4 Best & Safest Water-Based Lubes: Tested & Reviewed By Our Team

After 160+ hours of research and hands-on testing during various sexual situations, we’ve found the very best and safest water-based personal lubricants.
Two-Panel Image Of Gena And Zoë Holding Two Of The Best Water-Based Lubes: Good Clean Love Almost Naked And Aloe Cadabra
Updated:November 2022

After over 160 hours of cumulative research and personal testing by our team over the last two years, we’ve concluded that Almost Naked and Aloe Cadabra are the best water-based lubes available.

In A Hurry? Start With Our Top Water-Based Lubricant Picks

Important Things To Know:

  • Safety: Our recommendations are free from glycerin, parabens, capsaicin, benzocaine, added fragrances, flavors [we do offer a safe flavored option], and dyes. These ingredients can be irritating or toxic and some can increase the chances of developing a vaginal infection.
  • How we chose: When choosing the best water-based lubes, three members of our in-house team weighed and tested: their ingredients, additives (including added flavor, when applicable), potential allergens, intended use, texture, consistency, and performance.
  • Other considerations: Additionally, we confirmed that the pH of each of our top picks was safe for vaginal use and that osmolality met World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
  • Lubes we researched: Over the course of 2+ years, we vetted hundreds of water-based lubricants across 23 brands. While 49 made our final cuts, only 8 met our strictest criteria and were tested by 3 different members of our team.

*When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support! 


Our Top Recommendations

Consensus Top Pick
Consensus Top Pick
Best Newcomer
Top Pick (Thick Formula)
5.0
4.9
4.5
4.3
$12.99 (4 oz)
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
$11.99 (1.69 oz)
$21.99 (5.1 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This thick yet smooth gel-like lubricant is light and refreshing with a soft vanilla scent that leaves your nethers smelling like cookies after you’ve done the deed (yes, really). Made from just 7 organic ingredients you can trust, our testing team unanimously rated Almost Naked a top pick because it performs amazingly as a lube, feels wonderful on your skin, and smells absolutely divine. [Full Review]

Description:

Bottom Line: Aloe Cadabra is one of our team’s favorite water-based lubes because it is so easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, and made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera that we found to be gentle on our most sensitive skin. In addition to the standard unscented/unflavored version, it is also safe for edible fun and available in 10+ delicious flavors we love! [Full Review]

Description:

Bottom Line: Released in 2022, this one surprised our entire team with its silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and requires fewer reapplications compared to other water-based lubes. Hyaluronic acid (which occurs naturally in the body and is used in skin care products) is the third ingredient, ensuring optimal hydration while preventing irritation. [Full Review]

Description:

Bottom Line: AH! YES WB is our team’s top pick if you’re looking for an exceptionally thick water-based lubricant that lasts an incredibly long time yet has a silky-smooth texture that’s never sticky or tacky. It is made with hydrating aloe vera juice and 96% organic ingredients certified by the Soil Association with no added fragrances, flavors, or dyes, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. [Full Review]

Consensus Top Pick
5.0
$12.99 (4 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This thick yet smooth gel-like lubricant is light and refreshing with a soft vanilla scent that leaves your nethers smelling like cookies after you’ve done the deed (yes, really). Made from just 7 organic ingredients you can trust, our testing team unanimously rated Almost Naked a top pick because it performs amazingly as a lube, feels wonderful on your skin, and smells absolutely divine. [Full Review]

Consensus Top Pick
4.9
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Aloe Cadabra is one of our team’s favorite water-based lubes because it is so easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, and made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera that we found to be gentle on our most sensitive skin. In addition to the standard unscented/unflavored version, it is also safe for edible fun and available in 10+ delicious flavors we love! [Full Review]

Best Newcomer
4.5
$11.99 (1.69 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Released in 2022, this one surprised our entire team with its silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and requires fewer reapplications compared to other water-based lubes. Hyaluronic acid (which occurs naturally in the body and is used in skin care products) is the third ingredient, ensuring optimal hydration while preventing irritation. [Full Review]

Top Pick (Thick Formula)
4.3
$21.99 (5.1 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: AH! YES WB is our team’s top pick if you’re looking for an exceptionally thick water-based lubricant that lasts an incredibly long time yet has a silky-smooth texture that’s never sticky or tacky. It is made with hydrating aloe vera juice and 96% organic ingredients certified by the Soil Association with no added fragrances, flavors, or dyes, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. [Full Review]

Our Research
[Open All]
Top Picks

Our In-Depth Breakdown Of The Best Water-Based Lubes

We have spent more than 160 cumulative hours over the course of 2 years (and counting) on intensive research evaluating the best (and safest) water-based personal lubricants.

We began by verifying the safety of their ingredients and ensuring documentation of pH and osmolality levels before our team collectively tested these lubricants for 92 hours to narrow our top recommendations to the final list below.

All of the water-based lubes we recommend have met our very rigorous performance and safety standards and are free from harmful chemicals (like parabens) and additives (like glycerin) while being pH and osmolality-friendly.

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Consensus Top Pick: Almost Naked

Consensus Top Pick: Almost Naked

Consensus Top Pick
Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant
5.0
$12.99 (4 oz)

[Note: Get Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant for only $10.40. Use code WHI20 and get 20% off from Good Clean Love — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Made From Just 7 Organic Ingredients
  • Super Long-Lasting And Great For Those Who Prefer A Thicker Water-Based Lubricant
  • Lemon-Vanilla Scent Isn’t Overpowering During Oral Sex; Has No Discernable Taste
  • First Carbon-Neutral Personal Lube
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • No Pump Dispenser So Application Can Be Messy
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Performance:
4.7
How It Feels:
4.3
Skin Compatibility:
5.0
Ease Of Cleanup:
5.0
Bottle Design:
5.0
Osmolality: 250 to 400 mOsm/kg (Passes WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 4.2 to 4.7 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: There’s a reason Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant is one of our team’s top recommendations. Its long-lasting, smooth formula is perfect for oral sex, and because of its non-irritating, natural ingredients, it’s also safe to use for penetrative sex. Additionally, its incredibly delicious scent is heavenly yet this lube has no discernable flavor — if you love the smell of cookies, this is one you’ll definitely want to try.
$10.40 @ Good Clean Love -> CODE: WHI20 $17.99 @ HotCherry
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked is our consensus top pick for the best water-based lube because it has a wonderful, gel-like texture that’s long-lasting and quite frankly, leaves you smelling divine after sex.

In fact, this lube was a unanimous top pick by everyone on our team.

Gena Gephart, another team member who tested water-based lubes, said, “It smells like vanilla extract which is nice — but it kind of reminds me of food in a weird way.”

Photograph Of Product Tester Alison Smelling Good Clean Love Almost Naked

Fellow tester, Alison Huff, was especially excited about that aspect of it, however:

“As a regular water-based lube, this might be my favorite of all time…I LOVE how it smells and I feel like *I* smell nice after using it, even. This is weird to say, but after sex, you smell like vanilla cookies. That’s freaking awesome, honestly.”

I found that Almost Naked’s texture was less similar to vaginal lubrication compared to other water-based lubricants I tried, but that didn’t make me love it any less.

And the best thing? It doesn’t leave any residue or sticky film behind.

Aerial Photograph Of Good Clean Love Almost Naked Lubricant On Fingertip With Bottle In The Background

“I use this one often,” Alison noted. “Lately, it is the lubricant I reach for just about every time I have sex because I love the way it makes my skin feel afterward. Smooth, hydrated, soft — and never sticky.”

Photograph Of Gena Holding Bottle Of Good Clean Love Almost Naked LubricantFunny enough, it smells really delicious but has zero taste.

We noted this strange characteristic in our review of the best flavored and edible lubes, as well.

Gena pointed out that it “Definitely doesn’t taste like vanilla.”

“I wish it tasted as amazing as it smells,” Alison said, adding that it is the “only bummer” about Almost Naked — a personal lubricant she absolutely loves, otherwise.

Photograph Of Hand Holding Green Bottle Of Good Clean Love Almost Naked Against White Wall

Still, as long as you go into it not expecting a sweet lube (you can find those here), Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked is our top recommendation for a water-based lubricant.

Our entire testing team loved this one — unanimously.

Learn more* about Almost Naked or check pricing*.

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Consensus Top Pick: Aloe Cadabra

Consensus Top Pick: Aloe Cadabra

Consensus Top Pick
Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant
4.9
$11.95 (2.5 oz)

[Note: Get Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant for only $10.16 and enjoy 15% off site-wide at Aloe Cadabra using code MyOrganicAloe — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

[Read Our Full Review]

Pros:
  • Easy To Use, Great For “Lube Virgins” And Pros Alike
  • Non-Sticky, Vegan, Edible, And Available In 10+ Delicious Flavors
  • 2-In-1 Vaginal Moisturizer And Personal Lubricant Mimics Your Body’s Natural Lubrication
  • 95% Organic Aloe Vera Soothes Sensitive Skin
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • No Pump Dispenser So Application Can Be Messy
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Performance:
4.7
How It Feels:
4.8
Skin Compatibility:
5.0
Ease Of Cleanup:
5.0
Bottle Design:
4.0
Osmolality: 172 mOsm/kg (Passes WHO Standards)
pH Level: 3.8 to 4.2 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: Keep sexy time wet and wild with a barely noticeable formula that mimics your body’s own lubrication — in the tastiest way! Personally reviewed by Women’s Health Interactive, Aloe Cadabra Natural Personal Lubricant is lightweight, versatile, and made with 95% food-grade, NSF Certified Organic aloe vera so you can feel good about using it — inside and out! Available in 10+ delicious flavors, Aloe Cadabra takes vaginal and oral sex to new heights.
$10.16 @ Aloe Cadabra -> CODE: MyOrganicAloe $16.99 @ HotCherry
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Aloe Cadabra is an exceptional water-based lube that feels lightweight and slippery while offering incredible hydration — and it’s a product that our team has recommended for a long time.

In fact, it was ranked Best Overall in our review of the best lube for any type of sex.

Photograph Of Product Tester Vanessa Holding Up Two Bottles Of Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant

In her independent review, former “lube virgin” Vanessa Russell said, “Even if you’ve never used a personal lubricant before or you don’t think of yourself as someone who ‘needs’ to use lube, I’m here to tell you that Aloe Cadabra will change (and blow) your mind.”

After trying it myself, I understand what all the fuss was about — and so does the rest of our team.

In my experience, this lube is pretty much perfect.

Aerial Photograph Of Hand Holding Bottle Of Aloe Cadabra Next To Potted Aloe Plant

It’s longer lasting than many other water-based lubes.

Overall, Aloe Cadabra feels light to the touch but has some good hold to it, making it great for penetration toys and beyond!

I also love how this lube blends in with your skin — it almost reminds me more of a moisturizer than a lube.

Aerial Photograph Of Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant On Fingertip With Product Box And Bottle In Background

It’s noticeably hydrating yet doesn’t leave any annoying or sticky after-feel.

Although Aloe Cadabra’s “Natural Aloe” version is unscented and unflavored, this product is available in more than 10 flavors (including seasonal varieties like Pumpkin Spice).

To learn more about the flavored aspect of this lube, click here.

Photograph Of Hand Holding Box And Bottle Of Aloe Cadabra Natural Aloe Lube Against White Wall

One thing that fellow tester, Alison Huff, noted was that the size of the hole in the cap made over-application a frequent problem.

“It didn’t matter how carefully I tried to apply this lubricant, I always ended up pouring out too much,” she said.

Tester Gena Gephart agreed. “The top can get a little sloppy,” she explained.

After comparing Aloe Cadabra’s cap to Almost Naked’s (our other consensus top pick), we can definitely see the difference between the two — and why it’s so easy to over-apply this lube:

Aerial Photograph Of Two Open Lube Caps To Compare The Size Of The Dispensing Hole — Aloe Cadabra's Large Hole On Left, Good Clean Love Almost Naked's Small Hole At Right

Luckily, being water-based, Aloe Cadabra is very easy to clean up with a hand towel or a quick water rinse.

Aside from that slight drawback, we can’t recommend Aloe Cadabra highly enough.

Learn more* about Aloe Cadabra or check pricing*.

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Best Newcomer: Liquid

Best Newcomer: Liquid

Best Newcomer
Good Clean Love Liquid
4.5
$11.99 (1.69 oz)

[Note: Get Good Clean Love Liquid for only $9.60. Use code WHI20 and get 20% off from Good Clean Love — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Smooth Texture Feels Amazing With A Silk-Like Feeling That’s Surprising For A Water-Based Lube
  • Hyaluronic Acid Promotes Deep Hydration And Long-Lasting Lubrication With Minimal Reapplication (In Our Experience)
  • Designed To Work “The Way You Do,” It’s Perfectly pH-Balanced And Iso-Osmotic To Mimic Your Body’s Natural Lubrication Without Irritation
  • Addition Of Hydroxyethylcellulose As The Second Ingredient (After Water) Makes This Lube Fertility-Friendly
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • No Pump Dispenser So Application Can Be Messy
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Performance:
4.3
How It Feels:
4.7
Skin Compatibility:
5.0
Ease Of Cleanup:
5.0
Bottle Design:
5.0
Osmolality: 250 to 400 mOsm/kg (Passes WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 3.9 - 4.3 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: Marketed as being “doctor recommended” by Good Clean Love, their newest water-based lubricant is an absolute joy to use, surprising our entire testing team with its silky texture and incredibly long-lasting endurance. While most water-based lubes require frequent reapplication, Liquid doesn’t — likely due to its inclusion of hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring ingredient (found in the body) that promotes nourishing hydration and prevents irritation at the same time.
$9.60 @ Good Clean Love -> CODE: WHI20
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Released in 2022 from Good Clean Love, this lube is GREAT and it’s actually one of my personal top faves!

I found it to be incredibly long-lasting for a water-based lubricant and extremely hydrating.

Similar to Aloe Cadabra’s “moisturizer-like” feel, I found that Liquid left my skin feeling nourished and smooth during and after each use.

Aerial Photograph Of Good Clean Love Liquid On Fingertip With Product Bottle And Box In the Background

It’s nice and slippery and never leaves a sticky residue behind, plus it’s incredibly easy to clean up — simply wipe away the excess with a towel or rinse it away with a little water.

Additionally, like many of Good Clean Love’s products, Liquid contains hydroxyethylcellulose as its second ingredient — making it fertility-friendly.

Photograph Of Good Clean Liquid Bottle And Product Box With Plants

Photograph Of Gena Holding Bottle Of Good Clean Love Liquid Personal LubricantFellow product tester, Gena Gephart, noted that the bottle itself is very discreet, saying that it “could be a hair product or something” if you leave it out somewhere for the world to see.

If we’re being honest, the dark blue design of the bottle really does make it look more like a personal care product rather than a lube, and although the bottle is small, a little bit of this product goes a long way!

“I did not have to apply much of this lubricant if I’m being honest,” fellow tester Alison Huff said. “It’s super-smooth and although it looks and feels like liquid, it isn’t especially runny — which was surprising!”

“I also like how easy (and neat!) it is to apply,” she explained. “Good Clean Love tends to have very small cap holes that make for mess-free and easily targeted application, every time.”

Photograph Of Hand Holding Box And Bottle Of Good Clean Love Liquid Against Stone Background

If you’re looking for a fresh water-based lubricant to try, this newcomer from Good Clean Love is the perfect one to reach for.

Learn more* about Liquid or check pricing*.

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Top Pick (Thick Formula): AH! YES WB

Top Pick (Thick Formula): AH YES WB

Top Pick (Thick Formula)
AH! YES WB - Organic Water-Based Personal Lubricant
4.3
$21.99 (5.1 oz)

[Note: Get AH! YES WB for only $18.70, a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Extra-Thick Formula With Guar Gum Provides A Luxurious, Cushiony Texture That Lasts As Long As You Do
  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice Brings Incredible Hydration To Every Sexy Spot
  • No Added Fragrances, Flavors Or Dyes Make It Ideal For Those With Sensitive Skin Or Looking For An Unflavored Edible Lube
  • Made With 96% Organic Ingredients As Certified By The Soil Association
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • Might Be Too Thick For Those Who Prefer A Lightweight Texture
  • No Pump Dispenser So Application Can Be Messy
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Performance:
5.0
How It Feels:
4.8
Skin Compatibility:
5.0
Ease Of Cleanup:
5.0
Bottle Design:
4.8
Osmolality: 260-290 mOsm/kg (Passes WHO Standards)
pH Level: 3.8 to 4.2 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: As one of our team's favorite lubricants, this long-lasting, ultra-hydrating product provides incredible comfort and glide during vaginal sex and won't mask your partner's natural taste during oral sex. With a velvety texture that’s thicker than you’ll find in most water-based lubes while being kind to delicate skin, AH! YES WB uses a luxurious formula made from organic ingredients you can trust.
$18.70 @ AH! YES -> CODE: WHI $18.70 @ Lovehoney -> CODE: AFF-WH15
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

If you’re looking for the thickest of the thick water-based lubes, you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for in AH! YES WB.

Photograph Of Zoë Holding Bottle Of AH! YES WB In Her Hand

I really like this lube, personally.

It is thick and slippery and in my own experience, I found it to be the most similar in feel to natural vaginal lubrication compared to all the other water-based lubes I tried.

Aerial Photograph Of AH! YES WB On Fingertip With Product Bottle And Box In The Background

AH! YES WB makes a perfect pairing with clit suckers and other sex toys — and fellow tester Alison Huff agrees.

“I used this lube a few times while testing a variety of clit suckers, and it really worked well,” she explained. “Plus, being water-based, it’s perfectly safe for all of your silicone sex toys.”

I did similar testing myself (for the same review article, in fact) and found that AH! YES WB helped the clit sucking vibrators to “latch” on more easily, improving their performance in the process.

Photograph Of AH! YES WB Product Box And Bottle On White Shelf With Plants

Photograph Of Gena Holding Bottle Of AH! YES WBOne thing I noticed was that this particular lube does leave a noticeable film on the skin after use — but being water-based, it’s very easy to wash off.

Additionally, we’ve found that dried lubricant sometimes collects right around the hole in the cap where the product is dispensed.

This isn’t the end of the world, but of all the lubricants we’ve tried, this is the only one that we’ve noticed this happening to.

Certified by the Soil Association, the ingredients used in AH! YES WB are not only organic but are sustainably harvested to have a minimal impact on the environment — so you can feel good about using it, inside and out!

Photograph Of Hand Holding AH! YES WB Bottle And Box Against White Wall Background

After tasting it ourselves, we can verify that this lube is without flavor (it tastes like absolutely nothing) and although it doesn’t have any added fragrance, it does have a very faint (natural) aloe scent.

With a stellar formula made from organic ingredients you can trust, this lube offers a thickness we never imagined possible in a water-based lubricant.

Learn more* about AH! YES WB or check pricing*.

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Lubes That Didn’t Make Our List

Water-Based Lubes That Didn’t Make Our List

Aerial Photograph Of Water-Based Lubricants That Were Tested But Not Chosen As Top Recommendations

We looked at HUNDREDS of potential water-based lubricants from 23 parent brands, however, almost 90% of them were eliminated from further consideration immediately due to their ingredients not meeting our first order criteria.

In most cases, either the first or second ingredient was listed as being glycerin — and this is of particular concern for both vaginal and anal sex.

Glycerin acts as a food source for Candida albicans, the fungi most often responsible for yeast infections in the vagina and yes — even the anus.

It also raises the osmolality of a personal lubricant, which can lead to irritation (or subsequent infection) of the genitals and anus.

Any water-based lube that is considered to be “safe” must be suitable for vaginal penetration (at least) and products that did not meet this initial criterion were not even considered for testing by our team.

Additionally, pH and osmolality that were safe for vaginal use were also major concerns when it comes to water-based lubes.

If either factor was beyond what is deemed safe by our medical review board or the World Health Organization (WHO), or if we were unable to verify that information with the manufacturer directly (which happened a LOT), that lube was not considered for testing.

Lubes that we researched but did not consider for testing included products manufactured by:

  • Slippery Stuff
  • Astroglide
  • ID
  • KY
  • LubeLife
  • Fleshlight
  • Doc Johnson
  • Arcwave
  • System Jo
  • Lovehoney
  • Adam & Eve
  • TooTimid
  • Wicked
  • Intimate Earth
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • XR Brands
  • Body Action
  • TENGA
  • Kama Sutra

While we can’t endorse any of the lubes or companies on this list, that does not necessarily mean they are poor products.

They simply did not meet our very strict criteria for ingredients and formulation — particularly the inclusion of glycerin and in the absence of that, verification of body-safe pH and/or osmolality.

Lubes We Tested But Did Not Recommend

Even though only a handful of water-based lubricants made our final list of top recommendations, we tested several other products that didn’t quite hit the mark.

We’ll share the reasons why.

  • Sliquid H20

Three Different-Sized Bottles Of Sliquid Naturals H20 Water-Based Personal LubricantSliquid barely missed making the cut — it scored just one-tenth of a point below our fourth and final pick.

Overall, Sliquid H20 performed well in our testing and while it definitely lives up to its name, it is on the runny side and more prone to making a mess.

This lube is completely flavorless and unscented and if you don’t mind keeping a towel handy if excess lube is applied, it’s definitely worth reaching for because it has a very silky texture that even our testers enjoyed.

Learn more* about Sliquid Naturals H20 or check pricing*.

  • Good Clean Love BioGenesis

Close Up Photograph Of Good Clean Love BioGenesis Fertility Lubricant With Tube, Box, And ApplicatorsOverall, this lubricant was not terrible, however, the included applicator was more than a little bit of a turn-off.

In fact, none of our testers enjoyed that particular aspect of it because the applicator reminds us of what it’s like to insert a yeast infection treatment — and that is not sexy at all.

Primarily designed for those who are trying to conceive, BioGenesis is formulated to support sperm motility and function and is completely worth exploring if you’re actively trying to make a baby.

Learn more* about BioGenesis or check pricing*.

  • Good Clean Love BioNude

White Squeeze Bottle Of Good Clean Love's BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant Against White BackgroundWe’ll tell you the truth — many of Good Clean Love’s products feel pretty similar in texture during use and BioNude came in third among our testers out of all the company’s products we tried.

Again, this lube performed pretty well overall, but we preferred the two we recommend the highest — Almost Naked and Liquid.

BioNude is formulated for sensitive skin and it lives up to that claim — none of our testers experienced irritation from this product and for this reason, it’s worth trying if you have especially delicate skin.

Learn more* about BioNude or check pricing*.

  • Good Clean Love Restore

Close Up Photograph Of Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel With Tube And Product BoxThis particular product didn’t make our list of recommendations because it is not entirely a lubricant — although it certainly doubles as one.

Restore is designed to be used (primarily) as a vaginal moisturizer to help rebalance vaginal pH.

That said, if you struggle with vaginal pH imbalance regularly, this product might be worth trying as a daily (or sometimes daily) vaginal moisturizer instead.

Learn more* about Restore or check pricing*.

Why You Might Consider Trying These Lubes

Even though several of the lubes we tested were not among our top picks, that doesn’t mean they’re poorly made or aren’t worth trying.

They are ALL made from body-safe ingredients you can trust and manufactured by quality brands we’ve personally vetted ourselves.

Many factors contribute to whether a water-based lube is a good option for some people and not others.

In our experience, we’ve found that much of it has to do with personal preferences regarding texture and the lube’s intended use, as well as whether an applicator needs to be used.

When testing water-based lubricants, all of those factors weighed heavily into the scoring given by each of our testers.

You might need to try a few different products before finding your perfect water-based lubricant, the same way we did — and trust us, once you do, all of the testing will have been well worth the effort.

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Why Trust Our Review

Why Trust Our Review?

Photograph Of Gena Examining A Bottle Of Good Clean Love Almost Naked Lubricant

We’ve invested over 160 cumulative hours researching, evaluating, and testing the best water-based lubes over the last 2 years.

We began by speaking with several members of our medical review board to learn more about what makes a great (and safe!) water-based lube before seeking recommendations from others on our team and aggregating crowdsourced opinions.

We initially considered hundreds of water-based lubricants across 23 parent brands before narrowing our choices to 49 products in all.

After deep analysis, only 8 were selected for personal testing.

We then had several experts on our team (including myself, Gena Gephart, our editor-in-chief, Alison Huff, and in some cases, Vanessa Russell) personally test all of our finalists in real-world conditions in the bedroom over several weeks to form a consensus.

Using our proprietary rating system that includes 25 individual criteria, our team engaged in a variety of sexual activities while trying each of these products multiple times over several weeks.

Ratings included elements that relate to formula, performance, bottle design and function, skin compatibility, clean-up, and how likely they are to recommend that product to others.

After all product testing is completed, scores are used to form a consensus yielding our top recommendations based on actual data – not what product earns the highest commission.

We are constantly evaluating new entries to the market as they become available.

We do not accept paid placements, and all our recommendations are brand-neutral.

For accuracy and thoroughness, we also have an expert from our medical review board evaluate all reviews.

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How We Made Our Picks

How We Made Our Picks & Features We Considered

Photograph Of Zoë Applying Aloe Cadabra To The Back Of Her Hand

When we spoke to our medical review board and started digging into what made a great water-based personal lubricant, we noticed a disturbing pattern: potentially harmful ingredients were rampant in most mainstream lubes — brands you’ve probably heard of before.

In fact, things like parabens, glycerin (found in MOST water-based lubes), and even fragrances and dyes, eliminated about 90% of all candidates at the start!

But we didn’t stop there.

We then proceeded to eliminate possible candidates based on a broad array of features, listed below.

Lubes that made our final list were put through a rigorous 25-point rating system that included elements like packaging, performance in the bedroom, clean up, and many others.

This ultimately led to our final list of recommendations based on a non-biased, hands-on scoring system that yielded the absolute best water-based lube available.

When choosing the best water-based lubricants, features we considered included:

  • Natural (Or Organic) Ingredients: We focused on lubes that have a limited list of high-quality natural or organic ingredients that won’t cause irritation or possibly lead to endocrine disruption. This includes avoiding things like parabens.
  • Limited Allergens: Even if they are slight, allergic reactions are a major concern when it comes to your most intimate body parts. We avoided products with known allergens when possible. Aloe is commonly found in water-based lubes yet the aloe plant contains natural latex in its leaves. Some manufacturers like Aloe Cadabra DO take steps to remove the gel thoroughly (leaving no trace of latex in the lube) but if allergens are a potential issue with any lube, we noted that in the product’s description.
  • No Unnecessary Additives: We avoided products with added fragrances or dyes because they can irritate vaginal tissue. Glycerin also is problematic because it can cause vaginal infections and pH disruption. Flavors can be safe (one of our top picks has flavored versions), provided they are derived from natural sources and not sweetened with sugar — which can promote yeast infections.
  • A Safe Formulation: This factor includes the way a lube is developed, how its ingredients fit together, and pH and osmolality levels — which impact EVERY lubricant that is water-based. We’ll explain more about why these are so important, but we stuck with only lubes that had a safe pH for vaginal use and an osmolality that passed standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Verification Of pH And Osmolality: Although a few companies list pH and osmolality levels with their water-based products, most of them do not. Additionally, a company’s marketing can make any claim it wants — but that doesn’t mean what they are saying is true. For this reason, we confirmed the pH and osmolality levels for the products we tested and recommended directly with the company or through other official means (such as FDA approval records or other documentation).
  • FDA Approval: All of our recommendations have either a registered 510(k) clearance certificate on file with the FDA as of this writing or were exempt from providing one and are approved for sale in the US.
  • Great Texture/Consistency: We looked for a lightweight consistency that felt closest to your body’s natural lubrication. That said, some people do enjoy lube that offers a little extra cushion — so we considered this, as well.
  • Real-World Performance: Finally, we physically tested how each personal lubricant performed over the course of several weeks and a variety of sexual situations. Members of our team evaluated water-based lubricants in the real world using them on their skin, during masturbation and sex (oral, vaginal, and sometimes anal), and kept track of how well each one worked, scoring their performance across a long list of attributes that included their effectiveness, ease of cleanup, and how likely they are to recommend them to other people.

While the performance of a lube is certainly important, this factor should always come AFTER ingredient, safety, and formulation considerations.

A lube cannot be considered “great” if it has dangerous chemicals or additives that can lead to infections or increase your risk of irritation.

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Performance

The Performance Of Water-Based Lubes

Photograph Of Gena Holding All Four Top Water-Based Lube RecommendationsWater-based lubes tend to feature a lighter texture and thinner consistency compared to other lubricants — one that more closely resembles the natural lubrication produced by the body.

Many people — including members of our team — prefer to use personal lubricants that don’t feel noticeably unnatural or oily, and that’s where water-based products really stand out, in our experience.

Our testing team enjoyed the variety of textures available in water-based lubes — and exploring all of them really opened our eyes to what’s available.

There truly is something for everyone, no matter if you’re looking for something thick and gel-like, lightweight and liquidy, or somewhere in between.

We found that most water-based lubricants don’t exactly match the texture of natural vaginal lubrication — but they are still the closest you’ll get if you’re searching for a lube that feels more like “you.”

Silicone and oil-based lubes, in comparison, generally have a texture that’s almost silk-like but they tend to feel unnatural — and often, oily to the touch.

At the same time, the texture of water-based lubricants is typically too light for anal sex and their pH is typically not high enough to be used in this way safely.

When considering a water-based lube’s performance, we took into account the varied preferences people might have, testing both lightweight and thick formulas in equal measure.

Our testing also included formulations that were specifically designed to support vaginal flora, pH balance, and even fertility — although none of our testers are currently trying to conceive.

Our team then tested how each of our finalists performed during vaginal intercourse, oral sex (only for those that are safely edible), and during clean-up to determine which lubes were the best of the best.

We scored each lubricant across 25 individual rating elements and when our testing finished, we carefully examined and averaged those scores to determine the products that performed the best.

As a result of our testing and scoring, we reached our top recommendations with complete unbiased accuracy.

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What To Know: Water-Based Lube

Everything You Need To Know About Water-Based Lubes

Image Of Five Best Water-Based Personal Lubricants Against Blue Water Background: AH! YES WB, Aloe Cadabra, BioNude, Sliquid H20, And #LubeLife

If you’re thinking about using a water-based lubricant, we’ll provide all of the important information you need to know so you can make the very best decision for yourself and your personal needs.

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What Are They

What Are Water-Based Lubes?

Water-based lubricants have water as their primary ingredient and are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water easily and generally do not stain fabrics.

Additionally, water-based lubricants tend to have a lightweight texture compared to other types of lubes — although not always.

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When To Use Them

When Should You Use A Water-Based Lube?

A water-based personal lubricant is the best thing to reach for when you’re seeking a lube that:

  • Has a texture similar to natural vaginal lubrication
  • Can be safely used with any type of condom, diaphragm, or dental dam
  • Will not degrade sex toy materials, such as silicone or latex
  • Will be used for oral or vaginal sex
  • Will not be used for anal sex

Water-based lubes tend to be a “universal” choice for most sexual activities because they are widely available, won’t degrade STI or pregnancy barriers, and can be used with any type of sex toy material.

That said, they’re typically not the best choice for anal sex because most water-based lubes have a pH that’s compatible with the vagina — not the anus.

Throughout our ongoing research, we have yet to find an anal-safe water-based lubricant with a pH range of 5.5 to 7 (safest for anal use).

That isn’t to say people don’t use water-based lubes for anal sex, however, using one with a pH that is too low can increase your risk for irritation and subsequent infection.

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Water Vs. Oil & Silicone

What Is The Difference Between Water-Based, Silicone, Or Oil-Based Lube? 

Every type of personal lubricant has its share of pros and cons, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Our handy lube comparison table below will help you to answer that question — quickly and easily.

Lube Type:
Water-Based
Silicone-Based
Oil-Based
Oral Sex Yes Yes Not usually
Vaginal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Anal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Condom Types All All Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only
Sex Toy Types All All but silicone All but latex
Bath/Shower Use No Yes Yes
Does It Stain? No Yes Yes
Lube Type:
Oral Sex
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?
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How To Use Them

How To Use A Water-Based Lube

Using a water-based lubricant is easy — simply apply a few drops to the desired area(s) and re-apply as needed.

This type of lubricant does tend to require frequent reapplication.

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Pros And Cons

The Pros And Cons Of Water-Based Lube

Water-based lubricant is ideal when you want a lubricant with a light texture that feels natural, is easy to clean, and is safe to use with all condoms and sex toys regardless of the material they’re made from.

They are the workhorse of the lube world — always ready for anything whenever you are.

Water-Based Lube Pros:

  • They are safe to use with all condoms, dental dams, and diaphragms
  • They can be safely used with any type of sex toy, unlike silicone lubricants, which can degrade silicone toys, or oil-based lubricants, which can break down toys made from latex
  • They have a lightweight texture that feels like natural lubrication
  • They are often formulated with sensitive skin in mind
  • They are easily reactivated with water or saliva
  • They are non-staining and easy to clean
  • They are safe to swallow in small amounts during oral sex
  • Some are designed to be used as daily vaginal lubricants to alleviate irritation and vaginal dryness
  • Many are made from natural and organic ingredients
  • Some are designed to enhance conception when hydroxyethylcellulose is found in their ingredient list

Water-Based Lube Cons:

  • They’re not as long-lasting as silicone or oil-based lubricants
  • Because they’re water-soluble, they are not waterproof — so shower sex and other water-based sexual activities aren’t an option
  • Their lightweight texture, pH, and osmolality aren’t always ideal for anal sex
  • Some lower-quality lubes may leave unwanted residue behind
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What To Look For

What You Should Look For In A Water-Based Lube And Safety

Photograph Of Zoë With Water-Based Lube On The Back Of Her Hand

Beyond understanding how pH and osmolality can affect a lubricant’s safety, you always want to avoid using a water-based lube if it is not made from the right ingredients.

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Safety

Is Water-Based Lube Safe?

In a word — yes.

When used as directed, water-based lubes are completely safe provided that you don’t have any allergies or sensitivities to their ingredients, such as aloe, and avoid ones with unsafe ingredients or additives.

It’s always a good idea to patch-test any new lubricant on your skin (such as your inner elbow) to watch for potential reactions before using them during sexual activity.

They can be safe to swallow in small amounts, although some (such as Aloe Cadabra) offer versions that are safely flavored and meant for use as edible or flavored lube during oral sex.

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During Pregnancy
  • During Pregnancy

As long as your water-based lubricant is made from safe ingredients overall, it is also safe to use while pregnant.

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Safest Ingredients

What Are The Safest Ingredients For Water-Based Lube?

Let’s take a look at the best and safest ingredients that are often found in water-based lubes.

Safe Water-Based Personal Lubricant Ingredients:

**Naturally-derived oils may be used in trace amounts in some water-based lubricants. Barring allergies or personal sensitivities, they are completely safe. 

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When Trying To Conceive
  • Safety Of Water-Based Lubricants When Trying To Conceive

If you’re trying to conceive, water-based lubricants are safest when they contain hydroxyethylcellulose, an ingredient that will not negatively affect sperm motility or function.

One study found that some lubricants hindered sperm function and motility — but those with hydroxyethylcellulose (specifically) did not.

For this reason, if you’re trying for a baby, a water-based lubricant made with safe ingredients that include hydroxyethylcellulose is best.

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Unsafe Ingredients

Water-Based Lube Ingredients You Should Avoid

There are a number of unsafe water-based lube ingredients that should be avoided, including:

  • Glycerin (also referred to as glycerine or glycerol)
  • Parabens
  • Capsaicin
  • Benzocaine
  • Added fragrances, flavors, or dyes
  • Any specific ingredients you’re allergic or sensitive to

These potentially toxic or detrimental ingredients are not used in any of our top-rated lubricants.

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Glycerin
  • Why You Need Glycerin-Free Water-Based Lube

Studies suggest that glycerin kills good bacteria in the vaginal area and promotes yeast infections at the same time.

It also raises the osmolality of a lubricant, which can cause irritation to delicate genital and anal skin, potentially leading to infection.

Unfortunately, MOST water-based lubes contain glycerin, and as a result, close to 90% of the candidates we reviewed failed this single safety check and were eliminated from consideration.

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Parabens
  • Why You Need A Paraben-Free Water-Based Lube

Parabens, which are sometimes used as preservatives in lubricants, are thought to be endocrine disruptors and the CDC notes that the “health effects from environmental exposure to low levels of parabens are unknown.”

All of our recommendations are free from parabens.

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pH

Why Lube pH Matters

Water-based lubricants with a pH that is too low can damage vaginal and rectal tissue, leading to irritation or increasing your risk of infection.

For this reason, it’s vitally important to understand how the pH of water-based personal lube can impact your body and why a pH-balanced lubricant is ideal.

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Osmolality

Why Lube Osmolality Matters

Osmolality measures the concentration of particles in a solution — or in the case of water-based lubes, the concentration of ingredients that are not water.

If a lube’s osmolality is too high (hyper-osmolar) or too low (hypo-osmolar), the epithelial cells of your vagina or rectum can be damaged, potentially leading to dryness and irritation while increasing your risk of infection.

All of the personal lubricants included in our recommendations fall within the acceptable range presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), with an osmolality well below 1200 mOsm/kg, and in some cases below 380.

For complete accuracy and transparency, we verified this information with each company directly.

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FDA Approval

Are Water-Based Lubricants Approved By The FDA?

Yes — personal lubricants are classified as “Class II medical devices” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Manufacturers of such devices, which include personal lubricant manufacturers, must register their product for 510(k) clearance.

Unless a product is determined to be exempt from requiring it, a company can market their lube in the United States immediately after receiving 510(k) clearance.

All of our recommendations have either a registered 510(k) clearance certificate on file with the FDA as of this writing or were exempt from providing one.

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Alternatives

Lube Alternatives: Safe (And Unsafe) Home DIY Remedies

Although a safely-formulated water-based lubricant is best, there are a few at-home lube alternatives you can try but it’s worth noting that most of them are oil-based.

The best water-based lube alternative is aloe vera gel, which has a pH that closely matches that of the vagina.

It’s important to mention, however, that only 100% pure aloe vera gel is safe — and if you’ve got an allergy to latex, it is imperative that the gel is thoroughly removed from the leaf (which contains natural latex).

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FAQs: Water-Based Lube

FAQs About Water-Based Lubes

Photograph Of Zoë Holding Up Bottle Of Aloe Cadabra

If you’re not sure whether water-based lubricants are right for you or you’ve just got questions, we’ll answer some of the most common ones below.

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Does It Expire

Does Water-Based Lube Expire?

Yes — water-based lubricant can and does expire.

Most lubes do not list an explicit date of expiration, however, most lubricants remain “fresh” for one to three years after the date of manufacture.

It is best to avoid using expired lube, as it can cause irritation (such as burning or itching) or yeast infection.

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Can It Irritate Skin

Can Water-Based Lube Cause Irritation?

If a lubricant is made of unsafe ingredients or has a pH or osmolality that isn’t appropriate for the area it is coming in contact with (such as the vagina or anus), yes — water-based lube can cause irritation.

Additionally, even if a lube is made from safe ingredients, some of them may be potential allergens so if you have sensitive skin, always be sure to read the label thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t contain ingredients you are allergic to or sensitive to.

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What Does It Feel Like

What Does Water-Based Lube Feel Like?

Although the answer to this question ultimately depends on a lube’s particular formula, water-based lubricant tends to feel very similar to the natural lubrication of the vagina.

Some water-based lubes have a gel-like texture that’s thick, while others have a very slippery, liquidy texture.

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What Does It Taste Like

What Does Water-Based Lube Taste Like?

A water-based lube may taste like absolutely nothing if it has no added flavorings or other ingredients which create a taste.

In our experience, many water-based lubes are completely devoid of taste if flavoring has not explicitly been added to their formula.

On the other hand, water-based lubes that have intentional flavoring (such as Aloe Cadabra’s 10+ flavors) often taste exactly as described on the bottle.

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How Long Does It Last

How Long Does Water-Based Lube Last?

The answer to this question really depends on the type of activity and the amount of lube you’re using, but it is worth noting that of all the lube types, water-based lubricants tend to require the most frequent reapplication.

During external masturbation of a vulva or vaginal penetration, a water-based lube may last for 15 or 20 minutes before requiring reapplication because the vagina “adds” some of its own.

During handjobs, however, in our experience a water-based lube might require reapplication every 5 or 10 minutes, depending on the formula and amount applied.

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Is Using Water As Lube OK

Is Using Water As Lube OK?

No.

Even though water is the primary ingredient in water-based lubes, it is NOT a safe lube on its own because it doesn’t provide enough slippery lubrication.

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Can Sperm Survive In It

Can Sperm Survive In Water-Based Lube?

Yes — although lubes with hydroxyethylcellulose are best for supporting sperm when you’re trying to conceive, at least some sperm can (and do) survive in water-based lube regardless of its ingredients.

One study looked at the way various lubricant formulas affected live sperm.

Testing found that the water-based lube “immobilized all of the spermatozoa within 5 minutes of exposure and killed on average 95.23% within 60 minutes.”

But that means that 4.77% of them survived.

For this reason, water-based lube is not meant to be used as a spermicide.

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Can It Cause A UTI

Can Water-Based Lube Cause A UTI?

It is possible that some lube ingredients could cause a UTI (urinary tract infection) if their presence causes a disruption in the genital microbiome, but more often than not, a post-sex UTI is caused by sex alone.

UTIs develop when bacteria reach the urethra and make their way up inside the bladder, which can easily happen during penetrative vaginal sex because the urethra is located near the vagina.

Bacteria can make contact with the urethra during any type of vaginal penetration if it is found on the surface of what’s making contact with it — including fingers, tongues, sex toys, or a penis.

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Can It Cause Yeast Infections

Does Water-Based Lube Cause Yeast Infections?

It can — if the water-based lubricant contains sugar or sugar-derived ingredients (like glycerin).

Sugar and glycerin act as a food source for Candida albicans, a common type of fungi that’s most often responsible for yeast infections.

A healthy vaginal microbiome generally keeps Candida in check, however, lubricants with sugar or glycerin can cause an overgrowth of Candida, leading to a yeast infection in the vagina or anus.

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What Is Considered Water-Based

What Is Considered A Water-Based Lubricant?

Any lubricant that has water listed as the first or second ingredient is generally considered to be water-based.

That said, there are some hybrid lubes that use a combination of water and silicone (most common) or water and oil (less common) in their formulas.

Additionally, some water-based lubes may have a small amount of oil (such as vitamin E oil) in their formulas but are not considered to be hybrid.

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How To Clean It Up

How Do I Clean Up A Water-Based Lube?

Water-based lubes are water-soluble, which means they dissolve easily in water and generally do not stain fabrics.

This also makes them the easiest type of lube to clean up.

Water-based lubes can be wiped away from the genitals using a towel, or rinsed away with water — soap optional.

When cleaning water-based lube from bedding or clothing, typically a machine wash with your normal laundry detergent is all that’s necessary.

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Conclusion

In Conclusion

Water-based personal lubricants are amazing because they’re so versatile and easy to use and our team greatly enjoyed testing a wide variety of them.

In fact, water-based lubes are often the first type of lube a person tries because they’re basically foolproof.

They won’t degrade condoms or sex toys, won’t leave nasty stains behind, and they’re readily available online and in stores around the world.

The trick is knowing which ones are safest — and why — so you can make an informed decision about the best lube to try.

Our top water-based lube recommendations have taken all the guesswork out of the process through a rigorous testing process so you can select any one of them with complete confidence.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Everything Lube hub, an in-depth and evolving resource that comprehensively explores all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

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