Review: THINX Underwear

by Ceylan Kumbarji
THINX are taking on some serious issues and helping women with periods all over the world. It’s something many of us still feel embarrassed or awkward to talk about, despite it being one of the most natural things we go through. We shouldn’t be ashamed but for some reason, we are. Instead of feeling like superheroes because we bleed heavily 12 times a year, whilst working, commuting, going to yoga and probably five other things, we feel uncomfortable and shy. But we’re all adults here and this should be something we can talk about openly. THINX Co-founder Miki Agrawal says, “We are already on the cusp of eradicating the period taboo here in the US, which has a lot to do with periods being an embarrassing, “gross” bodily function that nobody wants to hear/talk about – this is a challenge. But we’ve got what we need now to remove the anxiety we deal with every month and actually talk about it.”
A bit of background about THINX? They’re underwear designed to be worn while you’re on your period. The special lining is really absorbent but not thick or heavy, and you can pick from a variety of styles. How much do you spend on tampons and pads each year? Probably about ?60? The average women spends thousands on tampons or pads in her lifetime so with a pair of THINX costing between $24-32 (?18-?26), they are a reusable, cost-efficient choice. It doesn’t feel like a pad. No-brainer.
Before coming up with this genius idea, Miki was working in investment banking but realised she wanted to do something else – she wanted to make real change in peoples lives. Creating exciting, ground-breaking products and challenging norms is what she does now. She’s an entrepreneur and started THINX with her sister Radha Agrawal and Antonia Saint Dunbar back in 2005.
Explaining how the idea for THINX came about, Miki explains, “My twin sister Radha and I were at my family barbecue defending our 3-legged race championship title – and in the middle of the race, Radha started her period and we had to rush to the bathroom still tied together to change out of her bathing suit bottoms. As she was washing out the blood from her bathing suit bottoms, we had the eureka! moment and said “wait-a-minute! what if we could create a pair of underwear that never leaked, never stained, and that actually worked for every girl during her period no matter the situation…” After this, Miki did some further research and found out that in the entire 20th century, there have only been 3 innovations in the $15 billion feminine hygiene sector. The tampon was invented in 1931, the strip added to a pad to make it stick in 1969 and the menstrual cup in the 1980s. So, they decided to create a pair of underwear that look like a normal pair of nice underwear BUT have hidden technology built into it to help women. To Miki, the best thing about THINX is that it’s “the most liberating experience in the world, you’d be surprised by how much our subconscious makes us quickly check our backsides during the day or worry in case there’s a leak. When that’s no longer a thing, then it’s incredibly liberating!”
“Why only 3 innovations in 100 years in a category that women required for the better part of our lives? Because it’s taboo. And “taboo” happens to mean “menstruation” in its Polynesian root word “tapua”. NOT kidding,” says Miki. There’s also another issue that they are tackling, which is that 100 million girls in the developing world are missing school because of their periods. “They are using things like old rags, leaves, mud, mattress bits to try and manage their period and none of it works so they end up staying at home. For every pair of THINX undies sold, we fund a pack of reusable menstrual pads to girls in Uganda so they can stay in school.” (There’s a documentary they created to break this down:
We also asked Miki how long a pair of THINX can be worn for before we tried them! “We recommend that on the first two days, (which are normally the heaviest days) that you use tampons or a menstrual cup in conjunction with THINX (so, using THINX as a backup, like a liner) especially if you are trying to figure out when to change cups. Some opt to use it as a replacement on medium or light days, thus helping ease some strife on mother earth. We came up with the hashtag #knowyourflow, because it?s important that the person wearing THINX knows what their cycle is like so they select the best use case and style for them. On our website we have the “Build A Cycle Set” tool, so that you can select what will best accommodate your time of the month according to your flow.”
When I first found out about THINX, I thought the idea was both genius and scary. I imagined they were a bit risky and was sceptical to try them on my first day. They arrived in the cutest little brown package and since the THINX motto is “Know Your Flow”, it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves how comfortable they feel and whether or not they want to use additional protection. It’s broken down by how many tampons each pair of THINX can hold, with the different styles holding different flows. And they’re actually very appealing. They aren’t frumpy in the slightest. They feel sort of like Spanx and I was surprised at how light and soft they felt.

The hiphugger: holds two tampons worth of blood

Cheeky: holds a tampons worth of blood:

The thong: half a tampons worth of blood

The technology behind THINX is pretty incredible as Miki explains they’re: “moisture-wicking, absorbent (absorbs up to 2 full regular tampons’ worth!), anti-microbial and leak-proof. All you need to do is quickly hand wash them and put them in the washing machine and they come out brand new. It took us over 3.5 years to perfect the product and patent the technology but now, magic period panties exist.”
My review is based on five days which is my typical flow. They’re not only pretty adorable, they’re snug and comfortable. THINX does say they should replace panty liners and you can use these with a tampon or cup. As the first day went on, I went to the toilet countless times to make sure I hadn’t leaked but every time I checked my progress, everything was being absorbed. I was still pretty heavy the next day when I wore my pair of cheekies which are ideal for light/medium days so I paired my THINX with a tampon. No leaks so far, so they do hold up to their promise!
The surface dries pretty fast and the bottom part (outside) is never wet. FYI: they aren’t stiff or pad-like. They’re flexible and thick. If you feel your flow is a bit heavier or unpredictable, use some extra protection, but for me personally I’m confident they can hold up even on heavier days. The THINX do their job and it’s so nice to be able to deal without pads and tampons.
4 Questions For Miki Agrawal
Taylor Magazine: What?s been the biggest challenge you?ve had to overcome since you first started Thinx?
Miki Agrawal: The biggest challenge is to get the “old boys club” to support us. We fought the MTA and won because of having press backing us, but we continue to hit roadblocks with organisations who don’t feel comfortable working with us. Right now, we’re fighting the Taxi TV ad company to get our period ads in taxi cabs and they too rejected us. We are also fighting the elevator bank TV companies who are calling our ads offensive too. Modelling agencies don’t want to work with us because they don’t want their girls in period ads. Morning shows don’t want to talk about periods as “the mass public isn’t ready for it yet”. It’s constant. So we have to keep pushing and fighting to tell the story that periods are normal and that every human being is here because of it! I think that since my companies are addressing the less sexy parts of the human body (although I would argue to say that they’re the most sexy parts) it IS a hard conversation to have sometimes. So, thank you for helping talk about these issues with me and break these age old taboos and share the projects I am working on with the hope that these will become non-issues soon.
Taylor Magazine: Describe THINX in three words.
Miki Agrawal: THINX underwear is empowering, game changing, and liberating! Bonus word can be ‘magic’ 🙂
Taylor Magazine: What?s the message behind THINX and where do you hope it will be in 5 years?
Miki Agrawal: We are using innovation to change the culture, and the conversation, around menstruation. Women find it uncomfortable to talk about; it?s a huge taboo ? and we’re committed to breaking it. We want people to come in contact with our brand and immediately know that it’s okay to be open and inquisitive, and to challenge the norms surrounding our periods. I think we?re really doing it, too; we?ve never seen more women openly discuss their hygiene regimens than now, on our own social media accounts, articles, and advertisements. It’s really powerful, and so motivating to see. The dream would be for all menstruating girls and women in the first world to have a pair of THINX in their drawers and for every single girl in the developing world to stay in school when they have their periods, as well as have a safe space for the girls to go to learn about their bodies and learn how to become financially independent. I think a 5 year timeline to make this happen is totally doable 🙂
Taylor Magazine: A lot of the time, women are embarrassed to go to the toilet and change their pads/tampons. If you could get rid of one stereotype/stigma about periods, what would it be?
Miki Agrawal: In the developing world, girls don’t even have the basic resources needed to leave the house during their periods so they end up using bits of mattresses, old rags, even leaves and mud – whatever they can find. This is happening because it is so taboo that no one even wants to discuss solutions at all. What’s worse is, in many nations, menstruating women are considered unclean and are sequestered during their periods, or are banned from their own kitchens or temples. This extent of stigma is a tragedy.


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