As a female, chances are you’ve experienced some level of anxiety around the thought of swimming (or even just putting on a swimsuit) during your menstrual cycle. In fact, you’ll probably never forget the summers where you got your period on the date of a friend's pool party, or strategically looked ahead on the calendar to see if your cycle was expected to begin during your family beach vacation. Fortunately, over the last few years, a number of period swimwear brands have arrived to solve any lingering woes. While a specialized swimsuit is by no means necessary, for those who may feel more comfortable with extra protection, a specialized swimsuit can provide.
If you’ve heard of, or perhaps even used period underwear, the idea behind the technology is very similar for swimwear. For instance, you might be familiar with Knix, a brand that champions period panties. With the success of its briefs, the brand launched its swimwear in 2021 with the same leak-proof technology it's known for (more on that below).
You might be thinking — will they leak, rub, or smell? Well, according to Kristy Chong, CEO and Founder of Modibodi, this specific type of swimwear is created to specifically address these issues. “[Our] top sporty mesh layer features a fast-drying, antimicrobial, anti-odor, backed with a breathable, waterproof layer which inhibits bacteria growth and repels smell,” she explains.
Curious to learn more about how period swimwear works? Below, find three brands — Knix, Modibodi, and Ruby Love — that are leading the charge on the growing industry. Remember: Don’t let your cycle stop you from enjoying the rest of the summer in the water.
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Launched by Joanna Griffiths in 2013, Knix is an intimate brand recognized for its leak-proof underwear, bras, activewear, and now, swimwear. Its newest swim line works as the inner layer absorbs and traps in the blood, while the bottom layers are waterproof for extra protection. According to the brand’s website, its swimwear holds up to three teaspoons of blood, which is equivalent to about three tampons.
The brand’s classic designs are timeless and easy for the beach. Plus, the black colorway means that even if there was potential staining, no one would be the wiser. After you’re done using the swimwear, it’s best to machine-wash it on a cold cycle and then lay flat to dry. Choose between the classic one-piece (available in sizes S to XXXL+) or the high-rise bottoms (offered in sizes S to XXXL).
“Modibodi’s swimwear products are all light-moderate absorbency, meaning they can hold up to 10ml, which equals up to two tampons or one to two teaspoons,” Chong explains. “[They are] perfect for using while in and out of the water to protect from light bladder leaks, discharge, light periods, and spotting.”
Chong says its patent-pending Modifier Swimwear Technology (which features a dry-fast water repellent fabric that fights odors) is 1mm thick. “The top mesh layer inhibits bacteria growth and repels smell,” as she notes above. She adds that the outer layer offers waterproof protection. “The entire swimsuit is made from chlorine-resistant, UV50+-rated, water repellent fabric which dries much faster than typical swimwear, helping absorb blood.”
Modibodi’s designs are more on the simple, streamlined side. Its small product assortment includes the classic bikini brief in black, high-waist bikini brief in black, and one-piece with double straps in black and navy. While they might not be super trendy, these pieces will never go out of style.
Chong suggests washing your Modibodi swimwear before wearing them for the first time. “This will activate the technology in the gusset for maximum absorbency.” Pro tip: Hold the fabric softener, as she says it reduces the product's function.
Founded by Crystal Etienne, Ruby Love is perhaps the leader in period swimwear as it’s been offering it up since 2015 (Modibodi’s swim launched in 2017 and Knix just this year). Both its underwear and swimwear are made with five layers. For starters, the first layer is created with the brand’s proprietary dri-tech mesh, which stops leaks in the front, sides, and back of the suit. Additionally, Ruby Love’s proprietary super- absorbent layer works to fight odor and keep you dry.
Currently, the brand has a wide selection of silhouettes for women, like its hipster bottoms, double-tie bottoms, racerback one-pieces, one-shoulder one-pieces, and off-the-shoulder one-pieces. As for colors and prints, the brand carries everything from neutrals to funky animal prints. And size-wise, the majority of its swimwear runs from XS/SM to 3X.
The brand also makes suits that cater to a wide age range, hoping to offer help to any person who experiences a form of menstruation or incontinence.