This Clever Product is Revolutionising the Feminine Hygiene Industry and Culling Taboos


Despite the fact that menstruation is a regular event for half the planet’s population, it’s not a topic that’s freely discussed or even normalised in most communities. When menstruation does come up, it’s typically masked with euphemisms such as “time of the month” and – shockingly – “the sickness.” Although there is nothing “sick” about having a period, menstruation is still considered a taboo in mainstream society.

It can be reasoned that the stigma surrounding periods is one of the many reasons why there is still a lack of innovation in the line of feminine hygiene products. Believe it or not, there haven’t been any new period inventions since the 1970s (further to pads, tampons and menstrual cups). And while tampons and pads are widely available in developed countries, these products remain expensive – not to mention bad for bodies and the environment.

Without access to feminine hygiene products, many people around the world are forced to use rags and other contaminated items as menstrual cloths which can result in infections. Even in first world countries, the marketing of feminine hygiene products typically portrays negative connotations associated with periods which can assist in promoting negative stereotypes and low self-esteem.

“Statistically, around 800 million [people] are on their period right now. But in many developing countries, this means that girls* miss school, or can’t go to work because they don’t have access to any feminine hygiene products,” writes All4Women.

Thinx wanted to create a product – with a long lifespan – that fights menstruation taboos and makes people who have periods feel good about themselves and their bodies. So the brand came out with a stylish and attractive line of underwear that can handle menstrual blood without leaks.

The idea behind these fashionable, game-changing undergarments was born in 2005 when Thinx Co-founder Miki Agrawal was competing in a three-legged race at a family get-together alongside her twin. During the race, her sister’s period had started unexpectedly. Suddenly the concept dawned on them – what if a pair of underwear existed that eradicated the need to wear tampons or pads?

When you consider just how simple but practical the idea of period-proof underwear is, it’s hard to believe that products of this nature ceased to exist until now. “There were a few products that were just terrible, that looked like diapers,” explains Agrawal. “There was nothing that we would ever wear.”

The product’s design wasn’t easy to perfect. Agrawal says that it took a long time to find all the right technologies and put them in the intimate category as a breathable product. But after three years in the making, Thinx finally found a way of creating a dry and anti-microbial undergarment that looks good and feels good to wear.

Today Thinx offers an assortment of underwear in various styles ranging from thongs to high-waist knickers; they even offer a range of products especially for transgender people. One pair of leak-proof underwear costs roughly R300 to R420 to produce and lasts for up to two years. Every time a pair of Thinx underwear is sold, funds are sent to a partner business in Uganda, called AFRIpads, which hires and trains local women to sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads.

Thinx offers international shipping of its garments around the world and to South Africa. Want to know more? Visit

*The world girls has been used to refer to cisgender females but is not intended to erase the menstruation taboos facing gender-non confirming, trans, agender, intersex and non-binary individuals.