Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RearZ Flair Prefold & Couture Cover Review + $20 Giveaway {Fluffy February} (Closed)


My next Fluffy February sponsor is RearZ, a cloth diapering company based in my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario. The president, Laurie Diwakar, is passionate about spreading the word on cloth diapering benefits and has written published articles on the topic, including a recent submission entitled "The Serious Dangers of Disposable Diapers" appearing in the Dec / Jan 2012 issue of Healthy Directions Magazine. (Read it here!)

Laurie recognizes it isn't just babies and toddlers who have the need for diapers. Older children and many adults will wear them at some point as well, for various reasons including loss of bladder control, illness and even occupational demands. As such, her company offers "Gear for Rears" of all ages - baby, youth and adult alike!

RearZ was founded in 2006 under the name EcoBumz, and its name was changed to RearZ in 2009. The company is "Green America Approved" and enforces extremely high standards for its diapers and accessories. All manufacturers are required to offer oeko-tek, organic certified or independently lab tested materials in their construction, and fabric producers overseas are dealt with directly to ensure fair wage, fair trade and anti-child labour practices are in effect. Read more about the company's values and practices on their About page.

Within their Baby Diapering line specifically, RearZ offers the following products:
As a prefold 'n' cover kinda gal at heart, I was particularly intrigued by the concept of the Flair. Why? Well, its patent-pending design combines the simplicity, versatility and affordability of a "standard" prefold with the convenience of a snap-closure fitted. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's a bit more info on the Flair:
  • Made from high end, 100% unlbeached cotton that is independently lab tested for purity and safety.
  • Exceeds organic standards and meets stringent European Oeko-tex standards.
  • Elastic free.
  • Available in the following sizes:
    • Small: 6-13 lbs, measures 11x14" and contains 4-6-4 layers
    • Medium: 14-26 lbs, measures 14x18" and contains 4-8-4 layers
    • Large: 27+ lbs, measures 17x22" and contains 4-8-4 layers
I'm sure it goes without saying that I'm always happy to try out a new cover as well! RearZ PUL Couture Covers come in a variety of attractive patterns such as the appropriately-named "Planet Pleasure". 

One interesting thing about these covers is that in-house designers ensure no more than 50 of a particular design are distributed, and styles are constantly changing. This could be considered both pretty cool in that each cover made is quite unique and also a bit disappointing that only a few are available at one time.

Here are some more Couture Cover specs:
  • Key design features include leg gussets, high-quality wipe clean PUL,  double cross over velcro tabs and fold back laundry tabs to prevent diaper chains.
  • Can be machine washed and dried at any temperature
  • Made in Canada (with PUL sourced in the US).
  • Available in the following sizes:
    • Newborn: 4-10 lbs
    • Small: 8-16 lbs
    • Medium: 15-27 lbs
    • Large: 28-40 lbs
For review purposes, Laurie sent me a medium Flair prefold and a medium Couture Cover.

Well, more accurately, she provided me with two covers. Why? Well, for a couple reasons. First of all, the initial cover revealed itself to have some imperfections after a few uses / laundry cycles; the laundry tab was becoming detached and some loose stitching was evident elsewhere. Turns out that this cover was likely from a rare bad batch. (These things happen, right?) Second, RearZ has very recently made some enhancements to the Couture Cover design, and Laurie wanted me to have the option to review the latest & greatest. I'm super happy that I got this opportunity as, well frankly, my review of the original wouldn't have been as flattering as the overall product deserves...but not so with the new cover!

Here is a close-up of my new floral print Couture Cover; who {hearts} this style as much as I do???

As advertised, the cover has a wipeable inner. It also has front and back pockets under which a prefold or insert can be tucked, however I prefer to rest the diaper / absorbent part on top.

The cover includes generous leg gussets with nice, stretchy elastic. The trim material is also very soft.

The aplix on these covers is extremely strong - definitely the grippiest of any diaper or cover in my stash. Laurie told me that this was a purposeful design choice with the intention of preventing mischievious toddlers from breaking free out of their fluffy "shackles". As adventurous as our little S can be, she strangely enough hasn't taken to this hobby herself (yet....knock on wood), however I can certainly see this being helpful for mamas & papas who are in this boat with their little ones!

The downside of super-strong aplix is that it can make changes a little more challenging, and it can also exacerbate wear & tear on the cover. This possibly contributed to the laundry tab becoming detached on my first cover, however everything appears to be sewn in nice & strong on the new one!

Here you can see the main differences between the old and new design. The aplix tab of the new design is thicker and extends all the way across the front of the diaper, allowing the cover to fit longer and making it easier to secure things in place on a squirmy baby!

Oh, one more thing about the Couture Cover - it's nice & light weight (but still strong!) 

Here is the Flair prefold before and after prepping. (I washed it 3x with my regular CD laundry to prep.) Notice how it's much fluffier in the after pic.You can see the unique snap closures on the right side. Measurement-wise, the Flair started at about 14x18" and ended at 12.5x15.5" after prepping.

The two folds I use for my prefolds are the trifold (this has worked pretty well since our DD started solids) and the angel wing. Obviously the trifold wouldn't allow us to test the "Flairness" of this diaper so I angel wing'd our DD up, and things snapped into place nicely!

The Flair's snaps certainly step up the "ease of use" factor vs. using a Snappi. While we don't always see eye to eye on my review items, my husband definitely agrees with me on this one! Once a single snap is in place, there's no worry it'll become unsecured as you work on the other one.

The medium Couture Cover fits nicely over the Flair, using both the angel wing and the trifold method. Using the angel wing, you just need to ensure any excess material is tucked back in under the leg gusset.

Here we go - much better!

Speaking of the gusset, it does fit a bit loosely, which you may notice in the pic above. Our daughter has skinny thighs so this could be a contributing factor, however I've noticed that gussets from other covers / diapers in a similar size range (or OS) do fit pretty snug on her. So I think these gussets just might not be quite as stretchy as others I've tried. I'd be more concerned about this with an EBF baby, but our daughter's poops are quite solid so messes tend to stay in one place.

Have I mentioned that I love this print???

S seems to {heart} it as well! It's not too often these days that she's grinning away during a bum change!

One more pic of the cover from the back. Notice that elastic does fit nice & snug (but not too tight) around the waist.

S has worn her Flair & Couture Cover several times now. The majority of testing has been done during the day, and I've found the combination to perform very well for "standard" usage. When we tried the combo overnight, there was a small leak so I concluded that more absorbency is needed when used in this capacity. Laurie confirmed that she uses a small prefold or insert inside the Flair which works on her end for night diapering. This is something I still need to try out. I'll report back!

Finally, I like giving S bare bum time periodically, especially when she's a li'l tender down there. However, it's never all that pleasant (nor relaxing) to run around after her brandishing a Norwex cloth. :) As such, I've taken to putting her in prefolds without covers as a "middle of the road" air time solution. This works decently with a Snappi, but then the diaper is somewhat prone to coming apart and I'm not a big fan of the Snappi's prickly "claws" being right out in the open like that. The Flair prefold is a much better option! Although the wings do tend to droop down following a lot of movement (presumably due to only a single snap on each side), things definitely stay in place better and there's nothing sharp for our daughter to grab.

As for care & maintenance, nothing is simpler to care for than a prefold, and the Flair is no exception. Couture Covers are also easy to launder, however although the specs claim you can machine wash and dry them at any temperature, I prefer to hang them to dry. Our newer Couture Cover has been laundered 3 or 4 times now and there is no sign so far of the aplix (or anything else) degrading, and the trim appears to be much more resistant to pilling than the first cover I received.

Alright, let's get to the official eval of the Flair prefold and Couture Cover, used together as a 2-part diapering system!

+ Cute & unique pattern options available for the Couture Covers; I looooove the floral print I reviewed in particular!
+ Cover has an attractive construction
+/- Complete diaper (prefold + cover) is middle-of-the-road trim - not super-bulky but not among the trimmer diapers in our stash either. The low weight of the Couture Cover helps cut down on bulk.
- Only a few styles are available at a time, and pictures are unavailable on the retail site.
Score: 3.5/5

+ Combination works very well for day diapering; no leaks experienced so far.
+ Cover achieves a snug (but not pinching) tummy fit. 
+ Aplix on the cover is extremely strong, making it difficult for mischievous little hands to rip it loose!
+/- No problems for us containing solid messes, however the looseness of the leg gussets could potentially be an issue for EBF babies (especially those with skinny thighs like our daughter).
- System appears to need an absorbency boost (e.g. another small prefold or insert) for effective night diapering.
Score: 3.5/5

Comfort & Health:
+ Cover trim is soft & stretchy; no marks left behind when diaper comes off.
+ Prefold is made of 100% cotton so it is breathable. We like using it alone, snapped in place with an angel wing fold, to help our daughter get some air circulation, especially when she's a bit rashy.
+ Combination does not appear to cause/exacerbate diaper rash.
- The prefold does not (on its own) wick away moisture from baby's skin, so you might want to use microfleece liners to help with this (and/or be sure to do very frequent changes).
- Cover is made from PUL which is synthetic, so this may not be ideal for babies with very sensitive skin.
Score: 4/5

Ease of Use:
+ Waist snaps on the Flair are definitely easier to use than a Snappi; the snaps themselves are solid but not too tight. 
+ Both prefold and cover are very easy to care for - easy spray-down, machine wash, machine dry or hang.
+/- It takes some time to learn the angel wing and other folds in the first place, but once you've got the hang of things it's pretty simple. Also, prefolds allow you some flexibility to use folds that work best for you and your little one(s).
- The strong aplix, while helpful in keeping the diaper on, can be a bit tough to pull free from the laundry tabs or readjust as necessary.
Score: 4/5

Quality & Durability:
(Note: I am reviewing the newer cover here exclusively, under the assumption that the original, which had significant issues in this category, was a rare exception and that RearZ would replace products with such issues.) 
+ Construction of cover looks and feels very high quality. (No loose seams, improper stitching, etc. are evident.)
+ Both front and laundry tabs are holding strong over multiple uses / washes (especially important for these to be sewn properly considering the strong aplix).
+ Elastics are tight & solid
+ Despite the softness of the trim, it is remaining completely pill-free following several washes! Not sure how RearZ has managed this, but kudos to them!
+ Prefolds in general are known for their incredible durability and the Flair appears to be no exception here.
+ The snaps on the Flair are sewn in nice & tight.
Score: 5/5 
(Note - given I have only been using this combo for a few weeks, I plan to update this section a few months down the road to get a true durability picture!)


Total "Diaper Awesomeness" Score: 20 / 25 (Great diaper. Highly recommended.)
Overall Comments: The RearZ flair + Couture Cover combination is definitely an effective 2-piece diapering system! In addition to all the standard benefits of prefolds, the patent-pending Flair contains snaps to make it easier (and safer) to keep the diaper secured in place. The Couture Cover is a nice PUL cover, with soft yet durable trim, leg gussets and super-strong aplix to keep mischievous hands from pulling it off. It comes in some funky, unique patterns as well, though only a few are available at a time. Note that using this system, you might need to add inserts (to bump up absorbency for night diapering), and/or liners (to help wick away moisture).

Approximate Stash Cost: $520 to $730
Calculation details: Most people could probably get away with using 3 of the 4 sizes of Couture Cover from birth to potty training. Covers cost $14.99 each ($12.99 for the newborn size), so assuming six are required at any point, the overall cost for covers is between $257.82 and $269.82. Flair prefolds are sold in 6-packs for $29.99 (small), $34.99 (medium) and $39.99 (large), so to have 24 of each size you are looking at $419.88. My personal opinion from using the medium, though, is that it should be big enough to serve our daughter until potty training, as she is small and thin. In this case, a lifetime Flair stash would be just $259.92. Assuming you opt for some inserts and reusable liners, you're looking at another $40 or so.


Buy It:

RearZ products can be purchased directly at nhdcanada.com or from select 3rd party retailers. (Note - click the Retailers option on the top menu to view a list. The Rearz website is build in Flash so URLs to specific sections are not available.)

Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win a $20 credit to nhdcanada.com to spend on any Rearz product(s) of their choice!

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The prize is being provided to the winner by RearZ.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.


  1. I would get a contour cover and a couple flairs!

  2. I have the space cover and i love it!

  3. I would love to get the smitten fitteds or velour fitteds. Rearz sells such great products. Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Sherry Wakelin

  4. I'd choose a large fitted diaper-preferably in red or yellow.