Updated on November 3, 2017
XO Flo Menstrual Cup Review
I’ve been living that #cuplife for a good long while now, and as a menstrual cup veteran I love nothing more than trying out a new cup! After almost ten years as a menstrual cup user, and spending the entirety of 2017 using only reusable menstrual products, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what I do and do not like in a cup. What works for me isn’t always going to be what works for you, and vice versa. Nevertheless, I love sharing whatever cup wisdom I have so you can decide for yourselves if a cup is worth a closer look! I remember hearing that GladRags was coming out with a new menstrual cup about a year ago, and I was really keen to give it a try. You see, GladRags have been around for more years than I’ve been menstruating, yet I’d never had the opportunity to give their products a try until now. Crazy, right? The cup that GladRags has designed is called the XO Flo and there are some features in this cup that make it truly unique!
The XO Flo is a reusable menstrual cup that is made in the USA with smooth, flexible, medical-grade silicone. Like other menstrual cups, the XO Flo is designed to collect menstrual fluid and not to absorb it. The XO Flo is a completely smooth cup. With the exception of the words “USA MADE” embossed on the outside edge, the outside of the cup is perfectly smooth. The rim of the XO Flo doesn’t flare out at all, but instead it curls into the cup. Even the base of the XO Flo is smooth with no texture or grip rings at all. The stem of the XO Flo is a beaded stem. It’s solid and not hollow, and consists of three “beads” of silicone that get progressively smaller from the base of the cup down. The stem is very soft and flexible. There are two vent holes in the XO Flo near the rim of the cup. These vent holes angle upwards into the cup so the opening of the hole is positioned higher on the inside to maximize the cup’s capacity.
Inside the XO Flo, you’ll see that the rim of the cup is internal meaning it protrudes into the top of the cup allowing the exterior to remain smooth. Under each vent hole, there are support rings that make a ‘X’ on each side inside the cup. You can feel these supports if you run your finger along the inside of the cup. Though they are visible from the outside of the cup, you can’t feel them from the outside.
The XO Flo cup comes in just one size. It is 86mm long including the stem, and 45mm in diameter. Without the stem, the cup itself is 55mm long. The capacity up to the vent holes of the XO Flo is 38ml. This puts it into the category of being a larger capacity cup which is great for those with particularly heavy flows.
How It Works:
I want to start out by addressing the size of the XO Flo. I’ll admit that the XO Flo looks pretty big, a lot bigger than other size 2 or large size menstrual cups. I did a little digging and some comparisons with other cups I have hanging around, and in reality the XO Flo isn’t much larger than other size 2/large size menstrual cups. Without the stem, the XO Flo cup is 55mm long. Compare that to the size 2 DivaCup at 57mm and the large Lena cup at 50.7mm, and it suddenly doesn’t seem all that large. What makes the XO Flo seem large is that it doesn’t taper nearly as much as other menstrual cups. So that 45mm diameter at the rim of the XO Flo stays pretty consistent until you get right down to the base of the cup where it finally tapers to the stem. It’s that more uniform diameter along the whole length of the XO Flo that allows it to have such a high capacity of 38ml.
What does make the XO Flo very long is the stem. The stem alone is 31mm long (that’s 1.22″). Though the stem is very soft and flexible, I did need to cut it shorter. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like I needed to cut the stem of a cup, so this was new for me. I absolutely needed the stem shorter as it was quite literally sitting outside of my body with the cup properly inserted. I cut the two smallest beads off the stem leaving just the largest bead for a stem. I was hesitant to remove the entire stem simply because the XO Flo has no texture or grip on the base of the cup. It can get a little slippery when trying to remove a cup, so I wanted something to be able to hold onto for removal.
I found the rim of the XO Flo cup to be a little more firm than other cups I’ve tried, but the body of the cup was a medium firmness. Not super soft, but not firm or hard to fold. Despite the XO Flo not being any more firm through the body of the cup than others I’ve used, I did find it took me longer to not be able to feel that I was wearing the XO Flo. I think part of this had to do with it looking deceptively large, but it was also that wider diameter through to the base of the cup. Once I got the hang of the XO Flo and was getting it positioned properly, I couldn’t feel it at all.
I found the XO Flo very comfortable on the first day of my period. Once it was properly positioned, I got an excellent seal and wasn’t even having any wipe leaks (you know, those ones where there’s a little pink on the toilet paper but never any leaks on your cloth liner). I will admit that getting the XO Flo inserted correctly and properly positioned/sealed was tricky. I can’t really put my finger on exactly why I was having trouble with it, but I was. I feel like a lot of this was related to the learning curve of a new cup, but it was more than just that. My favourite cup fold is the punch down fold, but the XO Flo instructions only mention the C-fold and specify that you should press the cup to fold it on the “X” on the side with the vent hole. I could get the XO Flo to pop open with the C-fold, but getting it to be completely rounded all the way around and sealed (so a gentle tug on the stem didn’t pull the cup down) was tricky. It took a lot of maneuvering for me to get it to seal and stay in the right position. Spinning the cup to help it pop open and seal up was difficult because the base of the cup is so smooth. It was hard to get a good grip on the cup to give it a twist because I had to really get up there and bend my wrist just so to be able to get up high enough to get a hold of the cup base. I did eventually get the hang of it and was able to spend less time getting the cup in place. It took two cycles to really feel like I could get it in consistently without having to take it out at least once during that process. I eventually switched to using the punch down fold instead of the C-fold, and I found that worked better for me.
I did experience leaks with the XO Flo, but when I was having those leaks, it turns out my cervix wasn’t positioned above the cup. In fact, the XO Flo was going right past my cervix and sitting open and sealed right beside it. I thought this was an issue with the length of the XO Flo, but it turns out on the days when I was having that problem, I experienced the same problem with my other cups too. I’m going to blame my cervix for this one as it tends to dip down and to the side on my heaviest day. Trust me when I say that I tried absolutely everything to get the XO Flo to work for me on my heaviest day, but I just couldn’t. Keep in mind that I couldn’t get ANY cup to work for me on that day in my last two cycles, so it’s really one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations here. Once my heaviest day was coming to an end, I was able to get the XO Flo positioned properly for overnight use that same evening and experienced no further leaks for the rest of those cycles.
The more uniform diameter of the XO Flo from rim to base was something I hadn’t tried in a cup before. All my other cups are more tapered or bell shaped, so I’m not used to a cup being so rounded so far down. This was great for my super heavy flow as I was able to go much longer without emptying the it. I was able to get a good 6 to 8 hours out of the XO Flo without needing to to empty it on heavier days, and on my medium days I was able to wear it for a full 12 hours. Though I didn’t have leaks when the XO Flo was properly positioned, I did experience a fair amount of pressure upwards on my bladder. Some days it was to the point where I felt like I needed to pee almost constantly. Sometimes I would try to pee, but couldn’t without removing the XO Flo. I found that if I positioned the XO Flo higher up, I didn’t experience this pressure and had no trouble emptying my bladder. I also felt less pressure when I turned the cup so the “X” of the support rings was straight in front. I could tell when it was facing this direction because I could just feel the seams on the sides of the cup and I knew the seams were not over the “X”. Twist the XO Flo so I could feel the seams along either side of me, and I knew the “X” was up front. I did also give the XO Flo a try turned inside out just to see if that made a difference and it did. I suppose inside out, those support rings weren’t putting any outward pressure on the cup. For me, this was part of the learning curve I experienced with the XO Flo and towards the end of my second period using it, I was happy with how I felt with the XO Flo in place (and not inside out) and was happy with how long it was taking me to get it inserted properly.
I was able to give some GladRags liners a try along with the XO Flo cup. GladRags sells XO Flo Kits with everything you need to make the transition to reusable menstrual products. Each XO Flo kit includes one XO Flo cup, one wipeable double pocket Carry Bag, a Mesh Laundry Bag, a Buncha Farmers Stain Remover stick, and five pantyliners. There are three kits to choose from: thong with Thong pantyliners, standard with regular Pantyliners, and plus with Pantyliners Plus. I tried the regular GladRags Pantyliners and the Pantyliners Plus for back up when I was using my XO Flo cup. I prefer the Pantyliner Plus liners as they provide quite a bit more coverage than the regular GladRags Pantyliners. After washing and drying, the regular pantyliners shrunk a bit making them just a bit too short for me to use as menstrual cup back up. They are still a great size for every day use at other times during my cycle when I need a little something for normal discharge. For cup backup, Pantyliners Plus all the way! GladRags liners has serged edges and a really slim nickel-free metal snap to keep them trim and discrete!
- Made in the USA
- Medical grade silicone
- High capacity of 38ml
- Slanted vent holes to maximize capacity
- Very soft/flexible stem
- Beaded stem can be trimmed easily if preferred
- Inner support rings help the cup pop open and maintain its shape during removal
- Smooth exterior is great for those who are sensitive to a lot of texture on the outside of their cup
- Reusable menstrual cup eliminates the need to purchase disposable products
- XO Flo cup can last for YEARS if it is well taken care of
- Collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it
- Can be worn for up to twelve hours without emptying
- Wide diameter towards the base of the XO Flo may be uncomfortable for some
- Lack of texture/grip at the base makes turning the cup upon insertion and grasping the base for removal more difficult
- XO Flo is very long with the stem
- Steep learning curve with the XO Flo (but it’s worth the effort)
- Not a cup for beginners/first time cup users
- Only available in one size (GladRags is working to get an XO Flo Mini into production, learn more HERE)
It took me two periods to really feel comfortable with the XO Flo and feel like I had it figured out. This isn’t all that unusual with a new menstrual cup, and I do expect it to take a little time to learn the ins and outs of any new cup. I was surprised that as an experienced cup user, it still took me more than one cycle to really get the hang of the XO Flo. That being said, once I did get it, I really did like the XO Flo, but it is not really a cup I’d recommend to someone who was looking to try a menstrual cup for the first time. What I love about the XO Flo is its high capacity. I have talked about my super heavy flow on my blog before, so I won’t bore you with the details again. Let’s just say that I need a cup with a high capacity, so any time I can get a cup that buys me a few extra hours without major overflow leakage I consider it a win. If you’re an experienced menstrual cup user and you’re looking for a cup with a higher capacity and a really smooth exterior, the XO Flo is the cup for you!
I really appreciate that the XO Flo menstrual cup is made in the USA out of high quality medical grade silicone. These days you really can’t be too careful when it comes to products you’re supposed to use inside your body. A big part of choosing to use reusable menstrual cups for me is to keep the chemicals in disposable products out of my body. I can trust that the XO Flo is safe for me to use. I trust the women behind GladRags and I trust the materials and products they’re making in the USA.
GladRags has plans to introduce a slimmer, smaller version of the XO Flo, called the XO Flo Mini. If you’re interested in helping them fund the XO Flo Mini, you can support their Kickstarter campaign!
The XO Flo menstrual cup retails for $35 and is available to purchase directly through GladRags or you can shop via my affiliate link on Amazon (and yes, they ship the XO Flo to Canada). The XO Flo Kits start at $85 and are available to purchase exclusively through GladRags directly.
How would you like the chance to WIN an XO Flo Kit? One lucky reader will win one Standard XO Flo Kit valued at $85! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents, 18+, and closes on October 25th, 2017. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Don’t forget to follow the Howl-o-Ween giveaway “hop” and enter the other awesome giveaways linked up below!
Welcome to the Howl-o-ween Giveaway Hop hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It! Looking for a fun way to celebrate Halloween? How does the chance to win over 100 prizes sound? Over 100 bloggers have teamed up to bring you the Howl-o-ween Giveaway Hop! You have until October 25th to enter all the great giveaways through the linky at the bottom of this post!
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