The Best Period Underwear

Period underwear, which is meant to absorb menstrual fluid, excels as backup leak protection (especially while you’re sleeping) or as an option for light-flow days. If that’s appealing, you may find it worthwhile to have a few pairs of them in your underwear drawer. After 25 hours of research, plus testing a variety of styles from eight brands, we recommend comfortable, durable, and reliably absorbent styles from Dear Kate.

Dear Kate period underwear is the most comfortable and secure among eight brands we’ve tested, and it comes in a wide range of styles and colors—with many options available in sizes XS to 3XL. Dear Kate’s 3XL fits people with hip circumferences up to 58 inches (nearly 10 inches more than Thinx’s 3XL). Unlike most other period underwear we tested, Dear Kate’s doesn’t have a noticeable plasticky waterproof lining in the gusset. Instead, the crotch is lined with three layers of absorbent fabric, which helps to reduce leaks.Beyond style and comfort, this underwear performed on a par with pairs from Thinx; it worked just fine on its own for light-flow days (or as backup with a menstrual cup, pad, or tampon). But we wouldn’t trust the Dear Kate underwear (or any period underwear) as a primary collection method on heavy-flow days or when you’re away from home. 

Thinx underwear absorbed just as well as Dear Kate’s, but testers didn’t find the Thinx underwear as silky or comfortable as the Dear Kate underwear. All Thinx styles come in XS to 3XL, though Thinx’s 3XL fits smaller hip circumferences (up to 49½ inches) than Dear Kate’s 3XL (up to 58 inches). Plus, even in a brand-suggested size, the Thinx undies run tight. Testers also found the Thinx waterproof crotch lining less comfortable than the fabric layers in the gusset of a similar pair from Dear Kate. 

If you’re okay with buying something that will start to look raggedy after about 15 washes, Bambody is an effective budget period-underwear option. We found Bambody undies equally absorbent to those from Dear Kate and Thinx, and at $15 or less per pair, the Bambody underwear costs less than half what our other picks do. Bambody underwear comes in fewer styles and colors than underwear from Dear Kate and Thinx, though. And in our experience, Bambody pairs run small and show wear more quickly, fading or becoming discolored sooner than pairs from our other picks. Although some Bambody styles go up to a 4XL, the hip measurement for the largest size is around the same as for Thinx’s 3XL (up to 49½ inches—nearly 10 inches smaller than Dear Kate’s 3X hip size). 

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