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Generic Feminine Products–to buy or not to buy?

Most of us in the PF world live on generics. They make the most sense financially and they’re normally just as good as the name brand. But there’s one place where many differ–the area of feminine products. Probably because we (women) have all had a bad experience with the store-brand.

So far, I have never found a store-brand MaxiPad which is as good as Kotex (my favorite). Or even as good as Always, etc. The reason? Any decent pad has some kind of stitching to keep the contents from sliding around. Generics don’t. Ever. I’ve tried a number. Now that I know the secret, I look for stitching on the picture. Fortunately, there’s still some truth in advertising.

Now MaxiPads are out. But what about the other two kinds, simple pantyliners and ever-useful tampons? Strong possibility that the generic is just as good.

Pathmark, my childhood store, makes excellent pantiliners. I’ve found a few other stores which do as well. Look, again, at the picture on the box. If it’s of something you’d buy as a non-generic, then go for it. Since there isn’t a bunch of absorbent material trying to stay in place, stitching doesn’t matter as much.

I give a green light for CVS Tampons. I can’t tell the difference between them and Tampax. I wouldn’t be surprised if most stores which offer generics are just as good here too.

In sum:

Generic Maxis–pretty much…Never.
Generic Pantiliners–sure, they’re probably fine.
Generic Tampons–at least give them a try and CVS makes good ones.

And a final note to men:

Unless she gives you the green light, never buy generic feminine products for your wife, girlfriend, daughter, etc. Maybe suggest the idea if she’s into frugality, but don’t just bring them home. This is an uncomfortable part of our months and we at least want a little control. That said, surprise chocolate, cookies, and ibuprofen are probably welcome.

{ 3 trackbacks }

When Generics Bite Back — Razor of Death…
March 2, 2008 at 6:56 pm
Why the Diva Cup is a good choice for me in terms of comfort and price.
March 6, 2008 at 2:31 pm
Diva Cup Review: Going Green On A Personal Level. | The Good Human
June 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda October 3, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Heating pads and a good backrub are welcome, too!

PaulaB52 October 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm

I’ve had good luck with the Equate pads. To me, they were as good as Always. Actually they were a bit longer, so that was a good thing.

Mrs. Micah October 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Backrubs, heating pads, and Advil are a great combination! πŸ™‚

Thanks for the tip, Paula. πŸ™‚

Chitown October 3, 2007 at 3:26 pm

I echo Amanda and Mrs. Micah. A heating pad is a girl’s best friend. =)

On the other hand, I am not frugal when it comes to fem products but I will go generic for birth control pills.

Susy October 3, 2007 at 4:38 pm

I find that with coupons and sales I can usually get my favorites for cheaper than store brand.

Toilet paper is another place I buy name brand. Only quilted northern for us (I tried store brand several times and hubby said, “we make enough to spend a few extra cents on each roll of tp”).

SavingDiva October 3, 2007 at 7:59 pm

I agree with Susy. Coupons are the key to my purchases! I wait for a sale (and stock up on coupons), and then I buy in bulk!

Anonymous October 3, 2007 at 9:38 pm

The best maxi pads like Stayfree and Kotex I have found are from Big lots for about $1.69. They are very good. Those wearable body heat wraps work good. A good pain killer is Pamprin for that time of the month. They have a small bottle at Dollar stores too. It helps with swelling and pain. I love it. If you want the more expensive pads be sure to sign up for thier samples. They will send coupons with the sample most of the time. You can also find coupons on line but, it is cheaper when you get them out of a Sunday paper because, you don’t have to use printer ink. Good luck, Annette

Hilda October 4, 2007 at 12:42 am

Always is my brand but now that paulab52 alerted me to Equate pads as just as good, I think I’m going to try that.

Mrs. Micah October 4, 2007 at 1:11 am

Where does one get Equate? Are they a brand or a store brand?

PaulaB52 October 4, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Equate is the one of the Walmart generics.

Mrs. Micah October 4, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Well, I don’t shop there but I’ll remember it.

Jess October 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Have you ever considered a menstrual cup like the diva cup ( It’s $35 but you buy it once and then re-use it for 10 years. You clean it out every 12 hours and boil it to sterilize it between periods. It’s amazingly cheap per use and you never have to worry about running out!

mrsmicah October 7, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I’ve thought about the divacup. I may try it out some month. Until recently, I had trouble with tampons, but now they work fine so….

That’s $3.50/year, $.29/month. nice πŸ™‚

Kacie October 8, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for letting us know about CVS tampons! I have to admit–I’m a little afraid of store brands for that purpose. My goal is to never have to pay for tampons (and lots of other toiletries) again, through rebate deals at drugstores.

But in a pinch, it’s good to know CVS has the green light! πŸ™‚

van October 12, 2007 at 8:13 pm

i have to agree with the comment on the cvs tampons….thank goodness i picked them up!!

i was a loyal tampax user for over 15 years but the “new” tampax tampons are not improved-in fact they are downright terrible, an uncomfortable applicator, a “extra” protector that does nothing but leak oh and now they expand in a whole new way….do not know what the makers of tampax were thinking but the new ones are NOT worth it.

mrsmicah October 12, 2007 at 8:35 pm

I’m glad you like them too, van. πŸ™‚ It’s surprising, really, given how bad generic pads are, but there you go.

Andrea February 12, 2008 at 11:03 pm

I came to post about the Diva Cup too. I bought mine more than 2 years ago now, and I’ve never looked back. It takes a bit to get used to putting it in/taking it out, but since it’s non-absorbent, you can practice with it during any time of your cycle without worrying about it.

Dana March 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I have to say I never thought about the whole stuffing-moving-around thing. My big concern was whether the pad worked to prevent spillover, because I had horrifically heavy periods when I first started getting them, and occasionally now I still do.

I also have to worry about immediate price now because I’m low-income anyway, so whatever is going to leave more money in my pocket to cover some other expense is very welcome.

That said, Kroger’s pads leave something to be desired. The stuffing does move around a little bit, and if I leave the same one in too long, the back end tears open. The solution, obviously, is to make sure I change them often enough during the day.

I would like to change over to using cloth pads eventually. I have a few but three isn’t enough to last me through the entire four or five days. But they are amazingly comfortable, and if you change them often enough they don’t leak, not even through the bottom of the pad itself. You can even customize them if they’re the type made up of an outer cover and removable inner liners.

The Diva Cup sounds interesting but I’m paranoid I’d hurt myself with the darned thing. I might get one for when I go to the pool with my daughter, but it’ll be a while yet; I have some catching up with my finances to do first.

kelly February 3, 2010 at 8:24 am

I love OB tampons. They have less waste, invented by a woman, and is the most effective. I feel they are very comfortable and reliable. It’s the way they expand, instead of just side to side. Yes, they have no applicator for you use your finger, but you are in control. Tampax are very uncomfortable and don’t always protect me. I will never switch to any other brand for they have worked the best and they are more “green” for the earth. Plus, they are very discreet. OB also makes them with an applicator for those who like them.

Also, Equate pads work great. I was using Always but needed to save a few pennies. Well, Equate I think work just as good. Other than that, I’ve never used any other store brand pad.

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