Yes, we’ll admit it, all those options can be rather scary. You just want something that makes things slippery ('cause you know that less friction feels good and makes play more safe), but does it really have to be so hard to choose a bottle of lube? Oil-based, water-based, silicone-based, vegan, glycerin-free, paraben-free…What do all those labels mean, and what do they mean for you?
Water-based and aloe-based lube is a great all-purpose lube—latex-safe, compatible with silicone toys, and if it’s glycerin-free and pH- balanced, it's usually inoffensive to the vagina’s pH.
Water- and aloe-based lube works for any kind of play, but it’s not as long-lasting as silicone or oil, so you’ll need to keep the bottle handy (or add some water to regenerate it).
Water-and aloe-based lubes come in a variety of consistencies—thick, thin, sticky, smooth—and can even be flavoured. Some “natural” or “unflavoured” lubes have a flavour you’d prefer to do without, so you might want to smell/taste a lube before you buy it. Water- and aloe-based lubes also wash off in the water, so you’ll need something else to play in the shower.
Consider choosing a thick lube for anal play (it’ll stay in place better and provide more cushion), but otherwise it’s really up to you!
Silicone-based lube is very long-lasting, latex-friendly, tasteless, and non-sticky, making it an excellent choice for play that involves barriers. And while it may be more expensive, a little goes a long way. And did we mention that it’s waterproof too? So it won’t wash off in the shower or the pool.
Because silicone doesn't affect the vagina's pH, it shouldn't upset a vagina's healthy acidic environment. However, it can take a while to flush out of the body, which might cause mild irritation.
Silicone-based lube is not compatible with many silicone toys, so if you’re play involves silicone dildos, plugs, or vibes, it's best to use another kind of lube.
You might classify silicone lube as multi-purpose with some exceptions.
Hybrid lubricants are primarily water- or aloe-based, with a small amount of silicone (Dimethicone) for added staying power.
Hybrid lubes generally have a light, creamy texture, that feels especially smooth and moisturizing.
And while pure silicone lubricants aren't the safest choice to use with silicone toys, water/silicone hybrids are usually compatible with all toy materials, including silicone. So if you're a fan of both silicone lube and silicone toys, a hybrid lubricant may be an excellent compromise.
Hybrid lubricants tend to be on the thinner side, so if you prefer a thicker consistency, then you might want to try one of the many thick water-based options.
Oil-based lube is great because it’s super long-lasting. It’s also ideal for hand-jobs and genital massage. It’s not great at all, however, if you’re using latex or polyisoprene barriers. Oil and latex/polyisoprene are NOT compatible, as oil degrades latex and polyisoprene which leads to breakage.
If you’re not using latex or polyisoprene barriers, here is some food for thought …
Oil-based lubes come in two basic categories: mineral and vegetable. Some people think that mineral oil makes an effective lube for sex, while others firmly believe it can disrupt the vaginal ecosystem, leading to infection. We don’t recommend using mineral oils, such as baby oil or vaseline, as they’re derived from petroleum (crude oil). Petroleum-based products aren't an eco-friendly option and can prevent the body’s tissues from breathing, which may create an environment ripe for imbalance.
Vegetable oils, on the other hand, are natural oils derived from plants or flowers. These include pure almond, olive, coconut, grape seed, apricot, and avocado oils. Although both mineral and vegetable oils are a common breeding ground for certain bacteria, vegetable oils are less likely to cause infection as they nourish and soothe the body. So, if you prefer oil-based lube, go veggie!
… There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
At Other Nature, we carry a wide range of natural and organic water-based lubes, as well as a few of the highest quality silicone-based and oil-based lube brands. We handpick our selection based on the body-friendliness of the ingredients. We also look for lubes made by companies we trust and like to work with. And finally, we try to stock a variety of lubes with different consistencies, textures, and flavours, because we know that people's lube needs vary.
We also love talking about lube (we could do it all day long … and sometimes do!), so don't be shy if you need some help. You'll find testers in the shop too, so take your time and try out all the different kinds!
And if you're a regular lube shopper at Other Nature, make sure to ask for a Lube Loyalty Card... buy 10 bottles and your 11th bottle is free!