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Best Organic Cotton Pads & Why You Need Them: Sustainable Menstruation


Best Organic Cotton Pads - Safe Sustainable Menstruation - Ecofriendly Periods
Best Organic Cotton Pads -  Sustainable Menstruation
Best Organic Cotton Pads - Rael Masmi - Sustainable Menstruation
Every woman should get a pair of organic cotton pads (with wings!) so they are not ingesting toxins in their bodies when their hormones are giving them enough grief as it is.

Its 2020, and we are still uncomfortable talking about periods. The good thing is that while periods are still a taboo for many, we also have ongoing open and frank discussions on menstrual cycles making periods a little less agonizing. 

An average woman uses over 10,000 pads in her lifetime. Like most women, until a few years back I was also happy with my regular feminine hygiene brand - well-advertised on TV and easily available at any supermarket or pharmacy. In fact, I even collaborated with the brand when they launched a new product which was softer, thinner and smelled nice. As part of the collaboration, when I posted about it on my Instagram, someone pointed it out that regular pads are damaging our health and that of the planet.

When I looked more into it, I realised how bad for the environment conventional pads (and tampons) are (they just end up in landfill or the sea) and can pose serious health issues including fertility problems, disrupt endocrine causing hormonal imbalance and even cause cancer. I never thought my feminine hygiene products could be so harmful. 

The mainstream period products are often laced with potentially harmful plastics and dipped in toxic bleach which are exposed to your most porous and sensitive areas for hours. I bet most of you didn't know about this. Because unlike cookies, crisps, moisturiser and lipsticks, menstrual pads are not required to carry a list of ingredients (and they don't).

Fortunately, in the last few years many clean and sustainable menstruation brands are mushrooming in the market with a realm of organic feminine products. These brands are on a mission to finding ever more innovative ways to lessen their impact on the environment while keeping our vaginas safe.

The best part? These organic cotton pads never cause rashes or itching.

I tried several organic cotton pads to find the "perfect one". As a lover of all things clean and organic, I needed my pad to tick all my boxes. They should not only be made of certified organic cotton but also be free of plastic, dyes, toxins, fragrance, dyes, bleaches or other toxic materials and, of course, be comfortable and do their job well!

Of course, I found a few that I loved and use religiously after several product trials. Believe me or not, every time I traveled to another country, one thing I would not forget to get was - organic cotton pads from their eco-stores. 

(Many of you are from India, and you'd be happy to know most of the pads I recommended are available in India or can be ordered online at reasonable cost.) 

What to look for in organic cotton sanitary pads?
Sustianble sanitary pad - best eco-friendly safe sanitary pads - sustainable menstruation
Materials: Just because it says its organic does not mean it is safe. Every pad has three elements - the top sheet, the core (its absorbent layer) and the barrier at the back. A products can use organic cotton top sheet and call itself organic, but that is not the case. All three elements need to be organic or sustainable and safe. Be extra careful about what is the pad core made of , and ensure it does not contain SAP (super absorbent polymer) or wood pulp. This is a common problem with many so-called "safe sanitary pads".  

Certifications: The term "organic" is not regulated.  and anyone can claim that their product is organic. Certifications are the only way to know verify a brand's 'organic' claim. So look out for certifications like GOTS (USA), Soil Association Organic (UK), Ecocert (Europe) or Australian Certified Organic before you buy the product. It is always mentioned on the packaging. 

Absorbency: This is perhaps the most important thing when it comes to pad. Being an organic cotton pad does not cut the bill. If the product does not perform, then no matter what material it is using or what certifications it has, it doesn't really matter. So before you shop, look out for reviews of the product - how well it absorbs, does it stay affixed (glue) and is it leakproof during heavy flows and then make sure choice. A guide like this can help you find the right product!

Packaging: As a mindful consumer, we should also pay attention to the packaging of the product. Is the brand using sustainable packaging options? Is it minimizing waste and choosing the packaging that is absolutely necessary or being wasteful? For example, a brand that is using bioplastic backsheets and wrappers for pads and a FSC certified box packaging is an ideal option. 

Without further ado, below is the list of the best safe and eco-friendly organic pads - the ones I love, some popular brands and others I thought I should review so you don't waste your money on the wrong ones. You can find all of them in UAE and most can be ordered or are available in India. I've reviewed down to dot so you can pick the one that checks your list. 

Ginger Organic Cotton Pad
Sustainable Menstruation - Ginger Organic Cotton Pads - eco-friendly menstrual pads safe for wome - healthy periods

Ginger Organic is a Copenhagen-based female hygiene brand and are one of my favorites (I'm always biased towards Scandinavian brands). 

The pads itself are made from organic cotton and even the binder and wrapper of the pads are totally biodegradable too. Being a Scandinavian brand, you wouldn't expect any less from them when it comes to eco-consciousness and care to packaging.  They even have a teen starter pack, which I think is super important

Made with 86.78% organic materials certified by GOTS (Global Textiles Standard) and Ecocert. 

Eco-credentials: Ginger pads come in eco-friendly packaging - the box is made with recycled or FSC paperboard. The pads are individually wrapped in biofilm, the barrier film is also a bio-polymer derived from cornstarch and both the top and absorbent layer of the pad is made from organic cotton.

Sizes: They have day and night pads, panty liners and organic cotton tampons for three different flows.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, pesticides, bleach, artificial dyes, toxic adhesives, wood pulp (cellulose),  GMOs, rayon, polyester, and other toxic ingredients.

Where to buy?
You can shop Ginger Organic Cotton Pads from mumzworld.com (pack of 10 for AED25.2) and at Let's Organic stores in Dubai. Not yet available in India. They are available across Europe on various online stores.

The Bottom Line
Ginger is one of my favorite sustainable brands when it comes to menstruation. They perform well, are super soft, and come in eco-friendly biodegradable packaging.

Organyc Organic Cotton Menstrual Pads

Organyc, owned by Italian feminine hygiene brand Corman, makes one of the most comfortable and safest organic cotton menstrual pads products in the world. They are available in over 26 countries, including India and UAE. They offer the widest range of pads, liners and tampons when it comes to size and flow options. 

They are pH neutral, hypoallergenic and absorbent, which is perfect for the sensitive skin down there. 

Made with certified organic cotton by GOTS (Global Textiles Standard), ICEA Italia and Soil Association.

Eco-credentials: Organyc pads come in eco-friendly packaging - the box is made with recycled or FSC paperboard and the pads are wrapped in biodegradable and compostable Mater-bi pouch. 

Sizes: They have moderate, heavy and super flow and maternity pad options. Range of organic cotton tampons and liners are also available.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, pesticides, artificial dyes, toxic adhesives, wood pulp (cellulose), super absorbent polymers (SAP), acetone, styrene, chloroform, chloromethane, chloroethane, GMOs, rayon, polyester, and other toxic ingredients.

Where to buy?
Available worldwide. 
In India, You can shop Organyc Certified Organic Menstrual Pads from amazon.in (pack of 10 for Rs 355) and in UAE its available on mumzworld.com for AED 27, on noon.com for AED 25.75 and various supermarkets across UAE (including Spinneys).

The Bottom Line
Organyc ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, absorbency, and of course, safe organic materials. If you’re looking for a solid alternative to conventional pads made without harmful chemicals, then you’ll definitely want to give Organyc a try.

Natracare Organic Cotton Pad

The Natracare organic cotton pads are comparable to conventional pads in terms of usage but its softer, more comfortable, and safer too. I like the fact that some of their pads don't come individually wrapped, hence reducing the need for plastic.

The best thing about Natracare is that they use no plastic at all in their pads or its packaging. The top sheet is made with certified organic cotton, the absorbent core is made with ecologically-certified cellulose pulp, and even the back layer of the pad is plastic-free - made with GMO-free plant starch (compostable bio-plastic). They use GMO-free rubber glue as adhesive.

First time, I purchased their pads without wings, which was really uncomfortable as the pad would get bunched up. However, I made sure to get their long, ultra pad with wings and it was perfect (except the wings could be a little longer). The regular size is too small, so I recommend always getting their ultra long with wings for best coverage.

In addition to the organic cotton panty liners, pads and tampons, Natracare also has a range of organic cotton incontinence pads in multiple sizes for those with a weak bladder.

Made with Certified Organic Cotton and wood pulp. Certified vegan, USDA Biobased™ and MADE SAFE® Certified as well!

Eco-credentials: 90% biodegradable, plastic-free product and packaging. 

Sizes: They have a wide range of options pads without and with wings in multiple sizes (regular, and long in ultra and maxi thickness) and those designed for light, medium, overnight and heavy flow. Range of organic cotton tampons, incontinence pads and organic panty liners are also available.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, pesticides, dyes, GMOs, SAPs, rayon, plastics and other synthetics.

Where to buy?
Available worldwide.
You can order Natracare pads (pack of 12) on iherb.com in UAE (AED 20.18) and India (Rs 418). In UAE they are also available at select supermarkets including Organic Foods and Cafe.
 
The Bottom Line
One of the best organic cotton menstrual pads for women in the market. I love they are the most eco-conscious brand in the lot. However, you need to make sure you buy their ultra pads with wings only.

Masmi Organic Cotton Pad
Masmi Organic Cotton Pads - eco-friendly menstrual pads safe for women - Sustainable Menstruation  -  healthy periods
Masmi organic cotton pads were one of the first brands I got my hands on in the UAE. While they are safe to use and surely sustainable, there were two problems I noticed with their pads. One is that their adhesive isn't very good. So as long as you are home and at office, laying low these pads work well. But if you have an active lifestyle that requires running errands, and traveling, they may not be the best option for you as sometimes the pads won't be stuck in one place leaving you uncomfortable.

Second problem was that during days of heavy flows, the pads don't seem to be absorbing it too well. I noticed some leakage. So I use them only on the third day of my periods, that's when I have a normal flow and they work pretty well.

Made with GOTS certified organic cotton.

Eco-credentials: ICEA certified, Vegan certified.

Sizes: They have day and night pads. Range of organic cotton tampons and liners are also available.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, pesticides, artificial dyes, toxic adhesives, dioxin, GMOs, cellulose, and other toxic ingredients.

Where to buy?
Available worldwide.
You can order Masmi products from Organic Foods and Cafe online or shop from their stores (UAE). They are AED 17.5 for a pack of 10. For Indian readers, you can get them from Amazon India.

The Bottom Line
They are sustainable and safe but not the perfect solution when you have a heavy flow. Also, the adhesive of the pad is not very good, so not best suited if you have an active lifestyle and are out and about during your periods. If you are home or have an all-day desk job work, its a good choice.  

NOT QUITE GOOD - ORGANIC SANITARY PADS

Purganics (not quite)
Sustainable Menstruation - Purganics Organic Cotton Pads - eco-friendly menstrual pads safe for women - healthy periods - Not Quite
I was super excited when I discovered this sustainable menstruation brand in India - Purganics. They were known as the first organic cotton feminine hygiene brand of India and, of course, I had to get my hands on them. 

I loved their packaging and choice of colors, and ordered from them different size options. However, my excitement soon turned into disappointment when I used their organic cotton pads. I noticed they were not very durable, because the pads would often tear-off just in a few hours of usage. 

Made with GOTS certified organic cotton

Eco-credentials: 100% biodegradable

Free from: Chlorine, plastics, synthetics, perfumes,  rayon, irritants, toxins, Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP).

The Bottom Line
I will not recommend Purganics. There are so many other great alternatives to try in India like Organyc and Saathi (I haven't tried Saathi yet but have heard good things about them). You can also order from iHerb or other online stores that deliver to India.

My sister swears by a sustainable brand called Pee Safe in India, although I have not tried them yet.  

Rael Organic Cotton Pad (not quite)

Sustainable Menstruation Rael Organic Cotton Sanitary Pads - Healthy periods - Eco-friendly period products
Rael organic cotton pads are one of  the most comfortable menstrual products I've tried. I got my hands on them when I was traveling to the US and absolutely fell in love with how comfortable and soft they were. On one of the busy days, during my heavy flow, I could not change the pad for the whole day and I was impressed with how absorbent and comfortable they were still. Unlike a few other organic cotton pads I have tried in similar situations, there were no stains and it didn't feel wet or tear-off.

However, I soon discovered that Rael pads uses super absorbent polymer (SAP) in the pad core, which is a deal-breaker when it comes to health and its eco-credibility. Their pads does use organic cotton in the top sheet.

Made with USDA Certified Texas Organic Cotton.

Eco-credentials: Rael pads come in a paper box. All the 14 pads come in one single plastic packaging and are also individually wrapped. While the top sheet or the pads is made from organic cotton (skin-friendly) and the core uses SAP and the backsheet is actually made from polyethylene. From health point-of-view it is not a deal-breaker, however, I really wish they could create a completely plastic-free product. Moreover, they use one-layer of extra plastic packaging, which can be avoided. Basically the pads come in a box, the all the pads are further packaged in a sealed plastic bag, and thereafter all the pads are individually wrapped.

Rael is part of How2Recycle organization, and their products come with a label with clear instructions on how to recycle it. Moreover, their products are made in small batches. 

Sizes: They have regular, overnight, large and petite pad options. Range of organic cotton tampons and liners are also available.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, pesticides, artificial dyes, toxic adhesives, acetone, styrene, chloroform, chloromethane, chloroethane, GMOs, rayon, polyester, and other toxic ingredients.

Where to buy?
Available worldwide.
You can order Rael pads (pack of 14) in UAE (AED 26) and India (Rs 530) from iHerb.com (they ship worldwide at very nominal cost and also have a range of vegan nutrition and supplements). If you live in the US, you can use their subscription service and get a 10% off on their $7 price.

The Bottom Line
While Rael is much better than the conventional period pads in the market and tick most of the boxes when it comes to comfort and absorbency, I really wish they didn't use polymers in their pads, which makes it a deal breaker. Moreover, their pads come with 3-layer plastic packaging, which is totally unnecessary.  

Seventh Generation (not quite)
Sustainable Menstruation - Seventh Generation Period Pads - Not quite good
You’ve probably heard of Seventh Generation. This American brand makes eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products like disinfectants, detergents, baby diapers—and, yes, pads. Well, I got my hands on these pads in emergency. I was at a supermarket and this was the most sustainable (and seemingly safe) product I could find. While they were very comfortable and soft, when I did my research on these pads, I was really disappointed.

The pads are made using wood pulp, polyethylene, and polypropylene - that's plastic and no cotton. In fact, I am surprised how these pads show up in most of the lists of best organic cotton pads and safe sanitary pads? 

They do, however, have organic cotton tampons, which are made using certified organic cotton and are processed using hydrogen peroxide (its the safest option) - no chlorine. Their applicator is also made with plant-based plastic (sugarcane-based). Now that's a safe and eco-friendly period care product!

Eco-credentials: The pads are made with chlorine-free processed wood fluff pulp (absorbent core), polyethylene, and polypropylene - lots of plastic and no cotton (conventional or organic). They come in recyclable plastic packaging. Well, in theory it sounds good, but honestly why use plastic packaging at all when there are sustainable alternatives?

Seventh Generation certified B Corporation and gives back a percent of every sale to NGOs working for menstrual equality.

Sizes: They have regular, overnight, and super long sizes for winged options plus a wingless regular maxi pad and panty liners. Multiple options for their tampons as well.

Free from: Fragrance, chlorine, dyes, toxic adhesives, acetone, rayon, and deodorant

The Bottom Line
Seventh Generation pads are a classic case of greenwashing that makes consumer think it is a safer and eco-friendly product, when it actually is not. They certainly are better than the mainstream products, however, they are a No-Go for me.

Their tampons, on the other hand are completely safe, made using organic cotton and other eco-friendly materials. I give a thumbs up to Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons and would not use their pads.

Are organic pads the most sustainable option?

Organic cotton sanitary pads and tampons are good alternatives to conventional period products. However, they are not as environmentally-friendly as menstrual cups or reusable pads, simply because they need to be trashed, and also due to the presence of non-biodegradable elements in them, even if its little. 

I'd highly recommend switching to a menstrual cup, especially if you are already using tampons. Its good for the planet and your health. A win-win.

As for me, I haven't used menstrual cups yet....... nor have I used ever used tampons. So until I am comfortable with the idea of sticking something in, I'm going to use the most sustainable alternatives I can; aka I am between organic cotton and reusable pads.


P.S. I'll keep updating this list. Have you tried any of these brands or others? I would love to know which organic cotton pads you are using to discover new brands and also for other readers. 

This is not a sponsored post.
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