Hi again – and this time, I decided to do a review on a generic brand pad under the name TRULY, found at HBC Zellers (which will soon be taken over by Target). I figured with all the big brands I do out there, I ought to finally do one on a “non big” brand name and you know in Canada, you’re pretty much restricted to the usual “big 3” of pads, Always, Kotex and Stayfree. Rather than giving them publicity more than they already have, let’s give “the small guys” some exposure. I’ve tested my fair share of generic pads before and have already made a post about them before, but these TRULY ones really motivated me into writing this review… so let’s begin! Oh and as usual, all the pictures are thumbnails or shrunk to fit the blog, so you can click on the picture to get a larger resolution of it!
Their “sale” (ok, so it wasn’t THAT cheap) caught my eye in the flyer. Of course the flyer week is already over, so I can’t promise it will be the same price by now. They had assorted Truly regular-sized package pads for $2.50 ($2.63 post-tax). I was glad that unlike retarded Walmart, Zellers only charged me the GST portion of the HST since the 8% PST portion is actually supposed to be exempt from the purchase of feminine hygiene items. If I had caught that when I was buying from Walmart last time, I would’ve gave them shit. It’s not a matter of the few cents, but rather, the principle since living in Canada we get our ass taxed for everything as it stands. Furthermore, if as a male I know that feminine hygiene products are point-of-sale PST rebate-eligible, that female cashier should’ve known that even more!
So this is actually the first time I had exposure with the TRULY pads and they’re quite amazing for a store-brand. The packaging was plastic, just like most conventional packaging – so not exactly the best for the environment, but I don’t think any conventional pads or tampons really are and for the environmentally-conscious people, they opt to use menstrual cups or cloth pads. Nevertheless, with the plastic packaging aside (and probably all the rest of the packaging), where this packaging stands out is the fact that it has another layer of protection. As many people are not aware, the surface of pads or anything that comes in contact with the vagina should be sterile and clean. Over time, pads that are left on the shelf and exposed to elements begin to catch things like humidity, dust and eventually, bacteria formation.
This particular package (and I’d assume the same with the rest of their lines) not only has an outer packaging, but also another bag within. Of course another environmentally rude material, but it adds another layer of protection for the sake of your vaginal health. The only thing I found was that because of how tightly the contents are packed along with the restrictions of having an extra bag within the package (which you can fully remove so that you only have the inner clear-plastic bag left and throw the outer one away) made the pads hard to remove at the start. Obviously once you take out 3-4, it becomes less packed and the pads come out with ease. The only thing that I was not pleased about with general packaging, is the fact the pad wrapper doesn’t seem to seal too well and as I was pulling the pad out from the package, a part of the pad opened up. Now, this could be because I was rather rough with it, but after inspecting the pad wrapper sealing, there wasn’t a lot of adhesive on it.
Part of the pros about not having a very tight adhesive is the fact you don’t get a lot of “tearing” sound. For those extra shy women who are afraid of letting someone hear them opening a pad wrapper, this is for you! I would even dare say that the Kotex ‘silent wrappers’ aren’t as silent as these ones! Of course I haven’t tested Kotex in a while (the North-American ones), so maybe my memory is waning, but when you open a Kotex silent-wrapper pad, you still get quite a bit of noise from the edges tearing… unlike the TRULY ones where you get almost a near silent parting of the edges. These are one of the few pads I will open in my house openly without suppressing the noise, lol – yes, that’s how quiet the wrapper is, even though the downside is that it may be a problem for women carrying it in their purse or bag that jostles the pad around and might “open up” accidentally. I would recommend people carry this a more confined space or where it won’t give the opportunity for the pad to friction against other things.
When you unfold the wrapper, nothing about the pad seems to be impressive. I wasn’t expecting much from a generic-brand pad, but thought after being impressed with the outer packaging that they just might have some secrets lying within, haha. The pad is about 26cm long from the front of the pad to the end. The width of the pad at most parts is about 7.6cm, except for the rear that is wider probably to catch overnight rush-flow towards the rear at roughly 9cm. The pad wrapper unfortunately does not have sticky tab, so resealing the existing or used pad is an issue. On the bright side, the pad on the wrapper adhesive is very strong – which I suppose depending on your strength may be a good or bad thing. Suffice to say, the pad sticks very well to undergarment, although with the stickiness, I’m not sure if it’s even enough to damage clothing material. So far, I haven’t seen it do anything like the U By Kotex where it begins to rip material apart. I’m telling you thought, your pad is not likely to move anywhere while it’s worn with how secure it is!
Now when it comes down to the wings, that’s something yet-to-be-desired. I found that the wings had marginal, if not, no absorbing ability. The wings are there strictly for fastening the pad on undergarment and not so much for “preventing leaks” because it will not do much of that at all. The adhesive on the wings are definitely not as impressive as the one on the bottom of the pad either and does not hold very well. The thickness of the pad is an excellent hybrid between “ultra thins” and “maxi” … akin to the “slim” sized pads found in Asia. This is a great pad to compromise with for those who feel the ultra thins don’t provide a feeling of security (or who prefer greater absorbency) but don’t want the bulkiness of the usual overnight sized maxi pads.
Time to talk about the performance of the pad! When comparing things, I think people like to compare apples with applies and oranges to oranges. Well for me – or at least when it comes to pads and tampons – I like to compare them to the same standards. Pitting this TRULY pad against other brand-name pads, there are still quality-build differences. This pad tend to be floppier than others and you’ll notice it RIGHT as you open the wrapper and then remove the pad form the adhesive. However, this is not an issue in terms of the absorbency capability of the pad. Rather, the pad does experience a bit of crinkling noise, which may be a “deal breaker” for the ladies who want absolute discreteness that you have/are opening/are wearing a pad. It feels flimsy, so I was really worried about testing it because it could be a very messy scenario. However, trying to be professional, I proceeded anyways… to my surprize.
The top layer is super comfortable and would even compare to branded-products! Step aside Always and Kotex, because the comfort level of the top-layer is soft and smooth against the skin. When saturated, it absorbs quick, but leaves a slightly wet feeling. Nevertheless, after a few minutes, the pad surface becomes dry again – so as long as you can put up with momentary feeling of wetness for a minute, you’ll be returned to a feeling of comfort and dryness! The absorbent material underneath the pad surface also seemed loose which added to my worry – that is, until after I tested it that the loose feeling of it still provided great security. If you’re one of those people willing to try new things and sacrifice your peace-of-mind on the first try, then you will realize how incredible this “budget” non-name brand pad is and superior in my opinion to any of the generic pads I have tested. Even after long-term use and saturation, the pad has a comfortable feel and does not become hard/rigid. For a pad of this length, I would have actually considered this a “long” or “super” as opposed to overnight. Nevertheless, given the quality and performance of this pad, I too would label it as being suitable for overnight (unless you’re one of those people with extra heavy night flows).
The channel patterns are nothing special, pretty typical design so there’s not much I can comment about that. However, the absorbent core really does a fine job of pulling in flow towards the middle. You will notice that even if you soil the front or rear of the pad, it eventually ends up in the middle in a reasonable time-frame. This keeps the extremities of the pad, which are more prone to leaks, safer from overflow. Also, due to the “generic”ness of the pad, the front and rears of the pad are not built as tough of a quality as branded pads, nevertheless, as long as a large amount of flow is introduced to the front and rear, the flow is highly contained in the middle where the most material and thought was placed into. As mentioned, I have no goodwill towards the wings of the product, other than the fact they’re there, help provide a sense of security and are large. The “walls” of the pad, particularly between the center of the pad and the wings are thicker and tougher to act as a last-resort effort of keeping flow from running off the pad. Even though it is thicker, it does not feel thicker, so rest assured, the comfort is still there.
All in all, I can’t imagine to having tested a generic pad with such quality and very little area for me to complain about! If they even spent a bit of time refining the wings a bit, I can imagine that this unknown little pad will strike hard into the “big 3” market territory. Unfortunately I would expect their funds and technology are more limited compared to P&G, K.C and J&J, so maybe that’s where some of the lack-of-progression will come into play. I would highly recommend this pad to anyone who are not afraid of trying something new and those who may be on a budget. This is after all, a store-brand pad, therefore you can expect lower prices on a pack when compared to branded product at non-sale prices. I am utterly impressed with this product, particularly because it is not one coming from international and multi-billionaire companies like the “big 3”.
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.
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?