Australians have been stocking up on tampons and pads as the coronavirus crisis reaches (ahem) Down Under. In March, supermarket shelves were emptied of tampons and pads (proving they were never a “luxury item”), and the scarcity may prove troublesome for disorganised menstruaters.

One solution? Period-proof undies, which can be bought online and kept for years.

“They’re safe, they’re durable, they’re hygienic, they’re easy to use – you throw on a pair of undies, you put them in with your normal wash and hang to dry,” says Sydney-based Kirsty Chong, the founder and CEO of Australian underwear label Modibodi.

Chong started Modibodi in 2013 as alternative to disposable tampons and pads, and spent two years fine-tuning the brand’s period-proof design with textile engineers and fibre companies in Australia and the US. The process resulted in various moisture-wicking, antimicrobial and breathable fibres that Modibodi patented, turning it into one of the world’s top period-proof underwear brands.

The machine-washable undies are made in China with a mix of natural fabrics, including bamboo, merino wool and those breathable microfibres.

The built-in, stain-resistant linings are around three millimetres thick and can hold between five and 20 millilitres of liquid (about four tampons worth), depending on the level absorbency needed. There are four options: superlight, light-moderate, moderate-heavy and heavy-overnight.

“It's a mindset change, definitely,” Chong says. “What we suggest is people buy a pair or two – a heavy and a light – and try them in the comfort of your own home if you’re nervous. Or try them on a lighter day or overnight.” (Modibodi offers a 30-day trial – if you aren’t a fan, you can get a full refund on one piece, excluding postage.)

Cuts include bikini, high-waisted, boyleg, full brief, lacy, seamless maternity and more, and come in a variety of colours, from basic (black, white, tan) to a new collection of hues in the label’s seamless range (ebony grey, sky blue and raspberry). Prints are on the way, and there’s also leak-proof swimwear, and a brighter collection for teenagers.

The undies are also ideal for people who are pregnant or post-partum with moderate bladder leakage – in fact it was Chong’s own post-birth experience that inspired Modibodi.

The cheapest pair is $25.50, but buying a pack (of five, seven or 10 pairs) brings down the individual cost. The undies are delivered in compostable bags made from biodegradable materials.

Due to isolation restrictions, Modibodi has extended its return period to 60 days for purchases made in April.

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