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We’re all for the idea of period power, but that doesn’t really change the fact that menstruation is a bitch.
We won’t go into all the reasons why periods suck (we have a feeling you already know why), but we will talk about all the places that are trying to change that. Well, at least make it tolerable.
In case you missed the memo, there are tons of startups out there trying to change the period game. Some companies are all about going organic —we’ll get into that — and some are all about being environmentally friendly, which we can totally get behind. According to a 2010 Slate article, the average woman throws away about 300 pounds of menstruation trash (pads, applicators, etc.) in her lifetime, which all ends up in a landfill. Yeah, not ideal. And a few others on our list are going for the one-for-one business model (buy one, donate one), which is pretty cool too.
Below some of the coolest (and cutest) indie period brands you should know about.
This is perhaps the most Vagina-positive company we’ve ever come across. Sustain is all about embracing women’s sexuality and sexual health, from their organic tampons and pads to their condoms and lube. By heading to their site, Sustain allows you to build your own “period kit” with a mix of whatever sized tampons, pads, and liners you think you’ll need for your period. The kit comes right to your door every two months. Oh, and did we mention the packing is freaking adorable? (Priorities, people!)
Aunt Flow is a buy-one-give-one subscription box for only $13/month. In other words, every time you get your period, you can give menstrual products to those in need. They currently support six organizations across the U.S. including Friendship of Women (a non-profit shelter for survivors of domestic violence) and Gracehaven (an organization working to eradicate child sex trafficking). They’ve already donated over 30,000 tampons and pads.
Two words: reusable pads. Yeah, sounds pretty gross. But GladRags wants to show you otherwise. Their comfy all-cotton cloth pads are all reusable and more important, easily cleaned. The company hopes to make an impact on our menstrual trash, as well as make an impact on your budget (the idea is that you’ll spend less on their pads than you would on disposable pads in your lifetime). The company also offers menstrual cups, cleaning supplies, and panty liners.
This is not just another menstrual cup — not only are Lunette cups all about giving back, but they also happen to be super cute. They recently teamed up with fashion brand Monki for a stylish pink cup and travel bag and it’s pretty much a must-have.
As for their charity work, the brand has started The Cup Project, which helps bring sexual health education to girls in Nairobi.
Ok, so there are obviously a lot of organic tampon subscription boxes (you’ve prob heard of Lola and we’ve already put Sustain on the list). But we couldn’t help but include Cora on the list as well. Not only are they organic cotton and give back to those in need and yada yada yada, but they are also chic AF. Like, you can actually buy a mini leather clutch to carry them in — that kind of chic. Hey, if you’re going to bleed for a week, you may as well feel like a queen doing it, right? We like to think that Cora tampons are the ones that Beyonce would choose if given the option.
The last one on our list isn’t actually a retailer, but a social movement. The non-profit #HappyPeriod aims to provide you (yes, you!) with the tools to give back on your own. The organization helps you hold your own tampon drive or collect pads and then distribute them in your local homeless community. It makes it super easy to spread the word and get out there on your own.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.