Here at LOLA, we like to think we’re on the cutting edge of what’s new or interesting in health, wellness, and natural living. Over the past few months, we’ve tried everything from oil pulling to cupping, but recently, we tried something that hit even closer to home: non-applicator tampons. While most of us had used a non-applicator tampon, there were a few of us that never had. And if there are some women that work at a company like LOLA who haven’t tried non-applicator tampons, we’re positive we aren’t alone.

Turns out, we really aren’t alone — in 2015, only 6.5% of US tampon sales were non-applicator. Meanwhile, women in Europe, Australia, and Asia have been using non-applicator tampons for decades — with 60% of European women reporting that they actually prefer them.

Whether you’re trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create or just want a more compact option to throw in your purse when you’re on the go, read on to find out what we learned.

There’s a technique

Yes, we’ve been using tampons for decades, but we had to learn how to put them in without an applicator. Here’s our step-by-step guide:

First, you’ll need to wash your hands before you go to the bathroom. Unwrapping the tampon is easy enough — just find the seam on the blue tape and tear the wrapper off. That’s when things get different: the tampon string will be nestled up against the tampon, instead of being held separate by an applicator.

Hold the tampon with your thumb and forefinger and use your other hand to unravel the string. Hold the string taut and twist it several times. This will create a small dip in the bottom of the tampon, that serves as a natural place to put your finger as you insert the tampon to give you more control during insertion.

Next, use the pointer finger on your dominant hand to push the tampon into your vagina — you should insert it until you reach the base of your finger. This may feel too far, but as long as the string is still outside your body, you’re all set. And don’t worry — it’ll get easier to know your preferred placement as you continue to use non-applicator tampons.

Voila! You’re done!

We made some mistakes

It was a process of trial and error and we did some things that we really recommend you don’t do, and want to save you from making the same mistakes we did.

– When we said to push the tampon in the full length of your forefinger, we meant it. This feels like a lot. Do. It. Almost all of us made the mistake of not pushing the tampon in all of the way, and that just made for an uncomfortable afternoon.

– The first time you use a non-applicator tampon, try it on one of your heavier days. There will be more lubrication, so it’ll be easier to slide the tampon in without an applicator to help out.

– Do NOT forget to separate the string from the tampon before you put it in. One LOLA team member accidentally skipped this step… and had to go fishing for the tampon. (Rough.)

– Don’t be weirded out. Obviously using a non-applicator tampon can be a new and strange experience after using an applicator for a lifetime, but it’s really not a big deal to touch your own body

So there you have it. Everyone on the LOLA team has now used non-applicator tampons, and some of us are converts. If you’re thinking about using a non-applicator tampon, follow our tips to make sure you have a smooth experience!

LOLA is a new feminine care brand by women, for women. LOLA offers organic cotton tampons, pads, and liners via a customizable subscription service. A better month awaits you.

www.mylola.com