At the end of last year I had my Implanon removed. While I had the implant, I didn’t get my period at all. That added up to five years with no periods. After all that time, I was actually pretty excited about getting reacquainted with my flow. It had been ages since I tried any new reusable period products, and I was stoked to have an excuse to stock up on some new stuff. My mind was blown when I saw how far sustainable period products have come in the last five years. There are so many options to choose from! I ended up buying reusable pads from a few different places to review.
The first store I visited was Rudie. Rudie are an Australian-owned company that are committed to reducing period waste. They sell a curated range of reusable pads and period briefs. All of Rudie’s products are made from organic materials, and they have a strong focus on fighting period stigma. I wasted no time snapping up two reusable pad bundles from Rudie’s online store.
My order arrived very quickly, and I was slightly dismayed when I saw the packaging of my parcel. As someone who orders a lot of adult products, I appreciate discreet packaging. My Rudie pads came in a bright green mail bag emblazoned with pictures of ovaries and pads and tampons with a huge slogan that read “One Step Closer to a Zero Waste Period”. I was really taken aback when I saw this, because it was the opposite of the discreet packaging that I’m used to. While I think it’s fantastic to be so period positive, not everybody is comfortable with broadcasting their sanitary product preferences. I couldn’t help but imagine how I would feel if I were a teenage girl who had to collect that package from the mailbox. Or how embarrassed I might feel if I had to pick up this package from the post office and sign for it in front of a queue of strangers. It was very In Your Face and I would have preferred if the packaging were a little more discreet.
Another thing that I wasn’t so chuffed about is Rudie’s marketing angle. The parcel was covered with little “female” signs and “girl power” slogans, which gave me pause. Not everyone who menstruates is a woman, and I would have loved to see a more gender-neutral approach to marketing reusable period products. The colour scheme and designs of Rudie’s products are very feminine, and all of the models who appear in their marketing are ultra femme. I would have loved to see a more inclusive approach, with less gendered language and hyper-feminine imagery.
The Rudie Signature Pads come in a pack of 3 or a pack of 6. There are four sizes: S (light flow), M (medium flow), L (heavy flow) and XL (very heavy flow). I chose the M size. The pads in the Signature Pads pack are all the same size, and you can’t mix and match sizes within the pack. They come in five different designs, and I chose the “Girl Power” design which have little female symbols on them. All of the designs are Rudie’s signature shades of green and pink.
The Rudie Signature Pads in M are 28 cm long, which is pretty similar to most disposable pads I’ve used. They have a soft, fleecy panel which is worn next to your body, and the design is on the other side and on the wings. The wings have a press-stud which allows you to wrap them around the gusset of your underwear and snap them into place. The backing is leak-resistant and very slick and smooth.
The EcoPads Starter Pack includes three pads – one S (light flow), one M (medium flow) and one L (heavy flow). All three pads in the pack have the same design on them. When I ordered my pads at the beginning of January, there were a lot of designs to choose from, and I selected an interstellar print. Now, there are a lot fewer choices, and the Starter Pack pads come in the same 5 designs as the Signature Pads. The S pad is 20 cm long, the M pad is 25 cm long and the L pad is 30 cm long. All of the pads I ordered were 6 cm wide, except for the L pad which is 8 cm wide.
Each pack came with a free wet bag, which is very handy. I always carry a wet bag with two fresh pads in it, so that I have them ready to go when I need one. I also fold up the empty wet bag, and pop it in with my clean pads. This way, if I have to change my pad while I’m out of the house I can put the dirty pad in it’s own bag and toss them in the wash when I get home.
The pads are all very absorbent and the leak-resistant backing makes me feel confident wearing these even on my heaviest days. The pads have little channels sewn into them, which helps direct your flow to the centre of the pad where it’s most absorbent. I tested out the medium flow pad by pouring a cup of water onto it, and I was able to pour 1/2 a cup into the pad without any leaks.
The fleecy lining feels really soft against my skin, and I didn’t feel any friction or irritation from the fabric. The backing has a slick, plastic-like feel to it which means that these pads don’t breathe quite as well as some of the cotton pads I’ve tried. I do find them a little bit sweaty on hot days. The backing also makes them a little less secure, because the slick surface means that they tend to slide backwards and forwards in my underwear if I’m moving a lot. Unlike pads that have a rougher texture on the back, these are really difficult to keep in position when I’m exercising or walking around a lot. I find that I have to wear a really firm-fitting pair of underpants to ensure that my pad doesn’t twist or slide forward. So while the backing is fantastic for preventing leaks, it does make the pad a little less secure during wear.
The S and M sizes felt really comfortable to wear, and the size of them worked very well for my body. They’re flexible enough to curve with your body, and I found them to be the perfect length for daily wear. The L felt a tiny bit too bulky for my liking. I liked the extra length on this pad for overnight wear. I have a tendency to leak off the back of my pad when I’m lying down in bed, and the additional length of the L gave me a bit of added protection at night time. The thing I found uncomfortable was the added width. The L pad is 8 cm across, while all the other pads are 6 cm across. I found that those extra 2cm made the pad feel really cumbersome. I have a narrow pelvis and thick thighs, and this pad just didn’t fit in the little gap between my thighs and my vulva. It bunched up and rubbed against my inner thighs when I wore it overnight. While it might be a great choice for some people, it just didn’t work for my body.
I was very impressed at how easy the Rudie pads are to clean. I just popped them in the washing machine on a regular wash, and they all came out looking as good as new. The dark-coloured lining means that they’re less likely to stain over time, and they will continue looking fresh even after months of continuous use. The material dries really quickly after you’ve washed them, which I love.
Overall I really liked the Rudie pads. They’re very leak-resistant and have become my favourite pads for overnight wear. I feel very well-protected wearing these, even on heavy flow days. The smaller sizes are comfortable, although they don’t stay in place as well as some other pads that I’ve tried. If you’re curious to try the Rudie pads, I would recommend buying one of the starter packs first. Then, once you’ve decided which size feels best for you, you could buy a pack of the signature pads in that size. The Rudie pads are very durable and should last you several years if you take good care of them.