If you’re based in the UK, you might be like me and bemoaning the lack of period underwear in the UK. I’ve seen countless reviews, articles and social media posts about Thinx, Dear Kate and more – all companies that offer underwear for when you’re menstruating, but all based in the US. It’s a bit weird really – I’m not sure if it’s our British nature, holding us back from discussing something like this and thus having a lack of options, or if it just took a while to cross the pond. But fortunately, this technology has finally reached us and we have a British brand offering period pants – WUKA.
I’d considered several times purchasing some from abroad, but the shipping and customs fees (which can sometimes cost more than the item itself) put me off. Luckily, I started talking to Ruby at WUKA who was developing knickers that can be worn on your period and she offered to send us some to try out. I was super excited at the prospect of being able to do so!
So this review is a little more personal than usual – but I think it’s the kind of thing that could be really helpful to some of you.
I was sent a pair of the WUKA knickers in a size medium to review.
I have to admit, on the day my period arrived and I was ready to try these out, I was a little hesitant. Since I was about 14, I’ve only ever used tampons and never looked back. I personally prefer the comfort of them and haven’t experienced any negative effects. But I do worry a lot about the impact I’m having on the environment creating all the additional waste every single month. I tried a Moon Cup one time but didn’t get on with it, so I’ve always wondered about different and more eco-friendly options. The hesitancy was over how comfortable I would be throughout the day wearing them – I’m just not used to the feeling!
First up, let’s take a look at the appearance. If you didn’t know these were period pants, you wouldn’t know. The main fabric is a soft and stretchy micro modal which is breathable and comfortable against the skin. The sides are made of a slightly different fabric which is apparently polyester. This is stretchy and like a very thick mesh – in fact, I barely even noticed it was different from the main fabric until I looked closer! They have an elastic waistband printed with the WUKA branding. I really like this detail as it gives the knickers a modern and sporty look, reminiscent of the popular Calvin Klein branding. The briefs are mid-rise, so on me they come up to mid-hip, just below belly button.
The technology in these is all in the gusset. They have two inner layers – one is PUL (I looked this up and found it’s polyurethane laminate – a durable, waterproof fabric with antibacterial properties that doesn’t stain and can be washed up to 50C) and an absorbent fabric blend. These two work together to absorb and prevent leakages. These layers extend from just slightly higher above where the crotch would begin on a normal pair of knickers and higher up the back to about mid-way up the bottom.
In terms of size, when I was sent these, they were sized as simply a medium (they were still essentially at sample stage), which is now noted as being a size 12. They’re super comfortable but I’d say a little on the large side for me. Considering that I wear between a 10-12 in underwear normally, I think I’d size down to the 10 in these.
So the big question is, how did they work for me?
I wore these on the first day of my period which is usually the heaviest day. I decided to try them out to their full potential for this review with free bleeding, which is something I’ve never done before and was a little nerve-wracking!
When I first put them on, they felt comfortable – the fabric had plenty of stretch and was soft against the skin – but it felt a little unusual to have the padding around the crotch, just because I’m not used to that feeling. The height of the waistband is different to what I’m used to as well – it falls in between my usual bikini brief and the retro high waist style I’ll wear for style sometimes. I actually found the waistband very comfortable at this height – it felt secure. I also realised that the very slight pressure on my lower abdomen helped somewhat with stomach cramps, where my normal knickers would sit below that level.
In terms of absorbency, these were incredible. I barely even noticed I was bleeding; I had no leaks at all. I even did a few lunges and squats to really put them to the test!! The black fabric means that once the blood has been absorbed, you don’t notice it. I also couldn’t even feel it either which was very impressive. They can apparently hold up to 4 tampons worth of flow, so that’s a major point in their favour for a lot of people.
Considering this very good review, I have a slight confession to make. I probably won’t wear them often in this way – ie. bleeding directly into them. Why? I just personally don’t feel all that comfortable without using tampons, just the same way as I don’t like using pads. I will however continue to wear them much more often as back up as protection against leaks, and potentially also as workout wear – I’ve heard the absorbency can work well while exercising!
Another advantage of these that I want to drop in there is that these would have been awesome after I had a bladder operation a few years ago. Long story, but I suffered from pretty much constant cystitis for years, now have a scarred bladder and had my urethra widened as a result. After the operation, I had to wear incontinence pads for a few days, “just in case” as they told me. Personally, these would have been far more comfortable and apparently work just as well.
The site recommends that you can wash the knickers at up to 40C (although the absorbent lining states it can be washed up to 50C) and tried on a line as they can’t be tumble dried (it could damage the materials). When I wore these, it was January and snowing, so line dry was out of the question. In the end, they just got hung on our drying rack with everything else and I found that they were still slightly damp when I went to put everything away. This is understandable since they have more padding and lining to keep them waterproof while wearing. In the absence of sun and warm weather, next time I’d try drying them on a radiator or somewhere warmer.
People do worry about the hygiene of period underwear too, but WUKA assures you that the antibacterial properties of them mean that they’re completely safe and hygienic. I personally barely even noticed any sign of blood on the gusset, but it will likely depend on how heavy your flow is.
WUKA period underwear currently retail at £29.99, but are reduced to £25 for preorders at the moment, with free shipping in the UK. This is a little on the pricier side for a pair of knickers, but if you take into consideration the amount of material and work that has gone into designing them, it starts to make more sense. On top of that, consider how much money you’d be spending on other menstrual products each month. I can’t say yet how durable these are, but it’s likely that the long term cost will balance out as you’ll be saving the money you’d normally spend on other products. And on top of that, you’re being far more eco-friendly as these are reusable.
Overall, I was massively impressed with these – I had a slight concern that they might not actually work, but they smashed all my expectations. I love the idea that you’re creating far less waste each month by wearing these and that they can be reused. I’d highly recommend them for anyone who’s interested in trying alternate menstrual products, particularly those who already use pads – these are just a reusable version that are much more comfortable and can be worn all day long without needing to be changed multiple times throughout the day.