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Period underwear – Modibodi, Thinx, Bonds and more compared

We trial 10 types of period underwear to find out which are best for absorbency, comfort and more

period undies luna bonds modibodi thinx eco
Last updated: 30 September 2021
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Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Period underwear has been around since 2013, but in recent years these products have shifted from marginal to mainstream. 

Once sold almost exclusively online, the growing popularity of period underwear has seen them hit the shelves of supermarkets and department stores, with new brands entering the market. 

But how do they work? And which brands are best? We asked 56 volunteers to trial 10 period undies from Bonds, Eco Period, Love Luna, Modibodi and Thinx to see how they stack up. 

We also sent them to our labs to examine wear and tear, absorbency speed and more.

how period underwear works

Period undies have several absorbent and leak-resistant layers in the gusset. Credit: modibodi.com

What is period underwear?

Period underwear is designed to function like normal underwear, but with the ability to absorb menstrual flow, so you can wear it instead of tampons and pads, or as backup in addition to your usual menstrual product. 

Although the exact design varies between products, period undies generally have a moisture-wicking top layer, over one or more absorbent layers in the gusset, and a leak-resistant final layer. Some brands also have an extra middle layer designed to neutralise odours.

All period underpants are washable and reusable, making them an eco-friendly alternative to disposable sanitary products.

Best period underwear

56 volunteers trialled period undies. Which came out on top? And will price match performance?

Which period undies are best?

We recruited 56 CHOICE staff and supporters to each trial two or three different brands of period undies. 

Each volunteer trialled two pairs for each brand – one for daytime (moderate absorbency or closest equivalent) and a different pair for overnight (heavy absorbency or closest equivalent). For more information, see how we test

All 10 of the period underwear products we trialled generally performed well, and we've recommended those that achieved a CHOICE score of 70% or more. 

The CHOICE score is made up of:

  • Triallist overall score (35%)
  • Performance (35%)
  • Comfort (20%) 
  • Ease of use (10%).

The products are listed below from highest to lowest CHOICE score. For a full breakdown of each product's performance, features and more see our period undies review.

(Note: Some triallist comments have been edited for length and clarity.)

Period Undies-Modibodi day-1

Modibodi Seamfree Full Brief.

Modibodi Seamfree Full Brief

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $33
  • Absorbency: Moderate-heavy
  • CHOICE score: 80%
  • Performance: 82%
  • Overall comfort: 74%
  • Ease of use: 77%.

Worn by triallists in the daytime, these briefs had the highest no-leakage score – out of 34 triallists, only one reported a leak, and it was a small one at that. These also rated highest for performance, ease of use and ease of washing, and equal second highest for absorbency.

Some participants liked the material and style of the undies, commenting: "this soft, stretchy-silky material feels really luxurious and comfortable " and "wasn't bulky, felt like I was wearing regular underwear".

But they had the equal second lowest score for fit, with some commenting that they found the sizing quite tight: "The sizing and cut of the pants weren't particularly comfortable. They were extremely tight on the first wear, although they do stretch out." 

There were also comments about them feeling a little wet over time: "After wearing them for a few hours and going to the toilet, when pulling them back on, the gusset feels wet and cold and uncomfortable."

But they did score second highest for odour control.

Period Undies-Bonds night -1

Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Brief.

Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Brief 

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $29.99
  • CHOICE score: 76%
  • Absorbency: Heavy
  • Performance: 79%
  • Overall comfort: 73%
  • Ease of use: 75%. 

These briefs (worn by triallists overnight) had the equal second highest absorbency score: "​I like how you don't have any mess, as everything is absorbed and doesn't leave the underwear," said one triallist. Another said: "These would probably be my first choice for night time use on heavy days due to the excellent absorbency and comfort."

But the briefs scored equal second lowest for fit, with some commenting that the gusset and style of waistband left a lot to be desired: "I didn't like the high-waisted-ness or tight, thin elastic waistband – especially painful with bad cramps," and "I found the fit uncomfortable with a very high waist and the padding in the gusset felt uncomfortable and bulky like a pad."

Another added: "These have a lot of padding in the gusset that goes up the back towards the tag of the undies, but it doesn't go very high up at the front. Even with a moderate flow, when I woke up in the morning I came close to leaking over the gusset at the front." 

These undies had the equal second highest no-leakage score (91%). But of the three participants who did experience leakage, two said they leaked from the front.

Period Undies-Modibodi night-1

Modibodi Seamfree Full Brief.

Modibodi Seamfree Full Brief

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $35
  • CHOICE score: 76%
  • Absorbency: Heavy-overnight
  • Performance: 80%
  • Overall comfort: 66%
  • Ease of use: 76%. 

Triallists liked the security, absorbency and length of the gusset of these undies (worn overnight). "They provided a lot of protection, especially with the absorbent layer right up to the [back] waist band." said one. Another commented: "Never experienced any leakage… these have my full trust during the night."

As a result, they got the highest score for absorbency and odour control, and equal second highest for no leakage.  

But they scored lowest for fit and comfort, with many finding them tight and difficult to put on: "They were so difficult to even get on… I felt like I was being swallowed by a snake! I only lasted two hours as I couldn't bear to think of how bad I would have slept with these very tight undies on all night."

Another triallist found an upside to the tight fit: "That night I remember lying in bed thinking, 'I'm so sewn into these undies there's no way anything could possibly escape'… And I was right. After sleeping for eight and a half hours, there were no leaks. I have worn and washed these undies since that fateful first time and am happy to report that they're much more comfortable now."

Period Undies-Bonds day-1

Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Brief.

Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Brief

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $24.99
  • CHOICE score: 75%
  • Absorbency: Moderate
  • Performance: 76%
  • Overall comfort: 76%
  • Ease of use: 74%. 

Triallists wore Bonds' moderate period undies in the daytime and gave them the highest score for fit and second highest for overall comfort. Comments included: "Amazing product and very comfortable to wear. I would be happy to wear this instead of using pads from now on," and "I thought the thickness of the pad was perfect for daytime – the perfect amount of thickness to feel protected without feeling like you're wearing something heavy duty."

But others disliked the gusset ("it doesn't go up very far at the front", "it felt bulky like a pad") and some found the overall style uncomfortable: "I didn't like the combination of a high waist and tight, thin elastic waistband. I get bad cramps so any pressure on my abdomen is very uncomfortable."

The briefs also got the third highest no-leakage score, with 31 out of 35 triallists experiencing no issues.

Period Undies-Eco Period night-1

Eco Period Orgaknix Super Boyleg.

Eco Period Orgaknix Super Boyleg

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $39.90
  • CHOICE score: 75%
  • Absorbency: Super 
  • Performance: 77%
  • Overall comfort: 73%
  • Ease of use: 70%. 

Triallists wore these briefs overnight and some were very happy with them: "I really liked the fit and coverage of these underwear. I also liked that the gusset was very long and extended all the way up to the back to prevent leaking," said one. Another commented: "It was a firm fit so they did not move around. The good-sized pad area/gusset goes right up the back of the undies, so I can't see them leaking overnight."

As a result, they scored second highest for no leakages, third highest for absorbency and equal third for odour control. 

On the downside, some commented that they felt tight, bulky or both: "These felt huge! Very nanna undies-ish, " said one participant. 

"These were way too tight around my legs, despite being the correct size overall…The gusset going all the way up the back might be necessary for night time, but it felt like I was wearing a nappy," said another. 

The briefs also scored lowest for drying-time satisfaction.

Period Undies-Love Luna night -1

Love Luna Period Bamboo Brief.

Love Luna Period Bamboo Brief

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $20
  • CHOICE score: 75%
  • Absorbency: Medium 
  • Performance: 73%
  • Overall comfort: 77%
  • Ease of use: 75%. 

Triallists wore Love Luna's Period Bamboo Briefs overnight and gave them top scores for comfort and fit (highest and equal highest, respectively). Many were pleased the undies didn't feel bulky, with comments including: "Really comfy, and felt good against my skin. I loved the fabric, didn't feel too stiff or bulky." 

Others found the absorbency disappointing, with one commenting: "Just two hours in wearing this, the edges and the outside of the gusset felt damp. The absorbency must be really bad as in the morning when I woke up I could feel a layer of blood dried up on my pelvic floor sticking to the undies." 

Period Undies-Thinx night-1

Thinx Super Cotton Brief.

Thinx Super Cotton Brief

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $US39 ($54.99, may change depending on exchange rate)
  • CHOICE score: 73%
  • Absorbency: Super
  • Performance: 72%
  • Overall comfort: 77%
  • Ease of use: 73%. 

Positive comments included "Not so bulky" and "no visible signs of crotch bulk". Other triallists were impressed by the overall comfort: "These were comfortable, fit well and worked great. I had no fears of staining my bedsheets when wearing these to bed."

As a result, these briefs (which were worn overnight) scored equal highest for overall comfort, as well as fit. 

But they also got the second lowest drying-time satisfaction score – "It takes a long time to dry, so you can't wash by hand and rewear on the same period," said one triallist – and six out of 30 triallists experienced small to moderate leaks. 

Period Undies-Eco Period day-1

Eco Period Orgaknix Bikini.

Eco Period Orgaknix Bikini

  • CHOICE Recommended
  • Price: $29.90
  • CHOICE score: 71%
  • Absorbency: Moderate
  • Performance: 66%
  • Overall comfort: 75%
  • Ease of use: 74%. 

Triallists wore these briefs during the day and were positive about the fit: "They felt really comfy and I honestly forgot I was wearing them. They didn't feel thick; just like undies made from a thick material, rather than nappy-ish." The result is that they scored equal highest for fit. 

But 31% of triallists experienced small to moderate leaks, with some pointing out that the beige fabric could lead to visible staining. "The fact that they were beige made me uncomfortable, as I could see where some blood had leaked through to the other side of the underwear. They would be a good colour if you wanted to wear white, see-through or light-coloured clothing, but I didn't really like them."

Period Undies-Thinx day-1

Thinx Hiphugger.

Thinx Hiphugger

  • Price: $US34 ($47.94, may change depending on exchange rate)
  • CHOICE score: 69%
  • Absorbency: Moderate
  • Performance: 63%
  • Overall comfort: 75%
  • Ease of use: 75% 

Triallists wore the Hiphuggers during the day and were positive about the fit: "these are a comfortable cut and didn't feel bulky", said one. Others liked the "cute" decorative lace waistband. "It felt like I was wearing something a little extra special than just standard boring underwear," said another. 

But not everyone was on board: "the lace waistband kept rolling down instead of hugging me, so I had to keep tugging them up throughout the day."

Some also experienced a sense of wetness – "After going to the toilet it was wet to pull the pants back up again, which is not a nice feeling," said one – and 37% of triallists reported some sort of leak. They were mostly small leaks onto the underwear itself, but there were a few instances of leaks onto clothing. 

Period Undies-Love Luna day-1

Love Luna Period Midi Brief.

Love Luna Period Midi Brief

  • Price: $15
  • CHOICE score: 67%
  • Absorbency: Light/medium
  • Performance: 62%
  • Overall comfort: 75%
  • Ease of use: 76%. 

Several participants commented that these undies (worn during the day) were "soft and comfortable" and "just like wearing regular undies." One said: "I wore these to work and wasn't worried about them being bulky or noticeable." They also got the highest score for drying-time satisfaction. 

But other triallists thought they had poor absorbency and odour control (these briefs scored lowest for both), with comments including: "These didn't absorb as well as I would've liked. The period almost just sat on top of the underwear once it was 'full'," and "I did notice a bit of an odour… but I don't think it would be so noticeable to other people." There were also a few reports of leaks onto clothing.

What we found

Would you wear period underwear again? 

At the end of the trial, 75% of participants who wore the Eco Period Orgaknix Super Boyleg at night time said they'd wear it as their sole menstrual protection – the highest score across all brands. 

Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Briefs (both products) also scored well with 71%, and Thinx's Hiphugger scored lowest with 37%.

Leakage

Modibodi's moderate-heavy Seamfree Full Brief was the highlight of our trial – only one person experienced a leak and it was a small one. 

But we found that the Eco Period, Love Luna and Thinx briefs worn during the day are more likely to leak, with 31%, 30% and 37% of triallists, respectively, experiencing one. 

Overall, across all brands, leakage was more likely with the moderate pants our traillists wore during the day – a total of 22% had some type of leakage, compared with 12% of the heavy 'night' pants.  

Only four large leaks were reported during this trial of 328 wears

According to the participants, the leakages were mainly small, only onto the underwear itself, and leaked on the side, although a couple of those who slept on their tummies had leakage in the front of the night pants.

There were exceptions, but only four large leaks were reported during this trial of 328 wears. One participant had an "epic fail" with the Bonds day product, commenting: "By 5pm, they were too full and it was leaking from everywhere… Maybe I needed a higher absorbency that day, or to change them at lunch time." 

Price

The period undies we looked at ranged in price from $15 to $54.99. As we often find in our tests and trials, price is no indication of performance. 

That said, several of the more expensive undies did receive some of the highest scores. But of the undies our triallists wore at night, Love Luna's $20 briefs generally performed the same or better than Thinx's $50 briefs. 

Colour choices

Many brands offer their period undies in a range of colours. We chose black underwear for our trial where possible, with the exception of one pair of Eco Period briefs, which were beige with a black gusset. 

Some participants suggested the beige colour made the 'leakage' on the side of the pants more obvious than if they were black.

Inconsistency between brands

We found that the stated flow and claimed absorption for each period undies can vary between brands. For example, Thinx moderate undies are claimed to absorb 27mL – which is 7mL more than Bonds' and Modibodi's heavy-flow products. 

When choosing the right undies for your flow, you may find it easier to compare claimed absorption – often presented as tampons (about 5mLs), mLs or both – and try out a few different brands to find the one that works for you.

We also found that not all brands have the absorbency labelled on the undies themselves. So if you own multiple pairs with a range of absorbency, you may find it difficult to pick the right pair each day, as your flow changes during your cycle. 

test lab period undies

Using this special dosing apparatus, each pair was assessed for its absorbency speed.

Lab observations

As well as our user trial, we sent five pairs of each product to a laboratory to assess absorbency speed and wet feeling, and to look for signs of leakage. (The results weren't included in our user trial scores.)

Bonds (both products) scored highest for absorbency speed, followed by Eco Period (both products). 

Modibodi's Seamfree Full Brief (heavy/overnight absorbency) and Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Full Brief (moderate absorbency) took the top two slots, respectively, in our wet-feeling score. All the products either had just light or no leaks. 

Laundry lab wear and tear

We also sent one pair of each period undie to our laundry laboratory to find out what effect washing and drying would have on their condition over time.

"Overall, each pair largely held up well with no major failures and all in good functional condition," says Ashley Iredale, CHOICE's laundry and whitegoods expert.

Several are now a rather pleasing shade of royal purple, as opposed to black

Ashley Iredale, CHOICE's laundry and whitegoods expert

But there was some wear and tear – many of the cotton based products demonstrated slight piling by the end of the test. 

"There was also significant colour fade on most pairs, starting with the Bonds at around 20 runs but worsening, and spreading to other brands as the test continued," says Ashley. 

"Several are now a rather pleasing shade of royal purple, as opposed to black."

From a visual point of view, both Modibodi briefs showed virtually no signs of wear and tear, which is probably due to their fabric composition (polyamide, elastane, smart merino and polyester).

How to wash and care for your period undies

The exact washing and drying instructions for period undies vary between brands, but in general most will suggest:

  • rinsing them after use until the water runs clear
  • washing them on a cold cycle 
  • line drying them only (no tumble drying).

Other instructions may include avoiding fabric softener, washing in a laundry bag and using a delicate cycle. 

This can be a change in routine for many who are used to putting their usual underwear in the wash, along with the rest of the laundry. 

laundry lab in washing machine

Period undies should be washed on a cold cycle and left to line dry.

Triallist thoughts

We asked participants to comment on the care instructions. Overall, they seem unlikely to change their laundry habits or do a separate load just for the period underwear.  

Some found it annoying that they had to pre-rinse and that it could take a while for the water to run clear. Several also mentioned that period undies take longer to line dry than regular underwear.

Some found it annoying to have to pre-rinse… and there were also several mentions that they take longer to line dry than regular underwear

But other participants said they didn't mind the care instructions, and one participant even found a unique positive compared with their usual menstrual protection: "I didn't find the rinsing and washing process particularly onerous – certainly no more mess or work than using a menstrual cup, and without the constant fear of dropping the menstrual cup and having to clean blood off the floor!"

How to buy the best period underwear 

Overall, for every pair of period underwear we trialled, there were participants who disliked, liked or loved them. So choosing the perfect period underwear for you may come down to a personal journey of trial and error of different brands and absorbency levels. 

But there are some general things you may want to keep in mind. 

Standalone vs backup

Consider whether you want to use the underpants alone as your menstrual protection; in conjunction with a tampon or menstrual cup; or on those days when you're not sure exactly when your period will start. If you intend to use them in the  latter two scenarios, you may only need a 'light' to 'moderate' flow pair. 

Absorbency

Your period may be light, moderate, heavy or varied – most brands offer a wide range of absorbencies to match. Generally, the options start from light or very light ( about one-half to one tampon's worth) all the way through to heavy or overnight (up to four tampons' worth). 

But different brands measure one tampon's worth differently, which makes it trickier to compare products. Most brands offer comparisons to other menstrual products, such as pads or menstrual cups, to help you get an idea of absorbency. If in doubt, you may want to choose a heavier absorbency, or carry a tampon, pad or cup with you as backup.

Gusset length

You may want a longer gusset (i.e. running the full length from front to back) for added protection when wearing overnight or for heavier flow days. But this will also make the underpants feel a little bulkier. 

In our trial, only Love Luna's bamboo briefs had a gusset that ran from the front to the back waistband. Bonds' heavy full brief, Eco Period's orgaknix super boyleg brief and Modibodi's heavy/overnight full brief featured a gusset that ran up to the back waistband. 

How many pairs will I need?

There's no set formula as to how many pairs you'll need because it depends on whether they're paired with other products, and how heavy your menstrual flow is.

Your tolerance for feeling a little wet as the underwear begins to reach capacity is also a factor. But unless you have a particularly heavy flow, you can usually wear one pair all day, then use a fresh pair overnight. 

If you're planning to wear them for the entirety of your cycle, take into consideration that you need to give each pair time to line dry (though we found they held up pretty well in the dryer), so you could need up to six pairs over three days and nights if you're using them alone.

Style preferences

Period underwear comes in a range of colours, material and styles (including G-string) so you can choose according to comfort or to fit your outfit.

Are period underpants suitable for tweens and teens? 

For teens and 'tweens' (those aged between about eight and 12 years) only just embarking on a lifetime of menstrual cycles, period underpants can offer a comfortable and confidence-building alternative to pads or tampons.

'Knowing your cycle' isn't easy in the early months and years, and unexpected bleeding or leakage can cause anxiety. Judging by the lively conversations on this topic on social media, many mums are just as anxious for their daughters.

Eco Period, Love Luna, Modibodi and Thinx all offer a range of period underpants aimed at teens and tweens, in a variety of styles, colours and sizes.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE