Generic/Store Brand Feminine Hygiene

Image of a generic brand maxi pad

I think a lot of people tend to overlook savings when it comes to buying maxi pads and tampons. There are definitely a lot of “green” alternatives now that women are slowly exploring. Sponges, cups, cloth and essentially, anything reusable. I don’t doubt the savings of using reusable products at all, they are definitely a money-saver. However, I would dare say the majority of women are still using (and opting for) the conventional disposal products.

On that note, almost all my girls use a typical brand name product. They avoid no name or store brand feminine hygiene products like the plague. My ex has tried them before and she had a hell of a time with them. She says they have a very rough cover, however, I wonder if that’s really just an opinion based on prejudice about non-brand name products. For instance, the EQUATE brand of maxi pads I have experimented with have a very similar top-cover as Always. Given that she was an avid Always user, for her to complain about the Equate maxi pads seemed contradictory. I definitely won’t swear upon it being the exact same, but definitely very similar.

I can understand that generic pads because of the way they are made with minimal “current” technology, that they are generally the old-fashion pads simply with layers of cotton or absorbent material stuffed in between the layers and results in them being very thick. Bulkiness is probably one of the greatest reason why girls consider tampon over pads. Perhaps the usage of night time usage of thick or generic maxi pads wouldn’t hurt since you can sacrifice that comfort level as you’re probably ZzZz’ing anyways. Mind you, if I were a girl, I’d trust using generic stuff in the day where I know I can change it if need be, versus at night when there’s a lot of movement, shifting and leak-potential given the lack of “technology” put into generic brands.

Image of generic brand tampons

One of my girl-friends live by no name products, she doesn’t even care for buying brand-names. Perhaps her flow being only light-medium intensity, she doesn’t require all the fancy technology invested by brand name companies. I went over to her house the other day and gave her some tampons and noticed on her shelf the pads she used. Interestingly enough, after knowing her for so many years and having been open about it, we’ve never actually discussed the brand she uses. I was quite surprized that she used a generic store brand maxi pad and they were actually thin too…! I swear all of the ones I’ve ever seen were always ass thick that you’d wonder what kind of bulge it gives off on a girl (or guy I suppose)! After dropping off a couple of tampons for her, we had to boot out of her house because I promised to take her shopping so I didn’t have time to investigate 😛

In general, prices of generic/non-brand name pads and tampons definitely are cheaper than their branded counterparts. Nevertheless, it is not always the case that generic items can’t accomplish the same role. After all, menstrual protection is all about keeping your panties clean and of course providing a degree of comfort. I think it is fair to say that everyone should give it a shot and find ways of fitting these products to your menstrual routines. Sure, you might not want to use them everyday or all day, but saving a few dollars here and there helps. Reading from opinions on the internet as well, seems like many women are pretty happy with their choices of generic tampons, one of the best quotes I’ve seen describing them was:

I mean, it’s a wad of cotton with a string — there’s really not much difference between the brand name and the generic except the brand name costs twice as much, IMO.  –MainelyFoolish

Which is quite true in that perspective. I’m not going to say that there’s NO worth to branded products, I’m just saying that some considerations can definitely be made on how they can take advantage of using different products for different needs.

Now what post of mine would be complete without a horror story? Yes, I have seen generic maxi pads come apart before, it is not a beautiful scene (unless that’s what you’re into). Apparently those pads have a really bad seal, so it is possible for the material/cotton inside to “move around” as it becomes saturated. If the girl’s lucky, she’ll change her pad before it reaches that point… if not, it might result in some nasty leaks, worse than properly-made brand names pads. Since tampons and pantiliners aren’t “sealed” the same way, obviously you don’t run into those  problems. Also, some top-covers tend to rip because they don’t hold together as well, especially when there’s a degree of saturation, it becomes flimsy and “falls apart”… and yes, it really does do that.

The only gripe I’ve had over generic pads is that their wings tend not to be large enough. I remember during experimentation with one of the huge EXACT (Loblaws-chain store brand), the pad was massive, yet they had these tiny little tabs which were supposed to act as wings. I think given the size and material, there was no absorbing value of the tab and at most, it would hold the pad in place. From what I found, it DOESN’T hold the pad in place since it is too small, not sticky enough and with sufficient leg movement (as simple as walking) it’ll simply undo itself and the pad begins to shift around.

I think other than fear of leaks and insufficient protection, the next thing that’s really stopping girls from trying/using these products is the prejudice of it before they even TRY. Trying is really the only way to ever know if things work out. Sure, there might be a pair of panties you need to use cold water on, but maybe generic brands will also be the one that performs just as well than branded at half the price! Now, given that I’m always a deal hunter, I can find branded-pads/tampons as cheap as generic ones, but for those who don’t bargain hunt or can’t wait, these no-name products might be a good alternative and/or supplement to your regular supply!

For those who want to participate, what’s your experiences like with no-name or store brand feminine hygiene products?

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About Prexus Swyftwynd

Probably not a good idea for you to know anything about me....

Posted on February 15, 2010, in Periodtastic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Store brands are very popular here for home-use. I dun need to use my good stuff when I am sitting home. If leak or full easily, just go to wshrm and change lor. I can’t remember the store brands I used in Canada… So long ago leh.

    Only prblm sometimes is that the bottom not sticky enuf so I have to wear closer underwear instead.

    I dun see you online now… Not home?

  2. These are six of the biggest players in the private label market in Canada and the US:
    Fempro Inc. Drummondville, PQ
    First Quality Hygienic Great Neck, NY
    Health Care Products, Inc Coldwater, OH 45828
    HOSPECO Cleveland, OH
    Premier Care Industries Long Island, NY
    Tyco Healthcare King of Prussia, PA
    (I left out a few known makers of junk.)

    Even within these firms, some make good stuff and some make garbage. To make things interesting, stores will switch manufacturers to get a better price.

    Some guys think life is too short to go through drinking cheap beer. Some women may think life is too short to go through wearing cheap feminine hygiene products.

    • Excellent list. I was wondering if you know who makes for which stores.
      And some other follow ups-
      Does Hospeco manufacture or import from China?
      Also, who are the known makers of junk?
      (Does Tyco still mae them or are they now part of First Quality?)

      • There are so many private manufacturers in China that I don’t think that people even have a list of it, lol. Even if there was a list, there’d probably be tons that are unknown or unlisted 😛 I was just looking at some sanitary napkin information in China and they had all these whacky brands and labels I’ve never even heard of! China is also huge on exporting unlabeled pads so that companies here can place their own branding on it and sell it. Given the information I’ve read, apparently the quality is not too bad! I suppose the quality of products they sell internally in China might be sub-standard, but ones they actually export to other countries are much more reliable!

        • What about the american/canadian ones. I assume that the big chains in North America buy local products – any idea who is making the pads for the big pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Shoppers, Jean Coutu) or the big supermarkets?

  3. Amy, I was checking out the Wellcome, Park n’ Shop and Watsons site…. looks like they’re starting to stock more and more store-brands or “less known” brand products… can’t wait to try them out when I come home 🙂 No, I wasn’t home when you dropped me that message… was at a friend’s house for dinner…. back to work tomorrow 😦

    CeeDee, thanks for that info… it’s amazing the research you can come up with! Hell, it looks like all the big makers are all located within the US – guess Canada can’t produce their own pads/tampons, haha.

    I’m definitely considerate of the “life is too short….” thought… it’s true, some girls just say screw it and buy the big brands, doesn’t bother me. I just like throwing ideas out there and because I’ve read quite a few blogs on women who either solely use small brand feminine hygiene products or use it quite often. A lot of the time, I’m hearing more negative feedback about those brands than positive, so I thought I’d bring a bit of a “thumbs up” to these brands for everyone to consider.

    I thought Amy’s idea of wearing them at home is a pretty good thought, especially given the convenience of being able to change/clean up whenever necessary. I understand that even in your own home you don’t want to have a massive mess, but I’ve yet to see a store brand pad/tampon that bad where it would leak at moment’s notice… there are usually some “tell-tale signs” at the very least.

    I heard CVS sold some of their own very well-made pads/tampons apparently… too bad I don’t live in the U.S. It rather pisses me off that an “international brand” like Always actually doesn’t sell some of their better pads in Canada like the Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy flow with Wings…

  4. Yes, CVS has a wide assortment of house brand tampons and pads for sale. They are all described on their web site. Drill down from
    CVS.com > Personal Care > Feminine Care > Maxi Pads
    CVS.com > Personal Care > Feminine Care > Tampons
    CVS.com > Personal Care > Feminine Care > Pantiliners

  5. Hello Friend, you’re lucky you even get generic brands. We don’t. We’re stuck with branded goods. I would love to try generic ones, to help with the savings. Especially if I’m just staying in for the day. But I don’t believe I can ever find generic ones here. Although the brand I’m using is already budget-friendly. So not much of a loss there.

    Oh, something about tampons. I just remembered this, we learned it in Bacteriology way way back: tampons may cause urinary tract infection, if you don’t change tampons right away that is. But the same goes for sanitary pads. So…

    • Maysea!! 🙂 Funny enough, a lot of the “thrift” pads in the dollar stores you find here are all “Made in” China, Indonesia, India and Philippines…. so that’s just stupid if they don’t sell it to locals too 😛 Are you sure you look hard enough or maybe you live in such a RICH city they don’t sell it there, lol. I’m not sure why you’d want to use generic ones when you have some of the best brands available where you live… not fair 😦

      Tampons cause a lot of issues, yet, they are still used. I think this is kind of like, “You know smoking is harmful, but you’ll take your chances..” and given I’ve probably been on forums left, right and centre, many girls have simply said “meh” when the health risks of using tampons were brought to the table. They were simply “willing to take the risk” and hope that nothing happens. I have heard many girls who used conventional tampons who got infections or worse so they had to switch to organic brands that didn’t use conventional material or use things like sponges/divacups/keeper, etc. UTI’s are just one of the potential side-effects of tampons since they dry out the cavity of the vaginal lining, so it exposes it to a host of problems, including yeast infections. Oh wait, I shouldn’t talking about this stuff to a doctor, you’re just going to whack me 😀

      Just reading up on it… but UTI’s in general seem to just be caused by poor hygiene. For instance, regular changing of tampons and pads prevent buildup of bacteria around the genital area. I suppose that’s what you meant by “changing it right away”… although this site recommends daily or semi-daily cleaning – heck, only makes sense to keep that area clean, regardless of whether the girl is menstruating or not. Pads and tampons are only “contributors” to the problem since these infections may be triggered by various conditions and there is even genetic or dietary predisposition to it.

      CeeDee, thanks for the info! I’ve scoured CVS site before, I hate it because it taunts me that they don’t ship to Canada or is available in Canada, lol… bummer.

  6. I wish I could just spend less and always get the store brand items, and for a while I did! But the equate brand of “tampax” are hard to use. They don’t have that grip thingie that makes them easy to insert and I always have a hard time with them.
    And that is my TMI for the day.

    Hahahaha

    • Typing this on my phone so might be mistakes.

      I suppose the applicator might be hard to use, but the tampon itself is ok. You could always try OB or an applicatorless tampon. Then you won’t have to worry about fiddling with the applicator haha.

      There’s no such thing as TMI on my site 😉 the more participation, the better. It gets kind of quiet around here because people are shy to post. We need more people like you. 🙂

      With the EXACT store brand, the cotton stuffing gets kind of gross, it doesn’t absorb well buy Equate does very well. Try anythig from CVS?

  7. I bookmarked this page, thanks for the male insight!

  8. I use tampons during the day but for night time when I go to sleep I use pads.
    When it comes tampons, which is what I wear during the day and evening I use brand names. I’ve tried just about every brand but still haven’t stumbled across one that I feel the need to stick to. To me they all seem the same. However, at the moment I am using Tampax Cardboard Tampons Super Absorbancy. For sleep I usually just use a genaric night time brand, store brand. I currently for night time use am using Publix Overnight Maxi Pads With Flexi-Wings. They work just fine.

    • Hi Mandy,

      Thanks for your contribution! I have found it quite common for girls who use both types of products to have similar practices such as yours, tampon for the day and pads overnight (or sometimes if just at home).

      In regards to not being able to find a brand you feel you need to stick to, do you simply buy what’s on sale? I have one girl-friend who does that, and like you, doesn’t really care much for sticking to whatever brand. Whatever the sale happens to be on for that week, she’ll just buy that! It is very brave of her 😛

      I suppose when it comes down to menstrual protection, whatever absorbs the flow is good enough! Some are willing to sacrifice the comfort or change more often just to save money and kudos to them. One of my readers prefers practicality of her protection over fanciness… after all she makes a good point that it just gets “thrown in the garbage anyways.”

      Do you choose a cardboard applicator over a plastic one for a particular reason?

      I will have to do some research on this “Publix” brand 🙂

  9. Keep working ,great job!

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  14. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. Ill definitely be back.

  15. Took me time to understand all the comments, but I truly enjoyed the post. It proved to become incredibly valuable to me and I am sure to all of the commenters here! It’s often nice whenever you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had enjoyable writing this article.

  16. That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. How long have you been blogging for?

    • In 26 days, ONE FULL YEAR 😀

      • Now tht u hv so many visitors n so successful w/ this blog, get bk to ur old blog! I prefer the more “personal” side of u n’ hearing more private things on ur mind xDD I bet tht blog has much more jucier things on it, kekeke.

        Din u say smthg abt the company shutting down the blogging site or smthg? Wt happens to all ur stuff? 😕

        • My old blog on MSN Space is just redirected… MSN Space is closing down, so they reallocated all our stuff over to WordPress here. I just don’t have it attached to my MiM account since that’s a personal-blog that I don’t want everyone reading it. I was working on it a while ago, but I never sent an email out about the change. I will do so when I have a bit more prepped up.

          I express a lot of my personal thoughts here as it is, although I really wanted to keep my old blog and that is why I did the transfer… has a lot of history!

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  23. So after you do all these tests, what do you normally do with your rest of the pads/tampons? Do you just trash the rest of them?

    • I usually use multiple pads and test and play around with… so I may or may not have any left. If I do have some left and I don’t want them or want to share it, then it’ll go to my girls or to my girlfriend. I will very rarely throw them out unless they suck so much I don’t even want to give it to someone else. Since they don’t exactly have “expiry” dates, I keep them around as a stockpile in case anyone asks or I find someone I want to give it to (say if it’s a particular brand or whatever that some/not all of my girls use). I’m pretty careful about how much I keep at a time since it’s wasteful sitting collecting dust, but if I still have unused packs and such, I will donate them to Women’s Shelters or sometimes collection-charities at work. I endeavour to keep only as much as I need at one time to test at home, but now that my girlfriend is back from Malaysia, I have an extra person who I’d love to give them to so she can use them and see if she likes them!

      • nobigwhoopdawg

        If you have an emergency first-aid kit, don’t forget to save a few for that purpose. Not only for their intended feminine menstrual purposes, but even the crappier made pads are good as makeshift heavy bandages for bad bleeding. Sterile gauze pad + menstrual pad + small amount of first aid tape,

        I’ve also heard about tampons being used to clean gun barrels, but I don’t have any real-world experience there. 😀

        I’m glad to hear you donate to women’s shelters as well as your friends! I actually wandered over here to see who makes store brand feminine hygiene products and got a little info, but also got more info than I was looking for. And I know this is an old old post, but thank you for this!

        • LOL, oh yes, tampons make for great barrel cleaning and also to lubricate internal parts without specialized tools. With the size of tampons though, it’d only be for guns with a larger barrel diameter, otherwise even a “lite” one might not fit into smaller caliber barrels.

          The first-aid kit in my car and in the bathroom have a few liners, pads and tampons. I have seen some great improvisation with tampons used to control nasty nosebleeds. Pads/liners do indeed do great for stopping blood, whether from “down there” or anywhere else on the body, lol… the adhesives make it perfect too to form a seal or tight fight.

          Hope I didn’t make you lose your breakfast or anything, but I’m glad you found some pertinent information here! Thanks for your tidbit and taking the time to leave a comment.

  24. I’ve been reading your site for a long time now, seems like everyday I learn something new 🙂 Thanks

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