My interest in menstrual cups should have happened years ago when I started becoming more concerned with our environment and its inadvertent wastes for the landfill paired with my obsession with all things eco-friendly. Its long ago invention in the 1930s by Leona Chalmers was patented in 1937 and made out of rubber at the time. Chalmers then sold the rights to it in 1959 to Robert Oreck, but marketing proved to be tough and the company then shut down in 1973. Now, with the emergence of concern for the environment and landfill waste, economics, and safe silicone availability, the cup has since made it's way into mainstream again in 2011. Luckily, social media and the internet have been able to reach the public far and wide and is gaining popularity and traction. If you are curious about menstual cups and and how they can change your life, you have come to the right place. Here, I will give my honest review and opinion on one brand of menstrual cups by SAALT.
As a novice to menstrual cups in general, my review today isn't to tell you what the best cup is out on the market. I haven't tried any other cups, and there are quite a few available! To follow is my review and what I think about this particular cup.
And before diving in, I would also like to point out that finding the right cup and the right fit for you and your body is important. They are not a one size fits all. To match you with the right cup, you can take the cup quiz, it's what I did.
I first went on saalt.com to browse to see what they have to offer. It's a beautiful, clean, and easy to navigate website that explains what a menstrual cup is, how to use it, and the cups that they carry. Currently, they offer the small (pink), regular (blue), duo pack (both pink and blue), and the new Saalt soft cup (grey) in those same sizes. At the time of my purchase, the soft cup was not available. I chose to get the duo pack as my cycle varies. The regular is slightly larger than the small to accomodate a heavier flow. Saalt also offers 10% off on your first cup and free shipping so I was all about that. I placed my order for the duo pack and received it in the mail within about week. They also provide you with access to their Facebook page within the cup user community so that you can have additional learing, interact with fellow Saalt users, and ask all of the questions you need. I am impressed too that Saalt is active on the page and will answer questions as well as give help ful advice. Nothing is off limits there and it is a very friendly and comfortable environment.
Honestly I was a little nervous and intimidated, but scouting out and actively reading the posts on the facebook pages I was able to navigate through what to expect and anticipate if any problems or concerns did occur. So any nerves I had were overshadowed by excitement for trying something new and actually helping the environment as well as being better on my wallet. Those things are really appealing to me so I was more than eager to try my first cup.
Now that I finally have the cups in my hand, I read the insert that came with my cups and it contains a bit of information on SAALT and how they give back to local communities and to communities on the other side of the globe. You can read about their outreach on their website. For a company to give back is empowering to me knowing that my dollars help enrich the lives of others.
It also explains how to safely "sterilize" your cups for first initial use from receiving them in the mail. That includes washing the SAALT bags that come with the cups, sterilizing them after every cycle, and washing and rinsing them. Also in the folded insert is a brief explanation on how to use the menstrual cup successfully and that includes several suggestions for folding your cup for insertion and washing (Saalt also carries the Saalt wash) + sanitizing.
Now that I have the introduction basics out of the way, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty on how I find using Saalt menstrual cups. Just so you know, at 50 years old (I know!) it is never too late to try something new, get out of your comfort zone, or keep yourself from embracing change.
Like you probably do too, I had many questions as a first time user like, "How hard is it to insert?" "Will it hurt?" "Will it get lost?" "What if I can't get it out?""Can I sleep with it in?" "How long can I keep it in?" ALL of these and MORE crossed my mind, but rest assured that you are in good hands. All of your FAQ's have all been answered on the Saalt website as well. But personally speaking here, I can answer these important ones -
1. Is It Difficult To Insert?
No. It really isn't. In just looking at the cup and actually having it in my hand, I wondered to myself how the heck was I supposed to put this inside me? Seriously though. But it is a cup afterall, the cup does exactly what it is supposed to do - hold your menstrual blood. It might sound kind of gross, but having a menstrual cycle is what our bodies naturally do. So yes, it did seem a little intimidating initially, but I found it to be super easy to insert. Saalt also recommends that if you wanted to use an oil free + water based lubricant, you certainly could. They also recommend running it under water, too, and I found that to work perfectly for me. For inserting the cup you need to get the size a bit more compacted and that is where you have to fold it. There are several methods for folding it like the C fold, the 7 fold + the punch down fold. The C fold is probably the most popular fold, but you can try several methods before you find the one that works for you. I first tried the C fold, but I found that it didn't fully open once it was in (which happens with cups.) So I tried the Punch Down, and that is the easiest for me. So if you aren't successful at first and with a certain fold, there is a learning curve where you can keep trying. If the cup is inserted and it isn't fully open, you will experience leakage which you don't want. But don't fret, with practice you will be successful. Sometimes you may not have proper suction of the cup (there are tiny holes at the top rim of the cup) or it can remain folded. One way to ensure that the cup opens is running your finger at the base of the cup and gently squeezing it to force it open. It might be a little challenging at first, but if you are comfortable enough with your body it is easy enough to do. From my experience and with hearing of other's concerns + questions, it all gets easier when you figure out what works.
The Facebook group and also Put A Cup In It group and Youtube channel has many tips for inserting and first time users. They are all super helpful, like doing a trial run with it in the shower for ease and convenience first. I won't really get into tips and suggestions here in this post as I will start to get off topic of the review - but you can explore Put A Cup In It Youtube channel as well as Saalt's.
2. Does It Hurt?
No. Coming from someone who grew up using tampons, tampons can sometimes be uncomfortable if they are sitting too low. Tampons are simply a twisted form of woven cotton (and toxic if not organic + oftentimes very drying). But with the medical grade silicone Saalt cup, with easy insertion and proper placement inside the vagina, it does not hurt. If you have noticed, the cup has a stem at the base of the cup which is used for locating the cup while it is inside. It is NOT used to pull on for removing your cup. If you find that the stem annoys you and you are confident in using your cup without it, you can trim the stem. I've heard it mentioned that the cup may cause pressure on your bladder deeming it uncomfortable, but I haven't experienced either of these things. If that might be the case for you, I would take a look at placement. But not everyone is the same, so measuring your cervix height would be ideal when figuring out placement of your cup.
3. Is It Easy To Remove?
Yes, but not as easy at first. Let me explain. Now that I have used the Saalt cup enough times, I have gotten used to the insertion and removal process. When I first went to remove it, I hadn't really pinched the bottom and tried to remove it while it still had suction. Also, you don't want to try to remove it without pinching the base as it will be a little uncomfortable and harder to remove. You want to break the seal or suction before you remove it. And, it was a little messy at first since I didn't have a solid plan for removing it and was feeling anxious.
Here is a good and pain-free way to remove your cup
Try this out FIRST either in the shower or over the toilet to avoid messy spills.
Relax - you may find difficulty if you are not relaxed and are anxious. Your muscles will tighten up and removal may be frustrating.
Bear down and flex your muscles - if you aren't flexing your muscles and pushing out, you will not be helping the removal of your cup. You may have to do this several times. At the same time, the cup will slowly lower itself and you can feel with your finger for the stem. You can then locate the cup by the stem. When you locate the cup by the stem, you can grab hold of the base of cup. DO NOT PULL ON THE STEM FOR REMOVAL.
Wiggle the base of the cup - once you have a solid grip at the base with your fingers, you can pinch a side of the cup in so that it releases suction. You can gently rock it back and forth while slowly pulling down to remove it. Be careful to remove it while holding it level and upright so as not to spill. You can then empty it in the toilet (or in the shower) and then rinse.
Wash your Saalt cup - rinse your cup with cold water, wash with warm water + mild soap + reinsert. Sanitize it between cycles.
4. Am I Glad I Tried The Saalt Cup?
Yes. As the saying goes, "I wish I had done this sooner." I love everything about this cup. It's beautifully designed with medical grade silicone. It comes with a nice bag for easy travel use and storage. Easy to sanitize + clean. It lasts for years and years. It's easy to use, and it's comfortable. It's affordable; $29 for a single, and $47 for the duo pack, which is what I bought. I also received 10% off my order along with free shipping on their website. The eco-friendly impact it has on the planet by not contributing to the landfill. And it is vegan + cruelty free. Plus, they give back to those in need and that is an added bonus.
I haven't encountered any negatives with The Saalt Cup. The only thing that may have kept me back were my own nerves in trying it for the first time. But the fact that they have a website, a Facebook private community to ask questions or voice concerns, and qualified Saalt Cup team members for help. I cannot recommend them enough if Saalt is the right cup for you, I definitely suggest giving them a try.
5. Overall thoughts on the Saalt Cup
I know that trying something new can be challenging and intimidating, but like everything, practice can be the key to success. I am not gonna lie, it was a little scary, but knowing the benefits of using the cup would outweigh anything else. I really wanted to be successful in using my cup - all for the reasons of easing my wallet, lessening the pollution in the environment + for keeping my ph balance. Organic cotton tampons + pads cost way more money than conventional. And if you are currently using tampons + pads, I would suggest going organic and biodegradeable. Having toxic chemicals in our most delicate parts of our bodies is not healthy or ideal, and cotton is the most heavily sprayed.
If you are inclined to try the menstrual cup and are interested in Saalt, please give it a try. With some practice, you will get this down and feel confident with your purchase. It is pretty easy to use, is comfortable and hasn't given me any problems. The team over at Saalt and its Facebook page are monitoring and answering any questions and troubleshooting. Take your time with it, do a trial run, relax, don't get frustrated and keep at it if you don't get it right the first, second or even third time. Take the cup quiz to see if Saalt is the right choice for you, I encourage you to at least try if you are curious and wanting to improve your period experience. And if you'd like, let me know if you've tried Saalt.
Read the original blog about menstrual product waste that got me thinking about making a change here.