Some pieces of sex advice are so important as to be practically universal — e.g., “communicate more,” “shower regularly” and “don’t forget about the clit.” Another pearl of wisdom that can improve just about anyone’s sex life: Use lube.
Lube is sometimes stigmatized as something you should only use if you “need” it, but that’s sort of like saying you should switch to an all-Soylent diet because real food is “unnecessary” to get the nutrition your body needs. Like, yeah, that might very well be true, but where’s the fun in that?
It’s also worth noting that not everyone naturally gets wet, even when they’re super turned on — natural lubrication depends on diet, stress, medical factors and more. And even if you do get wet easily, more lubrication just makes things feel better — what’s the harm in that? Not to mention, the butt doesn’t self-lubricate at all, so anal penetration of any kind requires lube to be safe and comfy.
That said, there are a lot of lubes out there that create just as many problems as they solve, mostly by introducing irritants into your most intimate zones. The best lubes — especially for people with sensitive skin or genital health issues — are those that not only lube you up for sex but also leave your skin feeling soothed and moisturized.
How to Shop for a Skin-Soothing Lube
1) Avoid Irritating Ingredients. Unfortunately, lots of lubes contain ingredients that can cause health issues. The good news is, you can avoid these easily by checking the label before buying them. Stay away from glycerin, propylene glycol, parabens and petroleum-based ingredients, as these can all cause irritation and/or infections, especially when used vaginally. Avoiding flavors, fragrances and “sensation-enhancing” ingredients in warming or cooling lubes is also a good idea, especially if you know you’re sensitive or prone to genital infections.
2) Seek Out Skin-Nourishing Ingredients. Want a lube that can make your skin softer and your dick harder at the same time? Look for ingredients often found in skincare products for sensitive skin — like hyaluronic acid (which moisturizes your skin); vitamin E (which helps protect your skin’s moisture barrier); and aloe (which soothes skin irritation). If the phrase “pH-balanced” appears in the product description, that’s also a good sign, because lubes that throw off your genital pH can cause infections.
3) Consider Water vs. Silicone vs. Oil. The type of lube you need is dictated by the types of sex acts you plan on using it for. Water-based lubes are safe to use with all kinds of condoms and toys, but they tend to dry up after a few minutes if not re-hydrated with water or bodily fluids (like spit or vaginal lubrication), so they’re annoying to use for external-only activities like handjobs.
Silicone-based lubes shouldn’t be used with silicone sex toys, because they can degrade the material, but they work well for any other purpose (so long as you don’t have a silicone allergy and aren’t using polyurethane condoms), and they stay slick a lot longer than water-based ones.
Oil-based lubes aren’t safe to use with condoms (except those made of polyurethane) because they weaken the structural integrity of latex. They can also be irritating when used vaginally, so they’re best for genital massage or anal play if you don’t plan on using latex condoms.
Alright, now that we’re all lubed on lube knowledge, here are some of the most skin-friendly lubes money can buy…
Best Water-Based Lube: Blossom Organics Natural Moisturizing Lubricant
I’ve found this aloe-loaded lube to be the best of the best for vaginal penetration. Because it’s water-based, it gets rehydrated over time by the natural lubrication there, so it can last a whole session without needing to be reapplied.
It’s pH-balanced so as not to disrupt the delicate flora down there as well, has a minimal but slightly sweet taste and lacks all the nasty ingredients you don’t want in your lube. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E make it a treat for your skin, too. This lube is so gentle that its makers say it can double as a daily “personal moisturizer” for people who struggle with vaginal dryness.
Best Silicone-Based Lube: Uberlube
This silky smooth lube contains a few different silicones, vitamin E and… that’s it. No scents or flavors, no glycerin or parabens, no gross stuff you don’t want in or on your junk. It’s not compatible with silicone sex toys or polyurethane condoms, but everything else is fair game. It lasts for ages, even in the shower or tub, where water-based lube would just get washed away.
Uberlube also has some of the most elegant-looking packaging in the entire lube biz; it looks super classy on my nightstand in a way that, let’s face it, a purple plastic bottle of Astroglide never could. Crucially, the pump top on each bottle of Uberlube always seems to dispense just the right amount every time, without making a mess.
Best Hybrid Lube: Sliquid Organics Silk
Hybrid lubes are water-based lubes with a bit of silicone mixed in, to increase their longevity and to make their texture smoother and less sticky. This type of lube is especially beloved for anal play because it has the “cushiony” feeling of a water-based option, with the lasting power of a silicone lube. Aside from silicone sex toys and polyurethane condoms, you can use ‘em on anything.
This formula is full of ingredients your skin will love: aloe, vitamin E, hibiscus extract (which helps skin retain moisture), green tea extract (which calms irritation) and more. It’s pH-balanced and vegan-friendly, too. What more do you need?
Best Oil-Based Lube: Pure for Men Coconut-Based Lube
The ingredients list of this lube almost sounds like a smoothie recipe: It’s got organic coconut oil, organic beeswax, stevia leaf extract and more. Since it’s oil-based, it’s not safe to use with most condoms and can be irritating when used vaginally, but it’s a luxurious choice for masturbation, handjobs and condomless anal play. It’s got a cakey vanilla flavor to it, too, so it won’t kill the vibe if someone’s mouth ends up on a lubed body part.
It is a little on the runny side, so be careful of drips when you pour some out. But as soon as I apply it to a sensitive zone and feel how blissfully slippery it is, I always forgive any mess it may have made on my bed sheets.
Best Lube for Sensitive Skin Overall: Good Clean Love All-Natural Personal Lubricant
Few things are more annoying than having a vaginal infection, and this water-based lube is specifically formulated to support vaginal health rather than disrupting it. But it’s also just a damn good lube, period. It’s condom-safe, toy-safe, gluten-free and loaded with skin-soothing aloe leaf juice.
While Good Clean Love performs pretty well for a water-based lube, keep in mind that it might need to be reapplied periodically to stay slippery. But, like I said, the more lube, the better, so go to town.