Free Bleeding: Review of WUKA wear
As someone eternally fascinated by the menstrual cycle, I am always interested in how we bleed and how we 'deal' with it. For some, its a time of honouring the Winter of our cycle and engaging with the health of our blood to inform the coming cycle. For others, it's an inconvenience which needs to be 'plugged up', drugged and forgotten about. Often the way we navigate our bleed is how we approach our self-care generally.
I switched to using a moon-cup about 3 years ago when I realised the detrimental effect disposal menstrual products were having on our planet and our health (if you haven't read it yet, you can read my blog ‘Are mooncups just for hippies?’ HERE)
I decided to ditch the pads and tampons after I discovered the staggering fact that an average woman throws away an estimated 100-150kg of feminine products into landfill in her lifetime. That’s a lot of needless toxic waste backfilling planet Earth, for something as natural as about 16 teaspoons (average) of blood!
That’s not to mention the incredible amount of toxins which leak into our bodies every time we use tampons. It was a no-brainer for me to switch to something less intrusive on my body and the planet.
After getting over a few hick-ups which made my bathroom look more like a scene from Carrie – I nailed the technique and me and my cup have been besties ever since. It turns out they aren’t just for hippies, and over the last 3 years it has saved me a shed tonne of money and prevented over 150 additional tampons floating around aimlessly in our oceans.
The future of periods
But this isn’t the end of my eco period journey. A lot has changed in 3 years, and sustainable solutions to menstrual care has turned into an innovative industry. Ladies, we have moved on from seas sponges and make-your-own fabric pads with poppers – I’m talking about beautiful, practical and, dare I say, menstrualy liberating, period undies!!
When I first saw the likes of menstrual guru Claire Baker wearing Thinx period pants this summer I knew I had to get with the times and upgrade my monthly gear. But in the spirit of keeping things local and low carbon I wasn’t sure how I felt supporting an Australian brand.
Ask the periods Goddess and she shall answer: meet WUKA wear, a new UK based company bringing the technology of period pants to our fair land! I had to get my hands on a pair to find out once and for all if these are the future solution for bleeding women across the planet.
The Goddess must have been doing her magic, as the day my pair arrived I started my bleed. As someone who bleeds intermittently (sorry guys I should have warned you at the beginning of this blog, but I guess you should know these things!) it is a rarity to have a period these days.
I put on my pants and prepared myself for potential embarrassing trouser stains and walking like I’d just riden a horse across Europe.
The first thing I noticed was actually how comfy they were. As a size 12 clothing, WUKA sent me a size medium and they fit me well. The soft and stretchy fabric (apparently called Lenzing® MicroModal) is just the kind of comforting undie you want at that time of the month, and I actually barely noticed the absorbent moisture barrier and built in pad that makes it period proof. It certainly didn’t feel like I was carrying a brick between my legs. Nor did it feel like I was bleeding down my leg – dirty smelly hippy credential downgraded!!
Appearance wise, personally for me they won’t win awards for sexiness. They are practical and comfy – the main two things you want during your bleed. The sizing is generous and you feel like everything is safely tucked away but breathable. They are a little low cut though, so if you suffer with cramps or bloating on your lower abdomen I would recommend getting a size up.
Keeping up with the flow
Interestingly WUKA wear can hold at least 20ml of period flow or light leaks - around 4 tampons worth. So, depending on your flow you can wear them up to 8 hours on light days, or 4-6 hours on your heavy days or all night. I had a light to medium bleed whilst wearing these, with one day of heaviness, and not once felt like I was wearing a wet nappy or that I was leaking. Win!
They have two inner layers - a durable, waterproof fabric with antibacterial properties that doesn’t stain, and an absorbent fabric blend – so it felt much more absorbent than just a pad or sponge. And in fact, it was incredibly liberating to free bleed (as nature intended) rather than plugging it with something. This is a controversial thought, as in many cultures the lack of menstrual products is an issue – but I personally love the feeling of bleeding unaccompanied. Though I generally have a light flow so it’s less of an issue for me.
But what do you do with a pair of bloody pants I hear you cry?! Well first, they aren’t as messy as you might imagine. The fabric really is very absorbent. At the end of the day just rinse them in some cold water and pop them on a 40C wash! You will need to allow time to dry naturally (which is good as tumble driers are deffo NOT very eco), though mind took a couple of hours to dry by the heater.
If you have heavier bleeds I would either invest on a couple of pairs or only use them on lighter days.
Am I ready to ditch my moon cup bestie for the pants? Not quite. Though I surprisingly loved my pair of WUKA and would definitely sport them on the first or last day of my bleed, I still do like being able to collect and engage with my blood. It sounds weird but I can see a lot about my womb, and overall, health by seeing the color and amount I bleed. From an ecological point of view, I also wouldn’t want to do lots of washing if I solely replied on the pants.
But overall my period pants have joined my small but loved lazy green toolkit and I would highly recommend ditching the tampons and pads for good and giving these babies a go!
Try a pair of WUKA
WUKA period underwear currently cost £24.99 including free postage in the UK. This is marginally more than you would pay for something like a mooncup, but I see it as equally good value for the lifetime wear you can get from them. They are FAR cheaper than a lifetime of buying tampons that’s for sure!