How to Find the Best Lube to Suit Your Needs, According to Experts
Search the word "lube" on Amazon and you'll receive more results than one person could parse through in a lifetime. Between the countless oil-, water-, and silicone-based lubricants on the market, it can be hard to know where to begin.
"Water-based lubes aren't as 'slippery' as oil-based lubes, but they are generally compatible with condoms and toys, whereas most oil-based lubes are not," explains Karyn Eilber, MD, a Beverly Hills-based urologist and founder of lubricant company Glissant. "Water-based lubricants will also dry faster than their oil counterparts."
Then there's silicone, an ultra-slippery, synthetic alternative. "Silicone lubricant lasts longer," says Renee Horowitz, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Though silicone lubes are safe to use with condoms, they may deteriorate the surface of sex toys, and Dr. Horowitz notes that they have a tendency to become sticky: "That can be problematic, but some people really, really like them."
No matter what kind of lube you're shopping for, there are a few factors you should keep in mind. "Common chemicals used [in lube] are parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, and glycerin, and these can all potentially cause irritation and possibly infection," says Dr. Eilber. "FDA clearance is another important consideration…lubricants are considered a medical device and FDA clearance can help reassure consumers that the lubricant has gone through extensive testing."
If you plan to use an oil-based lube, Dr. Eilber says it's important to consider a product's carrier oil, or the oil used to dilute its other ingredients and keep skin safe. "Coconut, almond, and grapeseed oil are all great carrier oils because they are naturally anti-inflammatory and coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal," she says.
According to Dr. Horowitz, women of all ages could benefit from a great lubricant during intercourse. "So many women do experience dryness during sex, even young women," she explains. "And if you're on birth control pills, it may even be harder. Birth control pills can decrease lubrication."
Dr. Gutierrez echoes that sentiment and says it's "always worth mentioning that natural lubrication tends to be increased by extending foreplay."
Clearly, there's a lot to consider when trying a new lube, which is why we scoured the internet for the best options out there. Keep scrolling to learn more about our top ten picks, all of which are free from glycerin, parabens, and phthalates.
- Best Overall: Shibari Aloe-Based Lubricant
- Best Rated: LubeLife Water-Based Personal Lubricant
- Best Organic: Maude Shine Organic Lube
- Best Hypoallergenic: Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant 2-Pack
- Best Water-Based: Aloe Cadabra Natural Personal Lube
- Best Oil-Based: Astroglide O Organic Sensual Lubricant
- Best Affordable: Wet Platinum Silicone-Based Lube
- Best Splurge: Glissant CBD & CBG Oil-Based Spray Lubricant
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Isabel Fay Natural Water-Based Lubricant
- Best Silicone: Penchant Premium Luxe Silicone Personal Lubricant
Best Overall: Shibari Aloe-Based Lubricant
This FDA-cleared lubricant meets Dr. Eilber's high standards for the low price of $12. Thanks to its paraben- and glycerin-free formula, it's unlikely to cause irritation. In addition to soothing aloe, it contains a hydrating, antioxidant-packed fungus called tremella fuciformis, plus linseed oil for extra slip. The lube is safe to use with condoms and sex toys, and according to reviewers, its non-tacky texture makes it easy to clean.
Best Rated: LubeLife Water-Based Personal Lubricant
Not only is the LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant an Amazon best-seller, but it's earned more than 54,000 five-star ratings from customers who say it "beats the heck" out of other water-based products. Its no-frills formula is compatible with toys and condoms, and it's even available in safe-to-eat flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and cotton candy.
Best Organic: Maude Shine Organic Lube
This lubricant from sexual wellness brand Maude was engineered with a pH level of 4 to 5, which mimics a typical vagina's. Its organically-sourced ingredients include aloe, CBD, and propanediol, a naturally-derived alternative to propylene glycol that creates a slippery feel without stickiness. Shine's packaging is as impressive as its formula, with a bottle made from FDA-approved plastic and a locking pump dispenser to prevent spills.
Best Hypoallergenic: Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant 2-Pack
The FDA defines hypoallergenic products as those claiming to produce fewer allergic reactions than others, and this Dr. Horowitz-approved lube from Good Clean Love fits the bill. It contains no petrochemicals (aka petroleum-derived ingredients), parabens, or glycerin, opting instead for non-irritating moisturizers like aloe with a hint of natural vanilla and lemon. At $22 for a pack of two, you really can't go wrong.
Best Water-Based: Aloe Cadabra Natural Personal Lube
This vegan lube is ideal for anyone looking for a cost-effective, water-based product. It's made with food-grade aloe and enriched with vitamin E, which preserves moisture and allows the lube to last longer. What's more, it's received over 11,000 perfect ratings, and reviewers love that it doesn't damage condoms or toys.
Best Oil-Based: Astroglide O Organic Sensual Lubricant
Dr. Horowitz is a fan of Astroglide for quality over-the-counter lubes. This variety contains a blend of coconut, argan, almond, and jojoba carrier oils, which studies show have anti-inflammatory effects and protect skin's natural barrier. It goes on so smooth, shoppers say it also makes a great non-greasy massage oil. Its ingredients are even 99% USDA-certified organic.
Best Affordable: Wet Platinum Silicone-Based Lube
Three 0.33-oz. packets of this odorless lube will cost you just $3. Its silicone formula washes away with mild soap, but it won't break down in water, so it's the perfect option to use in the shower. "Married 20 years, and this is by far the silkiest, longest lasting lubricant I have ever used," one reviewer raved.
Best Splurge: Glissant CBD & CBG Oil-Based Spray Lubricant
This oil-based lube from Dr. Eilber's company may be pricey, but its one-of-a-kind formula makes it worth every penny. CBD and lesser-known cannabis compound CBG increase blood flow to intimate areas, while grapeseed, almond, and coconut oils give the lubricant an enduring glide. When you run out, simply purchase a $35 refill and place it in the original spray bottle.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Isabel Fay Natural Water-Based Lubricant
This discreet lubricant made our list of the best natural lubes for a reason. The odorless, long-lasting gel lists water as its first ingredient, followed by natural propanediol, and it's made in the United States. "I am sensitive to a lot of different water soluble lubricants because of different kinds of additives," said a reviewer. "This is the first that has delivered more than satisfactory performance while not giving any form of side effects! No itches, no burning sensations!"
Best Silicone: Penchant Premium Luxe Silicone Personal Lubricant
Penchant Premium's silicone lube is condom-safe and colorless, so it won't stain clothes or sheets. It's received over 5,000 five-star ratings, and unlike other silicone products, reviewers say it never becomes overly sticky. "This stuff is about the simplest yet most satisfying lubricant I've ever tried. It's ridiculously long-lasting with no gross feeling afterward," one wrote.