10 Best Period Underwear Options of 2023, According to Reviews

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Period underwear is an appealing option for menstruating bodies for a variety of reasons. Not only are they a much more sustainable option than your typical one-use pads and tampons, but they’re also way less stressful. With period panties, instead of needing to swap out a pad, tampon, or even a menstrual cup multiple times a day when you have your period, you can just…live your life! As long as you make sure to buy the right absorbency for your flow (more on that later), the best period underwear options should give you leak-free protection all day or night long. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making any last-minute trips to the drugstore when you run out of period products.

Period panties in 2023 are light, thin, and come with a ton of sophisticated features, like extra padding for heavier days and moisture-wicking technology—but back in the day, they were far less fun to wear. Early versions of period underwear from before World War 1 were made of waterproof rubber, which offered *somewhat* leakproof protection but wasn’t very breathable or sanitary. To make sure you steer clear from anything slightly resembling those century-old WWI-era of underwear galoshes, we’ve narrowed down a list of the best period panties, with the help from tester reviews and trusted Cosmopolitan editors.

Our top picks for the best period underwear of 2023:

  • Leakproof Bikini

    best overall period underwear

    Knix Leakproof Bikini

    Read more

  • Classic Thong

    best lightweight period underwear

    Thinx Classic Thong

    Read more

  • Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

    best overnight period underwear

    Rael Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

    Read more

  • Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

    best budget period underwear

    Hanes Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

    Read more

  • Leakproof Brief

    most comfortable period underwear

    Proof Leakproof Brief

    Read more

If you’re looking for a brief (lol) intro to period panties, here’s a rundown of some of the best known products and brands worth trying (and be sure to check out our fave period swimwear as well).

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1. Knix Leakproof Bikini

best overall period underwear

Knix Leakproof Bikini

Leakproof Bikini

best overall period underwear

Knix Leakproof Bikini

Credit: Knix

If you don’t need a full waterproof gusset but are looking for undies that won’t bleed through if you wear white pants and a tampon, then these thin pairs from Knix are a great layer of protection. They’re made with soft, quick-drying performance fabric, and they’re able to hold up to three tampons worth of liquid—plus, they’re seamless, so reviewers say the panty lines are v minimal! Need more protection? Knix also has a super version of this bestselling style.

  • Fabric: body is 77% nylon, 23% lycra; gusset lining is 86% cotton, 10% spandex; 4% carbon
  • Size Range: XS-4X
  • Color Options: 22
  • Absorbency: Up to 3 tampons

THE REVIEW: As one reviewer writes, “These are perfect for backup to protect against the occasional wayward leak. They’re a lot less bulky than Thinx panties but offer more protection than a standard pantyliner (plus, much more eco-friendly!). I really enjoy the material, which feels and looks very luxe and classy. More importantly, the liner isn’t bulky at all (which is a big deal for me). They are just as comfy as any regular panties.”

2. Thinx Classic Thong

best lightweight period underwear

Thinx Classic Thong

Classic Thong

best lightweight period underwear

Thinx Classic Thong

Credit: Thinx

Thinx is arguably one of the most popular period panty companies, offering a wide variety of styles in various levels of absorbency. But the brand’s thongs stand out by providing minimal coverage while ALSO giving ya leakage protection on your lightest days. They may not be highly absorbent, but they’re certainly great for avoiding panty lines.

  • Fabric: body is 55% polyester, 45% polypropylene; gusset lining is 95% cotton, 5% elastane
  • Size Range: XS-4X
  • Color Options: 2
  • Absorbency: Up to 1 tampon

THE REVIEW: “These are so comfy and honestly don’t even look like period underwear,” writes one tester. “There’s none of the wearing a diaper feeling and no worries about leaking period blood, either. You can’t really feel any moisture and they don’t get smelly or gross. It’s so nice to wear leggings and still have some backup coverage in case my tampon isn’t enough. Also really nice for spotting and days where you want to be prepared in case your period starts.”

3. Rael Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

best overnight period underwear

Rael Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

best overnight period underwear

Rael Boyshort Reusable Period Underwear

Credit: Rael

While Rael started out with feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads, so it’s only natural they’d expand to period undies, too. Made from breathable cotton and featuring the brand’s four-layer absorption design, these full-coverage boyshorts are supposed to have the absorbency power of five tampons, meaning they’re great for heavy days or long nights.

  • Fabric: body is 84% polyamide, 16% elastane; gusset lining is 95% cotton, 5% polyurethane
  • Size Range: S-2X
  • Color Options: 1
  • Absorbency: Up to 5 tampons

THE REVIEW: According to one reviewer, “I’ve been searching for the perfect sustainable period products and tried absorbent panties from many different brands—these are among my favorites. They don’t feel awkward or bulky at all, the fine knit material is ultra-soft, and the absorbent section works well to keep you feeling dry and secure. They fit well and stay in place, [and] they’re comfortable enough to sleep in and slim enough to wear under clothes.”

4. Hanes Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

best budget period underwear

Hanes Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

best budget period underwear

Hanes Comfort, Period. Bikini Period Underwear 3-Pack

Now 17% Off

Credit: Hanes

If you’re looking for a less expensive option to try, then you’ll be happy to know that Hanes’ period protection briefs come in packs of three, giving you the most bang for your buck. With their moderate protection, these bbs can handle even your heavier days, and you’ll love how they include a stain block liner to make laundry days easier on you. Oh, and these also come in a lighter version as well.

  • Fabric: 58% cotton, 37% polyester, 5% spandex
  • Size Range: S-2X
  • Color Options: 3
  • Absorbency: Up to 3 tampons

THE REVIEW: “These saved me during my postpartum time with my newborn,” writes one buyer. “I HATE wearing pads, and you obviously can’t wear tampons after giving birth. These were the answer I didn’t know I needed. They absorb everything and never leaked. They were a good alternative to the more expensive brands. They are bulkier than normal underwear, but that doesn’t bother me, since they get the job done.”

    5. Proof Leakproof Brief

    most comfortable period underwear

    Proof Leakproof Brief

    Leakproof Brief

    most comfortable period underwear

    Proof Leakproof Brief

    Credit: Proof

    For a barely-there feel (and A+ protection), Proof is the place to go. They’ve got tons of styles to choose from, but my personal fave is the Leakproof Brief, which features a mid-rise, full coverage, and multi-layer leak-preventing technology—plus, they’re so slim you’ll forget you’re even wearing period panties.

    • Fabric: body is 75% nylon, 25% spandex; gusset lining is 69% cotton, 25% polyester, 6% acrylate
    • Size Range: XS-3X
    • Color Options: 5
    • Absorbency: Up to 3 tampons

    THE REVIEW: “This underwear is so comfy,” notes one reviewer. “The fabric is so soft that I basically feel like I’m wearing nothing at all! The underwear itself is super absorbent so I always feel dry and clean, and the leak guard protection on the fabric around the gusset makes it so that there is no way to bleed through. These are the best!”

    6. Knix Super Leakproof Dream Short

    best heavy flow period underwear

    Knix Super Leakproof Dream Short

    Super Leakproof Dream Short

    best heavy flow period underwear

    Knix Super Leakproof Dream Short

    Credit: Knix

    Knix has a Super Absorbency line made for those of us with heavier flows (or those who are just terrified of staining clothing and sheets). These boxer briefs provide a lot of protection and comfortable coverage, making them perfect loungewear on hot days—and as Cosmopolitan senior editor Lauren Fisher can attest, they’re “great for sleeping and lounging.”

    • Fabric: body is 70% nylon, 30% spandex; gusset lining is 84% modal; 8% seaweed, 8% spandex
    • Size Range: XS-3X
    • Color Options: 6
    • Absorbency: Up to 10 tampons

    THE REVIEW: “This product is definitely something I should have ordered along time ago,” one review reads. “It is absolutely amazing how absorbent they are. They have completely replaced needing a pad for heavy overnights. I have had no problems with leakage. They are nice and fitted and go under lounging pants and sweats perfectly.”

    7. saalt Leakproof Lace Hipster

    best lace period underwear

    saalt Leakproof Lace Hipster

    Leakproof Lace Hipster

    best lace period underwear

    saalt Leakproof Lace Hipster

    Credit: saalt

    Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you don’t get to feel cute, and these delicate lace period panties are proof. Made from recycled water bottles, this silky-soft underwear boasts a mid-rise and a lil cheekiness, as well as pretty lace detailing—but if you need more protection, opt for the high-waist version of these bbs instead.

    • Fabric: 100%
    • Size Range: XS-2X
    • Color Options: 5
    • Absorbency: Up to 2 light tampons

    THE REVIEW: As one person writes, “This pair of saalt period underwear is the nicest period underwear I have ever seen. These are made from the absolute softest fabric and elastic lace, and they feel like butter going on. The crotch part is soft fabric as well, and doesn’t have the crunch of other brands. In terms of absorbency, these are on the low end, but they function as low-flow period undies, and they wash well. I really love these.”

    8. Aerie Real. Period. High Rise Boybrief Underwear

    best high-waisted period underwear

    Aerie Real. Period. High Rise Boybrief Underwear

    Real. Period. High Rise Boybrief Underwear

    best high-waisted period underwear

    Aerie Real. Period. High Rise Boybrief Underwear

    Credit: Aerie

    On those days when you’re feeling a lil bloaty (relatable), nothing feels better than a soft, supportive high waist. Enter: these comfy boy shorts from Aerie, which feature odor-reducing layers, breathable cotton fabric, and a gusset that can hold up to two tampons worth of fluid, making ’em a great choice for light to medium flows.

    • Fabric: 95% cotton, 5% elastane
    • Size Range: XXS-2X
    • Color Options: 4
    • Absorbency: Up to 2 tampons

    THE REVIEW: “The low rise ones are great, but these are perfection!” one tester raves. “The rise is very high, which is so comfy and flattering when you’re bloated. Like with the low rise, these seem to run a little bit large, but I find I like that during that time of the month.”

    9. Ruby Love Hipster Underwear

    best seamless period underwear

    Ruby Love Hipster Underwear

    Hipster Underwear

    best seamless period underwear

    Ruby Love Hipster Underwear

    Credit: Ruby Love

    For really thin, panty-line-free coverage, Ruby Love’s seamless undies offer 2.5 tampons worth of absorbency in an ultra-smooth design. In addition to this hipster option, they also make bikini, brief, and high-waist panties—and, if you have a heavier flow (or you’re just deathly afraid of leaks, like me), Ruby Love makes double-sided pads that can be used for added protection. Cute underwear that is also worry-free? Count me in.

    • Fabric: 77% nylon, 23% spandex
    • Size Range: S-3X
    • Color Options: 16
    • Absorbency: Up to 2.5 tampons

    MY REVIEW: With Ruby Love, I don’t have to sacrifice my personal style for coverage, and I love that every style goes up to a US size 26-28 (3X).

    10. Aisle BOOST Bikini

    best customizable period underwear

    Aisle BOOST Bikini

    BOOST Bikini

    best customizable period underwear

    Aisle BOOST Bikini

    Credit: Aisle

    Aisle makes bikinis, hipsters, boxer briefs, and briefs, so you’ve got a few style and comfort options depending on your personal preference. These also come with a “booster,” a small pad that you can tuck into a special pocket at the front and back of the gusset for double the period protection. With the booster, these briefs can handle up to 8 tampons worth of discharge.

    • Fabric: body is 48% Tencel lyocell, 48% organic cotton, 4% spandex; gusset lining is 86% recycled polyester, 14% organic cotton
    • Size Range: XS-5X
    • Color Options: 6
    • Absorbency: Up to 4 tampons without a booster, 8 tampons with booster

    THE REVIEW: “I thought $40 was a lot to spend on panties, but these are the best part of my period,” one tester raves. “They are soft, absorbent, and flattering! I own 3 and just bought another pair. I stack the boosters for heavy days and use some of my reusable cloth pads with them as well, but I might just invest in buying more boosters soon. I love the ease of just being able to not think about changing a pad and just changing underwear.”


    Does period underwear really work?

    Short answer: yes, period underwear really does work. Designed to be worn without tampons or pads (though you can always use them together and think of your period panties as an extra safeguard against leakage), period panties soak up menstrual blood with multiple layers of fabric while still keeping you as dry as possible. It’s essentially like a diaper, but reusable, without the bulk, and (mostly) machine washable for easy reuse.


    How often should you wash your period underwear?

    For the most part, you should treat your period underwear as you would any other pair. Wear once, wash, and repeat. Remember, different period underwear will have different washing instructions—some even require a wash before wear to activate its absorbent properties. Always read the directions to get exactly instructions on how to wash.


    Is period underwear safe?

    Period underwear is generally considered safe, but a few years ago there was a brief moment of panic after Thinx undies were found to contain PFAS, chemicals that don’t break down and can have adverse health effects. Thinx settled a case regarding the matter in late 2022 and has since committed itself to keeping PFAS out of its products, declaring on its website that each batch of product is inspected by the FDA before sale.


    How to choose the best period underwear for you

    The perfect pair of period undies can be yours in just a few easy steps:

    Determine your flow

    Keep track of how many tampons you use in a regular day. You’ll want that knowledge for picking what absorbency you need in period panties.

    Pick your coverage

    Do you prefer thongs or briefs? High rise or low rise? Once you know what style of underwear you’re looking for, odds are you’ll eliminate enough possibilities to find your very own perfect pair.


    How we chose these period underwear

    When selecting these period underwear, we made sure to choose a wide variety of items in terms of price, size, and aesthetic (while also considering every type of couple who could be on the receiving end). All of our shopping articles adhere to the 15 Percent Pledge, and you better believe we read all those product reviews so you don’t have to do it yourself.

    Headshot of Olivia Truffaut-Wong

    Olivia Truffaut-Wong

    Editor

    Olivia Truffaut-Wong is an entertainment and culture writer and editor who will never turn down a romance or superhero movie. Her work has been featured in The Cut, Refinery29, Teen Vogue, Polygon, Bustle, and more.  

    Headshot of Carina Hsieh

    Sex & Relationships Editor

    Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals. 

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