Friday, December 4, 2009

This one's for the girls!

Hey there! If you're a male, you probably don't want to read this post. It opens up all the mysteries of the female world.

Just kidding about the mystery thing. Really, you'll just think it's gross, so go ahead and skip this post, guys!

OK, now that it's just us girls, I don't have to worry about sharing "TMI" right?


So, as I was delving into the world of cloth diapering, I came across an item in an Etsy shop that made me think. I don't know why on Earth I never considered that such a product existed. It makes perfect sense. If we cloth diaper our babies, why wouldn't we "cloth diaper" ourselves? I mean, what did I think women did before Tampax and Always came along?

But for some reason, when I came across a shop selling reusable menstrual pads I was surprised and also intrigued. It seemed like a natural step for me to take in the whole "going greener" process. So, I contacted a couple of the sellers and three were kind enough to send me free samples of their reusable pads to try out.

I got some like these from the Randumosity Etsy shop. (Note, I took the photos of the pads from the sellers' Etsy shops. My pads might be made from different fabrics, but are made in the same style)

I got some like these from the the Cre8tiveMama Etsy shop (again, same style, but mine are different fabric)

And some like these from the EcoMama6 Etsy shop (Yet again, same style, different fabric).

Now, typically, I don't just use pads. (Here comes the TMI part) Like most women, I assume, the flow varies from day to day when it's my time of the month. Heavier at first and then tapering off until it goes away completely. Therefore, the first couple days I usually use a tampon and then a pad as backup, then switch to pads or liners as the flow decreases in the subsequent days. Therefore, I also contacted some companies that offered eco-friendly tampons, and requested samples.

I got the opportunity to try out this very unique (and completely natural) product called Sea Pearls from a company called Jade & Pearl. All they are is real sea sponges, but you use them as a tampon.

A company called Maxim sent me some samples of their tampons. Their products are made with organic and natural cotton, are chlorine/dioxin free, synthetic free, wood fluff pulp free, and are hypoallergenic and irritation-free.

So did NatraCare. "The comfort of certified organic, 100% cotton next to the skin together with the totally chlorine-free, plastic free biodegradable materials, means that Natracare only leaves a soft footprint on the earth."

And Seventh Generation blew me away by sending not just a sample of tampons, but an entire set of their feminine products, as well as detergent, non-chlorine bleach, fabric softener and toilet paper! All their feminine products are chlorine-free and made with certified organic cotton.

So, I received all these wonderful products and it was just like Christmas at Aunt Flo's house.

And then we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait.

The items arrived just as my last cycle was ending, and as many of you know, the next one arrived almost a month late! (Prompting a pregnancy test and everything!)

Finally, though, I got my opportunity to try out the reusable pads and eco-friendly tampons.

I gave each item several tries and was pleasantly surprised. None of it was gross or inconvenient, especially since I now use cloth diapers. I would simply rinse out the used cloth pads with cold water and put them in a lingerie bag, then I threw them in with the diapers after the diapers had gone through THEIR cold water rinse cycle. Easy Peasy for washing purposes.

All of the cloth pads were made slightly different. Each seamstress has her own way of doing things, and they all worked just fine.

My favorites of the lot were the ones by Randumosity. I like the way she used snaps rather than Velcro, and the design of the pads kept them from getting "crumply" in the wash. They held their shape very well, and were very comfortable.

Each person makes their pads the way they do for their own reasons, though. Cary Rich of EcoMama6 prefers to make hers with Velcro closure because it's easily replaced if it wears out, whereas snaps are not. I did not have any real problems with the Velcro closures, I just preferred the snaps.

I will definitely continue to use all three sets of cloth pads from now on. Each was comfortable, stayed in place and did the job as it should. They're also a heck of a lot cuter than disposable pads and they work well as sweat-catching liners for gym purposes, too!

So, I wanted to go eco-friendly for tampons, too, and I will say I liked the ones offered by Seventh Generation, Maxim and NatraCare equally. I guess for me a tampon is a tampon, but I like knowing these ones are better for the Earth!

I should note that I also have tried out the other Seventh Generation products they sent and I am pleased with them all. The laundry detergent smells really good! I love this brand, and know I can find Seventh Generation products at Whole Foods, so that's nice.

The one product that surprised me most throughout this testing process was the Sea Pearl sponges. I honestly didn't know if I would like these. They seemed maybe a little TOO green for me. That sounds bad, but what I mean is it just seemed kind of weird to use a sea sponge. I didn't expect it to work well, either. Boy was I wrong! I am a total convert!

For one thing, tampons kind of hurt me sometimes. Especially if the flow isn't heavy enough. I find them uncomfortable. But these sponges are SO comfortable! You get them wet and then squeeze all the water out, and once you get it in place, you CAN'T EVEN FEEL IT. I loved that! They're also really absorbent. I had one leak issue, but it was on my heaviest day (And I think it was even heavier than usual due to being a month late) and if I had just made the change a half hour earlier, I would have been fine.

One downfall of the Sea Pearls is the rinsing. I couldn't see doing that in a public bathroom, and I guess you could put the dirty one in a wet bag until later, but I think I'll stick to the disposable eco-friendly tampons for out-in-public use and reserve the Sea Pearls for home. I WILL keep using those, too, and oh my goodness, it doesn't get any greener than this, girls! They're sustainably harvested from the sea and there's nothing to throw away.

So, anyway, I am glad I checked out all these options and I have definitely switched up my monthly routine to make it better for the planet. I urge you to give these products a try, too. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I know I wasn't!


EcoMama6 said...

Thank you for taking the time to experience my items and for adding my product to your review!

Catherine - Member of Six EcoMama Lane - Age, 19 said...

Hello, I'm a member from

I'm glad to see that you enjoy using re-usable cloth pads! They are a better alternative to the use of disposables!

I noticed that you received various cloth pads from various sellers.

I believe the pads you received from ecomama6 are not the one's you have posted. 'I' personally provided my 'own' fabric for ecomama to make my set and that photo is 'My' set!

It doesn't help to 'Save photo as' and re upload them to claim that those are the pads you recieved.

Being a former newspaper reporter, I believe you are required to review on accurate information.

Krystal said...

You're right, they weren't the actual ones I received, but mine were the same style, just a different fabric. I apologize if the photo I used was misleading. So sorry.

Anonymous said...

Krystal... please PLEEAASE remove your post!!! You have nothing to feel sorry for.. this is a BLOG with your opinions, and personally i did not think that the pics were the EXACT ones you got. you made that clear.

perhaps there is a reason why this 19 year old is FORMALLY a reporter if they were confused and thought this was a newspaper!!

Your blog was pretty easy to understand and you should not apoligize for her not being able to understand it.

Krystal said...

thanks for the vote of confidence anonymous!

the only thing i was sorry for was if the post was misleading. i didn't think it was a big deal to post pics that weren't the EXACT ones i got and i still don't think it's an issue!

i don't think the poster is formerly a reporter... i think the poster was referring to me, as i'm a former reporter.

really, though, it's a non-issue. thanks again for sticking up for me!

QueenB said...

oh, gosh. this is all really informative. thanks for posting it. i may come back to read again :o)

@mamatomjr here