There is a plenitude of vegan beauty products out there from hair dye to nail polish and everything in between, but feminine products are usually left out of the discussion. Like every other dollar you spend, your monthly purchase is a vote either for or against the animals. Who are you voting for? The chances are, if you use the mainstream brands of pads or tampons, you are supporting animal testing. Don’t worry, there are plenty of cruelty free tampons and compassionate alternatives to choose from.
Animal Testing & Environmental Factors
More often than not, brands sold at mainstream super markets or drug stores are not cruelty-free. Meaning that the company who produces them continues to support, implement or otherwise endorses animal testing. Kotex, Tampax, Always, Bodyform, Playtex (just to name a few) are all produced by companies that test on animals. Proctor & Gamble, who makes both Tampax and Always, has been notorious for animal experiments and the target of various boycotts by PETA, In Defense of Animals and other international animal advocacy organizations.
In addition to the compassion factor, the environmental benefits of switching from traditional menstrual supplies is huge. Traditional tampons and pads are extremely wasteful. According to LunaPads, the average woman throws out nearly 17,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime! Reusable products can practically reduce the ‘waste’ factor all together. Let’s check out some of these alternatives.
Menstrual cups might not be mainstream just yet, but they have an incredible following and with good reason. Studies show that users tend to like them as much as, or better than, tampons and pads. So even if the idea seems unorthodox for you, keep reading: they might just solve all your period-related woes! Menstrual cups are reusable bell-shaped cups typically made from silicone and used to catch your flow. They are removed, rinsed, and reinserted as needed, but can hold up to a full ounce of liquid and can stay in for up to 12 hours. Like tampons, when properly inserted you don’t even feel it. The silicone actually softens when warmed, so it conforms comfortably to every body.
Another benefit of the silicone is that it does not encourage bacteria growth, according to microbiologist Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr. Plus, cups last at least a year when properly cleaned and stored. Think of how much you spend (and how much waste you produce) by buying disposable feminine products. Menstrual cups are a win for the animals, our planet and your body.
Reusable Cloth Products
Reusable cloth pads are a greener alternative to pads that are produced by animal-testing conglomerates. They are also easy to make for all you DIYers. Use them like regular pads, but throw them in the wash to use them again and again. Don’t worry about the ‘ick’ factor — you buy ‘carry bags’ to store your used pads while you’re out and about. Plus, these come in awesome colors and prints!
You can think of ‘period panties’ as a pad and underwear combined, but more comfortable and without the diaper-like feeling. These can be worn as your sole protection or as a back-up, and are designed to be absorbent and leak resistant. Still think doesn’t appeal to you? This woman tested out the panties so that you don’t have to, and she was not only dry and impressed, but reached her “menstrual zen.”
Cruelty Free Tampons and Pads
If you’re most comfortable with your trusted tampons and pads, don’t worry. Compassionate versions of traditional feminine products are getting easier and easier to find. As with most products, you’ll have the largest selection by shopping online. But many cruelty free tampon brands such as Natracare and Emerita can be found at a variety of health food stores across the country, including Wegman’s and Whole Foods. Seventh Generation can be found nearly anywhere — CVS, Target, Harmon, or A&P. As if that wasn’t easy enough, CVS’s store-brand tampons and pads are not tested on animals either (although they are not organic, like some of the others mentioned).
Have a Happy Period
Regardless of which type of products you choose to manage your flow, you can easily find cruelty free, vegan friendly versions. If you decide to switch to reusable alternatives, the added bonus is that your wallet and the planet will thank you. Do you have a favorite product you’d like to recommend or comment on? Let us know in the comments.