Peace Out, Pads! These Are the 14 Best Period Panties

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Period Underwear

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Our Top Picks
This pick is designed with heavy flows in mind, never letting you worry about seepage.
These wallet-friendly undies are super soft and even more absorbent.
Best for Light Days:
Thinx Air Hiphugger at Thinx
Hug all of your curves without worrying about dreaded slip or unseemly odor slipping out.
Feel protected from all angles with a high-rise fit and moderate absorbency.
These undies are sure to impress with an absorbency that holds up to three tampons worth of blood.
With sizes ranging from XXX to 6XL, you're sure to find the right fit.
There's no need to sacrifice design for usability, as this thong panty absorbs it all.
Get a set of period undies for a great price—just switch one out and wash the other pair.
This cheeky design helps you to feel sexy and protected, even while on your period.
Even tough it's light-to-moderate absorbency, this pick will soak up two tampons of liquid and doesn't budge during workouts.

Anyone who's ever gotten a period has something to say about the inconveniences of menstruation. Public visit from Aunt Flow without a tampon? Yep. Flabbergasted by the price of pads? Uh-huh. Favorite panties ruined due to an irregular period? You betcha. There's no shortage of reasons to complain about a menstrual cycle, but what if we told you there's a solution to all this madness?

Period underwear is exactly what it sounds like: panties worn during your period. They're absorbent like a pad, typically leak-proof, offer odor-control, and allow you to forgo not only buying feminine hygiene products but also adding them to a landfill. When period underwear came to market less than a decade ago, it wasn't long before brands and consumers caught on to the life-changing phenomenon—or what Malcolm Gladwell might call The Tipping Point.

According to Kiarra King MD, a board-certified OB/GYN in Chicago, they're absolutely a suitable alternative to pads and tampons. "Women and girls should feel comfortable and secure in whatever period product they choose," she tells Byrdie. And honestly, there's something just so freeing about letting it flow right into your panties.

"On light days, period underwear can be used alone. You can shop by style and absorbency (light, moderate, heavy)," says Dr. Carolyn Moyers, DO, FACOG, a board-certified OB/GYN based in Fort Worth, Texas.

We rounded up the best period underwear for light days, heavy flows, and everything in between with all this in mind.

Best Overall: Thinx Super Hiphugger

Thinx Super Hiphugger
What We Like
  • Super-absorbent

  • Inclusive size range

  • Complimentary cut

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

These are Thinx’s all-time bestselling period panties, and they’re designed specifically for your heaviest flow. They hold up to a whopping four tampons’ worth of blood, making them the most absorbent option Thinx offers. The hip-hugging design completely covers your bottom, while the extra-absorbent fabric ensures you won’t experience any leaks.

They’re a great pick for overnight protection or any time you need extra coverage. Plus, the chic black color and geometric pattern at the top mean you’ll be protecting yourself in a whole lot of style.

Material: Nylon, elastane, polyester, PUL | Absorbency: Super | Colors: Black, fig, dusk | Size Range: XXS to 3XL

Best Budget: Boboking Leak Proof Undies

Boboking Leak Proof Undies
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Inclusive size range

What We Don't Like
  • Sizes run small

On a budget? You can get a pack of four Boboking Leak Proof Undies for less than half the price of a single pair from many other period underwear brands. They're soft, stretchy, absorbent, and cute—what's not to love?

Material: Cotton, spandex | Absorbency: Moderate | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS to 4XL

Best for Light Days: Thinx Air Hiphugger

Thinx Air Hiphugger
What We Like
  • Inclusive size range

  • Breathable

  • Odor protection

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color available

On your lightest days, slip into a pair of Thinx Air Hiphuggers. Made of breathable materials like micromesh and cotton, they hold up to one-and-a-half tampons' worth of blood. What's more, they contain non-migratory silver to control odors while keeping you cool and dry.

Material: Polyamide, elastane, cotton, PUL | Absorbency: Light | Colors: Various | Size Range: XS to 3XL

Best Moderate-Absorbency: Ruby Period Underwear Brief

Ruby Period Underwear Brief
What We Like
  • Inclusive size range

  • Super-stretchy

  • Odor protection

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavier flows

Made of an ultra-stretchy interlock-twist yarn and cut above the hip with a semi-high-rise fit, these period briefs are endlessly comfy and ideal for moderate flows.

Material: Interlock-twist yarn, dry-tech mesh | Absorbency: Moderate | Colors: Various | Size Range: XS to 3XL

Best Super-Absorbent: Rael Reusable Period Underwear

Rael period panties
What We Like
  • Super-absorbent

  • Breathable

What We Don't Like
  • Limited sizes

For those with heavier-than-average flows, we recommend Rael Reusable Period Underwear, which boasts four layers of absorbency to hold up to three tampons' worth of blood. To prevent accidents on heavier-flow days, Dr. Moyers says, "It is best used in combination, for instance, with a tampon or menstrual cup, for overflow."

Material: Cotton, spandex | Absorbency: Super | Colors: Black | Size Range: S to XL

Best Size Range: Bambody Absorbent Panty

Bambody Absorbent Panty
What We Like
  • Inclusive size range

  • Odor protection

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly bunchy fit

The Bambody Absorbent Panty comes in an impressive 11 sizes ranging from XX-small to 6X-large. Made of naturally absorbent bamboo and featuring an extra leak-proof layer, you can count on this pair to hold the equivalent of two tampons worth of blood while wicking away sweat and odors.

Material: Bamboo | Absorbency: Super | Colors: Various | Size Range: XXS to 6XL

Best Thong: Knix Leakproof Thong

Knix Leakproof Thong
What We Like
  • Inclusive size range

  • Seamless fit

  • Leak-proof technology

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavy flows

If you thought thong underwear was out of the question during your period, allow us to introduce you to this sexy, seamless number from Knix. Featuring triple-layer leak-proof technology, it absorbs a full teaspoon of blood, which is about average for a light day.

Material: Spandex, polyester, seaweed fiber, modal | Absorbency: Light | Colors: Various | Size Range: XS to 4XL

Best Set: Innersy Women's Period Panties

Innersy Women's Period Panties
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Inclusive size range

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavier flows

It's nice to have enough pairs on hand to get you through your whole cycle without having to do laundry. That's why we're loving this affordable three-pack of period panties by Innersy, which have premium cotton linings to absorb blood and prevent stains on your clothes and sheets.

Material: Cotton, spandex, PUL | Absorbency: Moderate | Colors: Various | Size Range: XS to 3XL

Best Fit: Thinx Cheeky

Thinx Cheeky
What We Like
  • Complimentary fit

  • Inclusive size range

  • Moisture-wicking

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavy flows

Who says you can't feel cute while on your period? When you strut your stuff in a pair of Thinx Cheeky Panties, you'll have peace of mind knowing you're protected against leaks, odors, and moisture.

Material: Nylon, elastane, cotton, PUL | Absorbency: Light | Colors: Black, fig, dusk, beige, chroma | Size Range: XXS to 3XL

Best for Working Out: Modibodi Active Brief – Light-Moderate Absorbency

Modibodi Active Brief – Light-Moderate Absorbency
What We Like
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Odor protection

  • Breathable

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavy flows

  • Only one color available

"Period underwear helps keep you active and moving with confidence during your period," says Dr. Moyers. Whether you're into HIIT, running, cycling, or barre, Modibodi Active Briefs will save you from leaks on moderate days while keeping your nether region dry and odor-free during your sweatiest workouts.

Material: Merino wool, spandex, polyester, polyamide | Absorbency: Light to moderate | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS to 2XL

Best High-Rise: Proof Leak-Resistant High Waisted Smoothing Brief

Proof Leak-Resistant High Waisted Smoothing Brief
What We Like
  • High-rise design

  • Smoothing fit

  • Inclusive size range

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for heavy flows

We're also big fans of Proof's High Waisted Smoothing Brief. These period panties are ideal for days when you're feeling bloated, offering light compression and a complimentary fit that hugs you in all the right places.

Material: Nylon, spandex, cotton, polyester, acrylate | Absorbency: Super-light | Colors: Black, sand | Size Range: XS to 3XL

Best Stretchy: Saalt Elemental Lace Hipster

Saalt Elemental Lace Hipster
What We Like
  • Stretchy

  • Complimentary fit

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Not ideal for heavy flows

Saalt's mid-rise Lace Hipsters are woven from extra-soft and stretchy European lace for all-day comfort and a barely-there feel. Offering as much absorbency as up to two tampons, these cheeky panties provide peace of mind on light and moderate days.

Material: Recycled polyester, elastane, polyamide, spandex, PUL | Absorbency: Light to moderate | Colors: Black, earth, blue, blush | Size Range: XS to XXL

Best Overnight: Thinx Sleep Shorts

Thinx Sleep Shorts
What We Like
  • Super absorbent

  • Leak-proof

  • Pockets

What We Don't Like
  • Limited sizes

Slip into a pair of Thinx Sleep Shorts and rest assured you'll be fully protected all through the night. These boxer-style pajama shorts offer super-absorbent period protection to keep you comfy and dry while you doze—extra points for the pocketed design.

Material: Modal, elastane, organic cotton, polyester, PUL | Absorbency: Super | Colors: Black, gray | Size Range: XS to XL

What Our Editors Say

"I haven't slept in a tampon since discovering Thinx. The Sleep Shorts—my favorite product—are completely leak-proof, buttery soft, and not uncomfortably compressive. They give me the confidence to sleep on my crisp white sheets without a worry in the world." Holly Rhue, Editor

Best for Swim: Knix High Rise Leakproof Swim Bottom

Knix High Rise Leakproof Swim Bottom
What We Like
  • Complimentary fit

  • Anti-leak technology

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color available

Thanks to Knix's Leakproof Swim Bottoms, you can, well, nix the tampon next time you go for a dip while on your period. The high-waisted design is great on all body types, and you can count on the brand's anti-leak technology to soak up as much as three teaspoons of blood.

Material: Nylon, spandex, polyester | Absorbency: Moderate | Colors: Black | Size Range: S to 3XL

What Our Editors Say

"I tried this high-waisted bathing suit bottom on vacation earlier this year—bad timing to get my period, I know!—and I can't say enough about it. Its fit is flattering, its material feels high-quality, and it's very much leak-proof but doesn't look like period swimwear at all. I love it." Avery Stone, Senior Commerce Editor

Final Verdict

Thinx Super Hiphuggers (view at Thinx) are, by far, the best period underwear overall. They absorb up to five tampons' worth of blood, offer a comfortable fit that doesn't bunch up, and come in a wide range of sizes. That said, if you don't need something quite as absorbent, go with Thinx Air Hiphuggers (view at Thinx), which hold one to two tampons worth of blood.

What to Look for in Period Underwear

High Absorbency

We all know that leaks can happen, but, of course, we want to avoid them at all costs. When it comes to shopping for period underwear, look for brands that offer high absorbency, especially if your flow is on the heavier side. Don't forget to read through customer reviews to make sure these products live up to their claims, too.

A Good Fit

A good fit is key when it comes to avoiding leakage—especially while you sleep or work out. Look for products that provide curve-hugging styles and higher waistlines that way you know your underwear will fit you comfortably but also won’t budge throughout the day or night. 

A Comfortable, Non-Bulky Design

The whole point of period underwear is to eliminate the need for pads and tampons, and the last thing anybody wants is to have the ability to free bleed but feel like they’re wearing a diaper. Look for styles that are specifically designed to offer great absorbency, even on your heavier days, without feeling bulky or stiff.

FAQ
  • How does period underwear work?

    According to Kristy Chong, the founder and CEO of period and leak-proof underwear brand Modibodi, how your period underwear works will vary from brand to brand. "Made with different materials and technology, the purpose of period underwear is to absorb, protect, and allow you to continue your daily activities without feeling discouraged or shamed,” she says. Many different ranges of period underwear now exist. You can now find various designs to cater to your cycle, pregnancy, and postpartum needs—there are even styles designed to protect you at the gym.

  • How do you wash period underwear?

    Chong says that most, if not all, period underwear products are machine washable, which makes cleaning them a breeze. However, to ensure they last you, she shares her tips for taking the best care of them: “It’s recommended that period underwear be rinsed out first, washed on a cold, gentle cycle without softener, and hung up to dry.”

  • How long can you wear period underwear?

    How long you can wear your period underwear depends on your flow as well as the absorbency level of the pair you're wearing, explains Chong. “The higher in absorbency, the more the period underwear can hold. Some can be used all day depending on the brand’s range.” Impressive!

  • Can you wear period underwear with a heavy flow?

    According to Chong, yes, you can wear period underwear with a heavy flow; just be sure to wear a pair designed with heavy absorbency. Most brands carry different styles in a range of absorbency levels designed to protect you comfortably from your lightest to your heaviest. For example, Modibodi’s Maxi-24Hrs styles are designed to hold up to ten tampons worth of fluid, which means they could definitely keep you leak-free through one of your heavier days.

  • Can you swim in period underwear?

    In general, it’s not advised to swim in your period underwear since it will absorb the water rather than blood and, depending on which brand you’re wearing, pool or salt water can affect the fabric and fibers used. However, some brands have launched period and leak-proof swimwear, including Modibodi and the above-mentioned Ruby Love, which not only absorb blood but keep water out.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in beauty, wellness, and women's issues. Once she tried her first pair of period underwear, all bets were off. She hasn't purchased tampons or pads in over a year and has personally tried styles from Thinx, Proof, Modibodi, Ruby, and Rael. For this story, Theresa spoke to multiple OB/GYNS, reviewed options from a wide range of brands and retailers, combed through reviews, and carefully considered absorbency, fit, size range, and material before making her selections.

Meet the Expert

Kristy Chong is the founder and CEO of period and leak-proof underwear brand Modibodi.

Kiarra King MD, a board-certified OB/GYN in Chicago.

Dr. Carolyn Moyers, DO, FACOG, a board-certified OB/GYN based in Fort Worth, Texas.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough period underwear from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

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