I must have just turned nine when an older friend and I were flipping through a magazine. As a shiny new seventh grader still learning how to fend off Mean Girls, my friend began studying all of the teen magazines at our public library. Sometimes I joined her. That day, we were gushing over body glitter and platform sneakers until she turned to a strange ad. “What are those?” I asked, pointing at the picture of a puffy pink pillow and a pink stick. “Uh . . . ask your mom,” she said and quickly turned the page. No matter how much I pressed, nada.

So I asked my mother about the ad later that night. As she yanked a brush through my curly mane, I learned about the magic and mayhem of menstruation. I was both intrigued and horrified. Two years later, my first period came and, like many women, I've been trying to outsmart my cramps, headaches, mood swings, bloating, fatigue, and breakouts ever since.

Curious about what menstrual products will change your period forever? While there's a stampede for Diva Cups these days, here are eight other things to try:


Holland & Barrett Starflower Oil Capsules

photo: Holland & Barrett

It seems like every folk tradition recommends a different leaf or plant oil to relieve menstrual cramps. Borage, or starflower, oil is yet another. But taking a spoonful of oil can get messy; capsules are much more convenient (and precise). Test out a bottle of Holland & Barrett Starflower Oil Capsules. The formula's free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.


Yogi Woman's Moon Cycle Tea

photo: Yogi Products

Tea in general has always been one of my period go-tos, but a tea specially blended to soothe menstrual discomfort is extra appealing. Yogi Woman's Moon Cycle Tea contains dong quai, chaste tree berry, and raspberry leaf — all of which historically have been used in folk medicine to regulate menstrual flow and cramps. Plus, there's chamomile for that soothing smell.


Sunbeam Heating Pads

photo: Sunbeam

If you're like me, your period means immobilizing cramp pain. Sunbeam Heating Pads can help manage that. Bonuses: They heat up quickly, come in rich colors that don't stain easily, and are available in tons of models at different price points. There's even one you can tie around your waist! You probably don't want to wear it out, but it's a nice option to have if you have to knock out chores around the house.


Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil

photo: Desert Essence

Breakouts are like the rotten cherry on top of every period, but Desert Essence Australian Tea Tree Oil helps clear skin with only a couple of drops. Get your money's worth by also using it as a toothbrush cleaner, mold and stain remover, laundry freshener, household cleaner, mani/pedi treatment, and form of pest control. 


Lunette Cup

Did you try the Diva Cup but maybe want to compare other menstrual cups? While the different versions share many similarities, Lunette comes in multiple colors (instead of just clear) and has more of a bell shape, which some women find more comfortable and leak-resistant. The stem also is longer than the Diva Cup's, which makes it easier for women with a higher cervix to remove.


Glad Rags

photo: Glad Rags

Stop feeling guilty about your monthly landfill contribution and try out an all-natural cotton pad. Reusable cloth pads are good for the environment and apparently your body, too. GladRags carries day pads, night pads, pantyliners, and more. You can customize the pad absorbency, color, and design for comfort and pizazz.



photo: Thinx

Thinx are moisture-wicking period panties that look and feel like regular panties but are absorbent, leak-resistant, and anti-microbial. And no, they're not diapers. They can replace pantyliners and, depending on your flow, also replace tampons, napkins, and menstrual cups. Wear white pants without a care and feel totally dry even if you've had a little spill.


Honest Company Organic Cotton Thong Liners

photo: Honest Company

Are you a thong lover? Then you'll be happy to know you can still rock your teeny panties when Aunt Flo comes to visit. These Honest Company super-thin thong liners are flexible, secure, and hypoallergenic. Plus, they're made from cotton certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Sexy and eco-friendly.