While organic tampons might get all the hype, there are just as many organic pad options out there worthy of your attention. Just because you’re not putting them directly into your body like a tampon doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the material you’re wearing all day. Sure, there’s no TSS risk with pads, but that doesn’t mean all pads are better for you by default.
Jennifer Wu, ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital, explains that she often suggests organic pads, as they have fewer additives and dyes. “For many patients with sensitive skin, the dyes and perfumes in regular commercial pads can be irritating and abrasive.” Dr. Wu adds that organic panty liners are also worth looking into if you wear panty liners daily for discharge. Regular liners, she explains, are not as “breathable” as organic liners, so patients using regular liners may be more at risk for yeast infections.
It’s also important that you look for organic pads that are free (or nearly free) of pesticides and herbicides, as the skin of your vulva can absorb these chemicals more easily than skin on other parts of your body, adds Samantha Radford, PhD, a chemist who specializes in exposure science and owner of Evidence-Based Mommy.
And if you’re researching organic pads because you like the sustainability or eco-friendliness of them, you might also want to look into menstrual cups, which are technically the most environmentally friendly option. “Organic cotton still requires a lot of energy to produce and requires more difficult labor for farm workers than conventional cotton does,” says Radford.
If you are looking to make the switch from nonorganic to organic pads and panty liners, whether for health or environmental reasons, try starting with these 11 popular options.
1. Eco by Naty
Shop Now Eco by Naty, Walmart.com
These imported European pads (which you can get on Walmart) seem best suited for lighter flows, according to reviewers. Eco by Naty’s whole shtick is that its pads are natural and renewable and use plant-based plastics instead of petroleum-based plastics (in packaging and in the backing of the actual pad). Many reviewers who said they suffered from plastic sensitivity with other pads liked these as an option, but do note that you may have to shop around a bit to find your perfect absorbency and size, as the European sizing is a bit different (while all the other pads on this list have wings, the default version of these doesn’t.)
2. La Vie Organic Top Sheet Pads
These pads are made without chlorine, fragrances, or artificial dyes. They’re also pretty economical, as a 60-count will cost you only $20, but this low price is likely due to the fact that their top sheet (just the part of the pad that touches your skin) is listed as only organic cotton. They throw around the term “top sheet” a LOT, which presumably means the rest of the pad isn’t as organic, but for what it’s worth, they are VERY highly reviewed and cost effective.
3. The Honey Pot
If you don’t have sensitive skin and can handle it, The Honey Pot makes herbal-infused pads, which sound very fancy and contain cooling mint, calming lavender, and soothing aloe, all with a clean cotton base free of chlorine, pesticides, or fragrances. The herbal infusions are supposed to not only help with comfort but also serve as an all-natural method of odor control. The pads are also pH balanced, clinically tested, and gynecologist approved.
Rael pads are free of the four chemicals listed above as well as chlorine- and fragrance-free. They use non-GMO cotton grown in Texas that’s 100 percent organic and OCS and USDA certified. Rael pads come in regular, large, and overnight sizes with wings. They also promise to be hypoallergenic and absorbent and have maximum airflow. As one of the best-selling and highest-rated brands on Amazon, you’ll definitely want to check them out.
Lola pads are made with 100 percent organic cotton and come in regular or overnight. They’re also free of synthetic fibers, fragrance, deodorant, dyes, chlorine bleach, latex, parabens, and formaldehyde. It’s a subscription-based company, so you’ve gotta buy in advance, but if you know how many pads you’ll need for each cycle, it could be worth the extra effort.
6. Just Cotton
These cotton pads are made free of bleach, dyes, fragrances, and are pretty affordable. All their pads also come with wings to keep them in place.
Sustain’s pads are made from 100 percent organic cotton and are hypoallergenic and breathable. They also promise to be free of harmful chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. They’re available in regular or overnight styles, and Sustain also makes ultra-thin liners of the same material if you like the pads enough.
8. Seventh Generation
These come in a ton of varieties, so you’re sure to find one you like. There are regular, overnight, and super for winged options plus a wingless regular maxi pad and panty liners.
Shop Now Organyc Pads, Walmart.com
These pads are made of 100 percent biodegradable and compostable organic cotton bleached without chlorine. They’re also pH neutral, which is perfect for the sensitive skin down there. It might not have the sleek packaging or marketing of some of the other brands, but if you’re looking for a truly ec0-friendly organic pad option, this is it.
Shop Now Oi, Walmart.com
Oi, which stands for Organic Initiative, uses 100 percent pure certified organic cotton in its pads and vegetable gum glue backing for adhesive. These pads are also free of perfumes, dyes, synthetics, and toxins. Plus, the packaging of the box and each individual wrapper are 100 percent biodegradable.
Natracare makes natural, organic, chlorine-free, plastic-free, and perfume-free pads so you can be sure you’re only getting the good stuff.