Period-proof pants: Too good to be true?

They look and feel like normal knickers - but they can hold up to two tampons’ worth of liquid

period pants
(Image credit: Pretty Clever Pants)

“Period pants” might call to mind your tattiest pair of black undies, but now you can buy knickers that actually promise to be “period proof”.

Pretty Clever Pants, the brainchild of former Changing Rooms presenter Carol Smillie and former British tennis number one Annabel Croft, uses a thin layer of super-absorbent material to prevent any unwelcome leaks.

Writing for Huffington Post UK, Smillie said she had been inspired by a conversation with her daughters about their fear of getting their period unexpectedly away from home.

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“I remember feeling exactly the same as a young girl, and couldn’t believe a quarter of a century later we had not come up with a solution to such a common problem,” she said.

The knickers, now on sale in the UK, are being touted as a blush-sparing saviour for women with medical conditions which cause heavy or irregular periods, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as those suffering pelvic floor weakness.

Period pants are growing in popularity across the Atlantic as a safe and environmentally responsible solution to an age-old worry for menstruating women.

New York-based company Thinx has been making its figure-hugging line of absorbent knickers modelled on Spanx since 2011, with Mila Kunis among its celebrity converts, The Guardian reports.

The company sells a range of knickers for different flows, and claims that its most robust model can accommodate up to two tampons’ worth of liquid.

Blood is drawn down into a thin lower layer of absorbent material, meaning the wearer should always feel dry and comfortable. After use, the pants are hand rinsed and then washed as part of a regular laundry cycle.

The response from those who have tried Thinx has been largely positive - although reviewers acknowledge that the first challenge is overcoming the gut feeling of aversion. “My initial thought was ‘ew, no!’,” wrote Delphine Chui, who tested Thinx for Marie Claire earlier this year, but “it really did the job”.

Glamour’s test panel also gave period pants the thumbs up, although the consensus was that the pants were best used for lighter flows or in tandem with another sanitary product.

Despite the initial misgivings, wearing the form-fitting underwear “made me feel sexy - and a bit dangerous”, wrote the site’s entertainment editor, Kate Branch. “And that’s never a combo I experience on my period while at the beach.”

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