When we were gifted some products from Blushing Bluebird Essentials, we were hopeful but skeptical about whether we were going to like using a reusable, cotton sanitary pad. (Spoiler alert: we loved them so much that Krista has already purchased more with her own money and I have plans to.)
Even though we were skeptical, we were motivated by the reality of period waste. Plastic Free July has had us examining areas of our lives that we don’t necessarily look that closely at and a plastic free period was one of them.
According to the Huff Post, “On average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That means the average woman endures some 456 total periods over 38 years.”
If a woman uses 6 pads per day (changing pads every four hours, plus one overnight), over 4 days that is 24 pads per period. If she has 456 periods in her life, that’s 10,944 sanitary pads sitting in the landfill.
Those 10,944 sanitary pads will take between 500 and 800 years to decompose! 500 years at minimum! That’s such a frightening thought! And it’s the reason we started looking at reusable options.
A Company That Walks the Talk
When my products arrived in a compostable bag, I knew this was going to be good! I was so impressed by the fact that the ladies behind this company were paying attention to all of the small details of a transaction. Krista and I specifically searched for a local company not only to support a small local business, but also to minimize the distance that the packages would be travelling. To see our package arrive in a compostable bag was a delight and a relief. While packaging is inevitable in a purchase, it helps to know that this packaging will not be around for years to come.
What Reusable Pads Are Like
This may be shallow, but I need to take a minute to say how cute these pads are. I mean, if I’m going to have a miserable few days, I might as well have a super cute pad to get me through it. Aside from just the look of the fabric, it feels soft to the touch and these pads are wonderfully constructed and well made. If you are choosing a reusable pad, those are some things to consider: the type and feel of the material for comfort and the construction for longevity of use.
But what about using the actual product?
I had three main objections to using a reusable pad:
- It’s gross
- They will be high maintenance
- They will not be as effective (no sticky backing to keep them in place, not as absorbent, etc.)
My first time wearing the Bluebird reusable pad I was shocked at how comfortable it was! I feel a little silly about that now that I think about it. They are made out of cotton and would be the same (or similar) material to wearing underwear, so it makes sense that they would feel comfortable. I had some concern they would be bulky, but these were no different than a disposable pad in that regard. The design of these particular pads are very thin with an absorbency layer between the cotton fabric.
Surprisingly I found the gross factor to be minimal. The pads worked well and were really absorbent. I felt that the absorbency of the pads helped minimize any negative reaction from me. I felt these were as effective as the disposables I was used to–possibly even moreso.
While the reusable pads only had one snap to hold them in place, I found no movement while using them. I tried to go through the typical TV-ad-for-menstrual-products regime–proving I can do everyday life in the product. I exercised, slept, did daily chores and it all worked out just fine with no leakage!
Using these reusable pads was a shocking experience all around. I was surprised at how comfortable they were. I was surprised at not being grossed out by them.
And I was also surprised at how much healthier they felt than the disposable plastic pads. I noticed this the most when I was switching back and forth between the two as I don’t yet have enough reusables for a full cycle. The best way I can describe the feeling of the disposable is unnatural. After using the cotton pad, I could feel plastic of the disposable as well as its lack of breathability. The cotton felt so much healthier than the plastic disposable.
The menstrual products we find on shelves at the store don’t actually have to tell us what “ingredients” make up their products. Bluebird pads are made from eco-friendly, organic, and ethically sourced materials. I could feel the difference of this comparison!
How to Clean
For my worries about reusable pads being high maintenance, they were unfounded. I took three steps for washing my Bluebird pads, but the first two are not completely necessary.
1. Rinse after use
2. Spray lightly with a stain remover before putting in wash
3. Wash in cold water with a gentle detergent
That’s it! It was essentially no different than washing regular clothes. As with all regular items, you will want to be consious of the fabric types you wash together as some heavier fabrics can cause lighter fabrics to break down faster if they are washed together.
Blushing Bluebird Essentials also has some great care tips on their website.
Who are Blushing Bluebird Essentials?
Blushing Bluebird Essentials is a family run company started by a mom and two daughters. They are based out of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Their business grew out of a knowledge of reusable sanitary pads that they used and the realization they could make reusable pads themselves. It was an opportunity to do good for the environment, making a positive impact for future generations, and also a way to support their community.
You can watch this video on their Facebook page about their vision and goals and get to “meet” them. They are so cute!
Here’s how you can find them and their products:
Blushing Bluebird Essentials Website
Have you used reusable sanitary pads before? What was your experience like?