This year marks my 9-year padiversary!
It has now been 9 years since I made the switch to the best reusable menstrual pads on the market —Öko-Pads— and ditched the disposable panty liners I’d been using daily since puberty.
Based on some simple calculations, I have prevented approximately 6500 plastic pads from hitting the landfill and saved myself $650 by using Öko-Pads.
As I’ve shared in previous posts, I love Öko panty liners because they are thin, comfortable and ethically made with eco-friendly textiles.
But I’m not just an Öko fan, I’m also Öko’s translator.
So you can imagine I was getting a bit nervous when I started translating packaging and webpage content for Öko that gave me the inside scoop on a complete Öko-Pad redesign. Why were they changing a perfect product?! I knew it was none of my business, but I hemmed and hawed about asking my employers if they were sure this was a wise business decision.
When my new Öko-Pads arrived from La Belle Province, I was nervous for two reasons: One, seeing my translations in real life, on beautifully designed packaging, is terrifying. No matter how many revisions I do, I have nightmares about discovering a typo or an awkward turn of phrase on packaging now distributed country-wide. Two, as one of Öko’s loudest fans on social media, what was I going to do if I didn’t like the product makeover?
The great news is … I love the Öko-Pads redesign!
What’s New About Öko-Pads?
Öko-Pads are no longer an hourglass shape.
The redesign has them wider at the front than at the back, which I didn’t initially understand. I kept translating that this was to help prevent the pads from slipping backwards as you move throughout your day; but I wondered if that would be true.
The original Öko-Pads were already pretty good at staying in place, but admittedly sometimes needed a subtle adjustment during the day, especially if my pants were a looser fit between the legs. The new Öko shape has completely eliminated the slippage! I have to say, I am incredibly impressed. I had always accepted a bit of a slip now and then as par for the course and appreciated that compared to other brands, Öko shifted the least. But this new shape? Öko-Pads do not move, not even on my most active days! (And let’s face it, all of my days are active.)
New Top Layer:
Original Öko-Pads were topped with hemp fleece. I’ve always been a huge fan of this fibre both for cloth pads and cloth diapers. It’s super absorbent, doesn’t feel uncomfortably damp and it’s a very ecological fibre.
When I heard they were changing the top layer of their pads, I was devastated. I kept translating that the new top layer was a specially woven cotton jersey with a quick-absorbing, stay-dry effect. This new top layer looks like athletic wicking jersey, a polyester fabric commonly used for cloth pads and diapers for a stay-dry effect. It has tiny perforations to speed up the flow of liquid into the absorbent, hemp fleece core. But instead of polyester against your skin, it’s 100% organic cotton. This fabric is AMAZING, and I am completely converted. Even more so than the original hemp fleece, this top layer feels incredibly dry, and moisture is quickly sucked in through the tiny perforations.
Made of cotton, the top layer isn’t just to keep you comfy: it is also absorbent—unlike polyester—which helps keep Öko-Pads thin but effective.
The cotton jersey top layer is available in both a dyed purple version and an undyed version. The dyed purple version is designed for those that worry about stains, and the undyed version is ideal for those with sensitive skin.
New Wing Design
Original Öko-Pads had triangular wings with a single snap. (The long pads had two sets of wings.) The redesigned wings are wider and secure with two snaps instead of one, and the triangular tip has given way to flat edges. I kept translating that the new shape increased stability as the wings fit the underwear gusset better. Again: no lies detected! Along with the new shape, these new wings truly do prevent Öko-Pads from slipping, bunching or flipping around. (I have yet to experience any of this awkward movement while wearing Öko-Pads!)
More about Öko-Pads
Available Sizes & Absorbencies
Öko-Pads come in five different sizes:
For daily use, I like the Öko-Liner. It’s perfect for discharge and the light bladder leakage that comes from the violent coughing spells that accompanied the cold I caught from my children. (Don’t worry, I’ve done the pelvic floor therapy—these were just some very forceful coughs paired with drinking a ton of water!)
For my period, I use a menstrual cup on my very heavy flow days. I need to empty my cup multiple times a day and always use an Öko-Pad to catch leaks. I prefer to maximize my leak protection by pairing an Öko-Long with my cup on my heaviest days. If I don’t want to use a cup during my heaviest days, Öko-Long pads are not enough protection for me unless I want to change the pad hourly. When my period is at its heaviest, I do not find wearing a pad comfortable at all. Gushing just doesn’t feel good! (And it’s bad enough when I feel the bubbles as my cup starts to overflow. Thanks to my Öko-Pads, at least I know I’m safe till I can hit the bathroom!)
For days 1, 4, 5 and 6 of my period, when I would consider my flow light to moderate (although from talking to others, apparently many folks have a flow like this the whole time), I can use an Öko-Long or Öko-Regular pad for much of the day.
As I’ve described above, Öko-Pads have an organic cotton jersey top layer with a hemp fleece absorbent core. The thong, mini and liner all have a single layer in the core, while the Regular and Long have two layers. Because hemp fleece is so absorbent and the cotton jersey top-layer is also absorbent, Öko-Pads are thin and effective!
To make them leakproof, Öko-Pads are backed with organic cotton lined with polyurethane. The organic cotton backing also helps prevent slippage! Öko thoughtfully designs all their own prints for the cotton backing of their pads— they’re truly beautiful!
Öko uses thin metal snaps on their wings, not bulky and uncomfortable chunky plastic snaps other brands use.
Dyed or undyed?
I was initially opposed to the purple top layer option. The vagina’s natural acidity can discolour the fabric, which to me seemed to trump the stain-camouflaging purpose. I also see the value in being able to assess the colour of your menstrual flow, which is harder to do with the purple fabric. However, depending on my mood (which, let’s face it, isn’t great when I’m menstruating), stains can frustrate me. So the purple option has really grown on me.
The undyed top layer is perfect for sensitive skin. It can stain, of course, but soaking used pads with sodium percarbonate can prevent this. Try to remember not to put pads in the dryer if any stains remain after washing and you want to get rid of them using the sun or a stain treatment.
If you’re new to the world of cloth pads and are worried about washing, fear not, it’s easy! Öko has a great product care guide, translated by yours truly.
Individual Storage Pouch
Another innovation from Öko is the Individual Storage Pouch.
This cute little pocket is perfect for carrying clean pads with you on the go. When you swap out a used pad for a clean pad, pull out the “to wash” label on the pouch and then you know what needs to hit the wash when you get home.
Why are Öko-Pads the best?
Not only are Öko-Pads comfortable AF, stay-dry, fast-absorbing and slippage-free, they’re ethically made in Québec by a truly wonderful company committed to zero-waste practices. How do you not love all that?
What I’d like to see improved about Öko-Pads
Being a small company, I know that adding more sizes to their production line is not an easy feat. However, I truly hope they can increase the size offerings of their pads to suit a wider array of body shapes. I would like to see pads that are wider: I wear size medium pants and could do with more width in the centre of the pads, especially those designed for heavy flow.
As much as I personally love the bright colours Öko has chosen for its Limited Collection prints, I also think there are customers who would prefer something much more neutral―even just a solid colour―so maybe that’s something they’ll consider for future production runs!
Where to buy Öko-Pads
Öko also has many fantastic retailers carrying the Limited Collection across Canada. Find one online or near you!