviously, if you are planning on going to the beach or to the pool, this underwear is not the best option. Contrary to the most popular summer trends, I’m going to go back to my first love in the summer months.
So, to sum up, this type of underwear can be used for vaginal discharge (replacing the disposable pantyliner or pad), for light urinary incontinence (from postpartum, general side effects, or during post-menopause), and for one’s menstrual cycle. The power lies in your hands.