No, not that kind of salt. This kind...
If you have ever been curious about a menstrual cup, buckle up, because I am about to give an honest and unfiltered review of one! A few years ago, these hit the market and became popular chatter amongst women. As a pad or tampon alternative, a menstrual cup soon became the choice of many. As I prepped for my monthly cycle, I gave in to the curiosity and headed to my local Target to browse their selection. YES- Target carries cups, too! You can also buy them online at several retailers linked below.
Located in the same aisle as other feminine products, there was a selection of brands to choose from at Target. The popular, DivaCup was amongst the choices, along with Flex and Saalt. I am a sucker for good packaging and aesthetics, so I opted for the Saalt brand. They come in two sizes, small or regular. Although you might assume this is a measure of the size of your you-know-what, it is actually more so about the volume that the cup can hold. The size small holds approximately 25ml, while the size regular holds 30ml. This equates to the volume of about 3-4 tampons. The small size is recommended for teens, petite women, or women pre-childbirth. The company recommends the regular size for those that have given birth or those that have a heavier monthly flow.
Ranging from $30-40 depending on the retailer, these end up being very cost effective since they are reusable for up to 10 years! Yes, 10 years! For the exact model that I purchased, you can snag it at Revolve here. With cup in hand, I headed home to give it a shot! (I grabbed a box of Cora Organic tampons too just in case this was a cup-tastrophe!).
Upon opening the instructions, I quickly found out that I had to first boil the cup in hot water for 4-5 minutes to properly sanitize it. The instructions stated not to let it hit the bottom of the pot, so there I was standing over scalding water for 5 minutes with a menstrual cup happily simmering on the stove in a pair of tongs. After carefully watching the clock, my al dente cup and I headed to the bathroom.
The instructions next list various "folding" techniques for insertion. I opted for one called the "7" shape. It is important to note that you should first wash your hands thoroughly and then insert the cup similarly to a tampon pointing back towards your tailbone essentially. I'd be lying if I said this was easy. On my first try, the cup sprang open right away which was unnerving to say the least. On my second try, I wondered how fast I could drive to my OB/GYN if something went wrong. On my third try, I wondered if I would wake up in a pool of blood tomorrow morning. After quite literally, blood, sweat, and tears, the Saalt was in!
For those of you wondering, you really can't feel it once it is in. It is similar to a tampon feeling, but definitely harder to get inserted. Luckily, you only change the cup 2x per day, so every 12 hours. With this schedule, it is easy to replace it at 7 pm each evening and 7 am each morning while you are in the comforts of your own home and have the time to dedicate to it! The cup lasted the full night without any leaks, which was great knowing that it was inserted correctly. However, I did struggle a bit to remove it. The removal process took about 10 minutes, a few more tears, and I had to revert back to the instruction manual, but alas it was out! (Pro-tip: grasp firmly at the base and twist out, versus pulling on the "tail" end of it).
All in all, I am definitely going to continue using the Saalt cup for now. I think it is important to give it a fair shot and try it for a few cycles before completing ruling it out. Although it is difficult at first, I think the long term benefits of these are amazing! Not only do they reduce waste, but they are a better alternative for those with septic systems that cannot flush feminine products. They also help you to maintain a steady pH balance throughout the month. They are BPA, latex, and chemical free as well. Many workout enthusiasts or solo travelers swear by menstrual cups as well, since you may not have public restrooms readily available. I definitely would NOT recommend changing a menstrual cup in a multiple-stall style public restroom, as you do need to be close to a sink as well.
In between cycles, you simply store the cup in a small cloth bag that is breathable. The model linked above already comes with one, but if you misplace it, you can purchase one for $5. You can also wash your cup with the Saalt cleanser in between. After doing more research, I realized that there is a softer silicone model which I would probably prefer. Purchase the soft version here.
There you have it- an honest, unfiltered, review of the Saalt cup! If you too decide to break up with your tampons, be sure to share your experience with us! You can also follow along with Saalt on Instagram @saaltco to stay up to date on new products and their philanthropists efforts. For any other questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or message me on Instagram @jackiebellexo!