Body Hair, Preconceived Notions & Femininity

This post came about because of a blog post written for Glamour magazine (there is explicit discussions about sexuality in this article and how it’s intertwined with body hair, so it’s definitely nsfw, but a GREAT read if you’re comfortable with that). This post was also written because of the subsequent discussion from it after it was posted in one of my cloth pad and RUMPs Facebook groups. I found it super interesting and almost enlightening how open and honest people with vulvae can be about something purely personal to them. So cool! But that’s probably just my thing, I love learning about things regarding the female reproductive system (stemming from a life of struggle with my own 😂)! But anyways, here we go, get ready for a (not so wild) ride on my opinions, my experiences, and an overview on the interactions between body hair and femininity!
originalblueI recently told my best friend of eight years that I have never shaved my legs. We grew up together, having met in sixth grade, and she had never noticed my leg hair until we moved in together and she was laying on them looking for it. She was surprised, to a degree I was not expecting, and even said she was jealous. I was blessed in this life with super thin barely there body hair so I got really lucky in terms of modern societal expectations, but I also believe that someone who has quadruple the density of body hair compared to me should have the same ability to not shave and still not be ridiculed for that choice.

I have such sensitive skin, I have never been able to find a deodorant that my underarm skin doesn’t react to to some degree. Not like, “just a light itch”, more like blistering burning incredibly painful rash that I would scratch at in my sleep. Even before I wore deodorant, I would get heat rashes under my arms and in the creases of my elbows and knees. That’s not something I ever ever want to mess with.

I have a super low pain tolerance (waxing any part of my body was and will never be an option), and my personal hatred for shaving is ever present so there aren’t really many options. Not to mention, I really don’t want to! I never even got a shaving or period talk from my parents, not even just the facts, so I’m kinda messed up in terms of societal expectations. I just… don’t care!

My mother and I have a close friend that insists that women HAVE to shave their armpits and pubic hair for “cleanliness”, that there is something that makes women different from men that forces them to NEED to do it. But that comes off to me like a disposable pad or tampon or douche commercial from the 80s. Like, “feeling not so fresh?”. Sure…

(p.s. about that ad, no modern doctor would ever “recommend” putting vinegar in your vagina, oh my god. how to majorly throw off the pH of your body 101. We have learned more about the human body since 1981, believe it or not.)

We know the scientific purpose and benefits of body hair, but we also have the ability to effectively and safely remove it. It is a personal choice that adults should be able to make. As long as said body hair isn’t causing harm to you or impacting your person, I’m fine. Judge me all you want, only I can control how “clean” I am. Like, that “shaving = cleanliness because women are different biologically” is a pretty staunch post-WWII era belief, when most women were forced back out of the workforce and into more traditionally feminine jobs and housewifery. During the war and before, shaving was not 75% of what it is now. Just like the rise in disposable feminine products, imagine how much the body hair removal industry makes off of feminine insecurity created by societal expectations and preconceived notions.

It’s okay to shave for a partner as long as they aren’t making you do it (which is unhealthy in general) or making you feel bad about your body because of your body hair. If you are in that situation, here are some things to remember:

Your body hair is there for a reason, your body wouldn’t grow it if it was inherently gross or unclean. Maintain good overall hygiene and there’s nothing to worry about. Body hair will always be a trendy topic, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting or never even touching it. As an adult human, be conscious of your own self worth and your ability to make decisions for yourself regardless of others. Know that your body is the one thing you will always have, and will always be in. It’s your body, and yours alone. Own it, take care of it, and be your best version of yourself for you.

Makeup Revolution // Ultra Contour Kit | Review & Swatches on Fair Skin

This contour palette is $15. I got it for $7.50 on BOGO 50% off from Ulta + Ebates Cash Back. Amazing price, just off the bat. Most people who are interested in Makeup Revolution products are concerned with price and are looking for alternatives to modern high end products.

({ I would know, I specifically bought their Kat Von D S&L Eye dupe because I really wanted the warm quad and I couldn’t justify the $45 price tag. 😂

And I’m not gonna dance around this, I really enjoy this palette! There is such an incredible value for money here. Nothing is chalky, nothing is hard to use. For the almost sub-drugstore price this has (at BOGO 50% off), that is impressive (Looking at you Revlon, you should be ashamed of those face palettes, you can do so much better at that price point, this is proof).

There were a few different things because of my skin tone and preferences that doesn’t work perfectly. But I can make everything work, which is what matters!

Highlighter Swatches

Now, I am incredibly pale. I look best with a white or a light champagne highlight, but I can work with all of the shades in this palette.

The first shade is a lovely easy peasy undereye setting powder that matches my skin tone really well. It has a neutral to pinky undertone. It would be an amazing slightly brightening shade for any one beyond my extreme fairness / of  a light medium or deeper complexion (I’m NC15 – 17 from Mac most of the time). I use this most days when I just want to set down my Catrice Liquid Camo concealer lightly when I need it to last. And it’s brilliant.

The second shade is… yellow. And this comes with the “contour palette” stereotype, but it just is too dark for me to use on top of makeup. But occasionally when I’m not doing full makeup looks but want a little something, I’ll pop this on top of my undereye to do a bit of correction and lighten the look of my undereye circles. In that way, it definitely works.

The third shade is a highlight. Yes, you read that correctly. On my skin in a swatch it looks a little bit ridiculous, but it does give for a natural highlighted effect. BUT, I still prefer my Essence Pure Nude Highlight for a natural look because this particular pan of product is a bit too glittery for my preferences. However, when applied wet, this pan works amazing for that effervescent shiny sheer eyeshadow look that I really enjoy. Not quite the intended purpose, but I do get quite a bit of everyday use out of it (and isn’t that the point)?

The final highlight is a hardcore concentrated white highlight. And I will say, it works. It looks like highlight and is great for a night out. I tend to use this as an inner corner highlight on my eyes. I will say, it’s not a continuous creamy powder (is that an oxymoron?), because of the glitter to it.

The three contour shades are a bit harder to differentiate, but there is a difference in the tones. I like mixing together multiple pans on my brush to create a balanced / neutral feel on my face (not overly cool or overly warm). I will say, it is missing an overtly cool toned shade that most pale people use for very defined contouring, but for everyday wear this array of colors is totally appropriate.When I rub these powders between my thumb and my fingers they don’t just flake off, they blend well and feel buttery smooth. Pigmentation varies a bit between the three matte shades, but regardless of strong pigmentation or not, they all show up well on my skin and are easy to apply and blend out.

The first shade is what I’d describe as the neutral to warm matte bronzer of the three. This is a gorgeous everyday casual “warm it up” bronzer for me. I tend to tap a kabuki brush into it and blend it lightly in broad strokes in all the standard contouring zones when I do a full face of makeup. It gives a very “put together” look without looking extreme on my pale skin.

The second shade is the coolest matte brown of the three, it runs neutral to slightly cool. For me, it has plenty pigmentation to it for “everyday” contouring (defining the hollows of the cheeks, the uppermost hairline, and beneath the chin and jawline), but it might not be able to go to some extremes that you may be interested in if you enjoy stage / Instagram style makeup.

The third shade is the purest matte warm bronze. However, I am happy to report that it doesn’t pull orange on my skin. However, Benefit Hoola doesn’t look orangey on me, and I find that if I combine the third and first shade it combines to make a pretty solid dupe. Yes, the third shade is more pigmented than the first two, but I don’t struggle with application or skipping on my skin.

The fourth shade is… a shimmery bronzer. And as a pale skinned person, this really doesn’t have much value for me. It just doesn’t look natural on my face, and it usually ends up with me picking glitters off my face throughout the day. It has a slightly shimmery texture, like the third highlighter, but it isn’t as chunky / dry as the other marbled  and baked fourth highlighter shade. I can work it as an eyelid shimmer pop just like the third highlight shade, and it looks quite pretty! If you are of a medium skin tone, I think you would be able to get more use out of it than I do!

Overall, I really love this palette and I’ve used it every time I’ve put on makeup since I got it! I used to use the elf Contour Kit frequently, but I’ve just grown out of it. The shade variety and user friendly aspects to this palette are brilliant. I enjoy applying these powders, and I think anyone of a fair – medium skin tone would too!

Have a lovely day! 😊😊

My Seasonal Depression & Contradictions in Mental Illness

I am an anxious person. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and OCPD at nine years old. This means that my mind is constantly running at 110, even if it looks like it isn’t.

However, every so often, my mind will go blank, the fatigue will set in, and I have to remind myself that I need to do things like eat, drink water, and shower.

Yes, I’m talking about seasonal depression. Not the cutesy tumblr winter blues (don’t come for me, I love tumblr, but it all can have incredibly skewed views on mental illness), the true Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, as it’s appropriately named). Except, I have never felt flat out sad because of SAD, so it’s a bit of a contradiction.

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2quirky4me, sigh.

In fact, the whole idea of seasonal depression didn’t quite mesh with me when I was first informed of the idea of it. I had experienced strong reactionary depression before to certain traumas, but nothing like this.

It came out of nowhere. I’m the type of person who felt very comfortable labeling myself as a sufferer of severe anxiety, (or someone who was challenged with severe anxiety, as my friend’s therapist insists upon phrasing it).

But anxiety in itself was a contradiction to depression, in my mind. How could I actually have anxiety severe enough to consider it a disorder if I became depressed to the point of not caring enough to recognize my ongoing anxiety? It swirled around in my head like a whirlpool, at a time when I really shouldn’t have been analyzing my mental health issues.

I’ve been able to realize why it affects me the way it does a bit more clearly, now that I’ve had the time to analyze it while not being afflicted with it over the years.

I live in a place where we have very defined seasons, mostly when considering Winter and Summer. Often, Autumn and Spring are super short, barely lasting a month. My SAD affects me most often Summer going into Autumn, as the temperatures turn cold. When I was in school, it affected me more when the Winter transitioned into Spring. And last Summer I had it happen when we were turning the AC on and off “every other day”. That made me realize a little more of how it was a mental reaction to a physical situation, and it started to make more sense.

So, during these very short transitional periods in the weather, I get extremely fatigued and mentally just weak. Occasionally, on really bad days, I get lovely “behind the eyes” migraines when I literally just have to chug water and Tylenol and sleep. In general, I cannot concentrate, and I often spend time just phased out during the day. The thing about that it is normally when I daydream or don’t concentrate on what’s happening around me, it’s my anxiety making itself known to me. My mind running 110, as I like to describe it.

With SAD, there’s nothing.

I feel the need to do… nothing.

I wait it out, and use the periods when it isn’t hitting me as hard to do as much as I can.

But motivation is so hard to find when there isn’t anything there. When nothing feels like it matters or will ever matter again.

And believe me, seasonal depression is no joke when you realize you’re feeling it. Because it just makes you angry that you can’t snap out of it. And in my case, it kicks in my anxiety.

“Why aren’t you strong enough?”

“You have so much you could be doing!”

“You have to do that now! Everyone is relying on you, you have to succeed!”

“Just do it, there’s nothing stopping you.”

But my anxiety is wrong. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is stopping me, berating me, making everything harder for me. And there’s no shame in it. I shouldn’t have to ignore it, to fight it, for it to be valid. It’s a part of me like my dry skin or my bad posture (since I quit choir years ago). Just because they aren’t positive things doesn’t make them the end of my world, or the world.

The thing about mental health issues is that they don’t care if they don’t make sense to you.

You can live your entire life mentally ill not understanding why you have it, or how or why it affects you the way it does.

And it’s scary. When they inflame, it feels like there’s nothing left to hang onto. To tether you.

But in the end, it passes. It changes, it metamorphosizes, it varies. Everyday.

Despair isn’t the only answer. It’s never the only answer. Because we are strong. We build ourselves up everyday, we face ourselves everyday. Even on days when we don’t want to move, to get out of bed, we think of how it would be if we were better. And that reinforces us. It gives us hope. And that’s all we need to face the struggle as it ebbs and flows.iinrxqx

~//~

This is my experience with SAD, of course, and there are tons of people who experience it a lot more severely than I do (even though I sort of downplayed it for the narrative’s sake here). I just thought it may be interesting to share it because I have a different experience with it because I have severe anxiety. They work in tandem and against each other in different ways for me than most.


Today’s Music Pick:

Hostage – Danrell X Småland

I love this type of song. Over the past few months, I’ve been going back to it over and over. The first 10 – 15 seconds has such a strong hook, and then it transitions into this softer easy listening type of vibe. It builds up to a strong chorus, and it’s mixed electronica with  pure vocals pulls me in like I’ve never really experienced before. So unique! As I’m listening to it, it sways past me with it’s easy listening vibe and then it’s over and I don’t know where the time went. All of the pieces fit together so well, almost too well, with how it just flows despite the contrasting styles. [ My Music Playlist ]

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Super Jennie vs Lunette // First Impressions & Comparisons

Otherwise titled, “I got my first new menstrual cup in nearly five years and I’m excited!”

I’ve used my old faithful, my orange Lunette small, for nearly five years now. It was my first foray into RUMPs (reusable menstrual products), and I still have liked it and used it incredibly consistently since Summer 2012.

So, after I prepped my new Super Jennie yesterday, I tried it out for overnight (dangerous game, I know, but I feel like my cycle has been super light the past day or two, so no worries, I think it’s about to end). I have a low cervix, as an FYI.

My Lunette 1 was the same firmness from rim to base, with prominent concentric circle grip rings. I removed the stem about 5 minutes into the experience with a cup, no way, I just don’t need it. Thinking back, it was a bit comical to me at the time how long the stem was, but it would be totally useful for people with high cervices who may struggle with removal.

SJ is nearly the exact same size in terms of body size, BUT it is less conical than the Lunette (comes to less of a point at the base). It’s more rounded out, like a true bell shape. I think I’ve enjoyed that, because it really hasn’t irritated anything like the prominent grip rings on the Lunette occasionally did (not enough for me to hate the cup or even dislike it, at all).

Just a note, it was so odd to feel a brand new cup. The Super Jennie’s medical grade silicone has a different feel to it than what I remember my Lunette feeling like when it was new. … How to explain it… the only way I can make sense of it is like comparing glossy magazine paper to matte photo paper. The SJ has an almost tacky slick finish on the silicone, where the Lunette was matte, no shine at all. The silicones both feel like good quality, just a different type.

Also, I’ve always had a nearly opaque cup in terms of color (my orange / Aine Lunette). This is a bit odd in terms of experiences (as many people start with a clear cup, like the Diva). It was so cool to see the Super Jennie maintain a pretty teal colour while still being translucent. Fun, different experience!

The Super Jennie seems to be firmer at the rim and softer at the base. Which is kinda like a double edged sword for me now, while I’m getting used to it! I can get it inserted, it pops open partially, but because I have to pull my cups down and push them back up into position around my cervix to activate the suction (low cervix problems), I’ve had to fandangle with the cup a little bit because the base is softer, and it takes me maybe two or three seconds more to get it back up into place. I think if the whole cup has the same softness as the base, I’d be out of luck, not able to use it at all, but the firmer rim really does it all for easier insertion.

Wear time was great, I really do feel the difference in ml capacity with the SJ, even if it is only around 7ml. It will totally be useful for heavy days! The rounded out bell shape is great, and I’ve even been able to keep the stem on! Ah! Because everything at the base of the cup is so squishy and soft, and the actual stem design is great (ball stems 4 life now!) it hasn’t irritated me at all.

All in all, I think the Lunette 1 is a lovely, reasonable, reliable beginner’s cup. I think the Super Jennie is a great option for those who are a bit more experienced with cups and know their bodies better. Both are good quality cups, but after using it for about 18 hours over the past two days (washed and reinserted this morning), the Super Jennie is feeling like my Goldilocks. 💙

p.s. I found this lovely video by Rosey at Rosey Reusables on YouTube as I was doing my research on the Super Jennie and I found it incredibly helpful from a nonbiased POV. My writeup, above, is about my personal experiences and impressions. While that can be helpful, it’s always great to have a nonbiased, fact based definition of the differences as well. 😄
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Full Face of Makeup for a Week “Challenge” + Foundation Routine

For someone who’s makeup obsession has been so real and so consistent over the past half decade, I really don’t wear makeup often enough! I have a small collection in comparison to most people who love makeup as much as I do, but every product I do own, I use and enjoy. Each product gets researched online for a considerable amount of time before it is purchased.

Truly, this is why I fell in love with makeup. I love reading, I love things (#materialism), and I love the voice that beauty bloggers can achieve. However, that isn’t me. I don’t really feel the need to collect makeup while enjoying makeup culture. No one is going to come up to me and say, “WHY DIDN’T YOU BUY THAT”.

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As a person who has never been wealthy in any way, makeup culture is a fun thing to watch. It’s like a spectator sport meets a soap opera. Does anyone remember the Lorac MegaPro fiasco back in Holiday 2014? Damn, I may be someone that thrives off of positivity and a bubble of no drama around me IRL, but I love good old fashion makeup drama fest. And I don’t mean drama in between people, like fuck off Jeffree Star, idgaf. I mean like when companies fuck up or when things don’t live up to expectations or their price tag and the drama is 100% justified.

^^ For example, this video is by Zabrena (formerly MacShadowCombos). I love her, I’ve continued to watch her for years before and after this video. But this is like my favourite video from her. Like yas, SMACKDOWN Lorac. ^^

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In general, makeup is interesting because it ties in with so many of my interests in themselves. It never crossed my mind to change my appearance using makeup. I never turned to makeup because I needed to wear it to feel confident in myself. Not to say that that’s wrong, if makeup is something that makes you feel more confident, that’s 100% fine. I’m all for crutches to help with your mental health on a day to day basis. (However, I am not self aware enough to have bad self esteem, I am who I am 😂).

This got a bit existential, but in terms of makeup, I am so freaking boring. Doing makeup in itself is fun for me, so it just doesn’t matter what the end result actually looks like. I got to really get down and dirty over this week and actually try out products and techniques that I haven’t felt up to in a while.

For example, the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hr Foundation. It’s awesome! But alas, the second lightest shade, 101 Classic Ivory was too dark, and I ended up swapping for the lightest color in the line (which worked! Yay!). The more I try from Rimmel, the more I love their brand!

I also got to solidify my preferred foundation routine, which was totes fun. I have very few issues with my skin apart from redness (Germanic roots- grr), so I’m into color correcting. Not to mention how trendy it is, but I am not one for the extreme color correcting. It’s totally fun and creative, but I am not used to having that much product on my face, boo!

Image Credit // shefinds.com

I got to try out the NYX Color Correcting Concealer palette, which was amazing in it’s own right. I use the green between my brows, my forehead, my cheeks, and my chin. This may seem like liberal application, but I go slowly, and apply in the red areas as necessary. I combine the salmon and yellow under my eyes as I have both blue and purple toned undereye circles. I apply the purple around the rest of my face anywhere there’s dullness or overtly yellow areas. I then bump it all out with my Real Techniques Mini Eraser sponge one area at a time (undereye -> purple -> green).

For me, color correcting gives my face a more blank slate than if I were just to apply foundation directly. Foundation is next!

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Image Credit // Ulta Beauty

I actively use the tinted moisturizer technique to make my foundation more natural looking, and feel better on the skin! I combine the same amount of foundation I would normally use and an equal amount of moisturizer (my favourite is the Garnier Clearly Brighter w/ SPF 15). I then paint it all over my face with a flat paddle foundation brush and bump it out with my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge. The two liquids combine to make this nice beautiful skin like appearance that isn’t too dewy and isn’t completely matte. Aka, demi matte. God bless America.

Image Credit // thebeautyinbox.com

Then I pop the Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer in 010 Porcealain under my eyes to brighten them and cover the undereye corrector. I’ve also taken to applying this down the center of my face when I apply my contour and / or bronzer to create some more dimension to my face and it works lovely for that as well! (Though, I am tempted to get another in a shade lighter to make it even more visible).

Image Credit // PettyAir

I then set my undereye with the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent. Because it’s great. But you probably already knew that! It’s amazing!

I don’t set my entire face with a full on layer of powder, but I will take a BIG fluffy face powder brush, tap lightly into my powder, and blend the powder all over my face. This is mostly just to take away the slight tack that my foundation mixture can leave behind. It helps with bronzer and blush application and keeps it from skipping across my skin. If I plan to use a cream cheek product, I will wait to set my face until after that is down and done!

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I also got to experiment with false lashes this past week, but I think that is enough rambling for one blog post! It was fun to experience what it was like to have to wear makeup. However, by the end, I just felt the need to wear neutral makeup. It had taken a bit of the fun away, having to put it on. I understand why people who work in an office environment, or even the healthcare field, often wear such minimal makeup (having to wear it every single day, outside of appearance requirements).

Oh! And one final note, I got back to removing my makeup with melted coconut oil and I had zero issues with the texture or appearance of my natural skin changing. Thumbs up to coconut oil from me, I still love it years later. 😁

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How I Told My Family & Friends I Started A Business Without Being Terrible

The following passage is what I posted on my personal Facebook to finally tell them that I had started my own business without sounding like I wanted to sell them anything. I also didn’t want to be so vague as to give them no details, but I just don’t want them buying from or gossiping about my business. It is what it is, of course, but I respect my close friends and family too much to impose any feelings of guilt on them. However, in the same vein, I’m not good at keeping my own secrets, and I hate not sharing the things that make me happy with the people I love. So, this was the compromise I came up with to share my enthusiasm and optimism about the whole situation, while not emotionally manipulating anyone.

” Okay, this is a positive post, on a positive topic, but I’ve been trying to find a way to post this on Facebook to share with all of you without being annoying and doing that, “I’m doing something, but I don’t want to share any details and drag people along because I’m looking for attention”. 😬 Basically, I may be good at keeping other people’s secrets, but definitely not my own anymore, so y’all are getting this post. Enjoy!

Many of my closest family members know this (mostly because Mom has shared it with them, which is totally fine), but over this past month I’ve started up my own (super) small business sewing custom items! I don’t really want to go into a ton more detail than that, but I do work with a lot of quilter’s cotton, so if you see a pretty one be sure to send it my way  Anyways, I’ve had a ton of fun with it, and I’ve actually made money (surprise, surprise). I currently have three custom orders open now worth over $100, and the photo below is some of my orders over the past month ready to go out to customers.

I never thought I would be a “business owner”, and I’ve never been the type to enjoy capitalistic marketing, but it was just a natural progression. Most of the things I enjoy making have super bright, positive, honest, and active communities.

It’s all fun to me, sewing is fun, buying fabric is fun, communicating in the online space is fun, promoting my products through photography is fun! I took to sewing very quickly, and the fabric buying process even quicker!  It has fit me well, and it makes me happy to have a purpose day to day without pushing my boundaries (too much). I think making a little money to put in my savings account is just a bonus. Especially at 19, I don’t have any major regrets in my life, and I think that this little business that I’ve built is a turning point for me and my mental health, among other things. Feeling like a productive member of society does that to you, I guess!

And thank you to Amy and Mom in particular for being incredibly supportive over this past month, and dealing with my whining. It’s well appreciated by me, believe me. And thank you for reading this beast of a post, if you did. It means a lot for the people I care about to support me, and now that I think I’ve mostly whittled down my Facebook to people I care about, it makes me happy to be able to share things like this. Have a lovely week, y’all.  “

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Cloth Pads 101 | Basic Construction & Fabric Breakdown

*If you have no idea what this is even about, check out this blog post for more information from NPN.*

* In this post I will be addressing all in one cloth pads. These are the easiest for beginners to make, and most concise. To be honest, I don’t have much experience with base and liner or pocket style pads. I find them very fidgety and in general, unreliable. To each their own, of course, but I have the most knowledge of all in ones / turned + top stitched pads and that’s the information I will be providing for you today! * 

Despite the fact that I have only recently opened my budget cloth pad shop, I have been on the reusable scene for nearly six years! I’ve seen rising and falling trends in almost all areas of making cloth pads (save perhaps plastic KAM snaps 😉). So… I figured it would be good to share my knowledge, and write my version of a “concise” guide to the various fabrics and notions that are normally involved in the making of cloth pads.

Turned and topstitched cloth pads are made of 3 defined layers. These are the topper, absorbent core, and a backer. There are also a few other components that I’ll also be addressing within this post. Here we go!


Topper

  • Quilter’s Cotton
  • Flannel
  • Cotton / Bamboo Velour
    • Organic = OCV or OBV
  • Cotton Knit
  • Athletic Wicking Jersey
  • Minky

In terms of toppers, it is a wide and varied world. Most common materials are quilting cotton (flat cotton, like what you would make a pillowcase or a true quilt with), flannel, cotton or bamboo velour (soft natural velvety material), cotton knit (slightly stretchy clothing material), athletic wicking jersey (a stay dry fabric), or minky (a polyester manmade material usually used for baby blankets).

Flannel, as a PSA, will show more pilling and wear quicker than other materials, but some people enjoy flannel for it’s softness and how easily liquid is pulled through it.

Many others are possible toppers, but they must allow liquid through them (no coated or water resistant fabrics, as liquid will just roll off and not go down into the core). The main concern for toppers is stain resistance.

Polyester fabrics like minky are normally completely stain resistant. Cotton based fabrics stain easier, but this is usually based on the colour and pattern of the dye job.

Light colours like yellow, baby pink, and particularly light blue are particularly common for staining to occur. Or rather, will be more difficult / take more work to remove. However, when considering colors like purple, royal blue, red, black, brown, hunter / forest green, dark pink, or dark orange, there is very little chance of staining.

But, however, like in normal cloth fabric, it’s rare for a stain to be completely unremovable. And, as always, stains won’t affect the quality / function / usability of the piece. In comparison, the reason why we take the time to choose pretty and unique patterns is to keep them pretty. So, you, as a cloth pad user, need to decide if you’re willing for the stain removal process to be more intensive (almost all colours and prints), or if you’d prefer to keep it simple and minimal (darker, busier prints that will hide possible staining or prevent having to stain treat to begin with).

It’s up to you.


Absorbent Core

  • Flannel
  • Zorb
    • Zorb 1 (pure Zorb fiber, no prewash as it will disintegrate)
    • Zorb 2 (fiber quilted with a natural fabric on the outside, requires prewashing)
      • Diamonds
      • Dimples
  • Terry
    • Bamboo
    • French
    • Cotton
  • Bamboo Fleece
    • Organic Bamboo Fleece
    • Heavy Organic Bamboo Fleece
    • Super Heavy Organic Bamboo Fleece

Absorbent cores are a bit easier to address because we don’t see them! An absorbent core can be made out of almost anything, as long as it absorbs. However, they are an important component, and really affect the feel of a pad. A thick plush core will create thick plush pad, and a thin floppy core will contribute to a thin floppy pad.

They are also important because they allow us to determine if the absorbency if light, moderate, or heavy and all that comes along with that.

The most common material for cores is flannel. Flannel (like the warm pajama material) is very absorbent, but very thin. This requires many layers to create a viable core. For flannel, it’s common to include one inner layer for a liner, two for light, four – five for moderate, and 6 – 8 for heavy. As you can imagine, once you get up above six layers, the stack of fabric begins to get a quite thick, and almost unsewable. That’s why we often combine flannel with other more absorbent materials. The most common absorbent bases are terry, a material called Zorb, and organic bamboo fleece (OBF, HOBF, SHOBF).

Terry cloth is the same material that makes up bath towels. However, because terry varies in thickness, it can be hard to determine an absorbency value. Often terry bought at a fabric store will be very thin, and require 2+ layers to create a moderate when sandwiched with flannel on the outside of the core. However, normal bath towels are quite thick, and can be made into a moderate core with only one layer sandwiched with flannel.

I feel comfortable, as a general “rule” using two layers of terry, placing a layer of flannel in between, and sandwich the outside layer with another on the top and bottom. Believe it or not, this creates a fine, fairly thin heavy core. In my mind, my all flannel moderates are 5 layers of flannel, so tossing in two pieces of terry definitely bump it up to a heavy.

Zorb is a specialized material made for the cloth diapering industry. It’s a material that can absorb 10x it’s weight without leaking, much like a sponge. However, like a sponge, when compressed it can become subject to compression leaks. This is also why we, *say it with me* sandwich it with flannel. With a moisture resistant barrier on the back and / or being sandwiched with flannel, there is nothing to worry about in terms of leaking. Compared to flannel, Zorb absorbs incredibly quickly, and can prevent some issues that tend to arise in flannel only pads.

Zorb is the preferred material by many because it makes for very trim pads. One layer of zorb is moderate, two is heavy. It’s not recommended to include more than two layers of zorb because it’s simply a waste in terms of absorbency! It’s just unnecessary, even for the heaviest of postpartum bleeding. You would be much better off in terms of thickness, and effectiveness, to add a few layers of flannel comparatively.

There are an abundance of other options for absorbent core materials like organic bamboo fleece (OBF), microfleece, or even hemp. OBF has grown in popularity recently for being a reliable core for very heavy flows! There have been issues for others in terms of heat, when combined with a fleece backer. The important thing here is that it literally absorbs and holds liquid, and won’t create a core that is too bulky to go through your sewing machine.

Otherwise, again, it is completely up to you.


Backer

  • Fleece
    • AntiPill
    • Polartec Fleece
      • WindPro
      • PowerShield (-Pro)
  • PUL
    • Pure
    • Hidden (With another material covering it.)
      • Corduroy
      • Cotton
      • Flannel
      • + Fleece
  • Wool

In terms of backing material, it is more limited than the other categories of materials. This is because the backer is the baseline, it’s what allows us to use cloth pads like we would plastic and paper disposable pads. The two general areas of thought are, “Waterproof or Water-resistant”.

(You can also just use a topper material for your backer alone to sandwich the core in place, but! You will have to  change much much more frequently to be sure you won’t leak. I truly don’t advise this option to the majority of people. A water resistant barrier is necessary for realistic use, in the real world.)

Fleece.

PUL.

They are the standard options, and I’ll be going into both as well as alternatives.

A general note about fleece is that many people find it to be a great option for cloth pads in particular because it catches well on cotton undies and stays in place. Fleece has two different basic options, and they are AntiPill and Windpro. They each have different variations as well.

The majority of fabric stores (and stores that have a reasonable fabric selection) have their own brands or types of anti-pill fleece. Normally, these types will work for cloth pads. The most proactive thing you can do to make sure it will work is to feel your fleece for the weight and density. It should be a solid piece of fabric, almost like a fleece sweater.

One of the most common standardized types of AntiPill fleece is Polar fleece. Because it is a standardized weight, it is a super reliable type to buy online. The majority of the AntiPill I use is Polar. The biggest thing to keep in mind about AntiPill is it is only water resistant. For a lot of people this will be fine. The importance in using AntiPill is making sure that your core is dependable and realistic for the flow, as well as changing out your pads with reasonable frequency (as most people already do!).

Polartec is a well known brand in the Reusable Cloth industry. They are known in particular for creating a fleece backer called Windpro, amongst others (ie PowerShield), that are incredibly water resistant compared. Most people consider Windpro to be waterproof, but it is still a noncoated fleece, and is only water resistant.

The other common option is PUL (pronounced “pea you elle” letter by letter by most, or pull) or Polyurethane Laminate. This is a coated material created for use in hospitals. It has a plain fabric side (normally a cotton) and a side with the shiny polyurethane / plastic. You can create a backer with just PUL. The important thing in this case is that the fabric side is on the outside, and the shiny side is toward that core. An important tip if you find you leak with PUL, try not to use pins with your PUL (or leave excess and pin outside of your sewing line and trim after you attach you backer to your core and topper).

Many people also choose to make pads with hidden PUL. All this means is that the layer of PUL also has another layer of fabric covering it (that is touching the underwear). The logic of this is that the material will give you better grip than any possible cloth backing on your PUL. Types like corduroy, flat cotton, flannel, or even AntiPill fleece. Those who desire the catch and “keep it in place-ability” of fleece but need a truly waterproof lining can create pads that have hidden PUL covered by fleece. The most common fabric to hide PUL is flat faced cotton.

Other natural options like dense cotton fleece or wool are viable options for those who would like to avoid polyurethane and plastic based fabrics. There are a few more downsides in these fabrics, but they are definitely options for those who try to avoid materials in other types of backing. The only other type of backing fabric that comes to mind is Nylon, but that is rarely in use by home makers (unless upcycling something like a Nylon windbreaker or raincoat).


Closure

  • Snaps
    • Plastic
      • KAM
      • Babyville
    • Metal
      • Hammer On
      • Sew On
  • Velcro (Hook + Loop)
  • Buttons
  • Bra Clasp

There are many options for closure, though in the commercial cloth world it is dominated by snaps. Oddly enough, I find that many mainstream cloth companies (Lunapads, Party in my Pants, Sckoon Reusables, etc.) use metal snaps in their finished cloth pads, while the majority of, if not all, WAHM or small business makers use plastic or polyacetal resin snaps. The major difference is likely due to ease of application by mechanical vs by hand methods.

The next most popular option for at home created pads is simple buttons. Many people find putting on buttons a bit tedious, as you have to sew the buttonhole by machine and then hand sew the button on. However, buttons are renowned for being flat and not able to be felt when wearing the pad.

Hook and loop closure, or Velcro, is also common among those who are making a small stash for themselves.  Trimmed adhesive backed Velcro is added to each side of the wing and sewn down to make it maintain a close hold and long usability.

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Bra front clasp style closure (for those who didn’t quite get my bad description).

The other most common that spring to mind is the bra clasp method, ribbons, and pins.  The bra clasp method utilises a front style bra clasp as closure. Others will poke holes and thread ribbon through, or even diaper pins. Personally, I think using safety pins and the like is a bit unsafe, with there being sharp parts that you won’t have access to to fix 24/7.

Otherwise, the world is your pickle, do as you wish for closure. Or even none at all, if your undies are snug enough (which is also a method used by part of the cloth community, often known as wingless).


Thread

The only other thing I’d like to note for beginners is the type of thread you use as you are creating your pads! The most common thread in general use used to be cotton thread. However, this type of thread should not be used for cloth pads. Why is a bit of an ingenious idea that shocked me like, “That makes so much sense, but I never thought of that.”

Cotton thread will wick any liquid in your pad to the back and onto your underwear and clothing, much like a candle wick. This normally occurs in the topstitching, as most cloth pad makers do not sew through all of the absorbent layers to the backing. Polyester thread creates a non absorbent (aka water resistant) barrier that prevents needle point leaking.


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[ Pixie’s Pretty Stitches ]


So, that is my writeup on Cloth Pad layers 101! I hope that this is somewhat helpful for beginners. I tried to reign in any rambling to keep this as educational as possible!

If you have any questions, or if anything is unclear, please let me know and I’ll respond ASAP. 😊❤️

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