U by Kotex: CleanWear (with Capture Core) Product Review
hello everyone! a while back i got a free sample from Kotex that included a regular pad, a heavy flow pad, a pantyliner, and a coupon for $1 off future purchases of kotex brand menstrual products. i’d like to give a short review of this product and my experiences with it.
the main appeal of this product, i think, is the “capture core” which is supposed to be extra absorbent to prevent leaks, compared to regular pads, while still being a relatively thin pad.
in regards to the pantyliner, it didn’t come with a capture core like the two pads did, as far as i could tell. i don’t personally use pantyliners regularly, but i did try testing this out on the last day of my period to see what it was like. it was pretty average, i couldn’t say anything particularly good or bad.
the picture above of the open pad is a picture of the regular pad. i believe the heavy flow pad was slightly longer. i should have taken a picture of them side by side for comparison, but oh well. since i only got two pads, i used them both on the same day, on the first day of my period (which is the heaviest day for me).
i did notice that with the heavy flow pad, the blood seemed to spread out a bit less than it did on the regular pad, but they both worked fine for my heaviest day, without any leaks. i also noticed that as opposed to the normal pads i buy (usually generic brand) the blood seemed to stay more towards the center of the pad? i don’t know if that was just random or if it was because the capture core was working, but over all i was really satisfied with the product in that regard.
the product is described as “ultra thin” and although i’ve worn pads before that were thinner, it was quite thin and i would say for the most part, it wasn’t noticeable for me while i was wearing it, with both the regular and the heavy flow pad. for my own preferences, i don’t mind thicker pads so it wasn’t a huge bonus or anything, but if you’re someone who finds the thicker pads uncomfortable, then i think you would appreciate this product.
overall i would give this product 9/10, i was really satisfied. i also liked the whole “save the undies” campaign, which although kind of silly, i thought was cute, and the whole design/aesthetic of the pads was somewhat nice, if that’s something you care about. i probably will not be switching to this product simply because it is decently more expensive than generic pads, which is why i didn’t give it 10/10, but i would definitely recommend it to someone who is looking for a new product to use who is willing to spend a little bit extra for comfort or style.
So all this menstrual chat inspired me to gather up all the different tampon brands I’ve acquired while trying to figure out which type is the most comfortable for me to use and do some general comparisons of their dimensions.
The first important part of this study was to go on an Easter egg-style hunt through my bathroom, school bag, and backpack for every type of tampon I could find.
Impressive. I had nine brands total, including a precious Kotex Slender, and a Kotex Lite in a cardboard applicator (both now discontinued), as well as a random, unmarked purple tampon which I labeled ???MYSTERY??? (it turned out to be identical to one of the others, out of the wrapper).
Fun fact: I used to work in a laboratory and spent a good chunk of my days labeling beakers. Can you tell? Also, it turns out that I didn’t have a memory card in my camera, so most of these photos were recreated post-experiment with my cell phone camera.
SO…down to the nitty gritty of this test:
Each tampon was measured three separate times: Insertable length and diameter of the applicator, length and diameter of the dry tampon, and length and diameter of the tampon when wet. I took all measurements with a clear drafting ruler to the closest 1/8 of an inch.
If anyone has ever just straight up dunked a tampon in a cup of water for fun (I don’t know what you do for fun, I won’t judge), you know that they will expand quickly and to their full capacity. While inside the vaginal canal, tampons expand to the dimensions of the vagina, and absorb a small amount of liquid at a time.
To replicate a wild tampon in its natural habitat to the best of my ability, I borrowed a pocket pussy from a close and open-minded male friend that closely matches the dimensions of my own vagina, with an opening at rest of about an inch (the maximum diameter I can insert comfortably without much pain). This was placed upright in a mason jar with paper towels to help support it, to ensure even absorption. I calculated the average capacity of a regular flow tampon, 7.5 mL, and got out my corresponding measuring spoon and mixed up a batch of tastefully blue TV menstrual fluid (I debated whether or not I should use V8 for ultimate realism, but decided against it). Behold, the Menstruator 9000 (cue epic guitar riff):
Each tampon was inserted to a depth of about 1 1/2- 1 3/4 inches and had 7.5 mL of blue water slowly poured on it, before being removed and remeasured.
I won’t bore you with all the number crunching, unless it’s requested (maybe in a separate post), but here are some nice graphs comparing lengths and diameters:
It appears that the U by Kotex Sleek tampons that are currently available are the most comparable to the discontinued Tampax Slenders. I should note that I have a lot of difficulty removing them, despite the small diameter, and that the U by Kotex Compact actually came apart inside the Menstruator 9000 upon removal (I removed the Sleek one by reaching in and tugging it out, as opposed to pulling on the string).
Also, many of the problems I currently have could
possiblymost definitely be linked to the fact that I’ve mainly been using the Tampax Pearls, which get huge in diameter when wet (a whopping 150% increase), thus making them painful and difficult to remove, and the CVS brand ones, which are too long for my vagina and poke out into my vestibular area when inserted.
wow this is awesome!! so helpful!
thank you for doing this??
A+ things that are important to mention. Last night I had to sterilize my menstrual cup because a) mother nature and b) procrastination. I’m an RA so I live in the residence halls on campus. We have community kitchens. Basically, I ended up boiling my cup in the kitchen, and thus, I ran into a pretty good number of students who wanted to know what I was cooking. So I told them. One guy got grossed out. He went and told his friends who also sounded a bit grossed out. But, I had several young women come up to me to ask about a menstrual cup. They’d heard about cups before, but they’d never known anyone who used one. They wanted to know if it really was cheaper. Could you feel it? Do you like it? It lasts HOW many years? And, it was great because I got to tell those students about a real choice. The next day the guy I grossed out asked me how my cup was. I told him it was nice and sterilized. I thought telling him it was inside of me might be a a bit too much. But, my point here is normalizing periods is important.
So, like many other folks I have terrible periods which include an achy body and killer cramps. This is the tea that I use to help ease some of those symptoms. I hope that it can be as useful to other people as it is to me.
- 1 part Crampbark
- 1 part Blackhaw
- 1/2 part Feverfew
- (If you dislike the taste of the three herbs above on their own 1/2 part peppermint may also be added)
Mix all herbs together in your favorite tea ball or bag and steep as you would any other herbal tea. Drink at the onset of cramping to help reduce pain and spasms.
(Warning: Always research any herb before using or ingesting it. For this mix it should be noted that people with sensitivity to aspirin should avoid crampbark and blackhaw. Blackhaw should also be avoided by people with a history of kidney stones. Feverfew should be avoided by people on blood thinning medications.)
The mismatched pad sale is ON! Head to GladRags.com for 15% off pads where the inserts don’t match the holders. #sale #clothpads #surprise
I’m seriously thinking of using menstrual cups. My parents are totally disgusted by the idea of reusable pads, even though they’re better for the area down there, but I think I could convince them. There’s so many benefits!
Anyone have any advice or more information about them, like which should I try first?
check out the #menstrual-cup tag on my blog! it has a lot of info about different menstrual cup brands and how to choose a good fit for you
for anyone who wants to try reusable cloth pads as an alternative to disposable pads/tampons, party in my pants has a cloth pad giveaway promotion! you can try a cloth pad for the price of shipping ($4 in the US, $8 internationally).
my period is super irregular so i don’t know when i’ll have the chance to use mine, but my general prediction is that as environmentally friendly and free of chemicals (yes the chemical treatment of disposables is toxic) as cloth pads are, disposables are going to prove more convenient at every stage of use which is unfortunately not just more valuable than the difference that accumulates each time you buy a new box of disposables, but more valuable than any possible increase in comfort, environmental friendliness, or safety that cloth pads offer.
monthly art project with my period blood
august, part III.
august 2014 [re-edited september 2014].
gallicinvasion said: Why do you post things you think are cissexist? Do you post racist things and justify it with “tw for racist language”? Doesn’t that make you question the idea of cissexism? We should be able to use the word “Woman” on a blog about menstruation.
no, it does not make me question the idea of cissexism.
i posted the art because i don’t believe the piece itself is inherently cissexist, but because i always credit artists, i wanted to include the title, so that people could access the artist’s work.
that said, the title does include cissexist language, so i tagged it for anyone who might find that triggering or just not want to deal with it in their lives.
i have never said that i don’t allow the word “woman” on my blog. if an individual woman writes about her experiences with menstruation, i do not censor that. however, when someone uses woman as a general term to describe people who menstruate, that is the problem.
i appreciate your concern, but part of the reason i have to tag things for cissexism so often is because it is so rare to find period positive spaces and resources that are gender neutral, so it is very important to me to maintain this space as an outlet for people who need it.