Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle, Tween & Teen

What are period panties

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Since launching Blushproof® – friends, family, strangers – they all ask the same question, “What the heck are period panties?!?”.  This was especially true more than two years ago when I started researching the product.  I’ve always hated pads and tampons and as I was starting peri-menopause, I was dreading using these products sporadically.  That’s when I came across period panties.

Amazingly, there was a store in Joburg importing them from the US.  I had to try them!! It turned out, they were much better than I expected.  These looked and felt like normal panties but had an additional 3 layers sewn into the gusset or crotch.  They were perfect for my sometimes hectically heavy and sometimes non-existent flow.  Where were these when I was younger?  It was after trialing them for a few months that I decided South Africans needed to know about this amazing invention and I also decided that I wanted to be one of the ones to educate the “masses”.

Of course, I could have gone the easy route and simply applied to be a distributor but the overseas products were just too costly for our South African market and I wanted to make something PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN.  I could have also simply imported the Chinese brands but they didn’t meet my high standards in terms of quality and absorption.

Enter Blushproof® period panties – or ANY absorbing panties for that matter!  They’re generally made with a “shell” which is the actual panty and a gusset which is the absorbing part.  This absorbing part has 3 layers:

  • The first layer touches your skin and is made of wicking fabric which draws your flow away from your body and into the gusset;
  • The second layer is made of absorbing fabric (think Glodina bath towels but MUCH thinner) which absorbs your flow; and
  • The third layer is a very thin waterproofing layer which stops your flow from leaking through onto your panties and clothes / bed sheets / you name it (we’ve all been there).

After about a year of research, I found the right fabrics for the job and started importing them from the US and Taiwan (sadly, we don’t make these fabrics in SA).  Why I chose these specific fabrics was because of their certification in terms of being anti-bacterial, anti-odour, moisture wicking, hypoallergenic, free of nasty chemicals and sustainably made – all things that are key in absorbing panties.  People want to know that what they’re putting close to their vagina is not going to irritate, cause smells or lead to infections – so the right fabrics are essential.

From there it was days and nights and many tears spent on designing styles and trying to get sizing right – what a challenge – but worth it to see that we now have something for everyone in our beautiful Rainbow Nation.

There’s been a massive uptick in people starting to know about period panties and in different suppliers entering the market (although most are imported from China, which is fine too) and I’m starting to find that people actually know what I’m talking about without me having to first explain.

So, why are Blushproof® period panties so amazing?  They completely replace disposable sanitary pads and tampons.  No more products ending up in landfills (did you know pads take 500+ years to biodegrade so the first pad you ever used is still out there somewhere?! EEUUWW – just saying).  Another EEUUWW fact is that, in South Africa, used sanitary pads are being fished out of landfills and used for “muti”, but I digress.

I get asked all sorts of questions like, “Do they last all day?”, “Surely they’re not for very heavy flow?”, “Isn’t it gross to carry the worn pair around in your bag?”, “What about the blood?”. Whenever something is new and requires a different mindset, generally, consumers will be weary (and in some cases, horrified!). 

In actual fact, they’re very easy to “use”.  You’ll be wearing a pair of period panties and have a spare pair in your leakproof storage bag which you’ll keep in your gym bag, school bag, handbag.  If, at some stage in the day, they start to feel wet (they actually feel dry until they’re “full”), then you’ll go to the bathroom, remove the worn pair and put on the spare pair of blushproofs.  The worn pair will be safely stored in your leakproof pouch until you get home where you can rinse them before hand washing  them or popping them into a mesh laundry bag and into the machine.  Blushproofs can be worn, rinsed, washed and hang out to dry, ready for the next use.  If looked after correctly, they can last for at least two years (I know this because my first customer that bought Blushproofs for her daughter in August 2021 is still using them AND they’re still in perfect condition). 

They come in a variety of styles, sizes (ranging from tweens aged 10 to plus sizes 3XL) and absorbencies (from light to super).  We’re talking from the Thong with light absorbency which is used for spotting or as a backup to your menstrual cup or tampon, saving you from having to use panty-liners to the super absorption Hi-waist style for maximum coverage and absorption.  We even have a Period Swim Bikini bottom which can be used during swimming so that girls and women don’t have to miss out on pool & beach time just because it’s that time of the month.

I also always get asked, “But what about the cost?”.  Yes, they are an investment but in actual fact, once you’ve bought a few pairs, you’re set for the next two+ years AND you’ll save about 40% compared to what you’d spend on normal pads (never mind the organic ones).  You also won’t have to worry about dashing out to buy single-use products each month and you won’t be adding to the landfills and water systems. 

Culturally, period panties still have a long way to go in terms of being accepted by all cultures but I think South Africans will get there.  We’ve gone from selling a few pairs a month when we started  to more than 1,000 pairs a month.  That shows that South Africans are starting to embrace what is already a worldwide shift. 

They’re also amazing for girls and women in rural areas that don’t have access to sanitary products although cloth pads are probably better suited since they need less water to be washed properly and they cost less.  That’s why, at Blushproof®, we set aside some of the proceeds from each pair of blushproofs sold, to buy and donate reusable cloth pad packs to those in disadvantaged communities. 

I guess what I’m saying is that although period panties are a mindset change, I’m really challenging people to widen their horizons and consider trying a pair of Blushproof period absorbing panties.  They’re so much better for the planet but also so much better for your vaginal health, your comfort and well-being AND your pocket.  But don’t just take my word for it, read through our more than 500 5-star reviews online at www.blushproof.co.za. 

Just think about it… that’s all I’m asking.

Much love, Thandi

Founder of Blushproof®

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One Comment

  • Leigh-Anne Swart September 8, 2023 at 10:09 am

    Very interesting read

    Reply

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