One topic that I don’t think gets enough attention? The benefit of using natural lubricants. Whether you’re enjoying some self-love, “chilling” with a partner, or using it for your pelvic floor therapy, lubricants can be a game-changer in your overall sexual health!
If you’ve ever shied away from discussing the topic of lubricants, questioned which ingredients to avoid, or simply wondered if coconut oil can do the trick, you’re in the right place — keep reading! Plus, I’ve also included a list of 10 different natural lubricant brands, all free from potentially harmful chemicals, to ensure your intimate experiences are not only pleasurable but also free from irritation. My ultimate goal? To empower you with a bit of knowledge so that you can confidently make choices that align with your personal needs.
So, with all that said, let’s dive in!
Pssst… Don’t forget to check out episode 62, “Why Your Sex Life May Benefit From Natural Lubricant,” to learn more about the role of lubricants in women’s health.
What to Consider when Choosing Lube
When selecting a lubricant, there are a few things you might want to consider before purchasing. These include the pH balance of the lubricant, understanding the differences between lube types, i.e., water-based vs. oil-based, and what ingredients you may wish to avoid.
1) pH Balance
Maintaining a balanced vaginal pH is crucial for vaginal health. The optimal vaginal pH level for good health is moderately acidic, ranging from 3.8 to 4.5 on the pH scale, which ranges from 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a lubricant with a pH of 4.5, as lubricants exceeding a pH of 7 are not recommended! So, when purchasing lube, you want to choose a product that won’t alter your pH balance too much.
2) Different Lube Types
There are various types of lube — most commonly, you’ll come across water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based lubricants. Each, of course, has its own set of pros and cons.
Water-Based Lubricants: These are known for their easy cleanup, non-staining properties (won’t leave marks on sheets or clothing), and compatibility with latex condoms, making them ideal for various situations. The downside? You may need to reapply more frequently as it tends to dry out more quickly than silicone and/or oil-based lubricants.
Silicone-Based Lubricants: Silicone-based lubes offer prolonged lubrication, making them ideal for extended encounters. However, they are less forgiving when it comes to cleanup and may stain fabrics. Some individuals have reported irritation if the lubricant is not washed off promptly after use.
Oil-Based Lubricants: Oil-based lubricants provide exceptional moisture and typically require less reapplication than their water or silicone-based counterparts. If you’re someone who likes to get frisky in the shower, then oil-based lube may be better suited for you. However, similar to silicone-based options, they may stain fabrics. A word of caution: avoid using oil-based lubes with latex condoms, as they can weaken the latex, making the condom more likely to leak or break. In turn, reports the International Society for Sexual Medicine, this increases the risk of unplanned pregnancy or transmission of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
3) Ingredients to Avoid
When selecting a natural lubricant, it’s good practice to carefully read the label on the back and review all the ingredients. This helps ensure that your intimate experience stays clear of any unwanted ingredients and lowers the chances of potential irritations.
A few ingredients you might consider avoiding:
Glycerine is a common ingredient in many lubricants, but it may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you’re prone to yeast infections. When considering a lubricant that contains glycerine, exercise caution, especially if you’re unsure about the quality of the ingredients. It’s worth noting that the issue with glycerine may not lie solely in the ingredient itself, but rather in how manufacturers incorporate it into their products. In fact, some research I’ve come across suggests that high-quality glycerine might contain antibacterial components that could potentially inhibit bacterial growth, which could be beneficial. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of glycerine in lubricants on vaginal health.
Furthermore, studies indicate that the insertion of petroleum-based ingredients and baby oil into the vaginal area can heighten the risk of infections.
Even Vaseline chimed in on this, telling Reuters Health via email: “Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is for external use only, and we state this on our packaging for consumers. We do not recommend Vaseline Petroleum Jelly be used as a vaginal lubricant and have not performed any testing to support this use.” These petroleum-based products may interfere with the natural balance of the vaginal microbiome, potentially leading to discomfort and infections.
Fragrances are a common component of many personal care products, including lubricants. However, it’s advisable to steer clear of lubricants containing fragrances, as well as flavored or warming/tingling lubricants. Usually, these products tend to be packed with synthetic ingredients you don’t want to be applying in or around those sensitive areas. Instead, opt for unscented or fragrance-free lubricants to minimize the risk of irritation or adverse reactions.
Trying to conceive?
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to note that not all lubricants support fertility. One clinical study I came across reported that “over-the-counter lubricants including Astroglide, KY Jelly, and Replens have been shown in multiple studies to adversely affect sperm motility at a variety of concentrations.” You can read more about the research here: Effect of Vaginal Lubricants on Natural Fertility.
As always, please consult with your healthcare provider to explore fertility-friendly lubricant options that align with your family planning goals.
Can coconut oil be used as lube?
Ah, the coconut oil debate. This is a heavily debated topic, and the research I’ve come across is mixed.
For instance, Dr. Jolene Brighten, ND, a naturopathic physician specializing in women’s health, explains that the caution surrounding coconut oil as a lubricant arises from its antimicrobial properties, which raise concerns about potential disruptions to the healthy vaginal flora. “However,” she shares, “it’s important to note that we don’t have studies showing this is definitively true, and some women report that they have experienced less yeast infections since using [coconut oil as lube]. Of course, this may be because of the type of lube they were using previously or other factors.”
On the flip side, Dr. Kathleen Green, an OBGYN specializing in sexual wellness at the University of Florida’s Health Women’s Center, offers a different perspective. According to her, none of her patients have ever reported getting a vaginal infection from using coconut oil as a lubricant. In fact, she suggests that coconut oil might be a more natural alternative for individuals sensitive to certain ingredients commonly found in commercial lubricants. However, she advises starting with a small amount to gauge how your body responds and emphasizes a more cautious approach.
It’s worth noting that there hasn’t been extensive scientific research on the potential benefits and drawbacks of using coconut oil as a personal lubricant. As a results, it’s best to proceed with care if you decide to go down that route.
Tips for Using Coconut Oil as Lube
For those who choose to use coconut oil as a lubricant, it’s a good idea to proceed with care. Start with a small amount to see how your body reacts. Also, steer clear of using coconut oil with latex condoms since it can weaken them. Don’t forget that coconut oil can be a bit messy, so have a towel or tissues nearby for cleanup. And, if you’re going to use coconut oil, it is best to opt for virgin, unrefined, food-grade coconut oil that is free from preservatives or additives to ensure the highest level of safety and purity.
With all that in mind, here are ten eco-friendly and natural lubricant brands that you might consider testing for yourself.
10 Natural Lubricants for Intimate Wellness
Ethically and sustainably manufactured using only plant-based, organic, and safe ingredients, Coconu provides three different natural lubricant options: water-based, oil-based, and hemp-based lubricants. In addition, Coconu was one of the first personal lubricants to be certified USDA organic! Ingredients include organic coconut oil, organic coconut water, and organic cocoa butter, to name a few. Coconu also donates a portion of their proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Use coupon code: THEWISECONSUMER
Products: Oil-based lube, water-based lube, hemp body oil, single and combo sets
Price Range: $24.99 – $84.99 (for the intimacy gift set)
Lola’s lubricant is water-based, made with 100% organic aloe leaf juice, gynecologist-approved, and formulated to support your vagina’s ph balance. As a bonus, it comes with a mess-free, one-click pump system, which makes it easy to apply. Also, this is one of the only brands on this list cleared by FDA 510(k). This doesn’t mean that it’s FDA-approved — it just means that it’s been cleared by the FDA, as the name implies. (I explore this in more detail in the episode!)
Products: Water-based personal lubricant, pleasure gels, vibrators, condoms.
Price Range: $14.00 (lubricant), $22 (pleasure gel)
Good Clean Love was the first personal lubrication brand to become carbon neutral! For every bottle purchased, they donate to a project that reduces greenhouse gasses equivalent to that bottle’s carbon footprint. In addition, they’re Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, one of the most highly regarded organic certifications. They offer a few different types of water-based natural lubricant options, including the almost naked personal lubricant, the bio nude, which is great if you have sensitive skin, and the BioGenesis™ Fertility Lubricant.
Products: Personal care lubricants, washes and wipes, vaginal care, candles and oils,
Price Range: $6.99 (Almost Naked water-based lube) – $19.99 (BioGenesis™ Fertility Lubricant)
This US-made, water-based natural lubricant is infused with Carrageenan, Nori, and Wakami seaweed extracts. It’s free of DEA, glycerin, glycol, parabens, PEG, propylene glycol, sorbitol, and sulfates. Sliquid offers a variety of various lubricants ranging from lube cubes to silicone-based lube. Not to mention, their Sliquid Organics collection is made using aloe vera!
Products: Sliquid Naturals, Sliquid Organics, stimulating gels, oils, and more!
Price Range: $10 (2 oz bottle) – $99.00 (most extensive gift package)
Made using USDA-certified organic hemp (grown regeneratively on a family farm), Foria is sustainably sourced and packaged. Free of synthetics, all products are formulated using only plant-based and organic ingredients! From intimacy suppositories to natural CBD organic coconut lube to CDB wellness bath salts, you’re sure to find something to meet your needs.
Products: CBD lube, Hemp, Intimacy Breast Oil, CBD suppositories, Bath Salts with CBD and lavender, Cramps be Gone bundle, and more!
Price Range: $20 (Intimacy CBD melts) – $175 (the honeymoon set)
6. Sutil Lube
SUTIL is a luxury line of water-based personal lubricants and body glides made with natural and organic plant-sourced and eco-certified ingredients. Their Cosmos Natural certification ensures eco-friendly production without synthetic dyes or harmful chemicals.
Products: Luxe and Rich lube, lubricant pure, Flavored Lubricants, Love Potion Massage Oils
Price Range: $16 (Lubricant Pure) – $33 (massage oils)
Made in the US, Maude provides an aloe-based (water-based) and silicone-based natural lubricant. According to their website, both lubricants are gluten-free, sugar-free, hormone-free, glycerin-free, paraben-free, and contain non-GMO and vegan-friendly ingredients. They also have vibrators, condoms, and a warming personal lubricant. I also love that Maude supports sexual education organizations like Peer Health Exchange, Advocates for Youth, and Sex Ed for Social Change.
Products: warming water-based personal lubricant, silicone-based personal lubricant, aloe- and water-based personal lubricant, vibrators, condoms, mineral bath salts, and more.
Price Range: $20 (warming water-based personal lubricant) – $25 (silicone-based personal lubricant) (does not include vibrators price range)
This personal skincare care brand crafts its products using clean, effective, and non-toxic ingredients. Products range from deodorant to body wash to lube. Their FDA-cleared water-based lube is crafted from distilled deionized water and organic aloe vera. Free of synthetic ingredients, fragrances, and dyes and 100% recyclable packaging. Necessaire is certified B-Corp, 1% for the planet, and partnered with How2Recycle to ensure transparent packaging information to consumers.
Products: Sex Gel
Price Range: $25
Yes! formulates lubricants with natural, pure, certified organic ingredients and excludes hormones, parabens, glycerine, perfumes, or petrochemicals. Products range from water-based lubricants to water-based vaginal moisturizer, which helps to rehydrate and lubricate the vaginal vault and restore the naturally acidic pH balance of the vagina.
Products: Clitoral Stimulant, Oil-Based Lubricant, Water-Based Lubricant, Intimate Wash
Price Range: £7,99 /$10.00 (50 ml water-based lubricant) – £ 42, 99 / $54 (30 applicators + lubricant)
10. Intimate Rose
I love everything about Intimate Rose! Not only do they provide a wide variety of women’s health products, but Intimate Rose is on a mission to support and empower women and men with pelvic health issues. You can learn more about the importance of pelvic floor therapy in podcast episode 88, “4 Ways You Can Benefit From Pelvic Floor Therapy,” with Dr. Amanda, a pelvic floor specialist and president and chief clinical officer of Intimate Rose. Intimate Rose’s lube, Velvet Rose Lube, is a water-based lubricant that is fragrance-free, non-sticky, and FDA-cleared. It’s also perfect to use with any pelvic health tools, such as vaginal dilators, Kegel exercise weights, and pelvic wands. If you’re sensitive to glycerine, skip this one. I included it because I greatly admire Dr. Amanda’s work supporting women in their pelvic health healing journeys.
Products: Velvet Rose Lubricant, dilators, pelvic wand, kegel weights, vaginal balm and more!
Price Range: $13.99 for lube