Search
Generic filters

I Tried TENCEL Underwear Everyone Is Raving About. Here Are My Honest Thoughts [Organic Basics Review]

Laura Finch on June 3, 2020
Laura is a yoga teacher who completed 200 hours of training.

If you ever cared about what your clothes are made of, you must have heard of TENCEL™.

TENCEL™ is a brand name of lyocell fabric, and it has been repeatedly referred to as "the fabric of the future." Tencel has earned multiple awards including the EU Ecolabel for maintaining high environmental standards as well as the European Award for the Environment.

So what's this lyocell Tencel all about and why even fast-fashion brands are turning to lyocell?

Read on to learn:

  • why lyocell Tencel is (and why you'll never want to wear anything else)
  • how ethical is lyocell Tencel production
  • is it worth paying more for Tencel (+ an honest review of Tencel essentials from Organic Basics).

10% CODE: YOGAKALIOBC

What's Tencel & Why Is Everyone Talking About It

Lyocell Tencel is a new generation of fabric made from wood pulp. It's closely related and shares lots of features with more familiar modal, rayon, and viscose. But Lyocell Tencel also takes the best from cotton, silk, and nylon.

If we divide fibers into natural and synthetic, lyocell Tencel falls somewhere in the middle. It's made of natural material just like cotton or linen, and it's biodegradable. But Tencel also requires the use of petrochemicals just like synthetic fibers do.

Lyocell Tencel can imitate the softness and drape of silk while being a vegan fiber.

Lyocell Tencel can imitate the softness and drape of silk while being a vegan fiber.

Here are just some of the advantages of Lyocell Tencel fabric:

  • Durability – if a cotton tee can last you for years, the tee made of Lyocell Tencel will last you even more and will look better too.
  • Texture & Softness - Lyocell Tencel has a sleek surface and is at least twice as soft as cotton, making it a perfect choice for close-to-skin garments. It also drapes nicely and doesn't wrinkle.
  • Moisture Absorption & Antibacterial Properties – Lyocell Tencel is at least 50% more absorbent than cotton and provides a less favorable environment for bacteria growth.
  • Breathability – the fabric naturally manages the transportation of moisture and helps with body temperature regulation, leaving you cool and dry even after a sweaty gym session.
  • Sustainable Production - Lyocell Tencel is made in a closed-loop process with low environmental impact and minimum waste. Read more on the production process below.

How Lyocell Tencel Is Made

Here's how a lifecycle of lyocell Tencel roughly looks like:

How Tencel is made - the full lifecycle

The full lifecycle of TENCEL // Source: www.lenzing.com

  1. The wood and pulp for the production come from sustainably managed eucalyptus forests certified by FSC. Eucalyptus trees grow fast, and their cultivation doesn't require pesticides or irrigation. When compared to cotton plants, they also need far less water, making the whole cultivation process environmentally responsible. During the harvest, eucalyptus trees are thinned out rather than cut down.
  2. The wood pulp is then turned into a sludge using non-toxic organic chemicals. It's pumped through spinnerets (a sort of a showerhead with lots of tiny holes to form threads) and treated with amine oxide (that generally has shown really low toxicity). Lenzing also states that at least 99% of the chemical is reused, creating an efficient closed-loop production process with minimum waste. Just to put things in perspective: Viscose manufacturing process involves carbon disulfide. It's so toxic that employees have to work in respiratory masks to minimize the exposure to toxic gasses. Carbon disulfide has repeatedly been shown to adversely impact the nervous system, damage the heart and even cause a stroke. The water with carbon disulfide is also highly toxic, generally not reused, and requires a careful treatment afterward.
  3. The Lyocell fibers are then dried, combed, and spun into yarn. By the way, lyocell doesn't require bleaching like most natural fabrics, so it's free from another chemical treatment stage.

Organic Basics TENCEL™ Essentials Review

Tencel is a truly revolutionary fabric with low impact on the environment. So when Organic Basic reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their Tencel essentials, I was naturally intrigued and excited.

Organic Basics is a European eco-conscious brand designing minimalist basics for men and women. I've already written quite a bit about the company when I first tried their iconic organic cotton undies and triangle bra. (Go right here see the full post + photos).

But just to recap, here's a short summary of what Organic basics is all about:

Fast Facts About Organic Basics

  • Founded in Denmark
  • Specializes in: undergarments, socks, basic tees, activewear for men and women
  • Uses only the most responsible fabric materials and technologies
  • Partners with Europe-based factories that care about their impact on workers and the environment
  • Has gone 100% carbon neutral
  • PETA "Vegan approved" (except for items made with recycled wool and recycled cashmere)
  • A certified B Corporation and 1% for the Planet member
  • Supports grassroots activists and organizations that address our environmental crises

If you're looking for high-quality and minimal-impact pieces that never go out of style, you'll love what Organic Basics has to offer.

Organic Basics uses TENCEL™ basics includes everyday essentials such as bralettes, panties, and base layer tops. There's also a decent choice of TENCEL™ items for men – from boxers and long johns to tees and tanks.

I was gifted a bralette, 2 pairs of thongs, and a singlet.

Packaging

I'm not sure why but many brands, even eco-conscious ones, are struggling with sustainably packaging their items. Luckily, Organic basics lives up to the challenge. My shipment arrived in a big box made of FSC certified carton. This certification means that wood is harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, economically viable, and environmentally appropriate.

Each item is separately packed in a small paper box made from recycled materials.

A small tip: don't just throw away the packaging. The big box is great for storing house items and the small ones for your undergarments during traveling.

Organic Basics Packaging

Organic Basics packaging is made of sustainably sourced/recycled materials.

Fabric & Production

Organic Basics TENCEL™ items are made of 95% Tencel and 5% elastane at their partner factory in Apúlia, Portugal. The factory holds SA8000 and bluesign® certification, which are among the top certifications a manufacturer can achieve for high social and environmental standards in the workplace.

The fabric has a pleasant silky feel to it and a very subtle shine. I'm generally not a fan of shiny fabrics when it comes to clothes, but it turned to be quite a great match for undergarments.

Organic Basics Tencel Underwear

Color

Organic Basics totally nailed the color scheme, in my opinion. It's not a place for flashy statement pieces. Instead, you'll find basic black and white pieces as well as pastel colors perfect for building a capsule wardrobe.

For my TENCEL™ undergarments, I chose one of my favorite shades – dusty rose. It has a slightly purplish hue and is simply beautiful.
Keep in mind that the bralette does show slightly under a thin white T-shirt. But that said, every color will, except for plain nude.

Organic Basics Tencel Bralette

Comfort & Fit

I really loved the organic cotton set from Organic basics that I received in February and found it extremely comfortable, especially the bra.
If you're like me and you find organic cotton comfy than Tencel feels like a real godsend for your private parts.

I mean it. It's insanely soft to the touch and has this gorgeous silky feel. Compared to organic cotton items that feel sturdy and hold structure, Tencel is really flowy and lightweight as if you're not wearing anything at all.

Singlet: I initially planned to wear a singlet for sleep since it's super thin and pretty transparent unless you're wearing a bra underneath. But I ended up taking it outside for doing yoga. I wasn't sweating in it too much, but the fabric is really cooling and perfect for warm weather. I believe it would dry real fast as well.

By the way, the singlet hugs all the right places and doesn't ride up when you move. I tucked it under for doing yoga and haven't adjusted it even once.

Lastly, the straps in the singlet are adjustable, which I really really appreciate. I'm short and have a small frame, so most of the things with straps never fit me right, and I end up with a ridiculous cleavage. Thankfully, not an issue here.

Organic basics Singlet

Be prepared that OB Tencel Singlet is super thin and pretty transparent unless you're wearing a bra underneath. But it's insanely comfy too!

Organic basics Singlet

I did end up doing yoga in the singlet.

Bra: The lite bralette from organic Basics is anything but basic. But don't let the cute design fool you. It's as comfy as it is beautiful. There's a wide elastic strap at the bottom that is gentle on my skin even after a whole day of wearing.

My breasts definitely got larger since I got pregnant, but I still don't need much support. So I find it hard to judge whether this Tencel bralette is supportive enough for bustier ladies. I do feel that the organic cotton Triangle bra might be more supportive, only because it offers more coverage than this bralette.

Thongs: I haven't worn thongs for years, so it was a fun experiment (and a successful one). These are perfect for avoiding panty lines, and the best thing, they don't painfully dig into your lady parts like you'd typically expect from thongs.

Organic Basics Tencel Thongs

Sizing

I got all the items in S size.

I generally wear XS. But since I'm halfway through my pregnancy, my body obviously grew bigger, and I've noticed that my XS pieces are getting slightly too tight.

The bra and the singlet fit me perfectly. I could have probably gone with XS for thongs since the waistband at the top seems to have quite a bit of room. But I reckon I'll grow bigger in the booty area in the coming months and it'll fit just right. And hey, nobody wants thongs that are too tight!

Organic Basics Tencel Set

Tencel Underwear from OB: Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Truly eco-friendly & ethical – the brand doesn't just feed you promises about how they're making a change, but taking specific steps by minimizing the impact of its supply chain and implementing new technologies in its production process.
  • Buttery soft texture & superb comfort – lyocell Tencel feels and drapes like silk but is vegan-friendly. It's amazingly gentle on the skin, and I don't feel like taking the bra off the moment I get home.
  • Cute design – I love the cut-out detail at the center of the bralette and a subtle logo on the underwear.
  • Works for low-impact workouts – these pieces are definitely not made for workouts. Still, I tried them for light yoga sessions and felt comfortable.
  • Affordable - you no longer have to choose between your values and your bank account. OB essentials are made to last. My organic cotton underwear from OB already beat my fast-fashion bras and panties with the cost-per-wear.

Cons

I truly can't think of any. But a few things to keep in mind:

  • OB singlet made of Tencel is slightly transparent, so if you're worried about your nipples showing, wear it with a bra.
  • Tencel is breathable and cooling. But if you're living in a very hot climate and work out intensively, check out SilverTech essentials from Organic Basics. They stay stink-free even after a sweaty HIIT class.

The Verdict

I'm in love!

Tencel essentials from OB are soft, stylish, and made with the people and planet in mind. What else could you possibly need from your underwear?

Whether you're just starting to build a sustainable wardrobe or need to freshen up your staple pieces, Tencel is the fabric 100% worth investing (especially if it's from an eco-conscious brand such as Organic Basics).

Get 10% off your order with code YOGAKALIOBC at checkout.

Click here to see all Tencel essentials from OB

Do you have any questions about the brand or its products? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

My feed

As seen on

crossmenu