'Luxury Tampons' Exist, But Who Needs Them?

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

It's frequently pointed out that in 21st century America, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Apparently, this gap is spilling over into our paper products and period gear. No longer can we all use the same paper towels or eat the same potato chips. NBC News reports on the growing trend of brands developing 'luxury' categories for even the silliest of consumer staples — including tampons.

"Companies have reacted for years to the shrinking middle class by developing both top shelf and bargain versions of their product lines," NBC notes. One example? Tampax Radiant an 'ultra-premium' tampon designed for the discerning vagina.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which reported on this same trend earlier this month, shoppers pay about 21.8 cents apiece for Tampax Radiant, compared to a mere 13.7 cents per regular Tampax. If you figure 16 tampons per box, that's about $1.30 more per box. At 12 tampon boxes per year, that's an extra $15.55 annually.

What will you get for all this extravagance? Let's compare:

Tampax Radiant

  • "Designer packaging"
  • A "one-of-a-kind resealable wrapper for discrete disposal." Does this seem complicated to anyone else? Who wants to hang on to a plastic wrapper for hours just so they can wrap a tampon back up in it? What's wrong with toilet paper — too bourgeois?
  • "Best-ever" leak protection which, the Tampax website notes, means the exact same protection as its middle-of-the-road Tampax Pearl line.
  • A name that sounds like these tampons will leave your lady parts sparkling fresh.

Overall rating on the Tampax website: 4 starsOverall rating on 4.3 stars

Tampax Cardboard

  • A box that does not come with flowers or butterflies on it.
  • A "strong durable wrapper" that you can't wrap your tampon back up in afterwards.
  • A LeakGuard skirt "to help stop leaks before they happen." Psychic tampons!!!
  • A name that sounds like you bought your tampons at a hobo camp.

Overall rating on the Tampax website: Just under 4 starsOverall rating on 4.5 stars

For the record, the ingredients that make up both bargain and luxury tampons are the same: Cotton, polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene and fiber finishes (what the heck are fiber finishes?). In other words, you're paying extra for the girlier packaging, prettier name and resealable tampon wrapper. In my humble opinion, that's not really worth it. If Tampax really wants to target women willing to spent extra for quality, maybe they could work on actually improving tampon quality, instead of just marketing tricks designed to make it look like they have?

Image: Tampax Facebook page