Menstrual Cups

Mpower – Review

I was lucky enough to be sent an Mpower cup!

The lovely www.femininewear.co.uk sent me one!!!!

(it’s worth noting that they are apparently going to be changing their cup design, so the new cups may be different to this)

Observations

I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet… but some observations from just handling the product.  To be honest… I don’t know if I managed to get a faulty example of this product.  But based on this cup I have – I would not recommend anyone purchase this product.

I like the box… it’s got shiny stuff on it, and I like the logo (and I like the name – “empowering” – I like that aspect). That’s the good stuff…..

I don’t like the pouch… the denim is quite stiff and it’s just a single loop of ribbon, so I guess you’d have to just tie a knot in it to keep it closed (the denim is too stiff for it to stay pulled closed).

The cup itself does look “cheap” – VERY cheap….  You can see the extra silicone from the mould… particularly around the rim.  Now this would be easy to just rub off yourself I imagine, but if you’re comparing it to other cups where this isn’t present…. it just makes this product look a little less well made.

The rim, you can see the rough look.
(click for closer view)

One of the holes already has a 4mm crack running down from it.  This is a cup that I had not even folded yet, and came in a box that didn’t appear to have been squished… It’s a good mm deep split for a few mm, then gets shallower.  One of the other holes seems to be developing a split (a bit less than 1mm).  Another of the holes appears to have been drilled halfway through and then slightly repositioned and drilled again, because you can see the hole starts off bigger, is drilled about halfway through and then continues through a fraction over.  

The ridges on the stem are the other thing that lets this cup down.  While they look fine, I noticed on mine here (which is a proper retail version, not a sample or seconds quality)…. it almost looks like the ridges were applied later, since they are almost like a rubberband stuck to the stem.  I can actually lift them up.  2 of the 3 ridges are stuck down on one of the flat sides of the stem, but not stuck down on the other, the other ridge is only stuck down at the narrower “side” sides… if that makes sense.  I imagine these ridges would completely fall off within a few uses.

Here I’m lifting it up with a pin – the line you see where it should be is the ridge on the other side.  Where it should be stuck down is completely unmarked – so it’s obviously never been stuck down.

I can lift it right up to the other ridge

Edit — Now after taking those pictures and putting the cup into the box with the other cups I have, and rummaging a little through the box to find another cup to compare squishiness with while writing up about the Fleurcup, I’ve now noticed that the bottom ridge of the stem has broken off.  Just from gently brushing against other cups in the box.  Now you can say that’s because I was poking about with it before, but I have no doubt it would have broken off after the first time it was used – regardless of me playing with it.  I can’t say I’m impressed.  Even though it’s not really an essential part of the cup, this shows a lack of quality of this product, and to me, that’s unacceptable.

You can see the ridge has broken.  You can also see the split in the cup coming up from the hole on the right hand side.

And… I also noticed a brown inclusion (speck) in the cup… I’ve tried to scratch it off, it’s most definitely not something *on* the cup, it’s *in* the silicone.  Again, it’s only a minor thing, but personally I’d prefer a cup that doesn’t have a weird brown speck in it….

(I turned the cup inside out to try and photograph it better)


See my detailed review & comparisons with other cups here.

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August 7, 2010 - Posted by | The Cups | ,

12 Comments »

  1. Ohh not good for the holes :-S !

    About the elements you highlighted, i enjoy the same ones as you, and am not fond of the denim pouch either.

    I purchased my MPower cup at feminine wear :).
    The holes are okay on my cup, and rather are very nice big holes ah..
    As for the stem, err i didn’t really pay attention on it as i dislike the stems and this one looked particularly thick.
    I directly cut off the stem entirely and throw it away. So i can’t be sure, but hm yeah maybe one ridge (?, or maybe more ?)on the stem could be lifted as on yours.

    Also, even before wearing the cup for the first time, i patiently (lol) rubbed off the extra silicone along the rim and all along the ridges area on the base.
    Afterwards, i liked this cup a lot, from the first trial..

    It can be a great cup i guess for the “heavy bleeders” ;-).
    And once inside, the cup gets/remains efficiently fixed against the walls.
    It certainly is a cup to consider too for women whose cervix rides pretty low during periods, as its lenght is nicely moderate, especially for a large sized cup.

    If you like the large Fleurcup for instance, (which also has a stiff rim..), i think you would appreciate the MP as well.
    To me, the MPower is sweeter than the large Fleur…
    Still — not cool at all for the holes on your cup :-// !
    Cheers :o)

    Comment by Quitterie | August 7, 2010

  2. Wow! Looks like you did get hold of a defective one. Mine was in good shape and all, see my review. But still, I think every cup should be checked thoroughly before being packaged during manufacturing, for such flaws as the ones we see here. I think the crack near the hole might have been due to the stiffness…? Just guessing. Some designs can do stiff, and some can’t. I remember back when Ladycup tried to make their cups more stiff, they were splitting at the holes, so they had to sell the stiff ones off as “samples”. But Lunette and Fleurcup have managed to pull off a stiffer cup design successfully. I suppose its all in the right mix of hardener in the silicone, and the shape.

    Comment by menstrualcupinfo | September 11, 2010

  3. “But still, I think every cup should be checked thoroughly before being packaged during manufacturing”.. I completely agree with that 🙂 – kinda creating a new job?, maybe the robots would do it in future. Okay hm..

    Melissa, you must have handled one of these stiff Lady samples ;-D, i guess.
    .. Was the base itself as thin as it is at the present time, but stiffer ?
    How stiff was that cup, in the whole ? 😉

    Comment by Quitterie | September 11, 2010

  4. I’ve got an example of the defective LadyCups… I didn’t notice any difference to be honest. The first sample Ladycup I got was from a much softer silicone than they ended up using (before they brought out colours even)

    Comment by obsidian | September 12, 2010

  5. Thank you, Obsidian :D.
    If I got it, you received both a much softer sample and a stiffer one later — so interesting 😉 eheh..

    Comment by Quitterie | September 12, 2010

  6. Quitterie– Yes, the stiffer ladycup I handled was one of the samples. I got several sample cups from a couple of distributors. I also have a “real” ladycup (my large Lotos), which was a gift to me. And there really is quite a difference in feel, to me anyway.

    True– cleaning up the cups appearence in the factory could be a good job to offer local women in South Africa. I’m sure that all cups probably have to go through something like that. They probably don’t all come out of the mold exactly perfect, but again, its important to carefully check them all first.

    Comment by menstrualcupinfo | September 18, 2010

  7. Quitterie– Well actually, with the ladycups– the rim was really the only place I noticed a difference, it felt slightly stiffer. Not overly so, but I could feel it a bit. Especially when folding it. The rest of the sample cup was close to a real one. The bottom on both is mostly the same.

    Comment by menstrualcupinfo | September 18, 2010

  8. Thank you :-)))

    Comment by Quitterie | September 18, 2010

  9. Hi Everyone
    Thank you for your feedback and for this open menstrual cup dialogue-boy do I wish South African ladies had this amount of experience and were open to trying new sanitary ware products!
    I am Glenda Tutt the founder and owner of MPowercups and the Karabo Initiative. To respond to your queries:
    The denim bag is rather stiff I quite agree. When I launched my product I wanted to use a fabric that women in communities affected by poverty (60% of the SA market and 14 million owmen) could safely store their Mcups without risk of the bag breaking or easily getting wet from damp shack dwelling during winter. I thought it was more sensible, and realistic on a small business start up budget, to use one fabric for all orders. I have since changed the fabric as my bags are produced by a community project; thereby affording jobs to previously disadvantaged women. The new fabric is donated offcuts from local business and this allows me to pay my machinists an extra R1 per unit. It would appear that my storage bags are not uniform or embossed or posh enough but I feel MPowerment from job creation beats a posh storage bag anyday! I’m sure you will all agree.
    With regard to the “flash” which is the “extra silicone” you referred to, this is as a result of my using a single compression mould as opposed to an injection mould. I did not want to set up production of hundreds of thousands of Mcups on a new and uneducated SA market. I do have women at the medical grade silicone moulding factory that check the quality and remove the “flash” and I recheck them on my side before postage. It is likely that this one slipped through my system unnoticed and for this I apologise. The stem rims have proven to be an issue as this is almost unavoidable on this type of mould……… and I discover this only after going into production! Ah the bliss of being a pioneer haha.
    I added extra hardener to my Mcup as I first used the Lunette and found it tricky to get it to “pop” open. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the seal with the walls of the vagina is intact.
    The brown speck is not great and I can understand your being put off. It is however the same effect as the glitter in one of the other brands. Basically once the Mcup is post cured ie tumbled in heat for 6 hours it seals the silicone and makes it non porous and non absorbant. The speck will have no effect and is not unhygienic but I do agree is not great to find in your menstrual cup.
    The concern with the Mcup being “cheap”, well all menstrual cups are incredibly cheap to produce. My production with a single compression mould incurs a great deal of wastage of silicone and is labour intensive (4 minutes to make one Mcup) and it is still an extremely financially viable business. They are all manufactured using similar methods and medical grade silicone manufacturers have to adhere to strict production methods to keep their licence. And in SA it has been most welcomed as an affordable sustainable sanitary ware solution.
    Yes, I do have a new design in the pipeline and am currently sourcing funding to complete the research and design the mould.
    Please contact me should you have any further questions on glenda@mpowercup.co.za

    Comment by Glenda Tutt | August 19, 2011

  10. Hi Glenda 🙂

    “The brown speck is not great and I can understand your being put off. It is however the same effect as the glitter in one of the other brands.”

    Well, no… the glitter is put there on purpose… and the consumer can choose to buy one with it or not. Yours was a speck of dirt or something, which a consumer would not expect to see in a cup that they would hope is made in clean facilities. I realise it’s still sanitary, but it shouldn’t be there, and was, so I’ve commented on it.

    I said the cup “looked cheap”, not that it was cheap 🙂 That is probably the effect of the extra hardener, as I have heard Femmecup also used more for their first cup, which had a similar “plasticky” sort of feel to it.

    I think that it’s great that you’ve brought out a cup brand, and I love what you’re trying to do in South Africa – and the ladies there probably don’t mind stiff bags, rough “flash”, specks or the stem parts falling off….but when your cup is being sold along side other cup brands whose cups are of a more professional standard, then yours will be judged by that standard, which unfortunately yours didn’t meet.

    Good luck on your new design though, I hope you can sort out some of the issues and come back into the market with another cup choice for women!

    Comment by obsidian | August 22, 2011

  11. Glenda, it’s sooo nice to hear from you ! Everything you explain is really interesting..
    So good too to learn that “in SA it has been most welcomed as an affordable sustainable sanitary ware solution.” 😀
    The MPower cup has always been a great & kind of a ‘bold’ model, in my sense, -which is a compliment-, and now it is a delighting news that you’re figuring out another design!
    It’s also *very* exciting ;D..
    All the best to you and your team!!

    Comment by Quitterie | August 22, 2011

  12. Oh, and.. may i be very curious.. were there two different models at a time being manufactured & sold ? 😉 Because readings from the Live Journal indicate some people received a smaller model, that was only 42mm in diameter (eff if i remember well!..)

    [But afterall, wasn’t your original idea for an ‘upcoming’ Small size was 37mm diameter-wise? :), hm i guess this one never was manufactured.]

    Comment by Quitterie | August 22, 2011


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