When it comes to picking out underwear, everyone has their priorities and preferences. High-rise or hip hugger? Solid colored or patterned? Full coverage or thong? Waistband? Lace? Stretchiness?
But one of the most important things to consider when picking out underwear is the type of fabric, as it can affect your skin, vaginal health, and fertility.
So in this article, we’re looking at the best organic cotton underwear brands for women (and what to look for as you shop for skin-healthy undies).
Table of Contents
- What To Look for in Organic Cotton Underwear Brands
- These Are The Best Non-Toxic & Organic Cotton Women’s Underwear Brands
- Can Underwear Fabrics Really Affect Your Health?
This guide contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.
Featured Image: Subset
What To Look for in Organic Cotton Underwear Brands
Besides things like style, fit, and color, here are some things to be on the lookout for while you’re shopping for skin-friendly undergarments:
Organic cotton is one of the most common natural fibers used for underwear. It’s grown without toxic synthetic pesticides, which means it’s better for the whole environment.
But there are also other materials that are a good choice, too. Hemp, for example, is a great sustainable option that also has natural anti-bacterial properties. (We actually have an entire guide to hemp underwear right here.)
TENCEL is another good option; it’s a plant-based semi-synthetic that’s softer and silkier than cotton or hemp.
Compared to polyester, natural and organic garments are also much less likely to contain things like heavy metals or BPA.
Minimal Dyes & Finishes
If you want to take a deep dive into the harmful chemicals that can be added to clothing, check out this article. But TLDR is that there are various toxic chemicals that could be added to underwear and clothing throughout the production process—including formaldehyde, azo dyes, PFAS, and more.
That’s why you’ll want to look for brands that use non-toxic, azo-free dyes (or have undyed options). Try to avoid “performance” garments that say things like “moisture wicking.”
Third Party Certifications
Third party certifications can also help. They’re definitely not perfect, but they do provide a certain amount of accountability for brands.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), for example, is a third-party certification for cotton that was grown without pesticides. But in order for a finished product to also be GOTS certified, there are limits on the extra chemicals that can be used throughout manufacturing as well.
Additionally, the OEKO-TEX label indicates that a finished garment has been tested against a list of harmful toxins.
(Again, there are limitations here. You may have heard about the Thinx underwear lawsuit, in which toxic PFAS were found in the period underwear even though they were OEKO-TEX certified. Although it’s unclear exactly why or how this happened, it’s worth noting that it was not until recently that OEKO-TEX banned the entire class of PFAS chemicals in their certification, which should be fully rolled out in 2024. So hopefully this loophole will be closed moving forward.)
These Are The Best Non-Toxic & Organic Cotton Women’s Underwear Brands
Now, here are our favorite organic underwear brands for 2023:
One of my favorite brands for affordable organic basics for the whole family, Pact’s GOTS certified organic cotton underwear for women is made in Fair Trade factories in India (which means garment workers are paid fair wages). You’ll find basic black, white, and neutrals, along with fun animal prints, florals, and stripes. They do use about 5% elastane in most of their styles.
My Take: I really like how Pact offers a range of styles at an accessible price point. They fit really well, like what you might be used to if you’re just making the switch from more ‘conventional’ brands. I have several of their different styles, which I usually pick out based on which pants I’m wearing.
Pact underwear is all super comfortable. After wearing them for a day, they are a tiny bit stretched out, but for the most part, the fit stays tight throughout the day.
Price Range: $10 (on sale) – $75 (6-pack)
Style Options: Bikini, boy short, high cut brief, french cut bikini, classic fit bikini, lace waist brief, lace thong, standard thong.
And use the code THEFILTERY15 for 15% off full-priced items.
Formerly called Knickey, Subset’s size-inclusive organic cotton panties are for wearing every day. Their styles are all available in a range of solid colors. If you’re not sure which style to get, I recommend making your own set (you can save by getting 3 or more pairs).
Everything is made with GOTS certified organic cotton and non-toxic dyes in Fair Trade factories in India. They’re OEKO-TEX certified, too. They do use a little bit of elastane (5%) for stretch.
My Take: I’ve been wearing Subset underwear for years now—ever since they first launched, actually. And I think they’ve actually gotten better over the years in the construction and durability. All of Subset’s underwear is super comfortable; I wear them during my workdays, to bed, when I’m not feeling well, etc.
Their high-waisted thong is one of my favorite pairs of undies. I wear them with my high-waisted jeans and I feel comfortable and protected, but without any bunching.
Price Range: $17
Style Options: Thong (low and high-rise), bikini (low and mid-rise), hipster (mid-rise), brief (mid and high-rise)
The UK-based brand has a beautiful selection of underwear and bras, including “simple” undies for everyday wear as well as fancier lingerie options. Made with organic pima cotton and soft silk, their underwear is super comfortable and allergy-friendly for those with sensitive skin. They don’t use any synthetics, and it’s all nickel-free and latex-free for those who are sensitive.
In addition to using natural & organic materials and non-toxic dyes, they also make sure all of their production is ethical, and they use as little water as possible in the production process, too.
My Take: I’ve been wearing JulieMay for a while now and I have to say… They really did find the balance of comfy and sexy! Most of the fabric that’s actually against your skin is super soft—softer than cotton usually feels. (I say most because it depends on the style… As you can see pictured above, there’s a section of the panties that are just lace.)
The bras are lined with that same soft cotton, so even though it looks lacy, it feels more like you’re wearing that go-to, most comfortable set of underwear!
P. S. Make sure you use their sizing chart (with your exact measurements) before placing your purchase!
Sizes: 8-18, 32B-40G (+ they offer custom sizes!)
Price Range: $25-$42
Style Options: Briefs and high-waist briefs
And use the code JULIEMAY for 10% off your first order.
This Australia-based brand makes organic cotton briefs, cheeky cuts, v-cuts, bodysuits, and more. Their undies are made using 90% organic cotton + 10% elastane. Plus they have a smooth, elastic-free waistband for an oh-so-comfortable fit. They are naturally dyed in both dark and light solids, and they’re shipped to you in low-waste packaging.
My Take: I really like the cut and fit of Lé Buns’ panties. The cheekiness of them have a sexier feel, while they’re still comfortable and I still feel ‘held in.’ I wear this underwear more when I’m going out; I don’t really sleep or lounge around in it that much.
I will say that you’re not supposed to dry these undies, but I do anyway (the directions say lay flat to dry—oops). I don’t recall noticing a difference after the first time I put them through the dryer.
I also have to say that I really love Lé Buns’ bralettes, too (maybe even more than the undies?!). They’re really comfortable and have the perfect amount of coverage.
Price Range: $19-$37
Style Options: High cut brief, G-string, underwear shorts
And use our Lé Buns discount code THEFILTERY15 for 15% off.
Oddobody is one of the few brands that has managed to make non-bunchy underwear without any synthetic material at all—these are made out of 100% organic cotton!
They have a variety of styles as well as some related products like sleep sets and loungewear. They offer your standard black and white, but then they also have more fun solids like red, pink, and blue. They carry underwear for kids and a unisex boxer, too. All of their products come with GOTS and Fair Trade Certified labels.
Plus, Oddobody does a lot of work toward bodily education and autonomy, which is pretty cool.
Price Range: $22-$30
Style Options: Brief, high-waisted, string bikini, french cut, thong, tanga, sleep short
Sustain By Kat set out to make the first 100% natural underwear by cutting out ALL synthetics, even from their dyes, elastics, thread, etc. They carry a few different color varieties, but they’re all undyed GOTS certified organic cotton (yes – cotton grows in color!). Everything is ethically designed and made in Los Angeles.
If you have very sensitive skin, Kat’s organic underwear is definitely worth a try.
Price Range: $36
Style Options: Low-rise and high-rise briefs
Thunderpants super comfy underwear is made out of 90% fair trade certified New Zealand organic cotton yarn combined with 10% spandex for increased comfort. They have a lot of fun patterns (designed by local artists!) along with solid colors, too. These “wedgie-proof” organic cotton undies are cut and sewn in a women-owned, minimal-waste factory in Portland, Oregon.
Price Range: $24-$26
Style Options: Hipster, high-rise, sky-rise
KENT’s organic underwear is made out of 100% GOTS organic pima cotton for the utmost breathability and comfort. They’re completely synthetic-free, which means no spandex, elastane, or other plastic materials. They come in a variety of solid colors, including your basic black or white, or something more fun like bright “Aloe Green.”
They’re all made ethically in California AND they’re completely compostable, too!
Price Range: $24 – $144 (for a 7-pack)
Style Options: Bikini, hipster, high-waist brief, thong
Of all of the organic cotton underwear brands featured here, Organic Basics probably has the most options. Not only do they carry a wide variety of fits and styles, but they also have different choices in terms of fabric. Many of their styles are made with 95% GOTS certified organic cotton and 5% elastane, but they also have some blends that utilize recycled cotton, TENCEL, and even recycled nylon (we don’t really recommend that one though).
My Take: I have several pairs of Organic Basic’s regular briefs, which are great for everyday wearing. The waistband is thicker than a lot of other undies. Sometimes I like that better and sometimes I don’t; it depends on which pants I’m wearing.
Some of their styles/fabrics are also great for working out, too (like the TENCEL ones).
Price Range: $25 (on sale) – $105 (4-pack)
Style Options: Hipster, thong, cheeky high-rise, cheeky briefs, high-rise tanga, super high-rise briefs
Tomboyx doesn’t actually use organic cotton for their underwear, but they get an honorable mention and here’s why: they have some of the most inclusive sizing and styles on the market. So if you have trouble finding undies that you really feel good in, Tomboyx is a good brand to check out.
A lot of their undies are made out of OEKO-TEX certified conventional cotton (with 5% elastane), while they also have a TENCEL collection. I have a few of their TENCEL garments and they are super soft and silky. I love the way they feel against my skin.
They have your standard solid colors like black and gray, but they also have lots of fun colors, patterns, and limited edition releases as well.
Tomboyx is a certified B Corp brand as well!
My Take: I think the fabric is super lightweight and soft, making for a really comfortable pair of underwear to spend all day in (since they’re made from TENCEL!). Just make sure you check their size chart before purchasing because the sizing was a little weird for me.
Price Range: $13 (on sale) – $125 (5-pack)
Style Options: Briefs, boxer briefs (6″ and 9″, with and without flies), thongs, bikinis, hipsters, boy shorts, trunks
Can Underwear Fabrics Really Affect Your Health?
According to gynecologists, the type of fabric your underwear is made of can help or hinder your vaginal health, by either preventing or contributing to potential infections.
Not only do natural fabrics like cotton have more breathability, but they’re also free from a list of potentially toxic chemicals that are common in conventional synthetic underwear. For example, polyester has been found to contain antimony, which is a toxic heavy metal. This is one of the reasons why wearing underwear made out of natural fibers like organic cotton or hemp is better for your body.
But, it also depends on what else is used to make the garment! Think about the dyes, finishes, etc. You’ll want to go for organic underwear brands that use non-toxic and water based dyes and skip the “performance” additives that make things “stain-resistant” or “antibacterial” or “anti odor.” (Hemp actually has natural antimicrobial properties, but for other materials, manufacturers can add chemicals like formaldehyde to make fabrics antibacterial. You don’t want these next to your hu-ha if you can help it.)
Now, you will notice that most (although not all) of the brands included here do contain some synthetic material, like 5-10% spandex. This is because a little bit of spandex makes a big difference when it comes to comfort, fit, and durability. It’s important to note that spandex (also known as elastane or the brand name Lycra) IS plastic.
Hopefully someday soon there will be a good non-toxic and natural stretchy fiber that can replace spandex, but until then, even decreasing the amount of synthetic fiber by 80-90% is a great thing to do.
At the end of the day, you will have to choose what’s best for you. You may want to have a variety of different kinds of underwear in your drawer… For example, you may choose to wear 100% organic cotton underwear to bed, but then keep some stretchier options with 5-10% spandex for your workout.
- The best underwear and bra brands for those with sensitive skin
- The best hemp underwear brands
- The comfiest organic bras
- Where to find TENCEL underwear
- Organic thongs
- The best maternity underwear and nursing bras
- Organic boxers for men
- Here are the best size-inclusive organic cotton underwear brands
To get more product recommendations, stay updated on toxins in the news, and more, sign up for Filtered Fridays.