Ultimate Guide to Personal Lubricants – Reviews, Ingredients, and Facts You Must Know

Although purchasing a new lubricant isn’t as thrilling or as exciting as buying a new sex toy, they can improve your bedroom endeavours in such a positive way; you’ll be wondering why it took you so long to start using them.

What Is Lube, And Why Should You Use It?

Whenever people ask us if they should start using lube, we always answer with a big resounding yes! You see, lube makes everything more pleasurable, but a lot of people unfortunately just think that it should only be used if you’re struggling to get turned on. Some women may find that they’re never sufficiently lubricated, even when they are incredibly aroused.

Vaginal dryness can be caused by many different things and is not specific to an individual issue. Some of the more common causes are certain medical conditions, medication, pregnancy, menopause, and breastfeeding. Personal lubricant is a great way to alleviate any uncomfortable feelings associated with vaginal dryness, whether for intercourse, or just daily comfort.

For those who delve into anal play, it’s important to remember that the anus does not self-lubricate, which means using lube is a must!

Even if you are someone who feels that you don’t need to use lube, using it will allow you to stay comfortable during your more extended intercourse sessions. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not “abnormal”, “weird”, or “old”, if you need to use lube – a lot of couples use it just because it feels good!

Spice Up Your Sex Life With Lubricants

Apart from regular intercourse, personal lubricant is also commonly used to increase sexual excitement, decrease pain during anal sex, and to help aid in the use of sex toys.

Applying lube to your partner can even become a part of your foreplay routine, especially with products that have certain qualities that aid in arousal. Lubricants can make everything feel hotter, colder, and even reduce the risk of vaginal infections.

There are so many great reasons to start using personal lubricants, so if you’re already not sold on the idea, you will be by the time you get to the bottom of this page!

Things To Consider When Purchasing Lubricant

Generic lube is able to be bought in most shops, including service stations, but by doing so without due diligence runs the risk of buying a lube that could react with your body, or feels sticky, or just doesn’t make you feel good. Here are a few points to consider when buying a lube, to ensure you’re picking the right one for your needs.

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Like all products, lube will have an ingredient list. The first thing you should look for is whether it’s silicone, oil, or water-based, as this will affect its consistency and ease of use for your specific activity.

For the other ingredients that are listed, it’s likely that you won’t have any issues. However, some people may react to these ingredients, or find they don’t have the desired effect. Some of these include:

Glycerin – If you’re prone to yeast infections or UTIs, it’s a good idea to stay away from glycerin products.
L-arginine – This is commonly found in some arousal lubes, but can encourage a herpes outbreak. If you suffer from herpes, or any infection that is similar, it’s a good idea to stay away from these products.
Parabens – These are a group of preservatives, which include propylparaben and methylparaben. They are common in a lot of cosmetic products, but some research has shown that parabens can get absorbed into the skin
Menthol – Often used for its tingling and cooling properties, some users may find that it can sometimes dry out the “softer” tissue around the genitals.
Polyquaternium-15 – Mainly used in cosmetic products, it has been shown to damage the cells in the rectal lining, and can also increase your chances of contracting HIV, if you sexual partner is a carrier.
Nonoxynol-9 – Found in some spermicidal lubricants and can break down the rectal lining as well as damage the vaginal wall.
Petroleum oils – These type of oils are relatively strong, which means they can block skin pores very easily if not washed out thoroughly.

Lubricant Osmolality

Unless you’re very into your sciences, it’s likely you won’t be very familiar with the idea of osmolality, but it can make the difference between a good lube and a harmful one.

Essentially, osmolality is how much a solid can be absorbed into a liquid. Every lubricant has its own osmolality, as well as the mouth, semen, anus, and vagina.

Vaginal Mucus ~260-290 mOsm/kg
Colon Lining ~920 mOsm/kg
Human Semen ~260-380 mOsm/kg
Tap water ~3 mOsm/kg

Therefore it’s crucial that you choose a lubricant that compliments the activity of what you are doing, reducing any cell damage that may occur. Also, if you’re trying to conceive, picking a lube that has an osmolality similar to semen will up your chances.

Lubricant pH levels

If you remember back to your school days, it’s likely that you would have heard the term ‘pH balance’ before. pH, aka potential of hydrogen, is an acidity scale of 0-14, where 7 is neutral.

A pH level under 7 means that it is acidic. The vaginas normal acidity is roughly between 3.8-4.5, although this can fluctuant depending on several factors like pregnancy, etc.

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If any external influences, like lubricant, upset the pH balance in the vagina, it can lead to yeast or bacterial infections. You should always choose a lube that has a similar pH to your own vagina’s pH levels; all lubricants should state its pH level.

Types Of Personal Lubricants

Now that you’re aware of the lube ingredients and how it can affect you, it’s now time to look into the different types of lube that are available, as well as their pros and cons.

Water Based Lubricants

A lot of people would consider this the staple of the lube world. These are generally the easiest to get hold of and are readily affordable.

Water-based lubes can be used with lots of different sex toys and condoms, and are easily washed off. However, because of this, they are a poor choice for shower sex.

They will dry a lot quicker than other lubes, but that can easily be remedied by applying more.

Silicone Based Lubricants

Silicone-based lubes are for those who want something that will last a long time without needing to be reapplied; it’s also used for those who want shower sex.

Although this type of lube can be used with condoms, it should be avoided in conjunction with silicone-based sex toys, as they can react with each other. Silicone-based lube is usually a lot thinner and “messier” than the water-based variety.

Silicone lube doesn’t contain many ingredients, is safe, and doesn’t get absorbed through your skin. It’s usually a little bit more expensive than water-based lube, but as we explained previously, it does last longer.

Some users have mentioned that the lube makes everything feel less natural, as well as it being difficult to wash off, so bear that in mind if you’re thinking of using it.

Oil Based Lubricants

These types of lubricant are typical of the petroleum verity, like Vaseline, and are mainly used by males for masturbation. This is because it won’t be inside the body and condoms won’t be involved, as oil can break down the integrity of condoms.

However, some people do enjoy their use for anal sex. Oil lubricants can be somewhat tricky to wash off and can sometimes make your skin feel like it needs to breathe.

However, there is one¬†product that is the exception to this rule, and that’s coconut oil, which many women use for vaginal lube.

Lubricants With Sex Toys

It’s no secret that using lube with your sex toys will make them more user-friendly, so it’s crucial to know which lubes to use with which sex toy material.

Water-based lubes can, as far as I’m aware, work with any toy. On the flip side, silicone toys should never be used with silicone-based lube, as they can sometimes react. This isn’t always the case though, as if your toy and lube are both high-quality, it’s likely to be fine. However, why take the risk?

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best personal lubricants

Lubricant FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions asked, in regards to lube. Read on, as if you still have questions of your own, we may have the answer below.

How Much Lube Should I Use?

A simple question to most, but if the use of lube is a new addition to the bedroom, it may be difficult to gauge how much is typically needed. The short answer is that its personal preference! Squeeze some into your hand, and apply to your prefered location, whether that be a sex toy or an internal area. Ideally, you’ll end up using a fair amount of lube, start with small amounts initially, to limit the amount of waste.

How Do I Get Rid Of Lube Stains?

It can happen to the best of us, especially in the heat of the moment, but the most important thing is not to panic! Water-based lube and most silicone-based lube will likely wash out quickly the next time you put the item in the laundry; just make sure not to allow the clothing or sheets to dry out until the stains have been eliminated.

For more stubborn stains that have dried out, there are a few techniques that you can try. Before you attempt any of these techniques, you should re-wet (reapply) the same lube onto the stain.

Rock salt and vinegar: Apply vinegar liberally, and rub in the rock salt
Hydrogen peroxide: Keep applying until no more bubbles are being created
Ammonia: Perfect for water-based lube stains, just saturate with ammonia
Soap: Better for oil-based stains as soap helps to displace the oil, however, feel free to try on any stubborn stain
Commercial toy cleaners: Many sex toy cleaning products can be used to remove stains, as their whole purpose is to displace lubricants

How Long Do Lubricants Last?

Most people don’t give a second thought to lube shelf life, as the bottles are generally intended to last several years. However, if your lubricant bottle does have an expiration date, it’s vital that you take note of it. A rule of thumb is to try and use a bottle within a year of opening it, and if the colour changes, or it smells different, throw it away.

If you don’t discard of your bottle within that time frame, the lube may become thicker and not as malleable.

Is Soap Safe To Use As Lube?

The short answer, is no. Soap is not designed to be used on our delicate areas. It will dry the skin if not washed off thoroughly, and you may even feel a burning sensation.

Can You Use Shampoo As Lube?

Shampoo is similar to soap, in that it is not designed to be left on your skin, and will dry out your sensitive areas. It’s likely also to give a burning sensation after a few minutes too.