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Tampons – Regular Vs Applicator

Tampons – Regular Vs Applicator
Carly Jacobs

In the past few weeks I have had Mr Smaggle on a strict regime of watching strategic episodes of Sex and the City to prepare him for our SATC movie date next week. Strategic because we don’t have time to watch the full series so we are watching 2 episodes per disk so he gets a general idea of the history. He quite likes HBO programs and is enjoying the show. He even understands most of what they are talking about. So high is his tolerance for the girly chat that he has endured talk of vibrators, anal sex and funky tasting spunk without so much as a blush forming on his pretty little cheeks.

Applicator Tampon - Sex In The CityHowever, he was totally horrified by one particular scene that we watched the other day. It’s the episode where Samantha and Carrie try to get into an exclusive restaurant and the door bitch is being a total cow and won’t let them in. Finally towards the end of the episode the door bitch has to ask Carrie if she can borrow a tampon. Carrie is delighted to help, they bond in the ladies bathroom and Carrie and Samantha are escorted to the best table in the restaurant moments later as pay back for the miracle tampon.

The scene that had Mr Smaggle freaking out was when Carrie hands over the tampon. I believe the exact phrase was ‘What the f*ck is that?’.

The poor sheltered boy had never seen an applicator tampon before and was clearly traumatised by teeny tiny Carrie dishing out tyrannosaurus-sized tampons. He obviously knows what a tampon is and knows what they are used for. ‘They’re like a plug right?’ he asked when we first started dating. He wasn’t raised around adolescent girls so the details were never fully explained to him. I replied that yes tampons were like a plug only more absorbent.  I also explained (quite unnecessarily) that once the ‘plug’ is removed it’s not like a sink – there’s no gurgling or gushing. Um… apparently that was assumed knowledge.

Anyway after I explained to him that the super thick, paper covered, straw-like object was actually a tampon he asked ‘A tampon for giants??? Why is it so big?’ I replied that it’s because American tampons are weird. I’m sorry ladies I know you love them over there in the old U.S of A but seriously, I fail to see why they are so popular.

Australian Dolly magazine went through this phase of pimping applicator tampons in the mid-90’s. All you had to do was write to them and they would send you a sample pack of applicator tampons in a purple flowered make up case. Hell, I love free shit so I thought I would give them a go. Big mistake. For a start I couldn’t get the bloody thing in the right spot. It’s like getting someone else to put your glasses on for you. It’s uncomfortable and bizarre and you always have to re-adjust them yourself. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

The fateful day I decided to road test my new tampons was a school day in year 8, while I was wearing my Catholic school uniform of a pale blue and white striped ‘nurses’ dress. I was too inexperienced to have learned the act of the ‘flick and sit’ where if a girl has her period she flicks up the back of her skirt so she isn’t sitting on it, thereby avoiding any accidents. Without prior knowledge of this little trick and using the most ineffective tampons in the worId, I proceeded to have a rather massacre like ‘leak’ during computer class. I then had to get a note from the principal saying that I was allowed to have my jumper tied around my waist for the rest of the day. Which everyone knew was a major breach of the school rules and the general assumption was that I had either leaked my period, wet my pants or had diarrhoea and none of these options helped the floundering popularity of a slightly geeky 14 year old me. I then had to catch the bus home. With boys.

So after that humiliating experience I have a serious vendetta against the applicator tampon. The unnecessary packaging annoys me. They take up too much room in tiny clutch bags. And they bend in the bottom of my handbag and get all out of shape. And they may have caused some serious psychological development problems that I am sure will surface in a future therapy session. 

TamponI understand why they exist. For those religious ladies who believe that touching their privates with anything less than a 10 foot pole will send them blind. I totally get that. For those ladies who have serious hygiene issues. Fine. Use your applicator tampons and live in discomfort but for those of us non-OCD ridden heathens what’s the point?

Can my American readers shed some light on this mystery? What’s so great about the applicator tampon? And do most American women use them? Or are they just over represented in the media?

Does anyone have a hideous tampon story to share? Applicator tampon hate mail would certainly be favoured.



  1. Showa59 15 years ago

    Ok I am American and I never thought about this. I think it is truly what you get use to. For me the applicator tampon slides in quickly, and is easier to move around for comfort. And both types of tampons can be purchased in the US so I just saw it as “to each her own”?

    So now my question, is it really American women who use the applicator type more than women from other countries? Here in Japan they use the applicator too, so again, the question never came to mind.

  2. Cupcake 15 years ago

    i have never tried applicator tampons as they just freak me the f**k out.. and regular ones i only used once! Here is my horror story!

    I have super dooper sensitive skin & get an allergy rash as the drop of a hat… because of this there is only one brand of pad i can use.. i was 16 and invited to a pool party.. EVERYONE WAS GOING so off i hop to the shops to get some tampons (same brand as my pads thinking no harm would come) i got home and decided to give them a roadtest before the party. Whats worse then a really bad allergy rash?? A REALLY bad allergy rash in a place that is impossible to itch that you cant itch as its “that time”

    So i had to miss to party and stay home from school a couple days as i was WAY to uncomfortable to leave the house :'(

    Thats my horror story and why i am from now on sticking to what i know!!


    • Junebug 13 years ago

      Hi, I live in the US, and was surprised to learn that European and Australian ladies prefer non-applicator tampons. So do I. And I always wondered how I could be such an out-lyer. Of the conventional supermarket brands of tampons in the US, only one (!!) offers a non-applicator tampon. I use them and they’re great. More recently I’ve learned that in the US, about half the organic cotton tampon sales are non-applicator. So, it makes me wonder if that’s because: 1. Natural food store shoppers are more discerning shoppers, 2. They prefer less packaging, 3. They’re more in touch with their bodies. I think it’s all of those things… Plus.Most American women never question the brand they buy once they buy it. Terefore, aside from organic cotton tampons, there’s been very little product or marketing innovation here. The big brands have little incentive yet to make a real change.

      • Chelsea 12 years ago

        Yeah, only natural food store shoppers are discerning shoppers hahahaha

        • Fiona 12 years ago

          I’m a Canadian who has moved to Sydney and I hate the non-applicator tampons because they don’t feel comfortable at all! I’ve always used Playtex tampons and they are so much better – haven’t found any other applicator ones that I like except for those. Now I’m wondering if I buy some off fishpond for $20 or have someone ship them to me. Amazon wants $40 for shipping and handling 🙁 So amazed that Australia doesn’t have them yet! 

          • if you don’t mind me asking how are they uncomfortable? once inserted you shouldn’t be able to feel any tampon with an applicator or without, is it just inserting that you find uncomfortable?

  3. Mrs Munk 15 years ago

    I am 100% backing you on the crap-ness of the applicator ones. I too was taken in by Dolly’s free trials of them and found that every time I tried to use them it just didn’t happen. If you want something done right, do it your damn self I say!!
    I don’t really have any horror stories for me, but friends of mine once saw a really drunk lady in a pub in a white dress who had “had a little accident”. No one out of them said anything to her, but I think when someone else finally did, she was either too drunk to care or understand….so if she figured it out the next day, that would most likely have been quite embarrasing for her…

  4. ah yes, the ye olde applicator tampax. 😛

    seeing as i am 32 now and have had my period since age 11…that’s 21 years. wow.


    i never thought of them as being somehow modest, in that one doesn’t touch one’s vaj when using them, i guess the applicator helps to get it where it’s got to go? yes, i know a finger would be just as successful. i don’t find their use uncomfortable. maybe it’s my years o’ practice?? 😛

    as for the non-applicator type, the brands i have tried don’t work for me, frankly. they don’t seem as *absorbent* and remind me of bullets for some reason.

    i guess it’s sort of what you get used to? maybe it’s a cultural thing? that type is the most widely available kind here in the states.

    to be honest, it’s not something i took the time to ponder in any sort of detail until you brought it up, my dearest smaggle.

    • babybla77 7 years ago

      I honestly did not even know that non-applicator tampons existed until today. I did quite a bit of research, and I think most people just prefer to use what they were taught to. If you learned to insert them with your finger, and have been doing it for 15 years, obviously it will seem foreign to suddenly switch to using an applicator, and I can see why that would be a very awkward situation. You touch your vagina with every form of tampon you use, so you are guaranteed blood on your hands with any tampon, unless you have the world’s cleanest period. But I agree that they seem to be less absorbent, I don’t think I found any above a super that were commonly used. Then again, I’m a pretty heavy girl so I have to use a leak guard Ultra tampon and an overnight maxi pad, and I have to switch out tampons every 2 hours or so, or I will bleed through heavily.

  5. Ivy 15 years ago

    I have never used one in my life and I never will. I’m thinking this is definitely a cultural thing. Us Aussies are like, “just stick yer finger up yer clacker, and you’ll be right”.

    I was a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding about 2 years ago… I wore a silver satin dress, looked so good, was feeling like the shiznet.
    I don’t know how long it had been there, but my sister, the bride, had to inform me of the biggest red spot on my arse…

  6. Emma 15 years ago

    Urg, I’m afraid I’m in the hating-of-applicators camp. I too find them almost impossible to get in the right spot, and I’m a diaphragm user, so I get even more practice at positioning things ‘up there’ than most!
    What I wonder is why Dolly was so keen to push them on we youngsters? Was there a shortage of tampon users and they thought these might bring us over? Do they cost more? Hmmmmm…

  7. Nicole 15 years ago

    I have never used non-applicator ones. Not that I’m against them, the applicator ones have never done me any harm. The first time I had my period I wore a khaki skirt the second day with an applicator one and nothing happened. I don’t have a tampon horror story, so maybe that’s why I’ve just never tried the “finger friendly” version. 🙂

  8. Jen 15 years ago

    As a New Yorker, I’ll be honest and say I had no idea that the rest of the world was full of non-applicator preferring gals.

    In the drugstores here there is maybe 1 brand of non-applicator kind that was advertised heavily in the 80s but I think fell out of favor after that. 90% of our feminine hygeine aisles are devoted to applicators made of plastic/biodegradable cardboard/and everything in between (even ones you assemble yourself so as to make the packaging smaller).

    Perhaps as the US finally starts to catch up to the rest of the world in the environmentally friendly department, more options will be offered here. But I think most of us use them, because that’s all we’ve got!

    • that is interesting because it’s the opposite here, we only have one brand that makes applicator tampons and they are seen as a really old fashioned thing, interesting how the things differ culturally.

  9. Natasha 15 years ago

    I have only used a non-applicator one once. It was about a year ago and a dire emergency, so I asked the other woman in the ladies’ room if she had a tampon. She gave me one without an applicator and I didn’t even know what it was. I never knew they made them without applicators.

    I didn’t have a traumatic experience, but I can say I haven’t used a non-applicator since…I think it is definitely what you get used to (probably what your mom uses, really.)

  10. Bummble 15 years ago

    I have used the applicator ones once (I’m Dutch btw; I don’t think they sell applicator tampons here, but can’t really say for sure – I’ve switched over to using a mooncup a few years ago, so haven’t had to buy anything since) when they were all I could get, in (I think) Mexico.

    In the end, I had to pry the actual tampon out of the applicator in order to get it in the right place.

  11. princessnaea 15 years ago

    OMG I was in such a strop in the states, there’s like *one* brand of non-applicator tampons and they suck mighty eggs. Also I think their labelling is different because it seems like ‘regular’ is actually mini and ‘super’ is regular (adhering to the ‘everything’s bigger in texas’ rule). But holy moly they sucked. I think the big issue is that Tampax have pretty much cornered the market (or that was how it seemed when I looked at the 5 bajillion varieties of Tampax and the one type of non-applicator tampons in the chemist) and there is very little brand choice as a result. Here there’s about 20 different varieties of tampons so you can pick one that works for your body (per example; I like Cottons which work well for me and give me warm ‘I’m not going to get cervical cancer from rayon flakes in my vajay’ feelings, while carefree really don’t work at all for me, tending towards leakage). So I suppose if you spent 10 years buying different types of appilcator tampons you’d probably find one that worked for you, too.

  12. Angry Face 15 years ago

    As an Australian lass I’ve always used the non-applicator kind. I never saw the point of the applicator. It’s akward, it creates excess waste and it’s just as easy to stick your finger up there and do the job.

    I remember going to a gig a few years back and there was an American girl in the toilet who’d gotten her period and was asking if anyone had a tampon. Of course we all only had what we see as “normal” tampons and she was absolutely disgusted. She didn’t have much choice and used it anyway but afterwards came out and said “I deserve a medal for having to do that”. I don’y know, for some reason that always stuck with me and when I think of applicators.

    I used my first applicator recently when a lass my housemate had shagged left a pretty little purse full of them at our place. I thought, what the heck and gave it a go. OH MY GOD! Talk about uncomfortable, they just swell up all weird, and I couldn’t get it in place properly. I ended up having to take the tampon out and use it like a normal one but they don’t seem like they’re built for that and it got all soft and bent out of shape. It felt like I’d just grabbed a wad of cotton balls and tried to fashion my own tampon out of them and stick it in my vajayjay.

    Well anyway, there’s my rant.

  13. Hayley 15 years ago

    I’m an Aussie girl and have only used the non applicator kind all my life, at least that was until I moved to Japan where like the USA they only have the applicator type. I was out sight seeing with my American friend, when I got that feeling that I would need a tampon soon. Well I didn’t have any, so we found a chemist, and as at that time we spoke no Japanese we gestured wildly and pointed at things in our phrase book until we got the packet of tampons. We found the nearest public toilet, which only had the dreaded “traditional toilet” which is a squatting style toilet and really gross. I opened up the pack and saw the HUGEST tampon ever, I screamed for my USA friend to come and have a look and she was like “yeah that’s a tampon”…I then stood over the squat style loo, trying not to fall in and tried to use the thing but ended up just taking it out of the applicator and putting it up there myself, which is what I ended up doing for the rest of my year in Japan. I never worked out how to do it so I was comfortable. I’m defiantly a non applicator girl.

  14. Lady Smaggle 15 years ago

    Cupcake – Oh my god! That is a horror story! How terrible for you. Well at least now you knoe you won’t ever get toxic shock right? 🙂

    Mrs Munk – Ew. I’m not sure I’d actually be able to tell someone that. Even someone I knew. And I must have wrote to Dolly a million times I got so many tampons its ridiculous. I didn’t even like them.

    Tricia – How funny! Applicator tampons are a little prudish here in Australia but obviously they are normal as in America. Glad to be of assistance is raising obscure arguments!

    Ivy – stick your finger up your clacker! You crack me up! And at your sister’s wedding? That’s way worse than year 8 shcool uniform!

    ShowA59 – I would love to know what people use in other countries. We already got a Japan response. It’s seems applicators are the go over there. I wonder if Australia is on it’s own down here in their love of the good old fashioned tampon?

    Emma – Totally! It was Tampax town when I was 14. They obviously wanted to saturate the marked like they did in America. Nice try Tampax! 🙂

    Nicole – Where do you live? I’m beginning to think it’s a country wide thing.

    Jen – 90% of them Tampax? That might be the issue. It’s one company controlling the market and they are forcing your to use applicators. How many different brands are there? It’s interesting because I know heaps of Aussies (many who have commented here) and they all HATE applicators so it fascinated me that Americans use them all the time. I guess because you are sort of forced to hey?

    Natasha – It’s all about what your mum uses. I was a Meds girl for years.

    Bummble – Okay Mama Smaggle wants to know. What’s a moon cup? It’s nice to know the Netherlands are on our side!

    Na – Stupid applicator tampons. Us Aussies know what we’re doing.

    Angry Face – Deserves a medal? Riiiight.

    Hayley – Wow Japan uses applicator tampons? It makes you wonder if they always did you whether America jumped in on the market. I think they are trying to take over the world with their evil tampons.

    Gervy – Oh it’s not taboo! We all think about it! Besides it was Mr Smaggle’s fault. He is the one freaking out over killer American tampons.

  15. Gervy 15 years ago

    Such a funny post – what a brave girl you are to raise this taboo subject!
    I will second the American girls – when we lived in the States, I could only ever find the applicator version. Very weird!

  16. sam 15 years ago

    As an American living in Aus I’ll just say this. Non-applicator is WAY better.

    However, there is little choice in the US where this style of tampon is concerned. There are only like 2 brands that do them (at least as of 3 years ago), and neither can hold a candle to the ones here.

  17. Bummble 15 years ago

    A mooncup ( is a menstrual cup, like the old Keeper or the Diva Cup.

    Probably NOT for the applicator-users; it takes a bit of practice, but it works SO well for me.
    It even takes away most of the cramps, especially when I put it in before the actual period starts (which, unlike with tampons, is no problem at all).

  18. shysquirrel 15 years ago

    After using applicators from a tender age (less, um confronting . . ?), I was in Oz (from NZ) when I needed to restock. All I could find were regular tampons. I could not believe the SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE! No leaks, no annoying uncomfortableness, a breeze to get in – OK, sure, more ‘confronting’ and a somewhat messier moment, but oh baby! I am a convert. They also take up way less room in the pocket/purse/sleeve cuff.

  19. eternalvoyageur 15 years ago

    Well, here is someone reporting from Europe: only normal tampons here, I’ve never heard of applicators till I read this post…
    Applicators sound terribly unecological to me. And also prudish… what’s wrong with using your fingers ? Do we need special tools for everything ?

  20. charmer 15 years ago

    I have always used applicator tampons, the ones without are just so hard to get in, i don’t know how you’re meant to get them in high enough just using your fingers.


  21. amilah 15 years ago

    I’m from the U.K. and have always used plastic applicator tampons. They’re more widely available than other alternatives. I was given self applicator ones as a freebie and thought what the hell. Why would someone want to put their fingers their at that time of the month?! However I saw the softcup on a website and would love to use one of those but unfortunately are not sold or shipped out to the UK.

  22. Tee 15 years ago

    I am from the US and lived in Sydney for a while. There are a myriad of applicators and types of tampons in the applicators, and sizes, not just Tampax.

    I think until relatively recently most applicator tampons “worked” (or didn’t work for some of you) by just getting longer. Now they have ones that work similarly to non-applicator tampons that “bloom” (like a flower).

    Personally, I like applicator tampons, but not Tampax. A smooth, round tip applicator can be positioned, and then just popped in. No muss, no fuss. I don’t think Americans use applicators because they’re prudish, I just think it’s more a messy hand issue.

    While living in Oz, I had a family member send me a huge box of plastic applicator tampons. I converted my flatmates as well. Neither of the two were fans of tampons previously, but that particular brand of plastic applicators (though horrible for the environment) made things a lot easier. When I returned to the US, I sent them a care package with tampons because they didn’t sell that brand in Australia.

    I think certain types of applicator tampons make things easier, especially when you’re younger. But I think between regular tampons, and tampax, regular wins hands down. Tampax are flat and blunt and abrasive, if that’s the only encounter you’ve had with an applicator, I understand why you hate them.

    • Anna 11 years ago

      What brand did you send to your flatmates?

  23. Miss Bec 15 years ago

    OK so, being an Aussie girl myself and thinking how cumbersome and unnecessary applicator tampons are, you can imagine my shock when I moved to the UK only to find ONE semi-decent brand of normal tampons available. They are pants (English word for craptastic). Anyway, during a desperate time, at that time of the month, I bought a box of Tampax Compack applicator tampons and they ROCK. They are only slightly longer than the normal style of tampon and the plastic applicator slides out and kind of acts like a syringe/plunger thing. Anyway, it sounds gross, but it is so easy and fuss-free to use them. I was totally convinced when I got my period at a 4 day music festival. We ladies have to be careful about hygiene and TSS etc, so in a portaloo at a music festival where hand washing facilities are not as good as at home, applicator tampons saved the day (well, those and anti-bacterial hand gel).

  24. Kristin 15 years ago

    I have never been a fan of Tampons (the whole Toxic Shock thing freaked me out) but when I had to use them I hated Tampax because, like everyone has been saying, they were terribly uncomfortable. The only brand I could use in any kind of comfort was Playtex. Since I hate tampons and pads I have since converted to a menstration cup (I use a Diva Cup) and love it. It’s way less wastefull and I don’t have to continuely buy products. I empty/clean it in the shower in the mornings and evenings and I never have to think about it during the day or night. It took some getting used to in the begining but I wouldn’t go back to tampons/pads if you paid me 🙂

  25. Kristin 15 years ago

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I’m Canadian and I had never heard of non-applicator tampons before, and I’ve never seen them sold at stores before. Maybe I should take a good look at the feminine hygiene aisle next time I’m at the drugstore and see if I can find any 🙂

  26. Tibz 15 years ago

    I’d agree with charmer. I’d love to be able to use normal non-applicator tampons (eco-friendly, compact etc), but I don’t know how to position them. It isn’t about modesty either. Just positioning.

    I use Playtex, but only on heavy days, and usually with pads. >_> Am I weird?

  27. Tara 15 years ago

    All i can say is each to their own, everyone obviosly has differen ahh.. well you know so different products work for you.
    Myself im an aussie girl. Always use tampons as i find the other messy, and dirty. and quite gross to sick in your own mess!!!
    Anyway, seeing as applicator tampons are not available, well ive never seen any n australia i was quite shocked when i came to the Uk last year.
    The first time i used the applicator i thought either id dropped the thing or it wasnt in right, cos for once i didnt feel the discomfort i use to feel.
    I have alwasy struggled to get the things in and had always had to use some kind of lubricant to get them to slide in, i have no idea how other woman get them in easily. maybe they have a bigger vagina than me. who knows.
    the point is im moving to aus next year, well moving back and am stocking up over here as i will miss the applicators. they are just soo quick, easy comfortable and have the exact same absorbency as other tampons, sounds like some of you have left the applicator inside for you to leak like that. doesnt sound right at all. lol. i had never experienced this and i want to introduce these applicators into aus.
    i think its rediculous we dont have them, they are clean easy, and so quick. and they dont hurt. i hated using tampons before cos it always hurt shoving this thing inside. it certainly didnt glide in like the applicators do. it seems its just australia that doesnt use them, if the US and the Uk and Japan all use them there must be a reason for it hey!!!!!

  28. Bash 15 years ago

    i’ve never used an applicator. do u throw that part away every time? WHAT A WASTE. ugh that makes me sad actually. I never use tampons anyway but certainly don’t think I need a ‘guide’ of any sort!

  29. Chandria 15 years ago

    Well, I have used both. I grew up in Europe and the only tampon available there was the non-applicator one. Since then I moved to the States and I now have lived there for 18 years. I have bought my first applicator tampon “Playtex Gentleglide” out of couriosity and never looked back. It is a huge difference!!! In my experience they are much more comfortable, absorbent and clean! Let me bring up another angle here…you are out and about, you use a public rest room and it is so much easier, simpler and more hygenic to change using the aplicator. After all your finger never has to enter (keep in mind even if you wash your hands there is always dirt and bacteria underneath your nails) so it is favored just purely from a hygenic stand point. All in all I would never go back to the regular non-applicator style.

  30. Amelia 15 years ago

    I’m Australian.
    I only use applicator tampons.
    i order them from the states. i find i put them in easier.
    i can use the “normal” ones too.
    although who cares which you use?
    whatever you feel comfortable with.

    and also, there’s about 180million american woman and they would probably all use applicators and about 8-10million australian women. if you go by that, applicators are the norm.
    australia is the only place i’ve lived where they aren’t common

  31. Jessica 15 years ago

    I just accidentally bought tampons without applicators.. opened up the package.. and was like.. wtf is this!?! I tried to put one in and it was extremely painful and wouldn’t go in any farther than the length of the cotton part….

    I’ve been using applicator tampons since I first started my period years ago and can’t fathom why anyone would want tampons without the applicator? The reason the applicator is helpful is so that you don’t have to struggle with the rough, dry cotton against your interior skin. The plastic or cardboard applicators slide in without pain. The dry cotton causes me pain, I don’t know about anyone else. But it’s definitely a problem for me. I mean who invented these cotton ball tampons, men!?
    Until I found this website, I didn’t even realize that applicator tampons were an American thing. But it makes sense to me to make them with applicators. Now I have to go buy applicator tampons.. and I just wasted a bunch of money on 2 packs of 20 tampons. I wish the box had told me there were no applicators.

    • : ( usually you can wait until their is enough menstrual flow and this lubricates your vagina for tampon insertion : )
      it should not be painful to insert.

    • Laura 8 years ago

      I have the exact same problem. I live in Australia and have tried many times to insert the ‘normal’ tampons (in numerous brands) but with no luck because the cotton seems to stick and it is painful as it gets pushed in. I much prefer applicator tampons but because of this environmental issue with additional packaging I now use moon cup menstrual cup but keep the applicator tampons spare for any unexpected emergencies 🙂

  32. Kat 14 years ago

    Amen to this whole article! I hate applicator tampons. I am traumatized by them after trying to use them when I first got my period at 13 and failing multiple times, miserably. I’ve used non applicators ever since (I’m 29 now).
    However, this is the kicker…I’m moving to the US in two weeks (engaged to an American). I am thinking I’m completely screwed when it comes to tampons. I will just have to buy in bulk and ship them over until I can find a suitable replacement in the States.

    I still have Tampax nightmares…the horrible rough cardboard tubes…yikes!

  33. mcnd 14 years ago

    I’m moving to Australia in January for four year and was horrified to learn that there are no applicator tampons in Queensland. The Australian women should at least be given a choice! I am Canadian, and here almost all the tampons are applicator ones (which are “the norm” as far as I’m concerned). The big brands here are Tampax (my favorite and the only ones I use are Tampax Compak, which look like little sugar packets so they’re totally discreet in your purse) and Kotex, and the only non applicator ones are OB which are rather terrible. Like the girls above me, the biggest issue isn’t so much the hygiene (although having to put your clothes back on and walk out of a stall at a public restroom with bloody hands is extremely unpleasant and justifies applicators on its own), but the uncomfortable and actually painful feeling of dry, rough cotton as you try to wedge it in. I really can never get non applicator ones in far enough that I can’t feel them, whereas with the applicators (especially the good ones which are smooth and preferably plastic), it’s effortless. You get in and out in half a second and your hands are minimally sullied.
    I go through a lot of tampons on my period, so I might just have to pack a suitcase full of them and have people mail them to me. It seems ridiculous to ship a box overseas that normally costs me just 5 bucks at the drug mart, but what can I do.
    But, as you say, there is a lot of variety in Australia so perhaps the non applicator tampons really are superior to the American ones and (hopefully!!!) I will be satisfied with them.
    Anyways, thank you very much for writing this blog, you confirmed the rumors and now I can at least brace myself.

  34. woofless 14 years ago

    I have to admit, I found this blog through some weird late-night curiosity (thanks Google). I am in the US and have always pondered that “one” particular brand of non-applicator tampon that shares the shelves with what appears to be our cultural-norm “applicator style” tampons.

    Ever since I was a teenager & started using tampons, I’ve always wondered, “now why in the world would anybody want to stuff their fingers up there during that time of the month, when an applicator makes that unnecessary?”

    I must say, reading the comments here has been enlightening and interesting. To each her own; and it’s definitely eye-opening to see why other women prefer the non-applicator type.

    Most of my adult life I have had a….”problematic” menstrual cycle. It’s never been regular- I’ll skip 2-3 months or more, and then I’ll have an ultra-heavy period. For a solid 3-4 days, it’s horrible- I’ll saturate pads *and* tampons every 2-4 hours. I get mildly anemic. Doctors haven’t been able to provide me with much help, except artificial hormones which make me feel worse….so I just live with it. Without me getting into even more icky detail, I’ll just say it’s messy enough WITH “applicator” tampons- I shudder to think what my hands would look like if I tried to use a non-applicator tampon during this ultra heavy flow. God forbid I ended up in a public restroom needing to change- I’d come out looking like I’d just murdered somebody!!

    I’ve always wanted to visit Australia, so I’m glad I found this blog….now I know to bring my own supply of good ol’ American tampons before I go 🙂

    • Me 12 years ago

      I also have rather heavy periods lately which I HATE.  So much so that I wish there was a device to just suck it all out in one go – I’d buy that.  I can sympathise with the red right hand fear – it is like a tap sometimes and chunky with it.  Gross I know but there you go – share my monthly ‘joy’ of being a woman.  Unless you have it like that you wont appreciate what we’re talking about.  Recently I thought I’d try applicator tampons – I’d used Tampax back in the 90’s when I was in high school but don’t remember why I stopped using them.  I recently bought the ones with the plastic tube – Libra maybe.  I was a bit rusty at the technique and didn’t hold the middle of the applicator while inserting – and in it went along with the tampon.  I got the tampon out no wrorries but couldn’t get the plastic out using finger and thumb.  I was in tears of frustration thinking it would never come out and I’d have to go to a doctor or the hospital, but it did come out within a few hours (a bowel motion helps). 

  35. leslie 14 years ago

    this is the dumbest invention ever. a dry cotton unlubed thing is going to tear you apart if you try to insert it. It feels like hell, never sits in the right spot (not high enough and so it hurts when ever you walk). They leak like crazy – don’t conform to your interior – bad design. You come out of the bathroom with arm and hand covered in blood. If you don’t have access to hand cleaner you can get infections using them from dirty hands, you will get blood all over the bathroom stall, trying to wipe of your hand, etc. etc. You can’t get the blood from out of your nails and your hands stink like blood…This is why applicators were invented people, common!

    btw, I have tried the diva cup and filled it in 20 minutes. and I weigh 110#. also tried the health food store hand-made “diaper” pad and it stunk so bad I tossed it in the trash instead of into my purse when I changed it. I don’t have a fetish against experiencing my body or my periods, I think they are wonderful . But they are messy and bacteria laden as well. Gentle Glide by Playtex are the best (though loaded with dangerous chemicals alas), they work great.

    • Fi 11 years ago

       What on earth were you doing to cover your entire hand, arm and the bathroom stall in blood?!

    • you shouldn’t feel a tampon if it is inserted deep enough, same with leaking : (

  36. katrine 14 years ago

    I been having period One and a half year now(Im almost 12),and beside pads from Always,I only use Tampax as tampons.They are the best to put in and get out.And I dont have to put finger All in to get it in,like other brands.As Im tight and bleeds pretty heavy

  37. Taylor 14 years ago

    Well I started my period when I was at my dads house (HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE) over summer break a few weeks before my first day of junior high. Anytime I tried to use a pad, it just wasn’t absorbent enough for me. Tampons are completely comfortable for me. Maybe it’s just what you have better luck with. Who knows? I’d only use a pad if I had no way of getting a tampon.
    I’ve had to coach friends on how to use (insert) them because they were too scared/nervous before. Who wouldn’t be nervous about it? It looks pretty weird. But after the first few times, it’s totally comfortable.
    And, they last longer than pads too. You don’t have to worry as much with them. Well, I don’t atleast.
    I think everyone should atleast try them once or twice. As long as you know how to properly insert them, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable. 🙂

  38. Florida Girl In Sydney 14 years ago

    This is so funny, my friend has a link to your post on facebook. I never used a non-applicator tampon until moving here. I do think the brand in the U.S. with the plastic applicator is easier and more comfortable to use than a non-applicator one. But now that I’ve been in Australia for a couple of years I like those all cotton applicatorless ones. Less waste and tiny in your purse. Cheers.

  39. ExNYCAussie 14 years ago

    I am an Aussie girl just returned from NYC after 9 years. And before I left I stocked up on my Playtex applicator tampons from the USA. I did this because I knew they are virtually impossible to get in Oz except for the horrible Tampax ones. I am totally a fan of applicator tampons. Why wouldn’t one be (besides environmental reasons)? They are so much cleaner and easier to use. And the ones like Playtex are plastic and scented and so nice! People might worry about plastic but it doesn’t bother me at all. Where can I buy tampons like these in Australia?? HELP!!!

    • Nicky2812001 12 years ago

      I had a look on the playtex site and they do have an online store so you can order them easily enough. 🙂

  40. Jameela 14 years ago

    i have been doing some research on applicator tampons after my sister came back from america because she came back with this massive box of applicator tampons, me personally dont really use non-applicator tampons unless i have to cause i dont like the idea of being out and having to use my fingers because of public toilets, i have always thought it was odd that tampax was the only brand around, n after reading all of your comments i see that we havent grown up with the idea so its harder to get used to, but tampax applicators are crap, the idea of applicator tampons is fantastic when u dont want to touch…

  41. Ros 14 years ago

    The only readily available applicator tampons available in Aus are Tampax, and its any wonder Aussie girls like me never liked the idea of the applicator tampon!!! Tampax are CRAP, they expand in length as well as width, so even if you get it in the right place give it 10 mins or so and it expands it’s way out your vaj and you can feel it. Also they leak!! I don’t know why they keep putting these crap tampons in these great applicators. I have taken the stupid tampax tampons out of the applicator and put carefree tampons (or any good brand) in and used them with great success. The reason I do this is I have severe rheumatoid arthritis esp in my hands and also a conditions called fibromyalgia which makes me stiff and sore, so say what you like Aus girls- but it’s OK for you healthy fit girls to whack ur finger up your clacker, but girls like me just can’t physically manage it. Why should I have to be left with no choice but pads?? it’s NOT fair!!! I have now more recently taken to importing my tampons from the UK off ebay as it’s far cheaper than buying the tampax just for the applicator and then another box of tampons as well, I get “lil lets” applicator tampons that ONLY expand width-ways – so I can be like the rest of the girls in the world and have a choice – to use tampons.

    I want to know why Australia is left without a choice?? why are we behind the rest of the world? The UK and Ireland, the US and Canada, NZ and most of the EU have a wide range of applicator tampons to choose from (enviro friendly and plastic), so what’s wrong with Aus? Hasn’t anyone ever thought of those of use with a disability?? Oh and I am only 36 – lots of experience with periods had and lost more to go….

  42. Ros 14 years ago

    sorry as per above and countires listing applicator tampons – that is based on where I can buy them from online. If you live in any of the places listed and applicator tampons aren’t widely available, my apologies – but people sell them from your countries.

    • Saron 12 years ago

      Hi, I know it might be too late to reply but I foud this blog when I searched about ‘how to use tampons’. I never used tampon my whole life (as pads are commonly used in Indonesia). I tried to use tampon once, when I suddenly had my period, since I brought one from Holland on my vacation back to Indonesia (to show my classmates how tampon looks like). But I just couldn’t get it in (it’s a non-applicator one). After reading this blog and my own experience of trying to use one, I can imagine you would like to use the ones with applicator.

      Those business people would only response if you show them the figures and profits they will get. So, it might be a good idea to do some ‘research’ to see how many people would like to have tampons with applicator and calculate it by just taking a regular price of regular tampons you can get in a supermarket and show them h0w many that number is to show how many market share they can win by improving their products.

      So, hope it can help and wish me luck as I will try to use tampon again for my next period (my husband and I plan to go for a weekend to do some hiking) 🙂

      • Ros 12 years ago

        Thanks Saron,

        only this month, I found one of our common tampon manufacturers are selling compact applicator tampons (Libra brand) in most major shops.  Maybe all my complaints and letters did work after all? who knows and who cares, we can now get good quality applicator tampons in Australia YAY….OMG YAY….I am so incredibly happy i bought 6 boxes LOL

  43. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Ros – Wow. That never even occurred to me. I now teach kids with special needs and disabilities and it makes perfect sense that applicator tampons would be easier for them to use. Perhaps you should contact Australian tampon companies? I have a friend who used to work at one and she had heaps of people calling about different special needs. At least it will raise awareness for other people. xx

  44. Ais 14 years ago

    I’m an American, and have only used a non-applicator tampon once. It was in a mall bathroom and I was desperate; I bought it from a machine. It was the only brand they carried. It was horrible- it said it was regular sized, but it felt like a light to me. Plus it had this bullet shaped pointy tip that was uncomfortable. And like others have said, it didn’t go high enough up. I use Playtex gentle glides usually, and I really like them. Tampax are rough and strangely shaped, really long and never wide enough. I always had leaks when I used Tampax. Playtex seem to “bloom” like a flower, and absorb way more. Plus the applicator is smooth and comfortable. I’m moving to Sydney in a few months, so I’ll probably take a bunch of Playtex with me- although I’m all for trying a new kind of tampon, even without an applicator. If I like it, I’ll keep using it. Whatever works for you, right? 🙂

  45. Ros 14 years ago

    Hi Lady Smaggle, I have contacted 3 different tampon companies in Australia and I just get the standard “thanks for your feedback” response. None are interested. I cannot get a reply from a real person, I only get a reply from a computer! The websites aren’t user friendly and it’s difficult to find contact info that is not electronic feedback. When i did find a telephone number I was on hold for 25 minutes before speaking to someone who gave me meaningless platitudes like “oh I’m sorry to hear that” and “i’ll look into it” and I have been contacting these useless companies for over 10 years and nothing has changed, so I guess even if they did ‘look into it’ they didn’t think it was worth changing.

    Anyone else got any suggestions on how to get this situations changed???

    I should not have to import my tampons from overseas!! Perhaps I should write to the government – but they are mostly men, so I cannot see them caring, they put GST on feminine hygiene products, that’s how much they care!!

    Any serious suggestions welcome….

  46. Queensland Girl 14 years ago

    Wow this is really interesting! I’m an Aussie, and have only ever used non-applicator tampons. However, I’m going to try to purchase some applicator ones. This is because tampons usually hurt when I put them in, (even carefree slim silk-ese mini-which is the best (in my opinion) non-applicator tampon in Australia) although once they’re in they’re fine, and because now I have acrylic nails, it’s harder to put a tampon in with my finger. Does anyone else have this problem (with false nails)?

    Oh, and for those applicator tampon users who are wondering, we clean the blood off our finger BEFORE we leave the toilet cubicle (and before we touch our clothes etc) with whatever is available: toilet paper, tissues, moist wipes, water bottle. Then we go out and wash our hands. Well this is what I do anyway. Though it would be lovely not to have to do that.

  47. Shopaholic 14 years ago

    Hey everyone! I am a Canadian girl who LOVES her regular (non-applicator) tampons! Unfortunately there is only one brand of these available, for us Canadians to buy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my OB’s, (or as I like to call them, my little bullets). They are super small, quick and easy …but I think that every company needs some competition. Maybe more Canadian ladies would choose them if we had more than one company to choose from. Even ladies who prefer applicator type tampons, may not like all varieties and companies.

    I had no idea that non-applicator tampons were the “norm” in Australia until one of my best friends (who’s from there) told me. Wow, was I surprised and glad that there was a country out there that was environmentally conscious like me!

    I think applicator tampons are such a waste of time and space. Not to mention, worse on the environment. I have tried them before, but I don’t get the point of jamming this unnecessary object up your you know what. It’s just uncomfortable and awkward to position, when you could just use your finger and it just slips inside. I don’t find it messy, if you don’t wait too long after you wipe… and you only keep your finger on the end of it. I can’t see how it is messy… maybe I’m just lucky. Whatever you use, no matter how “skilled” you think you are, you should ALWAYS read the instructions, when you’re using a new product or a product from a new company.

    Personally, I don’t find non-applicator types difficult to get in, especially since OB started making the “pro-comfort” and the “silk-ease” variations… they pretty much slide in themselves!

    I think of applicator tampons, as being very old fashion. Especially in this day and age, we need to do what we can. Think of all the tampons us ladies use and the amount of sheer waste that we accumulate. Shouldn’t we at least go for less when we can and support those companies that offer us less “packaging”? Cause lets face it, you probably don’t recycle that plastic or cardboard applicator. I believe anyone looking to do their part for the environment, should give non-applicator tampons another shot.

    Thank you for your time ladies and Lady Smaggle, XO
    Good luck and happy tampon shopping!

    • Noah 12 years ago

      Funny to see that Europeans and Canadiens think alike. Everything I wanted to say, you wrote down already.
      U.S. ladies, don’t be so afraid of your vaginas. The applicators are unnecessary and environmental unfriendly. If you have decent personal hygiene there is no problem whatsoever. And as far as placement goes, with your finger you can feel exactly if it’s in right instead of a cardboard blocking your feel.
      The o.b silky touch are awesome, I always miss them when on holiday.
      Greets from The Netherlands

      • Missy 11 years ago

        The Tampax cardboard applicators are flushable and break down quickly in water, they are biodegradeable. If you want an applicator tampon that expands width wise not length wise, Playtex does that but their applicators are plastic. To place one correctly insert the applicator, then tilt it forward a bit (towards the belly button) then push the plunger part, that’s it. 🙂

  48. crazygirl 14 years ago

    ok here it go’s. i was told that with a pad u get completey clean as in u get all the new and old blood out. and with a tampon it my help from accidents but it dont always soke it up and when ur done with ur tampons and ur period. u may still have some old blood that just sat there with ur tampon in and its stuck, and then whn it gets loose i get this gross dark jelly stringy crap a couple days later. be cause it happened to me and i only use tampons if i have to and it is a must if i have to, other wise i hate them.

  49. Brit 14 years ago

    Hi! I live in the UK. We have equal numbers of both types.I prefer inserting with an applicator but prefer carrying around non-applicator ones (slip one in the back pocket of jeans). The deciding factor for me was performance- and non-applicator wins hands down as they expend widthways- so much better. Lillets have recently started doing a compact applicator one that expands widthways but they always seem to get stuck in the tube. Also, all that plastic isn’t very environmentally friendly. I’ve actually just started using a Mooncup.

  50. lyssa 14 years ago

    I have been using tampax tampons for yrs now they r so much better than non-applicator ones. I found this out when in the school toilets I used to hide my bloody finger when walking to the sink to wash my hands in front of 20 other girls and when I found tampax in woollies I was over the moon they go in so fast quick and easy with no mess apart from the card board or plastic tube there’s no repositioning just in and out and no dirty fingers (Y) for tampax!!

  51. jen 13 years ago

    im from the uk and it still surprises me that in australia and south africa its hard to find applicator tampons unless they are those huge horrible cardboard ones! ewww i cant use them cos its hard to get a grip on the applicator and so its hard to push in and pull out. however the plastic ones are amazing – you end up in the right place every time, no mess, no fuss and they are smaller to carry round – almost the same size as a non applicator!
    i dont choose them for prudishness i think they are cleaner and i find them easier to use and in most of the rest of the world they are the norm! i find it hard to believe that aussie girls dont get much of a choice – its about 50/50 over here but all my friends use the applicator ones.
    i guess its what you are brought up with but i am sick of having to pack tampons when im travelling to these countries!! vital luggage space is taken up with tampons just so i can be comfortable at that time of the month! if they made the cardboard ones – which over here are smoother than when i first used them god 15 or so years ago – the same shape and size as the compak plastic ones, i would switch for the environmental factor, but until then ill stick with what suits me!
    but i reckon they should at least give you guys a choice!

  52. sarah 13 years ago

    leslie, it’s not gross or uncommon to use tampons without an applicator. and your vagina is already lubricated from having your period, and many of the tampons have a silky-type cover over them to make them easier to insert. also, having your period isn’t like you’re constantly gushing out blood like a tap. you don’t walk out of a bathroom covered in blood or looking like you just murdered someone. you always wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon and generally use toilet paper to wipe your hands with quickly if there is excess blood before leaving the stall and then go and wash your hands. just because you prefer to use applicator tampons doesn’t mean you need to be rude or make accusations or statements that aren’t true. you can offend people. it’s just a personal preference. i’ve been using non-applicator tampons for years and have never had any infections or problems down there. and it’s not gross. it’s just your vagina, your body. you use your common sense, take care of yourself and be hygienic. if you’re that worried about infection etc, you should probably be more familiar with yours. oh and if it sits in the wrong spot and leaks, YOU PUT IT IN WRONG. practice it a bit until you feel comfortable. they are designed fine, you’re just doing it wrong. plenty of other girls use them without discomfort or leakage.

  53. Nomad 13 years ago

    Wow, haven’t some of you got your knickers in a twist over this! Why would one care what other people feel comfortable using. If it doesn’t confirm to the way you would do things yourself it is of no consequence; live and let live ladies. I came across this Blog while searching online for hours trying to order my usual Playtex applicator tampon and they no longer ship them to NZ. I was introduced to them by a Canadian friend, many many years ago, and have never used anything else since. There is really only one issue for me and that is my nails are nearly as long as my fingers, natural of course, and I’m not chancing slicing and dicing my most valuable asset. It used to be a real issue for me before I started using an applicator. Another plus for me is the Playtex string seems to be coated, possibly in a wax of some kind, as it does not chafe like some other tampon strings. Alas though for me there will be no more Playtex as I can no longer get them shipped out of the US of A!

  54. unknownworld 13 years ago

    hey, well i don’t have any horror stories or experiences. But i found this blog quite interesting because quite soon i am going to the USA on exchange for a year and this tampon style just popped into my head because its all you ever see in the movies. i am a big tampon user cause i just hate pads and i had no idea what to expect for when i went over there at least now i know there are at least some non-applicator tampons in the US!!!!

  55. Monica 13 years ago

    well i live in the states and ive only ever tried applicator ones and i just think they are easier i understand the confusion about it but its like i would just never know how far to push it up there…..with the applicator its put it in until the grip touches your body and then push the back and its in perfectly like its impossible to mess up and plus i would think it would hurt putting the pure cotton in because when i remove it only after only like three hours once it hurt like a b*tch because it was so dry….but yeah i get that its bigger but its really not that bad they make new ones know where you pull the back out till it clicks so the packaging is smaller….im pretty sure that its just because i learned with the applicator so thats what im used to and the same for the nonapplicator users….if you learn without one its just going to be pointless to add one in, unless its hard without one thats why they make them.

    • guest20111 13 years ago

      I don’t think you’re ment to be using a tampon if your so dry after three hors that it hurts to pull it out :z

  56. Swimming Accident 13 years ago

    My horror story comes from being 13 and on an island with only one store. I got my period at 11, and had only used pads, cuz that's what my mom used. I was a little afraid of tampons, but willing to give it a go, so that I could swim. We went to the store and bought the only brand available–a store brand with a cardboard applicator. I read the directions, and tried to insert it. It took a while, but I thought I had it. Well…a little bit later, I was swimming, and noticed a tampon floating next to me…it had popped out! I guess it never went in all the way, or expanded too much for my small frame. I stuffed it into my bathingsuit without anyone noticing, and promptly got out. I didn't wear a tampon again for 8 years. Then I was tired of almost accidents wearing a pad and a harness (running a ropes course). I decided to try tampons and went for the only non-applicator brand–OB (I'm American), and they worked great! Rarely do I have a "mess" on my finger…it's covered! Now, I alternate between pads and tampons, depending on my mood and activity. I would like more choice though…I've never really understood how to use an applicator. It just doesnt make sense…

  57. Kahurangi 13 years ago

    I know that this is an old post but I found it while googling: Do American's use non-applicator tampons because I was wondering the same thing.

    Anyway, I live in NZ and prefer the regular kind even though my first time experience put me off them for a bit for a while. The thing is when I was teen applicator tampons were just easier: I didn't have to put my finger into my vagina to push it in, figure out if it was in far enough and the string was already out. After a while I got kind of sick of them though – they just cost SO MUCH MORE than the regular ones and decided I needed to give them a try…

    First time using one: I forgot that the string wasn't already out, so just put it in and then realised there wasn't a string on the outside of my body. Spent about 10 minutes trying to squeeze/tweeze the damn thing out with my fingers and was put off using them for a good three or four years. Can't get enough of them now though 🙂

  58. Alex 13 years ago

    This is so awesome 🙂 I don’t actually hate either types of tampons… I hated all types when I first started trying to use them though, and found that I got used to them after using the non-applicator-types. After that, I’ve been able to use either type pretty comfortably. However, applicators make me feel MUCH more comfortable in Asia (lived in China for years) when I’m far from a hygienic location!!

  59. Teefa 13 years ago

    This is hilarious… I have almost run out of my stock of plastic applicator tampons which I stocked up on (Costco size boxes–so 38 or so to a box) while in the US last year (having moved back to Australia 2 years ago after spending 12 years in the States) and decided to give the net a shot tonight and see if I could find a site that would ship them to Australia, especially while the Aussie dollar to the US dollar is so good. The Playtex website tells me that they may ship them to me (check out, but with a lot of proviso’s so I think I’ll just phone a friend and ask her to ship them to me instead… Is it worth all the trouble? YES, YES, and YES! The plastic applicators REALLY ARE WORTH IT! No mess, no giant tampons (the super plus are about the same size as a regular tampon) and they fit inside most purse/handbag zipper pouch compartments. And its my routine–PMS, greasy food, IB Profin, Diet Coke, Heated Rice Bag and Playtex Plastic Applicator Tampons! Perhaps there is an import business here… Lol!

    Anyways, love the blog. I am still musing over the irony in happening upon it in my quest for plastic applicator tampons.

    I don’t have too hideous a tampon story, but here goes–the first day I got my period, was the school swimming carnival. I was 14 I think. I thought I had put my tampon in correctly (afterall its something you get the hang of over time right, and this was before my intro to the fantastic plastic applicator, which I should add, my mum raved about when trying to teach me how to use a tampon as she had spent her uni days in America–so there you go, a generational thumbs up or dare I say it “plug” for the plastic applicator), but alas I did not. I felt like the whole school could see the string and I was scared as hell when i jumped into the pool, fearing that I would leave a bloody trail behind me… Thankfully though all was well, but I was pretty apprehensive about swimming around period time until a girl mate coached me through putting in a tampon

    She said that at the end of the day, the general rule of placement is if you can’t feel it then you’ve got it in the right spot–(with or without an applicator…)


    • Karen 13 years ago

      You can buy them in Australia, lots of supermarkets sell them, but they’re usually hidden in the corner of the bottom shelf, from memory they come in a dark blue box

      • Lisasmilesnow 11 years ago

         LOL… lots of supermarkets in Australia!!! All 2 Coles and Woolworths. I just moved here from Canada… and cannot believe the lack of selection in this beautiful country!!!!! OMG I’m in shoppers hell!!!

        • Fiona 11 years ago

          Ya, you can find the Libra ones everywhere but they are not nearly the same as the Playtex ones. Next person that comes to visit me from Canada is bringing me some!!! I’m not sure why it’s so hard to find a site that will ship them here(that’s not insanely expensive)!

  60. liza n 13 years ago

    Just found this post on my journey looking for applicators, I have always used “normal” non-applicator tampons, but recently have had to change as I have started to have problems with inserting due to arthritis. (I’m only in my mid 30’s).
    There is only one brand in Australia and they are not as absorbent, but damn they are so much easier to use. They do take up extra room, but small price to pay for better then pad protection.

  61. Arlie79 13 years ago

    Just stumbled upon this while googling “why don’t they have applicator tampons in Australia” haha. I am from Australian and have been living in the States for the past 8 years. My first encounter with a tampon was in primary school and it was the most uncomfortable thing, so I never used them. Just pads. When I moved to the U.S. I decided to give the tampons a try again and using the applicator was great. It’s cleaner and easier to use. Now we are thinking of going back to Australia, I don’t know what I’m going to do without my applicator tampons! I don’t understand why they don’t have them there. And the lack of choice doesn’t just exist with tampons in Australia, it seems to be with a lot of things.

  62. Tez 13 years ago

    Seriously applicator tampons have changed my life! I will never go back… I just don’t understand how anyone can prefer trying to shove a dry lump up there! Applicators are so easy – and I’ve never, ever had to readjust them. The reason I like them is nothing to do with hygiene/prudishness, it’s just coz they’re so much easier. SOOOO much easier! And as someone else has mentioned, you can get smaller applicators now that are about the size of non-applicator tampons but can expand when you need to use them. Although I’m living in the UK at the moment so I’m not sure if these ones are in Aus yet.

  63. Edita 13 years ago

    I’ve always had the applicator kind (being from the US) so when I moved to Germany and had to get the non-applicator kind they kind of weirded me out. They totally looked like a box of little absorbent shotgun shells. I could never quite get them in the right spot either…

  64. Karen 13 years ago

    I’m a few years too late to respond, but I was just watching that same episode of sex and the city, and thought I’d google why they’re so popular. I had the exact same problems as you – and I also still have the purple pencil case from the Dolly sample! I had leakage problems too, and found that the quality and size/shape of the tampon was really poor, which you couldn’t tell before you used it – because it was wrapped up! In the USA many years ago, I was doing a bushwalk with some people and an American girl asked if anyone had a tampon. Being so small and compact, I nearly always keep one in the bottom of every handbag/backpack etc, so I offered it to her, and the look of disgust on her face and the “ewwwww, gross” response, made me want to take it back and let her suffer, but with no other option, she had to take it. So fine, if you like the hygene aspect, I get that, but come on, don’t be grossed out by it, in many parts of the world you can’t buy any kind of tampon at all!

  65. Deeanna 12 years ago

    Libra has just put out an applicator tampon in Australia – at least it was advertised in the big dub catalogue.

    Must say I was a DIY girl up until october last year when i holidayed in the US. I bought kotex brand applicators there and they kick ass. Wish i had forked out for more packets while i was there. Will be interested to try the libra ones. Had a look at my local big dub in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t find them so i will keep my eyes peeled.

  66. Shannon 12 years ago

    I know this is really old but I just stumbled across it. Um from the UK and have only ever used applicator tampons. I just bought two packs of non applicator by accident, opened the box and thought “WTF is this”. I’ve tried them and I hate them! First thing tomorrow I’m off to buy some normal ones. I can’t get them in right and they hurt like hell. I can’t believe you girls don’t have much of a choice in Australia, I’ve never really thought about it but just assumed they were something that was widely available.

  67. Samanthu 12 years ago

     1) Even if you wash your hand prior to inserting, I still feel like it is not clean enough from the outside environment. With the applicator, it is clean and easy to get it in making it faster to get out of the public restroom. Imagine you have to touch the dirty restroom lock and then stick that same finger in your vagina is not too pleasant. You still have to wash your hand with the applicator but you know there no need for the hand to vagina interaction. 2) You see blood on the applicator when you pull it out. Sticking your finger in a bloody vagina is just not my thing.

    • samanthu 12 years ago

      there is no need for the *finger to vagina interaction*

  68. Guest2244 12 years ago

    I got my first period when I was 11 and didn’t like the thought of tampons. I used pads until I was 18 because everytime I tried using a non-applicator tampon it hurt to put in and was never is the right position. Finally I came across the Tampax applicators you find in Australia and while the tampons themselves are extremely bad, I could use the applicator with no pain and it was in the right spot everytime! Now I buy playtex plastic applicators online and have never looked back. I don’t know how I put up with pads for so many years as every now and then even though one wasn’t full it would leak! Applicator tampons are not as good quality and absorbent of the non-applicator counterparts but are the easiest for me to use. The only problem is.. in australia everynow and then I don’t have a spare tampon when I need one and am forced to borrow one from a friend and have to walk around all day with the tampon in the wrong spot because I don’t have enough practice in inserting non-applicator tampons! I try to make sure I always have some one me so that doesn’t happen! 😀 My friends think I’m crazy using them, but whatever works for you! If you have issues with one type, why not give the other a go!

    • Saron 12 years ago

      I also always used padsmy whole life, until 3 months ago!!! My bad experience with non-applicator tampons made my image of tampons really bad. Until 3 months ago i watched on TV and read this blog about tampons with applicator and thank God I can find the best brand (OB) with applicator here (here in Holland, most of the tampons are non-applicator ones). I tried one with applicator during a ling weekend with my husband and yes, my image of tampons changed. Now, nothing can make me come back to those pads 🙂 Inserting it with applicator is much easier and smoother and yes, it’s always in the right spot!! 🙂

  69. Fabrics4me 12 years ago

    Oh Please!!

    Do you really think applicator tampons are only used
    “For those religious ladies who believe that touching their privates with
    anything less than a 10 foot pole will send them blind. I totally get
    that. For those ladies who have serious hygiene issues”

    I cant believe you would be so narrow minded.
    I use them because I have very small hands (short fingers) & long nails – do I need to go into detail there?  Have you ever scratched your vagina with a nail?  Bloody painful I can tell you.

    And speaking of hygiene issues.  How many girls bother to wash their hands AFTER a visit to the loo?  Never mind before they visit to insert a tampon?

    • Author
      Smaggle 12 years ago

      I don’t think it’s narrow minded at all to say that people who are conservative or are worried about hygiene use applicator tampons. Living in Australia, the only women that I know personally who use them, use them for either of those two reasons. 

      I’m sorry you felt mis-represented.

      • Emily 11 years ago

        I live in Australia too, I used to use regular tampons but always found I couldn’t get the bloody things (pardon the pun) up there far enough. They always tended to slip out after half an hour. I was accidently introduced to applicator ones after a trip to the US this year (I thought I picked up regular ones, but they were applicators). The first few tries with them were awkward, but I got used to them and now I prefer them over the normal ones simply because they’re easier to use. I’m not conservative or religious at all, I just find they stay in better than the others.

    • Hazel 12 years ago

      You dont wash your hands…?

    • Hazel 12 years ago

      You dont wash your hands…?

  70. Shawna G 12 years ago

    oh man, i live in Canada and i hate applicators too. when i first started “experimenting” with using tampons as a teen, i would struggle and struggle with applicators. one day i got a sample of non-app tampons and voila, success. 
    there are now “compact” applicators which extend out for use but will fit in small bags etc. last year i needed a tampon and this was all my sister had. it didn’t expand properly, but i attempted to put it back together and put the tampon in. i was in such excruciating pain i thought i was having the worst cramps ever. a few hours later when i took the tampon out, out came a little plastic piece of the failed applicator that had been left inside! no wonder the excruciating pain! now i use the divacup. my period is changed for the better! no garbage in landfills, less mess, no risk of TSS, don’t need to carry around loads of tampons on holidays. seriously, check it out and invest in one. 

  71. Shauna 12 years ago

    It’s funny  you should say “For a start I couldn’t get the bloody thing in the right spot. It’s like
    getting someone else to put your glasses on for you. It’s uncomfortable
    and bizarre and you always have to re-adjust them yourself.”  That’s EXACTLY how I feel about tampons without applicators… they never seem to stay in for me and I go through about twice as many than if I just used an applicator tampon. I also think it’s just “bloody” disgusting having to stick my finger up there at that time of the month. The applicator makes things so easy and hygienic!

    • Hannah F. 12 years ago


    • Jessica 12 years ago

       Whah? Don’t you wash your hands?

      • Kate 11 years ago

        I’m with Shauna, it sounds like it would be very messy without an applicator. Of course we wash our hands, but what if you’re wearing white? It just sounds so messy in between getting it in and getting to the sink! I think I would faint if I were in a public restroom and saw a woman at the sink next to me with blood on her hands!

        • catherine 11 years ago

          I wouldn’t do anything if someone had blood on her hands. Menstruating is natural. Just get over yourselves.

  72. Tegie 12 years ago

    I have recently found Libra applicator tampons. They are a little longer than a regular tampon and expand before you put them in so they fit easily in my handbag and make it so so much easier and so far they have worked for me!

  73. Kaaattteee11 12 years ago

    Ughhhh the ‘leak through to the back of the school dress’ has happens to me 🙁 in a white dress no less. Luckily. Group of girls noticed it, and told me before anyone less saw. EXTRA LUCKY that I had a spare change of clothes in my bag 🙂
    Oh and I think the thing with non-applicator tampons in Aus is that the women here were brought up using them, are used to them and have never had any problems with them. And I’m not saying that people are ‘scared of their bodies’ or whatever, but cmon it takes two seconds to whack a tampon in, it’s not like your hand is gonna be swimming in blood, especially if you just give yourself a wipe first.. Then just wash your hands, ta-da!

  74. Ella Bond 12 years ago

    You might think it weird for me to be on here. I’m 12 and just started Nippers again- I’m Aussie. I’m really scared about using tampons and need to know which type I should use at the moment. Please help!

  75. Paigypoo876 12 years ago

    From personal experience i dont always have time to insert a a tampon all the way up there, an applicator makes it way faster.

  76. Let's be nice about it ! 12 years ago

    Ladies, ladies, ladies…it is a personal thing.
    Some of us have a uterus that is not that straight forward…a little harder to navigate, in which case a tampon with an applicator is just the shot.  It is also much easier for those who are just starting out. 

    It all starts in high school…the tampon has to be small so that no one will notice that you have your period…let’s be discreet now !  If I had known about tampons with applicators as a teen, there would have been a lot less angst in my young life, because I just wasn’t able to get those wiggley things in place.  In my late 20’s while in the UK, I discovered the magic of the applicator (always gets the tampon in place, every single time) and have never looked back.  That is, after all the applicator’s purpose, to get those damned things in the ‘right place’.

    Our bodies are amazing and there is nothing wrong or unnatural about the way they work, but blood is blood, and blood is messy.  I never want to go back to sticking my finger up into myself with a tampon wandering about at any old angle it pleases…then with blood from woe to go you wipe your finger on some toilet paper and try to get to the basin to do a thorough wash, without anyone noticing your blood-smeared finger…give me the applicator every time…it’s so much cleaner.

    We should all be washing our hands after using the toilet, tampon time or not…but think about it, when was the last time you saw any woman wash her hands before using a public toilet ?  In all my years, hand-on-heart, I have to say that I have never seen anybody do this…Ever ! 
    Let’s face it, if you are out and need to use the toilet…you wash and dry your hands, you have a handbag you are touching, then the toilet door, the lock and the disposal unit…all before you insert once more !  So unless you take a pump pack of hand sanitiser with you…that’s a lot of stuff to be touching before putting your finger inside yourself…it’s not ideal.  

    Those who would love to give the applicator a go, but are worried about the cigar-size package, should give Tampax Compak a go…packaging is half the length, easy to use and you are in and out of the toilet ready to wash your hands in half the time !  

    • Anna 11 years ago

      Do they have those in Australia? I couldn’t find any aplicator ones…

      • anonymous 11 years ago

        I have never seen them in Australia, I’m in Queensland

        • Emily 11 years ago

          Yes, you can buy Tampax in major supermarkets, and Libra have just brought out a pack of applicator tampons. (I live in Queensland too) Hope this helps! 🙂

          • Sandra 10 years ago

            Being from Europe I much prefer non-applicator tampons. But what bugs me here in Australia is the difficulty to get o.b. tampons. So far I have been importing them myself in my luggage whenever I visit there but just saw on another forum that there is a new webpage that is planning to start offering them next month. For anyone interested have a look here:

          • Sandra 10 years ago

            Woops wrong link. Here you go

  77. Kay 12 years ago

    Applicator tampons have totally changed my life. I’m a lifeguard and a swim teacher so I’m in the water all the time and whenever it got to that time of the month I dreaded it, I would sometimes call in sick for swim teacher just so I didn’t have to get in the water. I was always using tampons without the applicator but I was never putting them in properly and being in the water for 4 hours  totally uncomfortable and paranoid, wasn’t fun!! 
    I have nothing against tampons without the applicator or those that use them, I would prefer to use them because it’s w hole lot cheaper and smaller to carry in your bag, but for now I find that for me the applicator tampons are a whole lot quicker and easier to use.

  78. Smashing 12 years ago

    i have just started using tampons and believe me applicator tampons are such a headache. it really hurts and does not get inside properly. i would rather stick my fingers every time. 

  79. Colette Martin 12 years ago

    I know this post is heaps old, but reading the comments made me laugh. I’m a Canadian now living in Australia who was without a period since moving here due to merina IUD (yay for no periods, boo for the hormones)

    But since me and the husband have decided to try for a baby I’m back to the fun that is periods. I have two boxes of playtex plastic pearl applicator brought over in the move, which I will run out of soon. Googled applicator tampons australia and this was the top result, haha.

    So now the decision buy playtex from fishpond for almost $30 a pack!!!!! Or learn how to use non-applicator. But as a heavy, gunky period-er non-applicators kinda gross me out. Or third get preggers quick and then get my lovely IUD back in!

  80. nikki 12 years ago

    While when I first tried then, it took a bit of practice, I found that bending forward, lifting a rear-cheek off the t-seat and reaching around sideways works the best. You stick it in near to the finger grip, and push it in. I use the cardboard, the plastic never goes to the right place. And a keen trick my mother told me so you don’t ‘leak’ is to wiggle it once, twice, hell a third if you like. Then make sure you aren’t holding the string accidently so you don’t unearth your new friend (done it ) and pull out the applicator. I like to pull my string to the side a bit for easy finding when removing. I work in a call center, and while I understand allergies to applicators etc, then you should carry antibacterial wipes. An uncomfortable amount of women leave the bathroom without a wash of the hands.If you could see bacteria like you could see red food coloring paint on your hands, you’d see a hand print of red ‘germs’ on the door handle, then the elevator button, their chair, all over their desk and keyboard, and the entry doors, ew. No, not  a germaphobe in any way. Many women are not clean, and even when your are, *everyone* has bacteria. It’s like someone wiping their rear with their hand then just opening the bathroom stall lock, the door etc. Considering while you are meeting Aunt Flo, removing even the best tampon leaves a trail of menstrual blood and fluid along the walls of the vaginal canal, sticking a finger up there to me just is not good, even if you wash your hands, you had to  flush, open the door lock, open the door, press the soap button, pull up the sink handle..and menstrual traces and bacteria get all over it. There’s a reason I use a paper towel or TP when opening stalls or bathroom doors, but you know what, I’m never sick. For the tampons, I’ve heard you use alot less, my sister uses no applicator but has sanitary anti-bacterial wipes. She says the self inserters are hard to get just right. She says it’s a persons responsibility if they  do have to self insert, to at least keep their hands clean before touching anything else. To each their own, but my tampons w/ apps and a wiggle are great. By the way, the tampon in that show was.. a bit big lol, and long. Mine are tampax, its about 4 inches long and pretty skinny. Poor guy probably thought that whole 7 inch thick thing goes all the way in. The actual tampon is only 2-4 inches and spreads to be flexible like a sponge.

    • Fi 11 years ago

       “so you don’t unearth your new friend”

      love it!

    • Aussie Mel. 8 years ago

      I think what most commenters are forgetting is that we all have NINE other digits! So if one , lets say your longest because that gets the position best, goes in for inserting a non-applicator tampon, you still have a whole other hand to manipulate clothing, bags, flush button, door handle, soap and tap. Are you telling me that even after doing number two you really use your toilet paper hand to touch everything!? Am i seriously the only woman in the world who has two hands?!?! And yes, that finger that takes one for the team, is dried with loo paper and strictly out of action until scrubbed like Lady Macbeth.

  81. Daff-violet 12 years ago

    this is funny i need an aplicator its much easeir

  82. Petstarr 12 years ago

    I moved to NYC a few months ago and have been absolutely BAFFLED by the lack of non applicator tampons. I accept applicators are more popular but why can’t you still buy the others?? Applicator tampons are ineffective, use way more packaging, are huge and annoying to carry around and are way more expensive. What’s the deal??

    • Jordan 8 years ago

      O.B only sell normal tampons and if you want smaller ones just get compact tampons

  83. Sarah Houser 12 years ago

    I started out with the stupid applicators, they were the most uncomfortable things in the world, but there was no way I padding it up, that makes you feel like you are wearing a diaper, and is well a mess an gross. What’s funny is that my non-applicator tampons came as a free sample, because I too love free things. Not only did I discover that my tampons no longer hurt, in fact I can’t really even feel them, but I wasn’t having leaks all the time. And thus, true switch was made. I never went back, except for maybe a couple times in emergency situations where I have had to borrow. But, most Americans do use the uncomfortable and awkward applicator, don’t know why. I am the only person I know in my circle of friends that uses the nonapplicator variety, thus they are confused when they need to borrow and I say yes that I have tampons, but they don’t have an applicator. They give me a quizzacle look and go find someone else. Someday, maybe they will get over their fears, try it out, and learn what they are missing, or not missing.

  84. Briana-Is-Cool 12 years ago

    can i please have a sample thanks

  85. H-mad-h 12 years ago

    it not just americans or were you sarcastic and im just having a blond moment

  86. Nobody123 12 years ago

    Oh gals! Awesome! I’ve been to the US now for 2 month and I start running out of my beloved European supply of non applicator tampons. So I went to target, HEB…only applicator ones. Where the heck do I find “normal” tampons? I can’t handle the applicator ones. I tried once in an emergency…and I ended up removing the applicator and using just the tampon.

    • No-applicator-palava 11 years ago

      Duane Reade and CVS Pharmacies, but they only stock one kind of “normal” tampon and in my experience, it isn’t as good as the ones back home (New Zealand) but it’s better than the applicator kind. Good luck – I feel your pain!

    • Lalalala 11 years ago

      Australia sells only 2 types of applicator tampons. And about 50 types of non-applicator tampons. Its the worst, i love applicator tampons. 

      • Anna 11 years ago

        I love them too but ive been for 5 years in a different country and I’m going back to Australia. By the way, what brand are them?

    • Cedes1025 11 years ago

      Walgreens and CVS pharmacy have non applicator tampons, they are in a very little box so you might miss them. “Ob” is the brand

    • Kate 10 years ago

      I’ll be moving to the US soon and this is something I’m worried about. I find applicator tampons very uncomfortable and more unhygienic than non-applicator. It makes me feel ill seeing the blood covered cardboard and then trying to find somewhere hygienic to dispose of it. Gross

      • Jordan 8 years ago

        Being american we typically use the plastic applicators not cardboard
        and OB sell only non applicator tampons
        these people must be complete idiots because they are very easy to find

  87. Hannah 12 years ago

    I live in Canada and I personally hate tampons with applicators. One particular time I tried to use a Tampax Pearl because I had run out of applicator-less ones. The insertion was uncomfortable, and it actually hurt to use. Come removal time, it could not have been worse. It was unbelievably painful, and I saw it had been squished and deformed while it had been inside me. The blood on it might as well have been from the painful removal itself.
    So it’s just another trauma story. I absolutely love my o.b applicator-less tampons, smooth, easy to insert, don’t deform inside you, great protection.

  88. Molly 11 years ago

    If applicator tampons hurt when you use them, or any tampons for that matter, it’s because you’re not doing it right. 

  89. NP 11 years ago

    I’m live in Europe and we have the types of tampons. I prefer without applicator I just try one time and was I was like shy for use tampons. But one day I use without applicators and I prefer O.B. without applicator. But where I live the two are available

  90. LaMonte Rigmaden 11 years ago

    My wife is German and hates the American tampons (she still have her family ship her some from Germany) She ran water over both types and the German ones held their form, but the top American brand fell apart. 

    • Anastasia T. 11 years ago

      What brand was the German one? My Natracare tampons hold out very well.

  91. Realgrl 11 years ago

    I think applicator tampons are great. If you get the right ones, they dont bend in your bag or anything. I personally dont enjoy the feeling of sticking my finger up my vagina, everytime i change my tampon, i think its disgusting. So i use applicator tampons so that you dont even have to touch your vagina. 

  92. Tessa 11 years ago

    I live in Holland and the first time I tried a tampon (I was about 16) I used the ones with an applicator because I thought it would be easier. I have no idea where the tampon ended up, but it hurt like hell. I gave up on it until a couple of years later and I tried the normal ones (without applicator) and now I can’t live without tampons. But yes, I do not understand why you only see tampons with applicators in American shows and movies. I’d hate it if that was all that was available.
    And to those who think it’s digusting: I wash my hands after going to the bathroom, so how is that disgusting?!

    • Anonymous 10 years ago

      Watching you scrub vagina blood out from underneath your fingernails is disgusting..

      • Curious 10 years ago

        Why are you watching?

  93. guest 11 years ago

    I like tampons with applicators because it makes it easier to insert the tampon. I just have to put it in the right spot and push and it’s perfect (usually when I put it in with my fingers, I have to adjust it quite a bit). Besides, with applicators, I don’t get my fingers dirty and I also don’t stick my long nails where it hurts.

  94. Anastasia T. 11 years ago

    Well first of all I’m very comfortable sticking my fingers in my vagina, no problems there. The issue with non-applicator is that since my flow is light, I’m never lubed enough for easy insertion 🙁 It’s easy as pie to stick the tampon up there – if it wasn’t so dry! I would totally use non-applicator if I could! So now I take out the crappy Tampax Compax tampon out of its applicator and replace it with my nice Natracare digital tampon. The search continues! I’ve never seen an all-natural cotton tampon for light flow either!

  95. anon 11 years ago

    who cares about sticking your finger up your vagina? it’s your own body and it’s not like it has to be up there for very long. would you rather have your own finger which you know the places its been up your vag or a plastic or cardboard applicator which could have all sorts of germs all over it? as long as you wash your hands before its perfectly hygienic…

    • Anonymous 10 years ago

      And after. I’m sure you look great with long fingernails with blood underneath them shoving that tampon up your vagina. Nice.

    • Jordan 8 years ago

      (Americans typically use plastic applicators) and they’re are individually wrapped no germs at all its totally sanitary

  96. Kate 11 years ago

    I’m American and have always had an applicator – how do you get one IN withOUT one? I can’t think of how else you would get a tightly rolled cotton thing “in there”..??

    • Aussie Mel. 8 years ago

      Obviously, you have to get the right posture and angle (so so important), relax the muscles enough (not totally easy, google vaginismus!) and then gently push with your longest finger from where the string was curled up. the tampon itself cleans up most blood in the vaginal canal if you go slowly, and wiggle it a bit going in until it bumps the cervix. Seriously, its not like your sticking your whole hand in and doing jazz hands. your finger is hiding behind the tampon like a shield.

  97. USA 11 years ago

    Good lord! Applicators are fabulous! When I first started my period in the 80′ s, my mom had the old school O.B. Without any applicators. They flipping hurt! The cotton rubbed my tender areas. Applicators are smooth and glide in so easily. And there is no mess. It’s like you’re living in the stone age! Gross.

  98. Boe 11 years ago

    I from the states and am visiting in Sydney for three months and I was in shock after I bought some tampons and realized they didn’t have an applicator. I had never seen one without an applicator! I was wondering if I had missed something, after finally getting over the fact of what I had to do, I realized it wasn’t that bad. I was just unaware they had tampons like that. I still find it very awkward and odd that there are no applicator ones here… but I will admit that they save a lot of space and aren’t so obnoxious.

  99. thatgirl1269 11 years ago

    I’m an Aussie, I’ve ALWAYS used applicator tampons.. I have never, now matter how hard I’ve tried, been able to use “regular” tampons and I don’t get the point of why you’d WANT to use one without an applicator anyway. I mean, seriously. I’m the furthest away from a prude that you can get, I have no problems touching my ‘private’ parts.. what I DON’T get is why anyone would want to insert a regular tampon with all the ensuing mess, and then, say, in a public toilet having to rush to the sink to wash blood off your hands .. WHY OH WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DO IT? It has me perplexed and I’ve never quite understood why, when an applicator tampon is not only more comforable use, to but more hygienic, would you *want* to use the regular ones? Oh, and for the record, I’m not a ‘tween’.. I’m in my early 40’s. The whole issue is something that I’ve argued with my GFs over for years.. sorry to those who do use ‘regular’ tampons, but I just don’t understand why you would want to!!

    • Anonymous 10 years ago

      Amen sistah! The applicator is to PUSH it in to clear your pubic bone so it stays in.

  100. Becbec 11 years ago

    I’m what you would call ‘religious’ (I’m a christian) and I have no problem inserting a tampon without an applicator. Whatever! My vagina is a part of my body, and menstruation is a natural part of how I was made. I understand using applicators for hygiene, and even if you think blood on your finger is really gross, that’s your point if view and I respect your right to make your own decision. We all deal with Aunt Irma visiting in different ways. I personally use the brand cottons, 100% natural cotton baby, so not as smooth as those silky ones, but chemical free.

  101. anonymous 11 years ago

    I’ve only ever used mini or regular tampons and find them hard enough to get inside me let alone a pole that you pull out anyway! Ridiculous if you ask me…

  102. pene 11 years ago

    When I was in Bali I needed to get stock and even with how many aussies go to bali, I couldn’t find any tampons that weren’t applicator (and they were also about $15 a pack… WTF! I eventually found them under $10 but seriously!)

    Maybe the Bali ones are sub-standard, but I found it more uncomfortable to stick a lump of toothed plastic in my tw@t than just getting a carefree tampon and sticking that up my clacker.

    actually carefree isnt my favourite brand, I love U tampons because they have the twisty pack ad it is obvious which is the top and bottom end. the carefree’s in the twist packs are tapers at both ends? did a man design those? WTF

  103. kt 11 years ago

    oh man i’m on holiday in the US and i can’t find fucking normal tampons anywhere and i HATE it

    • Spinetta 11 years ago

      You want o.b. brand! They come in a light blue box, most drugstores have them, but they’re much smaller than the boxes of tampons with applicators, so they’re easy to miss.

  104. Forkeh 10 years ago

    Oddly enough, I don’t really have a preference. Applicator tampons work fine for me. Nonapplicator tampons work fine for me. I generally just get whichever is cheapest of the brands I frequent.

    Coming from using pads exclusively in my teen years both took a little while for me to adjust to in my adult years. But both work perfectly fine. In my humble opinion, there’s not a whole lot of difference. Once it’s in, it’s the same thing.

  105. amber 10 years ago

    i didnt realize they made tampons w/o the applicator. huh.
    i’ve never had any trouble with applicators except for kotex cardboard ones. no. just no. they’re too long for me and just no

  106. Olivia 10 years ago

    When I was about 13 or so, I was at this fair and I had my period. I had a pad in and I thought it was enough so I didn’t worry about it. An hour or so through the fair, I felt wetness in my shorts but I assumed it was sweat because it was such a hot day. I went to the bathroom to check anyway, just to be on the safe side. My period had gone through my pad, underwear, AND shorts and it was everywhere. It looked like I had murdered somebody! I panicked and didn’t know what to do, so I decided to just stay in the bathroom until my mom came to pick me up. I was in there for about an hour or so and I had started to hear little girls saying things like “there’s a girl who was in there for a long time I think she was throwing up” and I was so embarrassed I wanted to die on the spot. Luckily, my friends managed to find a sweater and I wrapped it around my shorts and went straight outside to wait to be picked up. But anyways, it was pretty damn horrific.

  107. Anonymous 10 years ago

    I detest tampons without applicators, want to punch whoever made them as they can’t clear the pubic bone and therefore sit—with that oh so wonderful feeling like you will have it come out the moment you cough or sneeze. And what woman wants to stick your finger inside their bloody (literally) vagina? Unbelievably disgusting. Can you tell I’m on my period now and living in Europe with these barbaric things? To the makers of OB tampons: F U! Oh, and I have Dutch and Brit friends who only buy applicator (thank God for playtex) tampons with the same reasoning I have of the disgusting thought of sticking your finger in your bloody hole! Problem is, you have to search for them and they’re only available in a few shops (not Albert Hein, but yes in C1000). Get a bigger purse for crissakes. Why must it be one or the other for choices at the shops. Applicator free must be for women who don’t have kids.

  108. Molly Elizabeth 10 years ago

    To me, the difference between an applicator tampon and an o.b. is almost like…er, the difference between having sex with a guy who is into it (applicator = stiff) and not so into it! It’s difficult to put something in there fully if it’s not well, erect! So that’s why I prefer applicator tampons. Although the applicators really don’t flush, and that’s annoying. But where have the tampon machines gone? When my period comes at the gym I’ll be happy with any tampon, applicator or not, but it seems like they are extinct in the US, gone with public telephone booths! But there’s nothing on my smartphone that can prevent period leaks, unfortunately, so what gives?! Do they still have them in Australia or the UK?

  109. Anonymous 10 years ago

    I live in Australia and I currently use applicator tampons because I only just got my period (I’m 13). I really like how easy they are, but I hate how wasteful they are. I’m definitely teaching myself to use the non-applicators.

  110. sarah 10 years ago

    it is probablly under- represented how much applicator tampons are used in the united states. I am 16 years old and i just heard that there are ones without applicators. I got my period when i was 10 so its not like i’m new to this either.

  111. Sarah 10 years ago

    I’ve just moved to the US and was unaware of this obsession! I haven’t been able to find non-applicator tampons anywhere, it’s so weird and frustrating! I hate the amount of waste that comes with using them, it seems so unnecessary when your finger works just fine annnnd it’s reusable!

  112. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 10 years ago

    Remind me to tell you about my tampon applicator experience next time I see you 😉 x

  113. Abbi 9 years ago

    Hello, I’m from England. Personally I prefer applicator tampons (plastic, the cardboard ones are a nightmare) not because it’s what I’m forced to use – English shelves have every possible type of tampon! – or because I’m prudish about “sticking my finger up my clacker”. I’ve used both types many times, but I just find the applicator ones much more comfortable! Most girls I know found the applicator much easier when they first started using tampons, some then later change to non applicator one, but generally only those with really light flows! Speaking as someone who had extreme problems with using tampons initially (I won’t gross you out with the details, but endless trips to the doctor, weeks off school and lost both a job and boyfriend over it!) applicator tampons are definitely easier for me.

  114. Caitlin 9 years ago

    I’m Australian and I stumbled across this article out of curiosity because in American movies and tv shows, all I see are applicator tampons. As everyone here will know now, non applicator tampons are just the norm in Australia. When I first started using tampons I found it hard to use non-applicators so my mum suggested using the applicators of which there was only one brand to choose in the store (Tampax) and they were useful to help me learn how/where to insert it properly but they were awful for leakage and felt flimsy and bent so easily. I started using non applicators when I was away on a camping trip and got my period and wasn’t prepared so I had to use a non-applicator since that’s all my mum had with her and thank goodness I did because I’d kind of given up on the applicators by then and HATED just wearing a pad. Yes I guess it can get a little messy (but nothing super gross) and I can see how some women might not want to stick their finger up there but I definitely prefer non-applicators. Small, easy to hide/stow in bags or pockets and I’ve had no major leakage issues.

  115. Gary Lum (@garydlum) 9 years ago

    One of the worst smells in the world is seeing a patient with a retained tampon. The worst smell is when someone in the laboratory puts the retained tampon into thioglycollate broth and the next day you open the lid. You can clear an entire laboratory, even opening the bottle in a fume chamber doesn’t help.

  116. motheroneday 9 years ago

    I’m an Australian and had never even heard of applicator tampons until I got caught out while holidaying in Japan.
    My first experience with applicator tampons frustrated me to tears (I was very grateful my sister had a small collection of normal tampons, so I didn’t have to endure applicator tampons for my whole cycle).
    The applicator painfully pinched & scraped my inner flesh and I found it very awkward to ‘launch’ the tampon from the applicator. Finally, instead of just a small plastic wrapper to discreetly dispose of, you are left with a big blood covered piece of plastic ??? Best I could do was wrap if up in copious amounts of toilet paper & push it to the bottom of the hotel bathroom bin.
    I used three of the applicator tampons, the rest went into the bin.

    • jo 8 years ago

      PS thank you Sarah Jessica Parker for making me feel normal in a country where I am in the minority.

  117. jo 8 years ago

    I’m a New Zealander. I’m 34 and have been using tampons since I was 12. No matter what I try, I can not get a non applicator tampon in far enough to be comfortable. After a while, they will even start working their way out. Perhaps I don’t have enough flexibility in my index finger. It feels like my other fingers are in the way and prevents full use of my index finger. Thank goodness for applicator tampons. Not only to they deliver far enough in, the comfort tip stops the dry cotton wool stinging and your finger nail doesn’t get blood all around it. Not a huge fan of Tampax though, as their tampon expands long ways. I much prefer other brands of applicator tampons. I used to always buy Care Free, but they stopped stocking the applicator variety at my supermarket, so I’ve switched to Libra or U. Libra has the pop-out applicator, which means the wrapper sits discreetly inside your fist when walking to the office bathroom. U is reasonably new and is marketed at teens, but is also excellent.

  118. Jordan 8 years ago

    I live in the U.S and I only use tampons with applicators. I’ve tried using tampons without applicators and I couldn’t get them up there LOL. Its hard to get a dry piece of cotton up your body especially if your a teenager like me and have a small vaginal canal in general, the plastic helps it glide and simple. Anyway its just easier, faster, painless, gentle, and more sanitary. Also if you have the problem with its size some brands like U by Kotex offer compact tampons (basically they’re tampons that you pull the plunger out to make it longer). I also want to just point out that I’m religious and have know problem touching my lady parts. Its not the applicators fault you bled on yourself in the eighth grade, if you would of done it correctly it wouldn’t of happened nothing like that has ever happened to me.

  119. Sophie 7 years ago

    I have the weirdest story. When I was around 13 I went to sleep away camp and had forgotten to change my tampon so in a panic I had to rush to the infirmary to ask the nurse for one and the only type they had in super plus was the non applicator type(which is pretty odd considering we were in the southern united states.)

  120. Kirsten 7 years ago

    Ok, So I’ve used both types of tampons (American). As both types of users will tell you, the other doesn’t “feel quite right” the problem is positioning and which brand you use. With an applicator you have to push it all the way up or it won’t be all the way in. It will sit in the wrong spot and leak (as many of the horror stories have noted). The same with a non applicator tampon. It’s all about positioning. And, to be honest, there are a lot of terrible tampon products out there and you have to try multiple ones to get the right fit for you. Playtex Sport reg are my favorite with the super just way too big. The applicator is narrower at the tip and a much smoother glide than any other. I’ve had multiple roommates of the same opinion.

    My horror story is that I (assuming applicator tampons were the only ones) had years of issues trying tampons. Every time I tried to get the tampon in it would be painful and/or I wouldn’t get it in all the way. The worst experience was thinking I had it in (but I could feel it) and going for a 2 hr drive to another town and bleeding completely through my jeans. It was a school trip and I had to sit through dinner with a very large spot with a friend’s jacket wrapped around my waist. I swore off all tampons after that. I spent 6 more years without touching a tampon until I was on holiday at the beach with some girlfriends. Not a single person had pads, so I was forced to use a tampon. Long story short, they were playtex sport and it worked! Miracle of miracles I finally found the right tampon! Only to find out the reason for my troubles was that certain brands are difficult to position correctly. I didn’t have a single problem with a non applicator tampon when it was the only one available to me a few months later. However, if I use an applicator, it has to be playtex.

  121. Janice 6 years ago

    Singaporean ladies prefer using non-applicator tampons as they tend to cheaper, and I think they just go in better, especially when your small and often applicators don’t fit well. Asians tend to be conservative and religious and in many other countries outside of Singapore they probably won’t use tampons, but in Singapore I think ladies think a bit differently. The general consensus is, using your finger is the same as using an applicator, if your inserting something up there and you consider it sinful, a finger or plastic tube is going to make no difference, it’s still sinful. Use pads in that case. If you look past the idea of sinfulness, then the concert is that your finger is being used to insert something for menstrual purposes, it is not seen as perverted or vile, as it is for practical purposes. That being said many Singaporeans don’t use tampons, but you will find a few who do, particularly the well educated upper class women.

    Well here is my horror story. When I first started using tampons, I was not completely familiar with them, let alone applicator tampons. I only figured them out around the age of 21. I was meeting a man I was dating and I had not inserted one correctly, and it was painful, very very painful. I decided to walk the journey, but it was so painful I had to go to a public restroom and remove it. To my horror I had none left in my bag, and all the nearby shops were closed as it was Easter Sunday, and there was no tissue in the public restroom. Soooo I just decided the best option was going home and stood him up, as I was a bloody mess. Thank god I was wearing a trench coat, so it wasn’t visable. We have not hung out ever since. Such a shame, your period is such a curse.

  122. Anna 5 years ago

    In Sapin the most common thing is to use tampons with plastic applicator. I find them much more comfortable than the ones without applicator, because the plastic slides in much more smoothing than the rough cotton. That is my personal preference, for comfort, and I was very surprised when I couldn’t find them in the Netherlands. Tampax is the best brand!


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