To end May on a high, we are celebrating International Menstruation Day today on the 28th May! We are wrapping up our period series this month with our top picks for a plastic period.


When using tampons, look for those with cardboard applicators, which unlike their plastic counterparts, are totally biodegradable. Did you know that there is no scientific evidence that plastic applicators are better for women’s bodies than cardboard or applicator-free tampons? Check out TOTM, LOLA, and Natracare for plastic-free tampons (and even pads) that don’t sacrifice any of the comfort and security we need each month.


Source: DAME

Some women are hesitant to make the switch to cardboard applicators because they offer less glide than a plastic applicator. Cue DAME, creator of the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, made of antibacterial medical-grade material that offers the comfort of a plastic applicator. While DAME’s reusable applicator can be used with any standard tampon, whatever the brand, DAME also sells its own line of biodegradable tampons that are made from organic cotton and free from the bleach, rayon, fragrances, pesticides that are found in traditional tampons. 


Source: ModiBodi

Period-proof underwear provides another environmentally friendly alternative to disposable menstrual products. The underwear is made of absorbent material that can hold one to two tampons’ worth of menstrual flow, and can be popped into the wash at the end of the day. Check out Sustain, Aisle and Modibodi for period-proof underwear that’s made of sustainable fabrics and comes in a wide-variety of styles, ranging from full briefs to skimpy thongs, that match seamlessly with any outfit. 


Source: Luuna

The menstrual cup has become the fan favorite in terms of zero-waste period products. The reusable bell-shaped device is made of medical-grade silicone, which reduces the risk of toxic shock syndrome that accompanies tampons. Worn internally, the cup sits low in the vaginal canal and collects, rather than absorbs, menstrual flow. The menstrual cup is also hugely cost-effective, especially when considering the cumulative costs of buying hundreds of tampons and pads each year.

Unlike tampons that need to be changed several times throughout the day, menstrual cups are virtually leak-free and hold three times the volume of a pad or tampon. When full, the cup can be simply removed, emptied, washed and reinserted. At 8Shades, our menstrual cup of choice is from Hong Kong-based social impact period care company, Luüna Naturals.

Hong Kong’s period poverty problem

“The Zubin Foundation found that 16% of girls in Hong Kong have missed school or work because they could not afford sanitary products. 

It makes such a big difference to the lives of marginalized ethnic minority girls to be able to receive free sanitary products.  

We are so pleased to be working with LUÜNA to support period poverty in Hong Kong.”

Shalini Mahtani, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

It’s time for us to face a serious matter we’ve been sweeping under our rug, Period Poverty is a global issue affecting women and girls, and it’s happening here in our home, Hong Kong, too. 

Period poverty refers to ‘inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, including but not limited to sanitary products, washing facilities, and waste management’. 

Source: Luuna

Let’s narrow the scope down to the current situation in Hong Kong.

The ethnic minority community is one of the poorest in Hong Kong, with one in four living in poverty. The situation worsened over the last year through Covid-19, causing major job loss in the community. Monthly menstruation is far from luxury but unfortunately this is what it has become for many girls and women in our city. 

The Zubin Foundation is devoted to improving the lives of Hong Kong’s marginalised ethnic minorities by providing opportunities and reducing suffering. Through their ‘Red Box Project’ they aim to lessen these communities’ family burden through the donation of period care, specifically 4-months worth of product to each girl who is part of their program. Luuna Naturals, Hong Kong based period care company have supported The Zubin Foundation with this initiative. In May 2021, together they delivered the first batch of Red Boxes to 123 girls in need.

Source: Luuna

From a survey that the Zubin Foundation conducted, it was found that over 50% of these respondents’ family members had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and over 45% of the respondents are still struggling to continue their education due to financial issues.  

It’s very important to acknowledge the fact that healthy period care products are essential to all women who menstruate, and there are women and girls in need that have no access to such items, which might cause them to resolve to using unsanitary replacements that are detrimental to their health. 

Source: Luuna

Whilst removing stigma around periods as well as educating and empowering women is imperative to both The Zubin Foundation and Luuna Naturals, so is providing simple access to products that we believe should be freely available, particularly to those in need. 

If you would like to contribute to this project, please visit for more donation information. And remember, every purchase made with Luuna Naturals also helps fund donating period care products to women with periods in need. 

Menstruation stigma must stop. Period.

Most women menstruate for an average of forty years, approximately 2,400 days over the course of a lifetime! 

In honor of menstrual hygiene day this May 28th, we are shining a light on the social and cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation, alongside some of the issues around mainstream period products.

Source: Menstrual hygiene day

Even though menstruation is a natural and healthy part of life, period taboos and cultural stigmas surrounding it have persisted across history. Most societies teach girls that periods are unclean, embarrassing and that they just shouldn’t be discussed. 

Just think about all the euphemisms that society has concocted in order to avoid saying the word “period”: Auntie Flow, time of the month, girl flu, Bloody Mary, strawberry week

Source: The Lilac Blog

Unfortunately, the silence, shame, and secrecy that shrouds periods has prevented girls and women from managing their periods with dignity, which has also created adverse health implications. 

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once wrote that if men had periods, periods would hardly be embarrassing and probably something men would boast in length about. Similarly, many social scientists have argued that if men menstruated, there would be an abundant supply of cheaper, smarter, more convenient and less environmentally toxic alternatives to tampons and pads. In reality, innovation surrounding menstrual hygiene products has been slow and uninspiring. 

To make matters worse, in many countries, feminine hygiene products are still subject to senseless taxation because they are considered “non-essential luxury products.” For decades, one or two companies have dominated the period industry. Rather than committing to true innovation and developing sustainable product lines, these dominant companies have focused on revamping existing product lines, insisting that women would never shift from disposable products to reusable ones. 


Even though we have become all too familiar with the environmental harms of single-use plastic, we do not usually think of tampons and sanitary pads as part of the single-use plastic problem. 

Did you know that most pads are made up of 90% plastic? 

Source: Natracare


Similarly, tampons are filled with plastic, and plastic can be found even in the tampon string. Did you know that plastic applicators are just as bad for the environment as plastic straws are? The average woman uses more than 10,000 tampons in her lifetime, each of which takes longer to biodegrade than the life of the woman who used it! 

More than 200 billion menstrual products end up in a landfill each year. Because pads and tampons have revolutionized how women manage their periods, there is fear that drawing attention to the period plastic problem may create unnecessary backlash against products that many women currently need. 

Nevertheless, at 8Shades, we believe that knowledge is power. Fighting for period equity, aka greater access for women across the globe to safe and affordable period products, and fighting for our planet are not mutually exclusive campaigns. In fact, we believe that the more sustainable period products there are on the market, the more choice a woman will have in managing her period with dignity. As history has demonstrated time and again, for women, more choice corresponds with more empowerment. 

Stay tuned for some of our favourite more sustainable and less toxic, period products!