Many personal lubricants on the market claim to make sex more comfortable. But are those products actually good for sex, compatible with your favorite sex toys or vagina-friendly? Maybe not. Natural lube offers a solution to all three issues, but navigating the products and ingredients list can overwhelm some people.
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Why Natural Lubricants?
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Your local pharmacy or even your favorite adult retailer sells lubricants to make sex more comfortable – and potentially more safe – but those products may not be as effective as they claim they are. If you have an allergic reaction, for example, then your lube is not your friend. Certain chemicals in store-bought personal lubricant can encourage yeast infections, and formulas that aren’t actually body-friendly may cause unseen damage.
Do you have allergic reactions during sex? The latex in your condoms may cause this reaction, not your lube. Read more about condom allergies. You may want to opt for unlubricated condoms if you’re sensitive to the lube that comes with the condoms.
Part of this is due to osmolality, a measure of particles per solution. Personal lubes all have different osmolalities, but so do all of your orifices (vagina, mouth, and anus). A lube with a higher osmolality than your body can slough off cells, leaving you more prone to infection.
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Learn more about the basics of lube in our guide to personal lube.
Natural lubricant may solve this problem; although, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Natural Versus Organic
As more people look for products containing natural ingredients, confusion has arisen about the difference between natural and organic. Natural products tend to have minimal processing, but there’s no organization regulating products that may be labeled as natural .
On the other hand, organic status must be accredited to a product by a third-party organization. The USDA is the organization that certifies food as organic, but no one organization certifies personal lubricants as organic. The Soil Association and NSF are two organizations that provide organic certification to products, so you should look for their logos if this is important to you. Some companies won’t be certified organic but will use only (or mostly) USDA-certified organic components in their sexual lubricants.
If you’re especially concerned with how eco-friendly your lube is, going natural or organic is the first step. However, natural lubricants might not be enough for a minimal carbon footprint. Look for logos from organizations such as Green America, Green Corporation or NSF, which indicates that the company follows practices set forth by those organizations to operate in an environmentally conscientious manner.
Considering Natural Lubricants? Wait!
The major drawback of natural lubricants is the price point, which tends to be higher than other lubricants. However, some people certainly find the price worth it.
Another drawback is that natural lubricants may not last as long as those that contain preservatives. If you’ve ever taken a year or more to use the same bottle of lubricant, you might be shocked to realize natural lubricants expire more quickly. Combined with the higher price, the short shelf-life might mean natural lubricants aren’t worth it if you don’t specifically have a need for them.
You should also know that natural doesn’t mean you won’t have an adverse reaction. You can react to all sorts of natural ingredients. Just look at food allergies. Peanuts are certainly natural, but can also be deadly if you have an allergy to them.
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Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll have such an extreme reaction to your lubricant, but you should be aware if your skin is sensitive.
Finally, it can be difficult to determine whether an ingredient is natural based on its name. For example, we know Vitamin E to be natural, but it looks much less natural when an ingredients list uses the chemical name tocopherol.
Ingredients in Natural Lube
Whether you’re using aloe straight from the plant or buying a personal lubricant that’s labeled as natural rather than going the do-it-yourself route, you’ll want to know what’s in your lube. Companies add the following ingredients to natural lubricants for their natural slipperiness as well as other traits.
- Water is nature’s lubrication that is compatible with all sorts of sex, toys and condoms. Although, water-based lubes may not be natural if they contain thickening ingredients or ingredients that preserve the lube.
- Spit isn’t technically an ingredient you’ll find in any bottle nor can you produce enough of it to keep on your nightstand. But it’s natural and can work as a lubricant when you have none on hand.
- Carrageenan is a product of seaweed that happens to be antimicrobial, which is fantastic news for anyone who suffers from frequent bacterial infections. Discover more about bacterial vaginosis.
- Aloe Vera is well-known as a product from the aloe plant that’s effective at soothing skin. We use it to soothe burns and rashes, among other conditions  . We get aloe vera gel from the leaves of the plant (by cutting the leaves into sections and grinding them up before treating the resulting slurry with a cellulase enzyme and filtering it). It may even inhibit transmission of HPV  You can use aloe directly from your own plant or buy a gel or lotion that contains it. However, you may want to avoid lube containing aloe if you’re trying to become pregnant because it can act as a spermicide .
- Coconut oil is solid at room temperature but melts when it comes into contact with body heat. It’s perfect for giving a massage, which is why so many massage candles are coconut oil-based (discover sensual massage techniques that will blow his mind). Some people swear by using coconut oil as a sexual lubricant, but any oil may degrade condoms, and oil-based lubricants may not be healthy for your vagina’s pH.
- Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is common in natural lubricants as well as many beauty products. Vitamin E is known for its moisturizing properties. Many people use Vitamin E or products containing it to help reduce the appearance of scars.
You’ll notice natural lubricants specifically avoid some ingredients. This includes parabens and glycerin, both of which can contribute to infections and upset the vagina’s pH balance. However, some people never have issues with those ingredients.
What About Silicone-Based Sex Lubricants?
There’s a distinct lack of silicone in the above ingredients list; however, it might be an ingredient of your favorite lube. Silicone-based lubes are useful because they’re incredibly long-lasting, and you might miss that property if you make the move to natural lubricants.
Some people describe silicone lube as being hypoallergenic, and it doesn’t contain glycerin or parabens like some water-based lubes. You may be surprised by just how short the ingredients list of a bottle of silicone lube is, however.
Another benefit of silicone-based lubricants is staying power under water. If you’re having sex or using a toy in the shower, water-based natural lubricants might wash right off.
DIY Natural Lube
As you can see from the ingredients list, you can obtain some of the ingredients to make your own natural lube quite easily. All you need is an aloe plant if you want to use aloe. Or you could purchase coconut oil if you prefer that.
If using aloe vera remove and cleanse the leaf before carefully cutting it with a sharp knife. The gel will peel away from the leaf, and you can use it as lube right away.
The major difference between making your own natural lube or buying lube is shelf-life. Any lube that is natural can go bad more quickly than purchased personal lubricant that contains stabilizing ingredients. Fresh aloe gel lasts between three days and one week before turning colors. You should keep it in your refrigerator to prevent it from going bad. You can even freeze extra aloe vera gel to thaw for later use.
Buying Natural Lubricants
There are a few personal lubricants on the market that are natural, and some are even certified organic. You’ll find some suggestions below.
- Yes Lubricants are all organic, which means the lube is natural, too. Yes makes both water-based and oil-based lubricants, including one formula for anal sex. You can also buy lube specially formulated for becoming pregnant.
- Good Clean Love is a maker of personal lubricants that contain natural ingredients such as those listed above. The company sells a variety of formulas, including two that are lightly scented (vanilla lemon and cinnamon).
- Sliquid offers both an organic line and a natural line of personal lubricants. There are plenty of formulas to choose from: anal, cream, flavored and cooling, among others.
- Pink offers a new natural formula that comes in a pump bottle.
- Blossom Organics offers organic sex lube in just two formulas: regular and warming.
- Hathor Aphrodisia focuses on natural ingredients as well as those that have aphrodisiac effects to put you in the mood.
- Intimate Earth, formerly known as Intimate Organics, sells a variety of sexual lubricants and stimulating gels.
Of course, these aren’t the only products that are natural and more companies are offering natural products every day.
For many people, using natural lube is a healthy choice that just makes sense. And many businesses that focus on body-friendly natural lubricants are also eco-friendly, too! But you’ll need to balance your need or desire to go natural with the price to find the right lubricant for you.
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