Warning: Contains frank menstruation discussion, a.k.a. this one's for the ladies! (And of course any guys who have an interest in such things via wives, daughters, professional concerns, etc.)
Let me start by saying that I don't do tampons, unless I get my period on vacation and have a snorkeling trip planned. And as a pad wearer for nearly thirty years, I have my system down to a science. There are four different kinds of pads under my bathroom sink at any given time. There are the super thin liners for light spotting; the liners that are a little thicker, wider and longer for heavier spotting; what I call my "medium pads", which are similar to that second type of liner, but with wings added for leakage protection; and then there are the super heavy duty overnight pads with wings, you know, the ones that make you feel like you're wearing a diaper.
I first saw a Thinx ad on Facebook and clicked to learn more because I'd never heard of anything like them. I proceeded to read a rave review about how Thinx offered a panty that made pads and tampons virtually obsolete. I got more and more excited about the prospect of these miracle panties as the reviewer told her story of nervously wearing them for the first time, checking them throughout her heaviest period day, and lo and behold! No leaks!
Not being one to trust company sponsored reviews, I looked a bit deeper and found a couple of other shining reviews that claimed the same success with Thinx. All of the reviews said the same things: relatively cute lacy panties, no leaks even on your heaviest day, and all you do when you're done is rinse them in the sink and throw them in the wash.
Not only would these miracle panties eliminate the aggravation of bulky pads and invasive tampons, but they would also keep all of that extra trash out of our landfills! The reviews also seemed to agree that there was an amazing lack of blood when the panties were rinsed in the sink. "Where did all the blood go?" these reviews asked in awe.
Snort. They totally had me. In an uncharacteristic act of rash consumerism, I immediately went to the website and ordered not one, not two, but seven pairs of the Thinx style that was supposed to hold two tampons worth of blood without leaking. I fully intended to start with just one or two pairs, but you get a discount if you order more, and I figured I could always try one and return the rest if they didn't work. The truth is, I was so convinced they were going to be the best invention since pads with "wings", that I thought my only issue would be if I got the size wrong and had to exchange them.
I wanted them to work so badly. Really, really badly. Oh, to never have to wear one of those bulky overnight pads again! But alas, it wasn't to be.
So my personal cycle generally consists of a tiny bit of spotting up to two weeks before my period, then when it hits I bleed pretty heavily for two days, medium on the third day, and it tapers off for the last two days. The Thinx arrived a few days before my period hit, and I washed one pair to try on for size. They fit, though I did wish they came up a little higher, a minor complaint I'd already read about in the reviews. It wasn't enough to put a damper on my newfound miracle, so in yet another rash decision, I washed the other six pairs. I figured as long as I didn't wear them, I could put them back in their packaging and return them.
Though I was still convinced I wouldn't have to.
I hung the six pairs to dry in my laundry area, as per the instructions not to put them in the dryer, and had my dry pair for my first heavy day. I was ecstatic when I checked them after an hour and found no leakage. And that's where my excitement ended. I checked them again after two more hours and found blood seeping through into the crotch of my light grey pants. So a total of three hours, and they were leaking. On the one hand, it was my heaviest day. But on the other hand, I'm fairly certain I didn't bleed two tampons worth in three hours.
Fortunately I work from home, so I was able to change and get the stain out of my pants before it set in. I dejectedly put on my regular Hanes "period panties" with one of my jumbo pads. And when I rinsed the Thinx in the sink before throwing them in the wash, there was no awe-filled question of where the blood had gone. It was definitely all there, soaking through the bottom of the panties and turning the water red.
I was fully prepared to return the other six pairs. But my ever helpful husband, having dutifully listened to me about my expensive new miracle panties not going in the dryer, got to the washer before I did and hung the used panties up with the others. I now had no idea which were used and which weren't. I could have tried to return them all anyway, but the thought of returning used period panties made me too squeamish.
I even tried smelling them to see if I could tell which ones were used. Gross, I know. But I think it's worth mentioning that they all had a weird odor to them, even after being washed. I don't know if it's some kind of antimicrobial stuff they use on the fabric, or what, but there's a mildly unpleasant odor to all of them. Nothing strong enough that you'd smell it while wearing them, but a definite faint sort of funk when you put them up to your nose.
In any case, now that I permanently owned seven pairs of Thinx, I decided I might as well experiment with them. I tried them again on night two with one of my thicker liners, whereas I usually would have worn one of my jumbo overnight pads. I thought maybe I could get away with the Thinx and smaller pads, thereby permanently getting rid of my bulky "diapers". But there was a good-sized blood spot on the seat of my pajamas in the morning.
I rinsed everything in the sink and threw it all in the washer, then determinedly put on a third pair of Thinx. This was day three, my medium bleeding day, and I was wearing very dark grey pants. Even though they were dark, I could tell some blood wiped off into them by the end of the day, but not enough that it soaked through the pants onto anything else. I'd say it was the equivalent of what would have happened if I'd tried to wear a light liner with regular panties on that day.
I wore the Thinx on days four and five as my bleeding tapered off, and they worked great even with light colored pants. Those were days that I could have gotten away with just a thin liner, and the Thinx did the trick by themselves. So in the end, I saved a few liners from the landfill and made it through two days and nights without that little bit of extra bulk in my undies.
All in all, Thinx do have some redeeming qualities, and are capable of replacing regular panties on a light liner day. But for me, they are not nearly everything they claimed to be. And that was cause for some serious disappointment–which I hope this post will save others from experiencing. That's my story and my honest review.