The Lily Cup Compact has gone about as viral as a menstrual cup can- it was featured in news stories, posted to major news websites, raised way over their asking amount via Kickstarter, and got the world interested in menstrual cups! That’s always a good thing in my book. Why did it get so much attention? Because it took the menstrual cup, something that’s been around for more than a hundred years, and reinvented it. The Lily Cup Compact does what the name says- it collapses and fits into a small clamshell plastic case that’s not much larger than a tin of lip balm.
The collapsible cup works much like those collapsing colanders you may already own that save space in your cabinets. It folds into itself and unfolds for use. The idea is novel, sure, and it got a lot of attention, but does it work and does it have a function beyond just being neat? Before we go there lets talk about the size and compare it structurally to other cups since I know this is helpful for you.
This isn’t Lily Cup’s first menstrual cup so they have experience in the market. Their brand is Intimina and they have two cups, the standard Lily Cup that comes in sizes A and B, and the Lily Cup Compact that also comes in sizes A and B. These are the softest menstrual cups on the market and the silicone is very unique. The cups, size wise, couldn’t be farther apart. The standard Lily Cup is quite large, larger even than the Diva Cup. The Lily Cup Compact is far more petite in length and girth. For a baseline I am using Diva Cup Size 2, a cup many women and cup users are familiar with.
I used Size B’s for my photos but the Size A’s will have the same growth curve from brand to brand for the most part. For me as a cup user, the Diva Cup is slightly longer than what I need so I trim the stem to use it. If you dislike the idea of having no stem the Lily Cup Compact’s stem is just about to the tip of the Diva Cup without a stem.
The shorter length is a bonus for any woman with a lower cervix (this means the cup can’t go as far into the vaginal canal so for it to be comfortable you need a shorter cup and/or to trim the stems. It could also work for women with a tilted cervix who need to wear their cups lower (I don’t have one so this is speculation, not speaking from experience).
The obvious drawback to the shorter length and the way the Lily Cup Compact tapers is that it holds less volume than the standard Lily Cup or another cup like a Diva Cup or Lunette Cup. Those cups are more bell shaped, and hold more. The visual above shows how the shapes differ from the Diva Cup and most other standard cups, and even though the Diva Cup isn’t pushed all the way down (they have roughly the same diameter) you can see what I’m trying to illustrate.
I’ve been testing it out for 2 menstrual cycles and I can’t say it will become a favorite. The main reason is that it won’t work for me on the heaviest days of my cycle and that the lack of firmness in the rim and the cup body don’t work well for ME. That being said, a softer cup and rim can be a good thing for women who find a more rigid cup uncomfortable. Personally, I like having a rigid base to push on (means going less “up in there” to adjust if my seal isn’t right or of the cup isn’t opening I can turn it a bit which helps). A firmer rim can also aid in the cup opening easier since the firmer it is, the more force it exerts to pop back to original form from whatever fold you have used. For the above photo where I have compared the Diva Cup Size 2 to the Lily Cup Compact Size 2, I used books weighing the same exact amount (7.5 ounces each per my scale, they are Anne Rice novels, The Vampire Lestat and Memnoch the Devil for curious minds), and placed each on the cup at the same place to demonstrate the difference in the firmness of the rim and cup. You can also see this in action in the embedded video.
Softer cups are easier to fold and keep folded verus firmer cups, and the Lily Cup Compact holds a push down fold beautifully. This is the fold you will want to use when inserting from my experience, the C Fold doesn’t gives and bends when inserting the cup. Firmer cups want to pop back open before or during the insertion process and for this reason it can be a bonus for a new cup user to try a softer cup. Rubber cups (Keeper Cup) tend to be the firmest.
As explained fairly spastically in my video, I could only use the Lily Cup Compact on my lighter days and it took some time for me to find the best method for making it work on those days. On my heaviest day I still needed a back-up medium flow pad and the second to heaviest day I had what I call “wiping leaks” and these I can have even with my most reliable cup.
I wouldn’t say the collapsible feature is totally for show, having a small cup that fits in a discreet place can be useful. I plan to use this as a backup cup and will keep it in a zippered section of my purse along with a few Lunette wipes. Shown above, you can see how small it is compared to my other carrying case (it’s a Paci-Pod from Jujube now known as the Vagi Pod) so it can still fit in my favorite tiny Calvin Klein wristlet. Since most women while on their period don’t have a need to carry a cup (it is conveniently located in your vagina at all times except during washing) the compactness of a cup then matters very little.
As a final thought, another friend of mine who is a fellow #vagangelist (Amanda of The Eco-Friendly Family) has been testing this cup and found it to work without any leaks. I’ll link her review when it is live. Like flowers and snowflakes, all vaginas are unique and beautiful so while this cup didn’t work as well as I had hoped for me I know it can work well. Hopefully you are now armed with information so that you can decide if the Lily Cup Compact will work for you. I want to thank Intimina for sending both cups for me to try. I’m going to test their standard cup more next cycle and will post a review of it as well. If you need general menstrual cup help and information you can see all of my past videos and posts in the Reusable Feminine Care section.