So you’ve decided to switch to natural beauty products, but have you looked beyond your bathroom cupboard to your bedside table?
Personal lubricant (aka “lube”) is one commonly overlooked personal product that you might want to consider going natural for. After all, it is going on (and in) your body.
We’ve broken down the different types of lube and their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Always read the label and check out the ingredients. The Skin Deep resource on the Environmental Working Group website is a good place to check out the ingredients in any product you’re considering.
Lube is for Everybody
If you’re thinking that lube is only for vaginal dryness, it’s time to upgrade your thinking. Lube helps surfaces stay slippery during all types of sexual activity, reducing friction and making for better sex – regardless of your gender, age, or stage in life.
It’s also not just for vaginal sex – though it can make this type of sex much more pleasureable for both partners. Use lubrication directly on your hands, genitals or your sex toys to increase pleasure.
What type should you buy?
There are different types of lube on the market, which can make it confusing to choose the right one for you. Pay attention to the base, there are different types including:
- hybrid, combining a few of the above
The most “versatile” lube because it can be used for practically any activity.
- Can be used with silicone-based toys without causing them damage
- Safe for use with condoms (latex or not)
- Won’t stain your sheets
- Easy on skin
- Washes off easily with water
- Can still cause irritation for people with very sensitive skin
- A great choice for those with sensitive skin because it’s smooth and silky to the touch.
- Lasts longer during play (less need to reapply)
- Easy on sensitive skin
- Won’t stain your sheets
- Safe to use with condoms
- Easy to clean up
- Silicone can deteriorate the surface of silicone toys, causing tiny abrasions where bacteria can grow
Known for multipurpose use, oil-based lube can double as a massage oil and it’s safe on the lady bits.
- Long-lasting with no need to reapply
- Multipurpose as a massage oil and personal lubricant
- Increases the chances of a ripped or torn condom
- Associated with higher rates of infections in women (such as bacterial vaginosis)
- Stains sheets and clothing
- Difficult to clean up
A Note on Natural Lubricants
No matter what base you choose, it’s a good idea to read the ingredients to see what else is in the bottle. Like with any cosmetic product, look for products that have both natural and a small number of ingredients on their list.
There are plenty of natural personal lubricants available. Check your health food store or the natural selection at your local grocery store.
Coconut oil is a popular choice for natural lube and chances are you’ve already got some in your kitchen. The pros: it’s oil-based so it lasts long, and has only one ingredient. The downside is that it can stain your sheets or clothes and it increases the likelihood of condom damage because oil breaks down latex.
If you choose to go the coconut oil route, avoid using the same container that you’ll dip into when cooking. Keep a small amount of coconut oil in a separate container to keep bacteria from spreading.
What to Avoid
In the drugstore you’ll find all kinds of fancy flavoured, warming or tingling products. While that sounds fun, the chemicals used to produce these sensations aren’t pH regulated. This is particularly a concern for women as the vagina needs to maintain a pH level of 3.5 to 4.5 for optimal health. Ideally the lube you use should have the same pH level.
When checking the ingredients on the bottle, here are a few you may want to avoid because they may cause irritation or inflammation:
- propylene glycol
- chlorhexidine gluconate
It’s also recommended to find a product that’s paraben-, glycerin- and petroleum-free to minimize risk of infections. Remember, if you’re using condoms and toys, find a lube that is latex, rubber, and plastic-friendly.
Now you’ve got everything you need to know to choose the product that’s right for you. Lube up and enjoy!