Organic tampons used to occupy a dusty spot on the drugstore shelf, inspiring questions like, “But…do they work?” (And who wants to take that risk?)
Now, there are lots of companies turning better menstrual products into major modern brands by making them with healthy materials, chic packaging, and sometimes a bigger mission.
First, a little science: Most medical experts say there is no clear evidence showing benefits of choosing organic tampons over non-organic, and research showing they’re safer doesn’t exist. Regular tampons are generally considered safe (and, um, really useful).
However, companies that sell “healthier” tampons mainly use organic cotton, with the idea that you may not want materials that were once soaked in pesticides touching your most sensitive areas (cue leg crossing). Just like you may choose to eat organic foods to avoid potential chemical residues, you may not want those residues in a place they could be absorbed.
They also use applicators that are free of potentially harmful ingredients in plastic like phthalates and BPA. (Again, it’s unclear how much of those would get into your bloodstream via a tampon.) Either way, if chemicals concern you, these products offer a way to avoid them, and there’s another totally solid reason to do so: Conventional cotton production definitely does disrupt ecosystems and pollute waterways via heavy pesticide and insecticide use.
Plus, these mod menstrual products come with other benefits, like monthly delivery (so you stop running out RIGHT at the worst moment) and give-back programs that mean your purchase helps women in poor countries take control of their health.
Check out one of these four organic tampon brands to find the one that’s right for you.
Which Organic Tampons Are Right For You?
Cora’s products are not only made with certified organic cotton, they’re also GOTS certified, a designation that means the workers that produced them were treated well. Plus, did you know that in many developing countries girls are forced to drop out of school because they lack access to menstrual products? For every monthly box you buy (it’s a subscription service), they donate pads to women and girls who need them in India and Kenya.
o.b. is the O.G. when it comes to making period products that are better for the planet. The company has sold applicator-free tampons for almost 70 years. Can you even imagine how much plastic waste that is that didn’t end up in a landfill (or gobble up resources to produce)? And recently, it jumped into the organic market with a new line called o.b. organic. You can now get the classic no-applicator version without the pesticides (and also without chlorine, dyes, fragrance, or BPA). Or, if you’re still not up for the more hands-on approach to insertion (it’s easy—seriously!), the company is also making an o.b. organic tampon with a plant-based applicator.
Lola makes organic tampons, pads, and panty liners, all of which come in chic, minimalist blue-and-white packaging. Like Cora, they’re a subscription service, but they offer even more flexibility in what you get each month: you can mix and match pads and tampons based on your own unique body. Bonus: they also make a non-applicator version, so you can ditch the plastic if you’re up for it.
For: Healthy moms
Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. makes all kinds of non-toxic products for the whole family, and tampons are now included. They’re hypoallergenic and are made with certified organic cotton and no fragrances or other additives. This is an example of one-stop shopping for a busy, healthy mom, since you can add these to your cart alongside organic diapers, all-natural laundry and dish detergents, and all kinds of natural skin-care products (for mom and babies).