Historically, women managed their periods with cloth napkins and rags, limiting women’s mobility outside the home. But in 1920, Kotex® became the first brand of widely available sanitary products.
The first boxes of Kotex® pads were sold, featuring “hospital blue” packaging inspired in part by the field nurses who led to the innovation in menstrual care.
Up until 1925, shopkeepers kept sanitary pads hidden under the counter. That year, Kotex® convinced Carson Pirie Scott of Chicago to properly display and promote the products at its department store.
Before pads were self-adhesive to stick directly to underwear, women had to wear sanitary belts to hold pads in place. The Wonderform, the brand’s take on the industry innovation, was introduced by Kotex® in 1934.
When the subject of periods was still largely taboo, Kotex® boldly teamed up with Disney® in 1946 to produce a 10-minute film educating young women about periods.
Kotex® ads featured confident women on trips to faraway places, demonstrating women could continue to do what they wanted while having their period.
In the 1960s, Kotex® experienced innovations across all product formats, introducing a variety of pads with “deep and downy” soft impressions, Kotex® Miss Deb pads designed for young girls and the first stick tampon, a build on the non-applicator Tampon that Kotex® first introduced in 1939.
In 1971, the introduction of Kotex’s first tube tampon shook things up by prominently showcasing the product on the front of packaging. Four years later, the brand invented the liner category with the innovation of Kotex® Lightdays® pantiliners
Kotex® innovated in two important ways in the ‘80s – first in 1985 with individually wrapped pads, which made it easier to take period products on-the-go, and again in 1987 with the development of overnight pads.
Kotex® refreshed its packaging in the 1990s, which helped make its different product sizes and absorbency levels easier to recognize and understand.
Breaking away from traditional sanitary care ads, Kotex® launched its revolutionary “Red Dot Campaign” in 2000, which featured refreshingly honest dialogue and simple red dots representing periods.
In 2010, Kotex® rebranded to U by Kotex® and introduced its distinct black packaging, redefining the category. The new design – sleek, upscale and bold – was supported by equally bold advertising that encouraged women and the category to evolve the conversation around periods.
To combat period poverty, U by Kotex® became the founding sponsor of The Alliance for Period Supplies in 2018, which provides period supplies to tens of thousands of individuals in need across the country monthly.
Nearly a century since its inception, U by Kotex® continues to challenge the negative perceptions of periods through its bold messaging and remains committed to ensuring nothing stands in the way of women’s progress – not even her period.
In partnership with The Alliance for Period Supplies, more than 30 million U by Kotex® products have been distributed to women who need them.