Hi there, it’s Steph — your sustainable period fairy. I love any product that’s environmentally friendly, but I especially love calling attention to products that combine health and sustainability. Period cups (aka menstrual cups) do just that — not only are they safe and nontoxic (made with silicone!), but they’re also better for the environment.
How could a period cup be better for the environment? Tampons and pads are single-use, which means you use them once before tossing them out. In fact, the average menstruator will make anywhere from 250 to 300 pounds of trash in her lifetime — pads, tampons, packaging, and tampon applicators. That’s a lot of trash destined to rot in landfills and, sadly, never break down.
Pads and tampons might be seen as more “traditional” modes of period management, but they aren’t necessarily healthier. The ingredients that go into tampons and pads aren’t really regulated, and since the FDA categorizes them as “medical devices,” companies aren’t required to list their ingredients — even though these products go around, on, or inside of our bodies. WTF.
Enter: Menstrual cups. One menstrual cup can be reused for up to 10 years — eliminating a decade’s worth of single-use pads and tampons. Cups are also made of silicone, which is a sustainable material. Many of the cups listed below are made with BPA-free, medical-grade silicone, so you know that they’ve reached the highest possible standards a material can.
Better for you, better for the environment… it sounds like a win-win! Not to mention, most menstrual cups can hold period blood for up to 12 hours, aren’t associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (like tampons), and make for an odor-free, leak-free experience.
Keep reading on to check out 10 of our favorite menstrual cups on the market right now!
Saalt is our favorite menstrual cup of choice, because it offers a worry-free period on all fronts. You don’t have to worry about annoying #PeriodProblems such as leaking or toxic shock syndrome (as menstrual cups haven’t been linked to TSS). And secondly, you don’t have to worry about your impact on the environment.
One Saalt cup lasts for up to 10 years and can be left in for 12 hours at a time during an actual cycle (yes, even while you’re sleeping). The Saalt cup collects as much blood as up to four tampons would absorb, and it’s soft and flexible, which makes it easier to insert (and remove!). It’s also leak-free, odor-free, and made without abrasive ridges that could potentially irritate your skin.
The Saalt cup is natural and safe, made in the USA with 100% medical-grade silicone. It’s certified hypoallergenic, non-toxic, BPA- and latex-free. It maintains the vagina’s unique pH, doesn’t dry you out, and it won’t leave behind any residue. It’s design ensures zero micro-tearing. Saalt also provides improved period care and educational opportunities from proceeds from each purchase, so you can feel good about your societal impact, too. What’s not to love?!
SMART, SMOOTH, AND SUSTAINABLE
You may remember FLEX from their original product: the single-use menstrual disc that could be inserted into the vaginal canal, then worn during swimming and even sex. FLEX still makes the one-of-a-kind menstrual disc, but it also turned down a more sustainable path with the creation of the first-ever pull-string menstrual cup. If you’ve ever used a menstrual cup before, you know how difficult it can sometimes be to get the proper grip on the cup when it’s inside. You know, when you need to pull it out!
The thought behind the pull-string is that it makes it easier to pop out the cup. But there’s even more to the design than that. The pull-string FLEX cup was designed with inclusivity in mind. It’s meant to make menstrual cups more accessible for beginners and people with all body types and abilities. According to FLEX, their inspiration for the design was Jane Hartman Adamé, who was unable to remove her menstrual cup due to her loss of mobility in her early 20’s after the onset of a rare, debilitating genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The FLEX cup seeks to make period cups for everyone, no matter what their body type, ability, or cup-removal skill level.
SAY “HELLO” TO YOUR NEW FAVE CUP
The Hello Cup features a fun shape and branding right on the cup itself. Made in New Zealand, this cup has a “toggle” bottom rather than the traditional stem that isn’t always grippable for some people. This one-size-fits-most cup is a small/medium, which Hello recommends for most menstruators under the age of 35.
It’s supposed to be especially great for physically active people, so you don’t have to worry about leakage or about it slipping out while you’re running, jogging, doing yoga, or working out.
NIX THE WASTE
Hate waste? Nix it. The nixit cup is more like a menstrual disc in design and shape, but it offers most of the benefits that traditional silicone cups do. The nixit is also made out of 100% medical-grade, BPA-free silicone, is soft, flexible, and suction-free, but features a unique, circular shape that’s more reminiscent of a disc than a cup.
It offers up to 12 hours of protection, and is able to hold up to 4 tampons worth of flow. It’s totally plastic-free and the above cup (or disc) comes with a matching bag, so you can bring it with you on the go in a sanitary fashion.
SIZE IS NO ISSUE
The Lily Cup by Intimina comes in two main sizes: A and B. You might notice how different the shape of the Lily Cup is compared to other cups on this list. That thinner, almost shell-like shape is the reason why the Lily Cup is the only cup that can be rolled as thin as a tampon. It has a slanted rim, making it perfect for menstruators with a higher cervix and/or heavier flow. It has the capacity to hold more blood, for up to 12 hours, so you can feel comfortable and protected. Notches at the bottom of the cup’s stem also make it easier to grip and remove when it’s time to take it out.
CLEAR CUP, GREEN INITIATIVE
If you’re switching to a menstrual cup for environmental reasons, you’re going to love the look, feel, and sustainable packaging of the OrganiCup. But that’s not the only reason you’ll love the OrganiCup — it’s the winner of the 2019 Allergy Award in the Best Skin-Friendly Product for Body category. To qualify for this award, every ingredient was carefully examined by a toxicologist, who then ruled that the cup contains no known allergens. It’s also certified hypoallergenic, toxin-free with Allergy Certified TM, certified vegan with the Vegan Society, and FDA-approved. With a resume like that, it’s no wonder 700,000 people have already chosen the OrganiCup.
FOR THOSE JUST STARTING OUT
Have a beginner in the family? Or maybe you’re a menstrual cup beginner yourself! Whichever the scenario, the SckoonCup is recognized as one of the best starter cups on the market. It’s extremely flexible — more so than other brands — and very small, so it’s easily insertable into all body types. The Sckoon also features a tapered stem that’s soft and bendy, making it grippable and easier to remove. Made in the USA, the Sckoon cup is FDA-registered.
WORKS WITH YOUR BODY
Lena Sensitive claims to be the only cup on the market specifically developed for users with “more sensitive anatomies.” During those first days of your period, Lena Sensitive claims it can help fight against discomfort and cramps.
This cup is one of the smallest ones available, and it is particularly beneficial for people with sensitive bladders thanks to softer silicone than the traditional menstrual cup. While it’s specifically designed for people with sensitivity, it’s also still beneficial for all ages and body types.
FOR A BIG FLOW
The FUN FACTORY set comes with two large menstrual cups in Size B. These cups are great for days of heavier flow, and have a unique design that allows them a higher capacity (anywhere from 4 to 6 times as a tampon). These cups are washable, reusable, and are ergonomically designed for a comfortable fit and soft-cup feel. The pack also comes with an antimicrobial bag so you can take your cups on the go.
The Cora Cup is no-frills, but all of the benefits of using a reusable, sustainable, and most importantly, comfortable menstrual cup. This cup features an intuitive finger indent that helps guide the cup more easily into the body and also features a tapered, textured base for a slip-free grip. And we all know a slip-free grip = a spill-free removal. #PeriodCupGoals.