So for those of you who actually read my ANNOUNCEMENTS section, you’ll know that I recently acquired the Stayfree Overnight Maxi Without Wings from a local Walmart. I’m trying to think and other than with my girls or god-sis’, I don’t recall every buying pads or tampons from Walmart – or rather, mainly because I’m not a Walmart fan and don’t shop there a lot other than being dragged in there. What got me there in the first place was because I was early for a meeting and decided to get a coffee from the in-Walmart McDonalds and because I also saw on the flyer there were Stayfree pads on sale for $1.99! The sale notice was quite deceiving, making you think there were several different types that were on-sale and only upon arrival, it was this SINGULAR slot on the shelf that was on sale and it was already all sold out. Judging from the size of the slot, it appeared to be ultra things anyways – bleh.
So I decided to browse around since I was there anyways. It was fairly early in the morning so there were only the senior couples shopping around at such ungodly hours… heck, even the stay-at-home moms or dads wouldn’t be shopping yet since they haven’t dropped off the kids at school. Given the older ladies, it is likely they are well past menopausal and would have little reason to wander down the feminine hygiene aisle, so I had some liberties of being able to refresh my knowledge on what’s on the shelf. There were two products that caught my eye, 1) Always Extra Heavy Overnight Maxi pads with Flexi Wings, and 2) Stayfree Overnight Maxi pads Without Wings. I had already done a previous review of #1, so I took some time to investigate into #2. In Canada, most places other than Walmart (probably due to their connections with American Walmarts), only offers up to their Stayfree Maxi Long Supers with or without wings. I knew the existence of the “Overnight Maxi” version only from knowledge off of the US Stayfree site. The only “overnight” version of Stayfree available in Canada in-mass is the ultra thin versions. I looked at the price, $6.57, ouch, but hey, my choices to ever get a hold of these were to buy it now or have them shipped from the US which would probably cost more (even with the CAD at par with USD), require shipping charges and potential customs fee.
As usual, all my pictures are set to a slightly smaller thumbnail mode so that it doesn’t explode anyone’s screen – you can click on them to get a larger picture. All the pictures of the package was taken using my iPhone, so don’t expect amazing quality. However, all the pictures taken of the pad itself was done using my beautiful new camera 🙂
The outside packaging doesn’t look far off the typical Stayfree, although in terms of size, the package is considerably larger than the Stayfree Supers that I normally get. I would say that the package is almost twice the size for non-jumbo packs. As you can see, Stayfree has always manufactured their packaging to show “Light”, “Moderate”, “Heavy”, and “Overnight” – but awkwardly enough, Maxi Supers are the only ones thus far offered widely in Canada… and why? I have no idea. On the front of the package, they describe their famous “3-features” – Cottony Dry Core, Anti-leak Core and Absorbency Pillows and also boasting 19 anti-leak channels. I did notice that the packaging was marked “New” so I wonder whether they’re really planning to start selling it widely in Canada or whether that “New” marking was just because the pads were imported for-sale by Walmart in Canada. For those who prefer the french-side… see below:
Just picking up the package alone, I could already smell the scent coming from within. For those who follow along with my blog, you’ll know my biggest gripe with Stayfree is their pungent scent and although admittedly great for covering up odour (or so we assume), the smell itself is so strong and throughout long-term contact with skin, even changes the natural skin/body aroma. I know we all like to smell fresh, guys and girls included, but I’m not a big fan of something that does so much as to even cover natural bodily smell – not just trying to mask the smell of exposed menstrual flow. The top of the package goes into slightly more details as to the benefits of the “Stayfree Triple Defense System” which was explains what each feature component does and how it enhances the pad’s ability to provide peace-of-mind to the user.
At the side of the package, there’s a product-line listing of all the different types of Stayfree pads, from Light to Overnight protection. I was really hoping to get the Stayfree Overnight Maxi with Wings, but for some odd reason, Walmart only seems to offer the non-winged version of this, or there may be import-implications. Nevertheless, the winged version does look a lot cooler, more comfortable and perhaps would allow me to review it a bit more in-depth than this one which is essentially a “longer” and “larger” version of the super. On the bottom of the package, it’s nice to see that Johnson and Johnson Inc. is based out of Markham, Ontario – but don’t like offering their Overnight Maxi’s in Canada… this almost cuases me to shrug my shoulders in confusion as much as the Always Extra Heavy Overnight’s that are made in Canada, but not sold in Canada, LOL! 😆 Hey, if you can find the logic… please let me know…!
Once the pad/wrapper is actually removed from the packaging, you’ll notice it’s pretty much your typical Stayfree pad, just slightly larger to hold. I don’t know, it almost seems like these pads were made for large male hands rather than girl-hands (which are generally smaller). I guess most women would just hold the pad from any of the corners/sides, rather than fully in their palms, but you’d think they would try to compact it a bit for easier handling! When the pad is completely folded within the wrapper, it measures 1.5″ or 3.8 cm high and 4.5″ or 11.5 cm wide.
The pad is folded up into 3 sections, resulting in 2 unfolds to get the pad completely deployed and ready-for-use. Unlike other pads, Stayfree makes their folds very obvious and doesn’t use any intricate technology. Although it is “less impressive” in that sense, it’s also the “least complex”, thus generating less overhead during the manufacturing process as well as avoiding any potential user-error or “oopsies” when the user is removing the pad from the package. As thick and long as this pad may be, it is still very light-weight in comparison to “maxi” sized products. Basically, to stick the pad onto undergarments, there is only the single adhesive strip to remove. In the picture below, the 3 folds are quite visible and while it may seem like the “lumps” created from it would be a disturbance, when worn, the pad resumes it’s body-curving state almost immediately after placement.
As I was posting these pictures, I seriously just noticed the fact I didn’t actually crop them – but no matter, you just get a new view of my wood desk! The pad out-of-the-wrapper measures 11″ or 28 cm long and is 1.5 cm or 15 mm thick. As I mentioned previously, this is literally just a “glorified” – longer, wider and thicker version of the “lighter” Stayfree maxi product line – however, there cotton on it seemed to be even softer than the others, even though logic would say the materials would need to be packed tighter in order to create a larger flow absorbency. The top cover was very smooth and comfortable against skin and the design of the pad is intended to hug the body well while maintaining a “relaxed” feel and allowing it to form to the curvatures of the body.
The pad itself has very visible channels and I must say, they do a fine job of distributing flow so that it doesn’t pool itself in one area. Suffice to say, any pooling of menstrual flow would result in 1 or both of the following, 1) uncomfortable feeling of wetness on the surface, and/or, 2) creating overflowing opportunities from the absorbent material at the bottom. Many of the Stayfree commercials center around the criss-cross design of their pads which help channel flow evenly amongst the absorbent material, creates a wall of protection and also maintain a comfortable feel against skin without chaffing. Stayfree has a “risen” design, similar to pads like Sofy which has a raised center and edges to help contain flow and create a “seal” between the vagina and the pad, thus preventing too much “gaps” between the body where flow could leak on undesirable areas (such as down the butt, legs or underwear). A zoom-in of the pad allows one to see the intricate designs of flow distribution, wall-like-protection and body-hugging features.
Through some testing, it appeared that the pad is almost capable of absorbing 1.5x the amount of flow as compared to the maxi super version. The top sheet under heavy saturation still felt dry enough to prevent discomfort, while it’s noticeable if touched. The pad contained the flow well, but the weakness came to the sides of the pad where leaking was prone as a result of no-wings or if there was poor sitting posture where a lot of pressure was placed on the center of the pad. Leaks would occur if the pad was “pinched” (such as rubbing of legs together while cross-legged sitting or tight walking) – however, this was only the case when the pad was reaching its saturation point.
The anti-leak core did an excellent job of retaining the flow once absorbed and it was very apparent when you went to dispose of the pad – it felt spongey and you could feel confident that the flow would not come back out as you rolled/folded it up for disposal. Under immense pressure (beyond what anyone would use to disposal of a pad), there would be some moisture that seeped out from the edges. I’m not sure this would be prevented or mitigated for the wings version and I won’t be able to say if/when I get access to it. The winged version of the overnight does seem to not follow suit with the general “simplistic and straight” design of the general Stayfree line and seems to be a bit more curvy – narrower at the front, wider in the back.
The general garbage generation from this pad is small. The wrapper is just enough to keep the pad wrapped and the adhesive is a single, thin strip. The wrapper itself is not the “discrete wrappers” that so many brands boast as it is very crinkly and noisy, almost the sound of crunching a small envelope in your hands. I’m not sure how to describe the material of the Stayfree wrappers, but they’re all very thin/light, possibly recycled material (which is fine anyways since you’re throwing it away) and does very little to conceal your wrapping/unwrapping of your pad. When I looked at the pad, it seemed so “fluffy” that I worried the top-sheet material may fall apart or be a catalyst for a leak – but that is not the case at all as the “fluffiness” of the pad creates a very soft and non-itchy feel, while maintaining the integrity of the pad/absorbency.
The stickiness of the pad and adhesive I would call “perfectly sufficient” to do its job. It isn’t weak like dollar-store pads and it isn’t so strong like U by Kotex where it shreds your underwear into bits. I would not call the disposal of the pad “hide-able” either as it’ll stick out in the garbage quite a bit. Of course compared to the Always Extra Heavy Overnights, it has a long way to go to catch up with the disposal-thickness of it, it takes quite some effort and skill to compact it enough to make it less visible when disposed. Because of the gel-like core, when the pad is saturated, the pad is easily manipulated into any given form whereas if the pad was less saturated, it’d be a much “stiffer” disposal. Nevertheless, one must take care not to greatly disturb the absorbed flow internally as it may create some icky accidents onto your hands as your rolling/folding it up.
I didn’t expect any less of Stayfree before reviewing this pad. I’ll still be on the hunt to find the wings version only because it’s very different than their general design of a simply-shaped pad. I guess sometimes simple designs that do the job are enough and that making a quality product doesn’t rely on fancy twist, curves and proprietary technology. Overall, I’m very happy with the comfort, absorbency and value of the Stayfree Overnight Maxi’s. I’m pretty sure it takes up a lot of space in a bag or purse, but it’s great for heavy days (unless every day IS a heavy day for you) and if you didn’t know, many of the super+ absorbency of pads is also created for a small degree of urinary incontinence protection, making it a great 2-in-1 product! At the price which I paid for it, you’re looking at around 23.46 cents per pad.
As much as I’m not a big fan of Walmart and this is the first time I’ve ever bought feminine hygiene products from Walmart on my own, this is so far the only large store I’ve seen in Canada (or more specifically, Ontario) that offers this product. Perhaps if you live in the larger cities, other stores may offer it, but being an avid shopper of these aisles, I have yet to see them elsewhere 😛 I hope my bebe will try this one day… err.. maybe post-pregnancy? LOL. Ya ya, just keep dreamin’ right? 😀