19 best period pants for a sustainable and zero-waste period, tried and tested by GLAMOUR editors

Period pants are fast overtaking their single-use counterparts in the world of menstrual supplies. Once an eco-friendly period product that was wrongly shunned for being a bit gross and prone to one-too-many leakages, the best period panties are now the go-to for many millennial women during menstruation. Regular tampons and sanitary towels, be gone.

Which period undies are the best? Quick links:

  1. Best period pants overall: Ultimate Midi Brief, £24.99, WUKA
  2. Best period pants for light flow: Period Pants Light Flow, £23.99, WUKA
  3. Best period pants for heavy flow: WUKA Ultimate™ High Waist Super Heavy Flow, £25.99, WUKA
  4. Best period pants for sleeping: Sensual High Waist Bikini, £24, Modibodi
  5. Best period pants for swimming: WUKA Swim Bikini Brief, £21.99, WUKA
  6. Best period thong: Basics™ Thong Light Flow, £12, WUKA
  7. Best period pants for bloating: Hi-Waist, £28.31, Thinx
  8. Best period pants for incontinence: Cotton Bikini, £24.54, Thinx

What are period pants?

Period pants are leak-proof knickers with a super-absorbent gusset, made from an odour-eliminating fabric. They’re moisture-wicking, hygienic, comfortable and available in different absorbency options depending on how heavily you bleed.

What are the benefits of period pants?

More than 10,000 (!) GLAMOUR readers have invested in a pair of period pants since this time last year – and there are countless reasons for the switch. Firstly? Leak-proof pants are sustainable. Single-use menstrual products are a huge contributor to plastic pollution, and the average woman will use over 11,000 of these disposable products in her reproductive lifetime (which each take over 1,000 years to decompose). Period pollution is real, but since the best period underwear is washable (and often crafted in organic cotton to boot), you can be kinder to the planet.

Secondly? Period panties are really comfy and convenient. You can wear period-proof underwear alone all day, without worrying about changing a tampon, or to give you peace of mind alongside a menstrual cup or tampon on heavy days or postpartum. As for style? If you invest in the very best period pants, you’ll genuinely feel like you’re wearing your regular underwear. Today’s new-gen of leak-proof underwear is stylish and available in a plethora of colours, absorbency levels and different styles. Think: cheeky and high-waisted silhouettes, boyshorts, period thongs, period bikinis and period sleep shorts.

If that wasn’t enough, brands like HeyGirls are working to end period poverty; when you buy a pair of period pants for the first time, they’ll donate another to those in need.

How do you know when to change your period pants?

How often you change your period undies depends on your flow and the style you choose. Take these Thinx period pants, for example. They hold three tampons worth of blood, so think about how long it takes you to get through three tampons and go from there. Most period pants can be worn for 10-12 hours before being changed, but you’ll know when your time’s up when they begin to feel a little wet.

Are period pants hygienic? Do period pants smell?

Period pants are super-absorbent and sweat-wicking which keeps you fresh and dry. Plus, most period pants – including Modibodi period pants – are made with a patented design that neutralises bad odours and bacteria. So yes, they are hygienic. And nope, they don’t smell.

Even after a few hours’ worth of wear, my period pants never smell or even feel damp to the touch. It’s as though I haven’t bled in them at all.

Sensual Hi-Waist Bikini

Ultimate Midi Brief

How do you wash your period undies? 

Once you’ve used your menstrual panties, rinse them under cold water if you’ve had a particularly heavy day, then pop them in a dark wash at between 30℃ and 40℃. Refrain from using fabric softener when washing your period pants, as this can make them less absorbent over time. Once you’re done, pop them on your airer to dry. Don’t dry them in a tumble-dryer. 

How we tested the best period pants

We tested each pair of these period pants at various points in our cycle – from the beginning right through to the end. We worked out in them, worked in them, and lounged in them. We evaluated each pair based on comfort, absorbency, how well they washed, whether they keep that clean feeling, and how they felt under normal clothes. The result? Your complete edit to tried and tested period pants.

For more from Glamour UK Commerce Editor Sophie Cockett, follow her on Instagram @sophiecockettx. Elsewhere, find guides to period pants for teens and period swimwear while you’re at it.

What is the best period underwear? Scroll for our edit of the best period pants, tried and tested by GLAMOUR editors.