If the news of the nationwide tampon shortage has you wondering where to buy tampons online, don’t worry. While it might be more challenging to find big-name brands at major retailers, there are many direct-to-consumer period-care companies that still have tampons in stock. And then there are even more brands offering alternatives to tampons like menstrual cups, period underwear, and reusable pads. Here, we’ll take a closer look at why you may need to shop elsewhere for tampons for the time being, and where to buy tampons (and other period products) online right now.
Why is there a tampon shortage?
As SELF reported last week, the U.S. is in the midst of a tampon shortage, with Tampax, manufacturer of the beloved Tampax Pearl tampons, stating that materials needed for tampon production, including cotton and plastic, have become harder to come by.
Even those who still have tampons in stock near them may encounter a secondary issue when they go to check out. Namely, inflation has made the price of tampons increase by 9.8% in the last year, as SELF reported. So, whether due to material shortages or cost increases, it could be challenging to acquire the essential personal care products that you need on a monthly basis.
How do tampon alternatives compare?
If this shortage is making you curious about alternative menstrual products to tampons, you have a bevy of options to consider. Not only are many of them conveniently reusable, but they also offer further benefits that tampons can’t necessarily match. Menstrual cups, for one, are great for overnight use, as you can wear them for up to 12 hours. They come in different sizes to suit different flows (much like light-absorbency, regular-absorbency, and super plus-absorbency tampons) and are easy to clean.
Period panties and reusable pads are other options for anyone who wants to experiment with menstruation products outside of standard disposable tampons and panty liners. Depending on the brand, you can find period underwear in as many different style options as regular underwear, and care instructions are often as simple as tossing in the wash with the rest of your clothes. Similarly, reusable pads can be machine- or hand-washed and often come in multipacks so you’re covered for a whole menstrual cycle. Also, those with heavier flows who prefer to use an insertable period product may enjoy the security of wearing period panties or a pad as a backup.
Of course, if you don’t have time to clean a cup or access to a washer and dryer to keep enough pads and panties clean, disposable products may still be the best option for you. Luckily, some smaller tampon brands are still offering their products at reasonable prices. With all that in mind, we’ve highlighted some of the best options for finding period products online right now—or whenever you need them.
From the extremely popular DivaCup to the one-size-fits-all Nixit cup, there’s a wide range of menstrual cups that you can try during your next time of the month. We especially love the color options that the Lunette cup comes in, and Hello Period even offers a duo pack of cups, so you never have to worry about having a clean one handy.
Hip huggers, high-waisted styles, and bikinis are just a handful of the options available to you when shopping for period panties. Seriously, there are leggings from Thinx, swimwear from Knix, and period running shorts if you want an alternative to your sports tampons. Many of the featured brands here offer underwear on a sliding scale of absorbency, so you can trust that you won’t deal with any leakage.
Disposable Tampons and Pads
Much like well-known drugstore brands, direct-to-consumer tampon brands offer light- and ultra-absorbency options in addition to regular tampons. Where they differ are their materials. Most of these brands make their tampons with organic cotton and without fragrances, dyes, and, in some cases, chlorine bleach. (For the record, some may find this limited ingredient list nice but it isn’t medically necessary.) They’re also available on a subscription basis, so you can receive your products on a regular schedule.
For all their similarities, your personal preferences can help you choose between brands: Like compact tampons? Blume’s organic cotton tampons will save a little extra space in your bag. Prefer cardboard applicators to plastic tampons? Hypoallergenic brand Lola’s got you covered—and Cora offers applicator-free tampons. Looking for super plus tampons? Check out The Honey Pot, Cora, and Lola. And if you want to build a box containing the exact quantity of tampons, pads, and liners that you like, August makes it easy.
Unscented and available in triple packs, reusable pads are a great backup or stand-alone period product, depending on your flow. You can wear them for four to eight hours—just swap in a fresh one when you start to feel wet or uncomfortable.
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