The softness of menstrual cups

When searching for your perfect menstrual cup you may have come across this word: “the shore” and wondered what it referred to. The shore is measured numerically and is provided by the manufacturer. It usually ranges between 30 up to 60 for menstrual cups.

The shore/softness of menstrual cups

Choosing the right softness of your menstrual cup is as important as choosing its right size and capacity.
I asked each and every brand that I am selling on my shop to tell me what is the shore of their silicone and added the information into my comparison table where you can select in the filters: soft, medium or firm to see the firmness of each brand as it is something that just don’t show on a photo.

What is silicone?

The term silicone actually covers a whole category of polymers which are made using silicon, oxygen and other elements, most commonly hydrogen and carbon. Silicone can be liquid, like the types used for sealants, or rubber-like and widely used for medical products.

In truth, there’s often some debate about what silicone actually is, and while it does have some of the same properties of plastic, it is not petroleum-based like most plastic products. Silicone is actually created from silica, which is a product that is derived from sand. That makes it a lot more natural than your average plastic, although it’s certainly not a ‘natural’ product. Silicone can also contains added chemicals, some of which are derived from fossil fuels. That is why you always to check it is Medical grade silicone if it’s for a menstrual cup. That’s right, you guessed it, some of those cheap cup knock off you can find on the net are not medical grade, therefor not safe to use internally.

What is silicone used for?

Many forms of silicone are resistant to bacteria and easy to sterilise, making them perfect for medical products that come into contact with the body as they can be cleaned and reused. That’s why silicone is also used widely used for cooking utensils for the same reasons.

Used externally or internally, or intravenously, silicone materials do not generate unwelcome byproducts or trigger allergic reactions, making them ideal for use in menstrual products.

Silicone is also used in the building industry as well as in solar panels, keypads and keyboards and silicone-enhanced paints. Silicone sealants and adhesives are widely used in the aviation industry too. It’s a pretty versatile material!

Is it environmentally friendly?

Like almost everything, that really depends how you use it.

The good thing about silicone is that it can be cleaned and used again and again, so when silicone products are used as alternatives to single use plastics, they can dramatically cut down on plastic pollution.

For example, silicone menstrual cups offer an alternative to disposable period products including tampons and sanitary towels. The average menstruating person uses 12,000 disposable sanitary products in their life, whereas a single menstrual cup made of silicone can last for 10 years. That’s a dramatic reduction in the amount of waste created.

But be aware of what you are purchasing! Not all silicone products get such a high-rate of re-use, and it can also be difficult (although not impossible) to recycle. Silicone is often used in disposable products such as mascara wands or vaping products, where it is used for a short time and then disposed of without any attempts at recycling. This will mean significant amounts of silicone heading to landfill, where it will take around 500 years to decompose.

So how about silicone menstrual cups

There must be a way to objectively rate the firmness of menstrual cups. For example if we apply the same small amount of force to several cups and see how much each cup gets smooshed. (see the photo of the Me Luna in hands) but not their “poppability”.

BUT there is still that subjective issue, which is the muscle tone of the end user, that affects how well a cup pops open.

The worst are firm cups that are still hard to open once inserted. On the other end of the spectrum, some cups pop open easily despite being soft.

There must be a way to objectively rate the firmness of menstrual cups. For example if we apply the same small amount of force to several cups and see how much each cup gets smooshed. Have a look at the photo of the 3 softness of Me Luna cups.

BUT there is still that subjective issue, which is the muscle tone of the end user, that affects how well a cup pops open.

So how do you know which to use for yourself? It is a bit counter intuitive but basically the more toned your PC muscles are the stiffer your cup will need to be to not be squished once inside and rendered ineffective. If you have fairly weak PC muscles, a firm cup might be felt and compress your urethra when you pee. You may want to choose a softer cup.

meluna softness type information 1

Thing is, it’s not that simple…even me that plays around cups all day, I cant quite wrap my head around how to explain to you how soft of firm a cup is. I think the main reason is because of the thickness of the silicone. let’s say a cup is shore 50 that would be quite stiff but what if the cup is very thin, it would bend a lot more than thicker ones therefor appear a lot softer than the shore would indicate. So I am afraid it’s only on video or to have it in hands that can get a sense of a cup softness.

Soft or firm menstrual silicone cups

I found this chart online and find it quite helpful to give some benchmark with objects that we know like gummy bears, tires, rubber etc. The silicone used for menstrual cups are Shore type A

shore silicone shore comparison

Soft menstrual cups perfect for weak pelvic floor muscles

24,90
Yuuki OCEAN, a menstrual cup with the colors of the oceans and seawater. Not…
20,00
Designed specially for low cervix cup users MermaidCup Guppy offers a good protection for…

Firm menstrual cups perfect for strong pelvic floor muscles

15,95
Me Luna SPORT is designed for women with strong pelvic floor muscles. Some sports…
16,0031,00
The menstrual cup Stonesoup is one of the rare cup that has no stem,…

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