Alright, ladies, gather round. We all know what this is about. If you are tired of using regular old tampons and pads and are thinking of converting to a menstrual cup, I have a few words, since I’ve used several brands and have done my research.
Menstrual cups are the new hot commodity, and there’s a reason for that. Let’s discuss the pros and cons, and also talk about the sustainability aspect of using a menstrual cup.
Sustainable and responsible
In the past, I’ve used a Diva Cup and a Flex cup, and am currently using a Honey Pot cup since I lost two of my other ones and I accidentally dropped the third down the toilet (TMI, I know). The Diva Cup, Flex, and Honey Pot cups are all incredibly eco-friendly alternatives to traditional tampons and pads. They all use high-grade silicone for their products and use paper packaging. Both the Diva Cup and flex have biodegradable wipes for their products and also strive to reduce their carbon footprint- Flex is made in the U.S. and Canada, and Diva Cup is made in Canada.
Flex claims to be a zero-waste product and ethically sources its materials., repurposing them when possible. The Honey Pot partnered with organizations such as Days for Girls to help women around the world have access to menstrual care and education. While this is impressive, Diva Cup took it one step further and became a Certified B Corp in 2018. To put it into perspective, there are only 3,500 Certified B Corp companies around the world currently, so it’s kind of a big deal.
Diva Cup also partnered with TerraCycle in the beginning of 2021 and made their own recycling program, DivaRecycles. This program not only recycles Diva Cups, but allows people participating to earn points from their cups and donate it to charities of their choice.
I widely prefer companies that don’t animal test and tried to scout out information on whether or not the three companies are PETA or Leaping Bunny certified, and not one company had any such certifications. Shame. If you want to read more about how to know whether companies are cruelty free, read my other post here.
Made with quality in mind
All menstrual cups are made of the same material- medical grade A silicone. This means that there are no harsh chemicals, toxins, or additives that will irritate or inflame the skin, or cause any damage to your peach.
While all products are virtually the same, there is a distinction in quality I want to make- the Diva Cup just ends in a stump, and the flex cup actually has a loop so you can easily… you know… get it out. The Honey Pot is in between, with a long stem that just tapers off at the end. It seems like a small detail, but, honestly, it is a game changer when it comes to the accessibility of the product.
All products are pretty equal in quality, though I’ve had mishaps with all of them. While all brands say they can provide up to 12 hours of protection, I noticed that for heavier flow, that is definitely not the case. I don’t remember what size I used for Diva and flex, but maybe it was a smaller one. I got the smaller size for the Honey Pot cup because that was the only option in the store I was at.
They all feel exactly the same and are easy to insert. It is important to note that for first time users, it will be a bit tricky to maneuver, so you might want to practice a few times before your period comes.
There’s a lot to choose from
Both the flex and the Honey Pot offer two sizes for their menstrual cups- one being small (around 25 ml of liquid) and the other being slightly larger (around 30 ml). The Diva Cup has three models for their cups.
The Honey Pot is the biggest company of the three, since it not only sells menstrual cups, but organic cotton tampons, herbal pads, bath bombs, cleansing wipes, and even lubricants. However, it doesn’t have much variety in terms of the menstrual cup. It doesn’t have cleansing wipes for the cup, nor does it have any other sustainable period products like reusable pads or period underwear.
When it comes to sustainable period products, flex has slightly more versatility because not only does it have the cups, but it has menstrual discs, too. This is a nice touch for those of us who want to get frisky during that time of the month.
Both Diva Cup and flex have cup cleaning products and cup pouches, as well as wipes. Diva Cup has a nifty product called the Shaker Cup, which is meant to be used to clean the Diva Cup on the go- it’s a silicone container that you put the cup into and shake around with soap, pretty much.
The cost and where to buy
While all brands are available in most supermarkets, I’ve noticed that oftentimes, the Diva Cup is easier to find in a Walmart or Kroger store than any other cup. The only U.S. retailers that sell the flex cup are Target and CVS, according to the flex site- however, I know I’ve seen it in a Meijer before, which is a Midwestern supermarket. The Honey Pot cup is available in stores such as Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and certain Kroger stores. The Diva Cup can be bought from a wide plethora of stores including but not limited to, CVS, Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, Meijer, Fred Meyer, Walgreens, Sprouts Farmers Market, Amazon, and even Kmart.
While all products are rather pricey, the Honey Pot cup is the cheapest, being $21.99. The flex cup is considerably more expensive, sitting at $34.99 for a slim or full size cup while the DivaCup is at $39.99 for any size cup. All of these come with a drawstring bag and informational booklet- but flex comes with two free disposable discs. Even though almost every menstrual cup is expensive, it is an investment and will save you money in the long run.
The final verdict
When it comes down to it, menstrual cups are the way to go for sustainable period care. They are easy to clean, easy to use, and don’t have the same long-lasting effects on the environment as other period products do. They were designed by women for women, so you know you are buying a quality product that won’t screw you over, whichever brand you choose.
My personal pick out of the three brands I’ve mentioned is the flex cup, and this is because of that tab that makes it so easy to take out. You have no idea how time saving and easy that one detail makes everything.
If you are a beginner to menstrual cups, or just want an easy to use cup, get flex or another one with a loop. Here’s an amazon listing of two menstrual cups for only ten bucks- and they have nubs on the ends of their cups for easy grip.
Personally, I think the Diva Cup is a little overrated and overinflated for the price. It is the hardest to use of the three cups, and it is also the most expensive.
Tips and tricks
When you insert the cup, bend the rim inwards on itself so it makes a horseshoe or “U” shape. It will pop back to its original shape once it’s in there.
When removing the cup, you’re going to want to tug on the tail of the cup to get it closer to the opening. The flex is the easiest to do this with because of that loop I mentioned. Now, you don’t want to just pull it out by the tail because this will be rather uncomfortable and messy. You’ll want to reach a bit and grab the cup by the base and pinch, so the rim isn’t so big and you have more control.
Sometimes, if you have the Honey Pot cup or the Diva Cup, it will be difficult to remove. In this case, just wait it out. In a couple hours, your body will naturally push it down and make it easier to remove.
Once it’s out, you’ll want to rinse the cup with warm water and soap, and, if you have time, boil it in filtered water. This part is a bit nasty- but bear with me. Most menstrual cups have tiny holes in them for… I don’t know… air flow, so you will want to grab a toothpick and clean those out so nothing gets stuck in there.
Most brands will recommend swapping out your cup for a new one every twelve or so months, but realistically, if you take care of it and clean it thoroughly each time, it can last you a lot longer, since silicone doesn’t flake or degrade.
Store your cup in a cool and dry place when not used, and I would reccommend taking it with you everywhere just so you’re prepared. It’s small enough to be discreet and fit into even a small handbag.
I hope this post helped you in your menstrual cup purchasing decision, and know that they are not scary to use- whichever choice you go with, all cups are designed to move with your body and fit your unique period needs, so take that leap and try one out today. If you have heavier flow, you might want to wear a pad or period underwear on as well for extra coverage.
If you are still afraid of trying it out, don’t be afraid to do your own research and read other people’s reviews on the cups, since it’s becoming vastly more popular now.
Thanks for reading my post and making the choice to use a more eco-friendly product! Until next time, hobble on!