Gone are the days when sanitary pads came wrapped in black polythene bags and advertisements featured blue fluid as a stand-in for menstrual blood. With new entrants, over the last few years, the sector has seen a sea change, focussing for once, on comfort and sustainability. Both aspects were earlier overlooked for absorbent products that would serve the purpose and safeguard women from the customary ‘shame’ that menstruation brought with it and conditioning around it. We give you the low-down on tried and tested brands of sanitary products that care about you and the environment.
Here’s a brand that quite lives up to its name. Instead of denigrating a normally bodily function that occurs pretty much on the clock each month, it chooses to celebrate it as a time for pampering. The branding is peppy in colours of pink and blue (yes, blue too) and the products designed for the modern Indian woman. No bulky boxes or the hassle of choosing different sizes and panty liners separately. A single box for a month is all you need.
The pads, both the light flow and the heavy flow ones are absorbent, stay firm and secured by wings. They are also sleek and comfortable. Every pack comes with a handy cloth pouch to carry your napkin on those bathroom visits outdoors. But above all, we like Plush’s curated combos. These come with packs of sanitary napkins, panty liners and little treats for women to help make those dreary days a little better. Our combo came with a notebook that said, “Hormonal af” and a heat/ cold pack to help ease period cramps. Some of them come with beauty essentials too. We also appreciate the names, ‘The Bloody Comfy Kit’, ‘The Period Sassy Kit’, you get the drift.
When we first tried this brand out, we were struck by the minimal branding and on-point communication. Made using organic cotton, and the softest top layer they could find, Azah promises super-absorbent pads that are also comfortable. Their mission is to ensure rash-free periods for all women and they go as far as offering a moneyback guarantee for it. And let’s just say you won’t need to avail it.
Priced moderately higher than other new brands in the market, Azah sells in boxes of 20, 30 and 40 pads with or without disposable bags. The disposable bags though convenient are an additional burden to landfills,, and may best be avoidable. The boxes come with two kinds of napkins, for heavy and light flow. They are colour-coded making usage rather simple. They are soft, the softest we have found so far, and the heavy flow pads truly understand heavy flows. They are also sturdy, the right amount of sticky and wide, offering adequate protection from stains. Among other advantages, they are on the road to being completely sustainable.
The brand talks directly to women through its communication and has built a community of sorts over time. Like other new brands, they offer rash-free and leakage proof pads that are better designed in packages that cater to all days of your period. The napkins are ample in size offering full coverage with firm wings and are vouched for by women on their heavy-flow days.
We tried it out a couple of years ago for the first time and have since never looked back. The price, the sizes and the fact that they work with sensitive skin, ensure that rash-free periods (common with other brands) are a thing of the past.
Recently, the brand has also started offering other feminine hygiene and period care products like an intimate wash and Cramp Comfort. We tried the latter, a self-heating pad that can be attached to the front or back of your intimate garment, is effective in soothing period pain and lasts a full 12 hours. We are certainly going back for this one.
Among the earliest brands in the new wave of menstrual hygiene products, Carmesi with its name that means ‘crimson’ broke every stereotype we’ve associated with period care and management. There was red fluid in their branding and comfort was their selling point. Made using ultra-soft cotton Carmesi pads and panty liners are sleek and moderately absorbent. While they do deliver on the comfort promise, they don’t stand the test of high-flow days. We’d still opt for them on low-flow ones simply for the soft cottony cover and the slick packaging.
We also gave their panty liners a try and wouldn’t recommend them. The cover virtually disintegrates on use and what you are left with is a cottony mess. Recently, the brand has introduced an intimate wash and a unique product, Brease, to ease bra distress. Now, that is something worth a try.
The parent company of PeeBuddy, the revolutionary toilet seat sanitiser for women that also produces the pee stick to counter hygiene issues women face while traveling, now has a whole range of period care. From the versatile menstrual cup to rash-free pads and tampons. All of them are made up of natural organic cotton promising both comfort and sustainability.
Besides the sanitary napkins, Sirona also has a range of other menstrual products including period pain relief patches that use natural menthol. They come in strips that simply need to be applied to your lower back or abdomen, and provide long-lasting relief from menstrual cramps. We tried these out and found them to be quite effective. They are also easy to carry and dispose. We would certainly opt for them over painkillers.
This brand offers completely organic sanitary pads with soft cottony covers in all sizes including XXL for heavy flow.
Long before we were conscious of sanitary napkins adding to our landfills, this Auroville-based community brand was producing eco-friendly reusable cloth pads. A convenient design and carry pouch make them a good option.
These 100 per cent biodegradable sanitary pads are crafted using banana fibre and promise to be comfortable. The prices are steeper than the rest.
These biodegradable sanitary pads are absorbent, hypoallergenic and use no dyes or bleaches that harm you.
The newest on the block, with its quirky branding, you’ll find sanitary pads, tampons and combos at heavy discounts. They use an organic cotton top sheet.
The Woman’s Company
On offer here are certified organic cotton sanitary pads and applicator tampons. The pads come in convenient night and day sizes.
This brand is a one-stop-shop for menstrual cups, cotton sanitary pads, tampons and cloth pads. Besides these, you’ll find cramp relief roll-ons and an intimate wash too.