The ultimate guide: which period product is best for your lifestyle?

4 min read

Last week we discussed the best products to use whether your periods are heavy, medium, light or indecisive. This week, it’s time to look at your lifestyle. Are you a swimmer or a yogi, skint or flush, supergreen or just well-meaning? Either way, there’s a period product for that. Read on, friends!

Four quick questions

As before, let’s start by noting down a couple of details about your periods, body and lifestyle (your phone notes or your head will do if you don’t have pen and paper to hand).

  1. Do you have any lifestyle requirements that need particular products? For example do you go swimming a lot? Do you know you’ll want to have sex during your period? Are you a semi-professional boxer?
  2. What do your most-frequented bathrooms look like? Do you spend a lot of time changing tampons in an office loo, for example? Do you have a separate loo and bathroom at home? Are you big on travelling?
  3. How are your vagina and vulva, and how do they like to be treated? If you’ve given birth three times, your products might work differently than they did 10 years ago. Perhaps your labia are very sensitive to having a liner rubbing up against them. Maybe you have a long vagina (different sizes of speculum are made for this very reason). These might be things you give little thought to in your daily life, but that actually have quite a big effect on what works best for your body.
  4. Last but not least, what are your buying habits? Do you go to a supermarket once a week or prefer to shop online? Are you extremely committed to reducing waste or do your best intentions still give way to comfort and ease in the end? Are you on a very tight budget or can you afford to experiment a bit?

Now we’ve figured out some of your priorities, let’s get down to business… which period products are best for whom, and when?

For times when you want to have sex

Try a menstrual disc – perhaps the reusable Ziggy cup, which sits behind your pubic bone like a disc but creates less plastic waste. Or lay down a towel (probably not a £200 blanket but a girl can dream) and get messy.

In the pool

A cup, disc or tampon are essential here as you can’t go into the pool with external soaking devices strapped to your swimwear, if you see what we mean. There’s also period-proof swimwear available. We haven’t tried it ourselves so let us know if you do, we’d love to hear how well it works.

For random leaks

Pretty sure you’re using the right absorbency tampon but still have unexpected leaks? Try swapping brands, particularly from non-organic cotton to organic. Tampliners are made of 100% organic cotton and we’d always recommend going for organic if you can. People who leak with rayon tampons often prefer the fit of cotton, which expands outwards rather than lengthways and might be less likely to leak. Plus, you never really know what goes into a rayon tampon, and they have been known to shed and unravel.

If you’re pretty green but still committed to disposables

Look for biodegradable options. Rayon tampons and standard pads contain A LOT of plastic. Organic cotton breaks down more easily. Tampliners are made with 100% organic cotton and save the waste of buying two boxes of products. Also look at packaging. Callaly products come in recyclable and biodegradable packets. Part of our Tampliners are made from a very thin polymer, a quarter of the width of a human hair (this bit isn’t biodegradable yet, but we’re working on it).

If you’re serious about cutting out waste

  • For heavy flow – it’s probably gotta be a cup.
  • For medium and light flow – period pants are a great option if you can afford the initial outlay, don’t mind keeping up with the laundry and find a style that fits your body shape comfortably.

If you keep getting caught short

A subscription service might work for you. Callaly delivers to fit your cycle and we’re launching a full range of organic cotton products soon. Plus you never have to use up all your precious basket space with bulky boxes of multiple products again. Room for at least eight more jars of pesto!

If your period changes like the wind

Does your bathroom have a cupboard that’s heaving under the weight of umpteen boxes of every absorbency of every period product under the sun? Again, look into customisable subscription boxes like Callaly (other brands are available, but obviously we think ours is best). You can choose one box containing all the bits and pieces you need so you’re not wading through a rainbow of tampon wrappers every time you reach in for a clean towel.

If you’re on a tight budget

A cup might work for you if you have the cash to spend upfront, or try buying your products in bulk. You could try slowly switching over to cloth pads, which are cheaper than period pants and still good value in the long run. If you’re a student living in poverty, find out if your school has a Red Box here and if they don’t, contact a local coordinator to see if one can be set up. No one should have to use unhygienic makeshift pads in place of safe, clean, new period products; this is a basic human right. And a quick note to everyone reading this who is financially comfortable at the moment: help a sister out and donate to The Red Box Project or Bloody Good Period to help level the playing field for everyone and keep students in school.

A word on disposal

Whatever method you choose, you should never ever flush a tampon down the loo (unless you like the idea of being followed around town by a giant fatberg). If you’re using a Tampliner it’ll be wrapped and ready for the bin straight after removal because the tampons pulls back out into its own clean membrane wrapper. If not, you’ll need to get that toilet paper swaddling ready, or try Fab Little Bags.

So there’s our rundown of when to use what. Have we missed anything? Do you agree, disagree or feel utterly indifferent? (In which case, congrats for reading to the end!) Would you like us to prescribe you a new product combo based on your particular needs? If so, do drop us a line. In the final part of the series next week we’ll be musing on some of our favourite combos at Callaly HQ. See you then!

This is the fourth in a five-part guide to choosing period products that really work for you. You can read the final part here.
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