A few years ago I stopped using the feminine care products of major brands, because they use chlorine and other harsh chemicals and materials to manufacture them.
My options for "natural" products were few -- there were none in any stores in my area, so I had to order online. I think there were only 2 brands I could get ahold of at the time, Natracare and Seventh Generation. I tried both brands' applicator tampons and mini-pads. Their products were different from each other, but both brands' tampons were acceptable to me. I also have tried a few other natural brands in the last few years, but can't remember their names. They were a bit more expensive and no better than these two.
Yes, as other reviewers have said, the applicators on these are not the greatest - but after unwrapping, if you prepare it by pushing the tampon past the tip of the cardboard holder about a fourth of an inch and then clamping your fingers down on the grippy part of the cardboard holder before trying to insert the thing, it works.
In terms of the differences between the Seventh Generation and Natracare tampons, I have read the following on other websites, and it agrees with my experiences of these products:
-The Natracare tampons get longer as they fill up, so they extend further back in the canal. (This is similar to what the cardboard-applicator "original" type of Tampax tampons do when they fill up.)
-The Seventh Generation tampons get wider as they fill up, so they balloon out and press more on the walls of the canal.
Some people prefer one type over the other - some women find the ones that get longer more uncomfortable, some find the ones that get wider more uncomfortable.
It's amazing that no "natural" or "organic" feminine care products are available at major supermarkets/pharmacies in the US, at least where I have shopped. In the UK, you can usually find at least one of these brands in supermarkets/pharmacies, next to the conventional products.
As far as panty-liners/mini-pads go, I love the Natracare "ultra thin" cotton panty liners which come in a pack of 22 (they are the only one that comes in a pack of 22). This means they are more expensive per liner than the ones that come in the 28 packs, but it's worth it to me. Not many stores which carry other Natracare liners offer the "ultra thin" type. These are very thin and still are absorbent.
The Seventh Generation mini-pads (panti-liners) are huge and very thick in comparison, but serve some purposes well, and I buy both kinds.
Both of those are about 5 or 6 inches long and I wish that a longer liner were available, like there used to be in the conventional brands ("longs") when I was buying those.
How great that there are these convenient, natural/organic options nowadays! This technology has changed a lot in such a short space of time -- when I was young, I was on the tail end of those plastic waistbelt things that you had to pin mighty pads to your underwear with or something - this is what my grandma had at her house for her granddaughters. My mom grew up having to use cloth rags.
With my heavy flow, I dread to think what life would have been like for me if I'd lived anytime in history before the 1970s!
The ladies in certain tribes who mainly sit on grass mats in a special women-only hut during that time of the month have the right idea. :-)
I love these tampons! Tampax used to have a kind called "satin" it had the paper applicator dome tip, so it was really smooth and pain free. These days, tampax got rid of it, so now the cotton is exposed and its just not the same. I found natracare by accident, because I really was looking for a chemical free tampon, and voila! I found the applicator tip again! YAY. At whole foods, its super bucks, but if you go to vitacost, it's way cheaper! Love this!
I gave this a higher overall rating simply because there aren't many similar products available on the market. The fact that these are all-cotton and chlorine and dioxin-free is why I buy them. As one of the other reviewers notes, the applicator is their biggest problem. Applicators are cardboard with very little "grip" to them, so pushing the base of the cardboard piece into the upper part can be a real challenge. Adding more ridges to the applicator would make this a much better product.
Love the idea of chlorine free environmentally friendly tampons. I just find these are a bit more messy than the regular tampon. I may repurchase in the future but Kotex has always been my go to tampon.
I bought these from Whole Foods (don't remember price) attracted to claims of organic quality w/o chlorine, they came in a cardboard box w/applicator. The super is not so absorbent for heavy flow girls like me so go to the next level if that's the case. The applicator is the BIGGEST problem, this version comes with a cardboard-like flat tip applicator that has small corrugated strips hanging off the tip and application is horrific. While the small strips didn't cut skin the texture of the applicator becomes too slippery to properly insert and is a little, well...painful after a few tries. I gave up after buying twice and threw the second carton out. Their site shows a new plastic rounded tip applicator which I'd suggest instead if you're still interested in buying.