14 period products made just for teens and tweens
Comfortable items designed just for them
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When my daughter got her first period, my first thought was, “How am I old enough to have a kid with a period?”
Then I thought back to my first period. By the early ‘90s, many of us had long since thrown out the sanitary napkin belt in favor of adhesive backings, but our choices for period products were still limited: our mother’s pads or our mother’s tampons. We were free to choose wings or no wings, but that was about it.
Thankfully, there are many more choices for period products these days; besides tampons and disposable pads, we have menstrual cups, discs, reusable pads, and the newer types of products gaining popularity, period underwear, swimsuits, and activewear.
For many newly menstruating tweens and teens, using a regular tampon or other internal menstrual product is a no-go, which leaves you with absorbent external products. Disposable pads can irritate skin and require a recurring cost, and cloth pads are frequently too wide and bunch and shift on smaller bodies.
The problem with period underwear is that a child just reaching puberty is frequently smaller and shaped differently than an adult, and as anyone who’s used period underwear knows, the fit matters.
Thankfully, there are some brands making products aimed specifically at adolescents. A few companies make their adult products in small enough sizes to work for teens and tweens, as well.
What to know about period underwear
Absorbent vs leakproof: What does it mean?
Underwear labeled as “leakproof” without mention of absorbency are likely intended to be used as a backup to other period products such as pads, cups, or tampons.
Standalone options will list their absorbency, usually compared to how many tampons’ worth of menstrual blood they can contain.
Check sizing charts
When you’re flipping between period underwear for kids versus adults, the sizing can get confusing. Make sure to check out the sizing charts and product reviews before ordering.
Cost may be significant at first, but it pays dividends
The upfront cost for a wardrobe of period underwear can be significant. If you have a health savings account (HSA/FSA), period underwear (and most menstrual products) should be covered under the CARES Act and eligible to be bought using FSA/HSA money.
I have found great deals through the FSA Store.
On the other hand, kids this age are not outgrowing their underwear at a rapid pace, so one pair can replace a lot of pads over their lifespan.
Here are seven brands of period underwear for teens and tweens—as well as some other period products—recommended by my daughter and her friends.
1. For comfort and great absorbency: Thinx Btwn
While something as personal as menstrual products is highly subjective, Thinx was the most suggested by far. Thinx Btwn is the tween/teen line and is available in a few basic cuts, plus sleep shorts. The main adult line has everything from gender-neutral and boyshort options to athletic wear with sizes that go down to XXS.
We ordered the super absorbency brief, and while the material is noticeably thick, it does not feel stiff like some brands. My daughter finds them to be soft and comfortable.
2. For an affordable alternative: Neione
As much as we love the Thinx underwear, the price keeps us from stocking the underwear drawer with them. These Neione three-packs come in several colors and get the job done. They are not tween-specific, but they do go all the way down to an XXS that fits my average-sized 11-year-old.
3. For an adaptable option: The Junior Period
Period. Brand makes several styles of junior underwear that claim to hold up to nine tampons’ worth of blood. What really stands out is that they not only have adaptive underwear for the differently abled, they have them in junior sizes for a great price.
4. For back-up leak protection: Nalwort
These do not have a high absorbency; instead, they are made to act as a backup to tampons, cups, or pads. They are great for a little extra confidence during school or activities, or when cycle Day 1 seems imminent.
5. For gender-neutral cuts: TomboyX
If you have a trans or gender-nonconforming tween, or even just a kid who likes the extra coverage, TomboyX offers a wide range of styles in their First Line Leakproof underwear. From boxer briefs to bikinis, there are plenty of choices and the sizes go down to XXXS.
6. For leotards and dancewear: Kt. by Knix
Knix has a line for tweens and teens called Kt. that offers a selection of period proof activewear, including absorbent leotards and tights. They also carry quite a few styles of swimwear.
7. For swimsuits: Savvi Wear
Three days before a water park trip I suddenly thought, “What if she gets her period?!” I could get these Savvi Wear set quickly from Amazon in her size (the XXS fit her well). She did not get her period on that trip, but she wore these anyhow, and she really loved the full coverage, high-waisted look.
Other period products we love
1. For all things period: Sanxtuary MD
Founded by family medicine doctor Amber Robins-Hickson, MD, Sanxtuary is both a black-owned store and a place to learn. The My First Period Kit includes one pair of period underwear, cloth pads, a meditation book, and other goodies. Robins-Hickson’s course My Period University teaches kids about puberty and menstruation.
2. A first period kit: Ruby Love
Ruby Love also has a first-period kit that is mostly fantastic: my daughter loved the items included, but unfortunately, we just didn’t care for the actual underwear. The leg gusset and crotch were weirdly stiff and did not conform—and if there is one place we want a snug fit, it’s in our period panties.
3. A book that covers all the important stuff: The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls
Before my daughter ever started her period I bought her The Care and Keeping of You books from American Girl (yes, that American Girl). I read it to her a chapter at a time and we talked about it as we went. There’s a reason this book has 4.8 stars on Amazon—it covers all the things girls want to know. It talks about body changes (including periods, of course), healthy eating, keeping clean, and body image.
There’s a second book,The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book For Older Girls, that delves deeper into sex and relationships. They also have an entire series of books aimed at tween girls that touch on topics like middle school, feelings, navigating the digital world, and money.
4. Disposable pads just for teens: U by Kotex
The first time your kid gets their period they may not feel like dealing with reusable products, so it’s best to have a backup stash of pads. U by Kotex are disposable pads designed just for teens to fit their smaller bodies.
5. A packet of cleansing wipes: The Honey Pot Co. Sensitive Feminine Wipes
A Black- and female-owned business, The Honey Pot Co. makes an assortment of menstrual and vaginal care products. If your teen wants a way to feel cleaner while on the go, we’re partial to the Sensitive Feminine Wipes.
6. For extra protection: Sures Waterproof Sheet Protector
Irregular periods are common during the first few cycles of a newly-menstruating teen or tween. Protect their bed from unexpected period accidents with a waterproof sheet protector. We like the Sures Waterproof Sheet Protector because it keeps the sheets from getting stained when Aunt Flo shows up unexpectedly.
7. For an undercover way to carry period supplies: Alvababy Wet Dry Bags
Cloth diaper wet bags can be useful for transporting dirty period undies, too. I let my daughter pick out which print she wanted, and she keeps it in her book bag with an extra pair of underwear and some pads in the smaller compartment, and uses the bigger section for items destined for the laundry.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.