For those of you who knew, I happily acquired the new “U by Kotex” yesterday and I hope for those who follow along, are excited to see this post!
At around 1:30 yesterday, I hoped on to a nearby Sobeys by work and picked it up. It was well-noted that on the shelves were a fairly small section dedicated to this new line of Kotex products. Certainly, I can imagine that they chose to be conservative with their stock, not knowing whether this new line would sell well. It does boast a hefty price of $4.49 (4.99 at other local retailers) for a mere 14 pads if you’re buying the overnight versions. There were fewer sales for pads and even less for the pantiliners. However, either the female populace who lives around the area are avid tampon users or for whatever reason, there was a huge hole in the shelving stock for the new “U” tampons. I must say, throughout my many experiences with feminine hygiene shopping, I can say in my area that the pads section tend to be the ones that are cleaned out, not tampons.
I didn’t take long to find the one I wanted, however, it definitely took extra time (a few seconds? LOL) as opposed to my easily-spotted absorbency of all the other brands – yes, this is I must say, the only brand I’ve ever needed to do a “double-take” to make sure I got the right version. True enough this is my first time buying it and I do not have prior experience to rely on to locate the right one easily, BUT, the assortment of packages look very similar that it be inadvisable to just grab it and assume you got the right one without reading it. I picked up the “U by Kotex All-Nighter” (“Overnight” equivalent). On the way out, I noticed that at the register, the cashier charged me $4.99 instead of $4.49 as stated in the flyer. She assured me it was $4.99 and I disagreed, showing her the flyer I still had on-hand.
I did notice as I was making the purchase, the tag on the shelf did say $4.99 which I thought was weird, but took nothing of it. I asked for her to verify the price in the flyer as it clearly says $4.49. I have a feeling she thought that because I am male, that I would not be inclined in making a stand – trust me, I did and I stood there with the box of pads right on top of the scanner without even turning a shade of a red. I guess whoever she asked did inform her that it was $4.49 and she proceeded with the purchase… BUT oh wait, she also noticed I had an e-coupon for $1.50 off on any U by Kotex product. Of course I know there are retailers who give a hassle for printed-coupons so she again, had to verify with a manager. She came back, rang it through and I got what I wanted at the price intended, $3.14 after taxes.
FYI… you can click on the pics to get an enlarged version (although limited resolution with my iPhone camera)
As you can see, there are just way too many damn colours on the box, lol. The first picture also shows that the pads are all individually wrapped in a bunch of funky colours and unlike the usual where most brands have all the same colour to either specify their brand or absorbency. Of course, the “purple” colour is to indicate the overnight pad size, but still it is much less of an indicator compared to say – the all green colouring of the Always Super pads. As you can see, for 14 pads @ $4.49 (without coupon discount) means you’re talking about almost 32 cents per pad and that’s not with taxes in! On each side of the box has a variety of useful information such as the wide range of available “U” products, pads, tampons and liners and their respective absorbency, features of the product, a fact/myth section and usage instructions. The thing that caught my eye was, “Made in China” – oh dear, should I assume lots of accidents are going to result from this? LOL… I kid.
As you can see the box open from the top and originally, the flaps are “sticky sealed” against each other, however, can then be resealed using the “slits”. Once you open the box, each pad is vibrantly coloured and each wrapper has a notable “U” Kotex logo on them. From the feel, the wrappers are a smooth-plasticky feel, however, very light and thin. Nevertheless, given that these are overnights, there certainly is quite a bit of size to them, so I would assume maybe the smaller CleanWear versions are a bit more compact. After opening the box, as I mentioned, it can be resealed by taking the top fold of the box and putting it into the slit of the lower one – thus making for a great resealable packaging. A single overnight pad within the wrapper is 13 X 15.5 cm
And here’s a close-up of the pad wrapper… Ok ok, sorry about the wrinkles, crookedness and awkward colour-tone because my camera didn’t like the “shininess” of all the different colours it started really warping the tones, haha.
And the what everyone’s been waiting for, some nice shots of the pad itself…
The first picture depicts a half-opened state of the pad/wrapper. As you can see, these wrappers are hard to reseal a used pad in for disposal. The pad adhesive is stuck on a centre strip which is part of the wrapper itself, very akin to Always pads. The pad design is a very typical curvature of their regular Kotex line – I did not see much difference in that. However, the “pores” of the pad which are intended to quickly trap the wetness in the pad was definitely more dominant. I can definitely say the speed of which wetness was trapped in was amazingly fast – a very good thing for those who experience “stand-up, sit-down” gushes or do not wish to feel the dampness when as menstrual flow is coming out onto the pad. In the second picture, it is simply the wrapper/pad flipped face-down and as you can see, part of the pad and centre-strip actually “sticks out” from the end. I’m not sure what the intent of this design is, although I suppose it may act as a “grasping point”. In the third picture, we finally have a full-blown view of the pad itself. The wings are secured to be stickers, which are affixed to each other like the typical Kotex’s. I’m not sure why they have not adopted a single-sticky like Always, but hey, whatever works! Also note that the designs on the pad (especially the sticky-side) and wings are extremely bold and I’ve noticed when disposed in the garbage, they definitely do “stand out” compared to regular pads, haha.
Here’s some zooms for the pad, from front to back. Some measurement FYI’s… the pad itself is 30 cm’s long, with the front of the pad measuring 10 cm‘s at the widest point. In the middle, when the wings are not extended (and folded in), it measures 9 cm‘s and a hefty 13 cm‘s at the widest point in the back. During overnight, many girls experience leaks towards the rear, mainly due the gravity being at play and the wider coverage will hopefully “soak up the flow” before it goes off an edge. With the speed of absorbency though, I would not see it as being a particular problem it needs to address, although playing it safe never hurts.
I’ll have to say, after thorough testing of the product, I was neither amazed nor disappointed with it. Let’s just say, unless getting a product with wacky looks is your thing, it isn’t worth the extra dollars you’re putting in (unless they decide to do a price-drop). It definitely is thin, although comparable versions such as Stayfree DryMax or even their own Ultra Thin Kotex lines should be able to match this thinness and if it doesn’t match it, at least the difference is not great enough to justify the additional cost.
In terms of comfort, it was quite comfortable and it is light against the skin, unlike the traditional plasticky top-sheet like Always. However, because the “siding” (as you can see from the pictures) often hangs loose, those who have more sensitive skin might describe it as being ticklish or bothersome to them, having it rub up against their skin unnecessarily.What it nice about this product is I’ve noticed that their absorbing “pores” extend completely from front-to-back and there isn’t a “cut off” point on the pad itself, therefore, there is still a “last line of defense” from flow because going off the pad and it might just be very-well the thing that keeps you clean from experiencing a leak instead!
The absorbency capacity is quite large, although once it becomes highly saturated, you do run into an issue where the top-layer definitely does not feel as dry and the surface becomes slightly damp. Again, for those who may be extra sensitive, this “pooling” feeling might be an issue. What I find however, is that unlike many other pads, the “U” distribute flow throughout the rest of the pad very well, which means you don’t (or shouldn’t) run into a scenario where one portion of your pad is heavier than the other and thus encourages build-up and leaks. Unfortunately, it is perhaps this distribution of fluid that it keeps the wetness a bit “surfaced”. Even an intense concentration of flow in a particular area after a while will dissipate itself throughout. When you remove a saturated pad, you will feel it is “evenly balanced”. I think I did mention that the draw-in rate is quite fast and although it immediately makes you feel dry, I have a feeling it does “flow back up” a bit once it has been sitting for a while. Nevertheless, the wetness on top is not indicative to me as an unacceptable problem as every pad I would imagine has a degree of wetness at the top, it’s just a matter of how much and whether it is to the point where it bothers you.
Now it comes down to the adhesive, both at the bottom of the pad and the wings. The adhesive at the bottom of the pad is quite sticky and will adhere to underwear well. I will definitely give a thumbs-up for the fact the pad operates very well under conditions of rapid movement, activity and is resistant to bunching both when dry and wet. Because of also how well it stays on the underwear, it is also capable of conforming to movements of your body and thus, keeping it close to you to keep you leak-free. I must say however, the adhesives do not go completely front to back, which means I found tendencies for the pad extreme front and extreme rear to possibly “come up” which might result in peeling off the underwear in the most unfortunate of cases. The wings were definitely secure and so secure that even a single misplacement might mean it makes it very hard to “re-place” it. I accidentally wrinkled it a bit and I can tell you it stayed wrinkled until I threw it in the garbage. Like the previous complaint before, I did find that the wings because the adhesives weren’t 100% covering that it exhibited a “peeling” action towards the edges, which might mean a possibility of the wings becoming undone if the motions are just right. Each of these scenarios are rare, but I thought I’d bring it to light anyways.
And above is the look of the wing when the sticky-tabs are pulled off with the remainder of the wrapper when the pad is fully removed. The centre core of the pad is very similar to the regular Kotex line of pads, including even the line-designs and such.
While I do think that the pad itself does not “revolutionize” menstrual hygiene and such as it doesn’t have anything amazing like the Always Infinity Infinicel (or does it and I don’t know about it?), the whole idea of Breaking the Cycle and bringing openness towards the topic of menstruation for males and females is great! I certainly hope that more men will become aware, educated and helpful when it comes towards dealing with their menstruating family and friends alike!