Of Sea Pearls and Diva Cups: an Honest Review of Eco Feminine Hygiene Products


The curse, Aunt Flo, crimson wave, the rag, that time of the month – sound vaguely familiar? For centuries women have been shushed and shamed and told it was inappropriate to discuss – but if you ask me our ability to create a life is amazing. So here at EcoSalon, let’s just use the word "period", period.

I was 14 when my first period announced itself, and to be honest, I wanted nothing of it. A tomboy and athlete and the last girl in my 8th grade class to wear makeup or a bra, I had no interest in becoming a “woman”. And no, I didn’t celebrate by lighting candles and singing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” as my mom cried tears of joy and shared with me her pearls of female wisdom. Instead, I reluctantly took the tampon from her hand, headed to the loo and spent the next two hours (or what seemed like two hours) trying to figure it all out. I emerged successful, but only because I was on a mission. The next day was a Saturday, as well as my best friend’s birthday party – a swim party. Need I say more?

To wit, I’m committed to making as many green lifestyle changes as one girl can make, and I’m happy to be first in line to try the latest gadget or idea in the spirit of eco-friendliness”¦but I reserve the right to draw a line in the eco-sand.

The idea of a silicone cup (DivaCup┞¢) that “catches” my flow for up to 12 hours before it needs to be replaced (or rather removed, emptied and cleaned)”¦well, let’s just say I wasn’t eager. But before the environmental police or eco-gods or whoever keeps track of these things, prepare to hang me upside down over the nearest landfill – please know that I gave it my best eco-effort.

And I tried only because the benefits of reusable rubber or silicone are so significant:

1. The “cups” can last up to 10 years (at what point do they become vintage?), which means less waste from disposed products and packaging. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t passionately support lessening the load on landfills; and

2. Spending only $33 over 10 years versus $8 for a box of 40 once a month? Can you say extra cash?
The plethora of supportive testimonials read like a high school pep cheer – “give me a D, give me an I, give me a V“¦.what does that spell? DIVA!” They are full of supportive and helpful suggestions for the newbie, and the positive reviews far outweigh the negatives”¦

“¦but I walk a fine line between my eco-sensitivities and my need for comfort, convenience and hygiene. The DivaCup┞¢ (or The Keeper or Moon Cup) just isn’t for me.

I also tried the Sea Pearls┞¢ natural sea sponge tampon, celebrated for its comfort, sustainability, reusability and all-natural fibers (without Dioxin or other artificial chemicals). At $16 for a pack of two, it will also save you money.

In summary, and without getting too specific, the issues I had with the aforementioned alternatives included discomfort (not hmm this feels different, but ouch this is annoying), a number of “accidents” and plain old-fashioned ickiness, especially at work or a meeting or the mall or someone else’s home.

This is one eco-change that doesn’t work for me, at least not today. But let’s give a big round of applause to the converts among us – their persistence and commitment are admirable. But not every eco-option works for every eco-chick, and I’m here to throw some support her way as well.

I, for one, intend to continue using this or this eco-option.

Image: mikecpeck