Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups: What Are The Differences

Finding the best menstrual cup can be tricky with so many different brands on the market. There's the Saalt menstrual cup, or the Lena Sensitive vs Diva Cup, or the Diva Cup vs Organicup, or the Keeper menstrual cup and lots more to choose from!  So where do we start? And what does it mean when considering soft vs hard menstrual cups? In theory does a soft menstrual cup mean it is more comfortable? And why would anyone want a firm menstrual cup?  In this article, we will look at how to define soft vs hard menstrual cups. We will also figure which one would be best menstrual cup for you!

Soft Vs Hard Menstrual Cups. The Differences and Firmness Guide

Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups - At A Glance

Name

Firmness

Sizes

Image

More Details

Lily Cup Compact

Soft Menstrual Cup

1 Size

soft menstrual cup

Saalt Soft

Soft Menstrual Cup

2 sizes

soft menstrual cup

DivaCup

Average Firmness Menstrual Cup

3 sizes

DivaCup Size 1 new

Lunette

Average Firmness Menstrual Cup

2 sizes

Lunette Cup - Easy to Remove Menstrual Cup

MeLuna Sport Cup

Firm Menstrual Cup

8 sizes

(4 shorty versions)

MeLuna Sport - Firmest Menstrual Cup

Dot Cup

Firm Menstrual Cup

1 size

Firm Rim Menstrual Cup

What Does it Mean: Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

All menstrual cups are actually “soft” as they are designed to be comfortable to wear for up to 12 hours a day. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Menstrual Cups here.  You should not be able to feel it when the menstrual cup is used correctly.

So when we talk about soft vs hard menstrual cups, we are looking at the firmness of the cup. The firmness of a menstrual cup is how much effort it takes for the cup to spring back into shape when released. Think of the rim as an 'O' shape, and see how much effort it takes to squish that rim into a flat position.

Firm Menstrual Cups

A firm menstrual cup requires more effort to push down and it will feel more solid and harder to squish. A firm menstrual cup will spring open and revert to its original shape easier. 

This is important as you want the cup to fully open and fit against your vaginal walls after it is inserted. This is to collect your menstrual blood with no gaps, and no leaks. This does not mean that you need to choose the most firm menstrual cup on the market. 

Soft Menstrual Cups

A soft menstrual cup will be easier to squeeze down. It will feel very delicate and be easy to squeeze. But may take a little bit longer to spring back into an 'O' shape. 

Just because it is a soft menstrual cup does not necessarily mean it is the most comfortable.

How easily a menstrual cup opens up, with little or more effort, will also depend on the strength and elasticity of your vagina. Remember, every woman’s body is completely different. That's what makes it so special!

The 'Squish' Factor - Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

To figure out soft vs hard menstrual cups, do the following:

Squish the cup’s 'O' shaped rim down with your thumb and forefinger to see how much it flattens out.

The ‘squishiness’ of a rim important. This is where the cup will meet the vaginal wall to collect the menstrual blood with no leaking.

If a cup’s rim is easy to squish and flattens out quite a bit, then it is a soft menstrual cup.

Whereas a cup that takes more effort or pressure to squish down is a firm or hard menstrual cup.

Lunette Juju Menstrual Cups Firmness

The Design of the Cup impacts Soft Vs Hard Menstrual Cups

Design elements such as shape, thickness, type of material, and internal structure of the cup may also impact how soft or firm cups are. Even the menstrual cup size makes a difference.

Let’s have a look at how they impact menstrual cups.

Shape - Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

Depending on the design, the cup’s firmness may be considered thicker if it has a soft base but firm rim. This is because the rim is the part that you want to ‘spring open’ to create a full seal. 

Thickness - Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

In theory, the thicker or denser the cup, the more firm it may be. This of course, will also be impacted by the material of the cup.

Material - Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

Silicone and TPU (thermoplastic elastomer) come in various types of firmness. TPU is found to mold to your body slightly with your internal body heat. This can affect how the cup sits in your body. Menstrual cups made out of natural gum rubber tend to be quite rigid. This can make it more difficult to squish down. As it is a bit stiffer however, these cups pop open to their natural shapes easily.

Soft Menstrual Cups

Soft menstrual cups conform to your body easily. They are believed to be more comfortable as there is no pressure pushing on your vaginal walls.

But they may be harder to open completely once inside. Your vagina walls may be pushing it out of shape. If there is a fold or incomplete seal, this can cause leaking.

With very soft cups you may need to check the seal. You can do this by running a finger along the rim once inserted.

Women who have strong internal muscles or doing certain physical exercises may 'crush' the soft cups once inserted. This can result in some leaking.

But women who are sensitive or have any prolapses may find soft cups more comfortable. The Lily Cup compact and Saalt Soft Cup are great for those looking for a soft menstrual cup!

soft menstrual cup

Lily Cup Ultra-Soft

  • Hypoallergenic and contains no harmful chemicals or bleaches
  • Comes in 2 sizes
  • Thin design which is great for women with high cervixes

This cute Lily Cup has an odd shaped design with a slanted design that is made for your body's internal curves. It is completely smooth on the outside. There are no protruding ridges or logos and this makes it easier to insert and remove. The ultra soft silicone is thin and flexible making it one of the softest cups available. It also has a pretty cool spill-proof design for those a bit worried about making a mess!

Check out How to Use a Lily Cup.

soft menstrual cup

Saalt Soft Cup

  • The Saalt Soft is made with an ultra-soft silicone formula designed to be gentle and super comfortable.
  • Perfect for those with bladder sensitivity, cramping or discomfort with firmer cups.
  • Lovely grey color that won't discolor and can hide stains.
  • Comes in Small and Regular sizes

The Saalt Soft cups are super soft and is a good option for those who are more sensitive down there. Because it is so soft and smooth, despite the ridges in the cup, some people have had difficulty removing the cup. 

Medium or Average Firmness Menstrual Cups

Medium firmness cups are usually the easiest cups to use when you are trying a menstrual cup for the first time.

This is because the cup will ‘pop open’ easier when inserted. But it is still quite comfortable for beginners.

You may find that you can feel a tiny bit of menstrual cup pressure, and this may be most noticeable when you try to pee. The Diva Cup and Lunette cup are very popular due to its average firmness.

Great for beginners who are unsure of what their preference is!

DivaCup Size 1 new

DIVA Cup

3 Different Sizes!

  • 100% hypoallergenic and suitable for women with latex allergies (nitrosomine and latex free)
  • Very popular brand with thousands of views online
  • Multilingual Consumer Care Team on call for your Qs online 24/7

This is probably the most popular cup online. The Diva Cup belongs in the kinda soft, kinda firm category. It is usually the cup used as a benchmark when determining whether another cup is soft or firm. Because of its average firmness, this menstrual cup is great for beginners who are unsure of their bodies or their preferences.

Lunette Cup - Firm Menstrual Cup

Lunette Cup

  • Made of medical-grade silicone in Finland
  • Odorless, safe and does not contain rubber latex 
  • Comes in 2 colors

This is a hugely popular menstrual cup in Europe, and it comes in cute, poppy colors. The Lunette cups seems to be a bit thinner and a bit more pliable than a Diva Cup. The rim protrudes out slightly but is rounded to make it more comfortable. Many women find that most folds are doable with the Lunette cups. This is due to its softness, but it still pops open easily once inserted!

Firm Menstrual Cups

Firm cups spring back to shape very easily and need little to no manual help once inserted. However, you may feel the cup when it is inside as it will apply pressure to your vaginal walls.

It can also cause some women to find that the cup pushes on their bladder, resulting in an urge to pee. Furthermore, some women have reported that a firm cup causes their urine stream to slow down. Firm menstrual cups may also create more suction on high cervixes. This can make it more difficult to remove.

With a firm menstrual cup, you may find there are fewer folds you can use. As it will be more difficult to push down with one hand. But it will spring back into shape easiest. This is great for women who may have a weaker pelvic floor and are worried about leaking. 

Firmer cups are also useful for those who are planning extreme active exercises. This is because your muscles might (though rarely) push the cup out when tensing. The MeLuna Sport cup and the Dot menstrual cups are currently the firmest cups that women prefer.

MeLuna Sport - Firmest Menstrual Cup

MeLuna Sport Cup

  • Designed and manufactured in Germany
  • Small, ball stem so the stem does not protrude or poke you even during the most extreme activities
  • Contains no Bisphenol A, Phthalates, Latex or Alkylphenols

This menstrual cup is a great firm cup, and is marketed as such. It is made for women who have strong pelvic muscles. It is also 25% more resilient than the MeLuna Classic version. The menstrual cup immediately springs back into shape when pushed down. Even under the stress of sport and exercise. 

Firm Rim Menstrual Cup

Dot Menstrual Cup

  • Soft Cup but with a Firm Rim for a strong suction
  • Comes in a very cool black color to hide stains - plus a break from all the pink cups!
  • Female owned and operated company. I always love this!

The Dot menstrual cup is different as it will probably be considered an average firmness cup. However, the rim is firm so this is why we have included it in the Firm range. Because of the firm rim, the suction of the cup is super strong and perfect for active people - lifting weights, running etc. I'm also a big fan of their Buy One, Give One initiative, where for every Dot cup that is sold, they ship a cup to a girl in a developing country. Pretty cool!

Be Active with your Menstrual Cup

Choosing the best menstrual cup for your body will depend greatly on the comfort and effectiveness of the cup. You might want to also consider the following factors:

Conclusion - Soft vs Hard Menstrual Cups

Soft vs hard menstrual cups are very individual. We recommend you Check Your Cervix Height and try a few cups before committing to one that you regularly use. Regardless of a soft menstrual cup or a firm menstrual cup, they have been discovered to become softer with time. This will not compromise its use. This is usually due to repeated boiling when sterilizing the cup after each cycle. So a cup that is used often may become squishier and softer than a cup that is hardly used. Remember to check your cups often regardless of a soft vs hard menstrual cups. If you find the material is degrading or is being compromised, then it might be time to get a new cup!

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