Ladies of the World: Why do we need fancy tampons?

Posted at 8:00 AM Mar 19, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

Ladies of the world,

Something has been bothering me since I was a teenager. Nagging me. Irritating me. About once a month for the past 13 or 14 years. No, not my period--although it can certainly be a drag. But rather, a question of menstrual accoutrement. Specifically, tampons. Specifically, shiny, colored, plasticky, pearly, frilly ones that cost several dollars more than the store brand.

Who needs fancy tampons?

I've been buying the Walgreens/Duane Reade/CVS brand tampons since I left my parents' house and had to start paying for things myself. Trust me, there are things I will splurge on--cheese, camping gear, a quality whiskey--but I've never been able to tell much of a difference between something like a Tampax Pearl and a Duane Reade Just Shove It Up There, It'll Be Fine.

I mean, I can tell an aesthetic difference. I've used the fancy 'pons when given them as free samples, and they work fine and look pretty (going in, at least.) But everything comes out looking like, well, a bloody tampon. Do women like to have something pearly and pink on the entry end, as if they're trying to stave off what it's gonna look like in a few hours?

Ladies of the world, enlighten me: what is the advantage of the frilly tamp'ns?



Cori said:

There isn't one. Personally, I switched to a DivaCup menstrual cup about 10 months ago, and they win out over tampons anyday.

stephenie said:

The only time I'll buy what I refer to as "fancy tampons" is when I know I actually need them and buy unbleached cotton ones. Bleached products don't seem like something I want inside a mucous membrane-area.

Red said:

I usually don't buy fancy tampons because I don't want to spend the money, but they do feel better going in...not in, like, a sexual way, obvs, but more like, "Gee. This doesn't feel like a scratchy piece of cardboard" way. That's kind of nice.

nffcnnr said:

i don't know how you people walk around with those things up in there.

BorgQueen said:

I have just always used regular Tampax, just because that is what my mom had and when the time came, I just dug into her stash. That brand has always done just fine so I never had a reason to switch. I see it like TP... I would definitely spend a few bucks more for the better quality considering where it is going.

erika said:

I use the o.b. kind. Does the same job and less waste.

So: I don't get it either.

Jaime said:

I remember Tampax Silk, they came out about a decade ago when some bright spark had the idea that it'd be much nicer if tampons weren't all rough & painful to use. I was in my mid teens & these were the first tampons I could ever use, loved them, now though there are way too many - plastic, scented (WTF?)skirted.....I don't get it.

lewen said:

Like erika I use o.b. b/c applicators are a pain. They fall apart or refuse to disengage. Why pay for them if you aren't going to use them.

ebony said:

purely thinking of the environment here, why would i need so much plastic crap? speaking as a european -- i never understood the purpose of fancy american tampons.

Rachel said:

Plastic, rounded applicators are definitely more comfortable (especially if you have a long cycle and get a little raw)and I've never had an applicator fail to do its job. The fancy shapes, the pearled pull string, and scented ones all seem gimmicky to me. Scented tampons are really no match for the various odors your body can cause. Use moist wipes vice regular tp on your cycle and you shouldn't feel the need for them.

Calamity said:

I tend to buy fairly mid-range tampons. They are more comfortable than ultra-cheap ones but are just as good as the fancy ones. I did splurge and buy some fancy tampons once, but only because they came in a cute little tin to put in my bag, and for someone who's bag is usually a bombsite, I was happy to pay a bit extra to keep my tampons properly sealed. Plus, it was a really cute tin!

Shaz said:

Because my hooha gets tender and so I prefer plastic applicators. Plus you can buy most of the 'fancy' tampons at relatively cheap prices if you are willing to watch for a sale ad and buy a couple months worth (or a months worth for a housefull of girls in my case)

Ruby said:

One word: MoonCup.

Spark. said:

All I have to say is that when I was twelve and had to start figuring that stuff out, it was real nice to have rounded, smooth applicators to make the whole learning process a lot less miserable. I'll still use them some days just for the simple fact that they feel pretty decent and when I've got monster cramps I feel like being nice to myself.

Bmanda said:

I agree with Stephani, I splurge on tampons with no whitening chemicals in them. Other than my wonderful experience using the Instead cup (which I prefer) that's about it.

Melanie said:

The whole cardboard vs plastic applicator thing seems weird to me, as only one brand of tampon in Australia has applicators and they are marketed to young girls (kind of like a trainer tampon). All other tampons here are self-insert, which is in my opinion far more comfortable.

Jill aka The Nerdy Bird said:

How has no one pointed out the genius of this line yet?

"I've never been able to tell much of a difference between something like a Tampax Pearl and a Duane Reade Just Shove It Up There, It'll Be Fine."

rebekah said:

I love my moon cup and I will never go back to using tampons again. However, I must say that the braided string on the tampax pearl tampons are the only thing that wouldn't break apart as I was extracting it, so I would always end up having to cut the string off the tampon and insert it with my finger anyway. I had the choice between using o.b (the only brand that doesn't come with applicators in America, or the fancy ones. When I was at home my mom always bought the fancy ones, because she was freaked out about my fingers in my vagina. If I would forget my tampons at home (yet another plus of the cup as you can just throw it's carrying pouch in your bag and leave it there) I would use the o.b. ones that the school had and I didn't have a problem with it. When I moved out the first thing that I bought was my moon cup. Best 15 bucks I have ever spent in my life, and I won't have to replace it for 5 years. Not a bad deal at all

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