The Best Water-Based Lubes: Safe & Glycerin/Paraben Free

After 163 hours of research and hands-on testing during various sexual situations, we’ve found the very best and safest water-based personal lubricants.
four best water-based lubes tested by our team, spread on dark green furry blanket with plant nearby: aloe cadabra, good clean love almost naked and liquid, ah yes wb
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Updated:February 2024

Our Top Water-Based Lube Recommendations:

Best Overall
Also Good
Runner Up
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
$27.99 (5.1 oz)
$14.00 (4.2 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This lube is one of our team’s favorites because it's easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera, and comes in 18 delicious flavors. [Full Review + Video]

Description:

Bottom Line: This water-based lube is our team’s top pick for those looking for a thick, incredibly long-lasting lube for sensitive skin made with 96% organic aloe, and no added fragrance, flavor, or dyes. [Full Review + Video]

Description:

Bottom Line: A tried-and-true favorite from Sliquid, our testing team loved this lubricant's silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and cleans up easily. [Full Review]

Best Overall
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This lube is one of our team’s favorites because it's easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera, and comes in 18 delicious flavors. [Full Review + Video]

Also Good
$27.99 (5.1 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This water-based lube is our team’s top pick for those looking for a thick, incredibly long-lasting lube for sensitive skin made with 96% organic aloe, and no added fragrance, flavor, or dyes. [Full Review + Video]

Runner Up
$14.00 (4.2 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: A tried-and-true favorite from Sliquid, our testing team loved this lubricant's silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and cleans up easily. [Full Review]

If you’re looking for a personal lubricant that feels natural, is safe for your favorite condoms or sex toys, and is always ready to go whenever you are, water-based lubes are a perfect fit—and we found the very best ones to try right now.

Fun Fact:

After 163 hours of cumulative research and personal testing by our team over the last two years, we’ve concluded that Aloe Cadabra and AH! YES WB are the best water-based lubes available.

We’ll share the rest of our team’s favorites, as well as the products that didn’t make our list (and why), and tell you everything you need to know about water-based lubes.

→ Our Research, Testing & Review Methodology:

  • Water-Based Lube Requirements: 100% body-safe, glycerin, and paraben-free ingredients; trustworthy brand; safe pH and osmolality; FDA approval; quality formula that enhances vaginal (or oral) sex; longevity during use; condom and sex toy compatibility; and a user-friendly mess-free bottle design.
  • Water-Based Lubricants Considered: 285
  • Products Tested: 8
  • Tested By: Zoë Tanner, Gena Gephart, Vanessa Russell, Alison Huff
  • Total Research Time: 163 hours over 3+ years (as of 2/27/2024)

Best Overall Water-Based Lube: Aloe Cadabra

Best Overall
Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant
5.0
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
Pros:
  • Great For “Lube Virgins” And Pros Alike
  • Available In 18 Delicious Flavors & Scents
  • 2-In-1 Vaginal Moisturizer And Personal Lubricant
  • 95% Organic Aloe Vera, Non-Sticky
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • No Pump Dispenser
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Others
  • Not Waterproof
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 18 delicious flavors and scents, Aloe Cadabra takes vaginal and oral sex to new heights.
$10.16 @ Aloe Cadabra -> CODE: MyOrganicAloe $16.99 @ HotCherry

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.

aerial photograph of aloe cadabra (natural aloe) bottle in hand with a living aloe plant in the background

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 why Aloe Cadabra is one of the best lube brands — and so does the rest of our team.

In my experience, this pH-balanced lube is pretty much perfect.

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 organic water-based personal lubricant on a fingertip with the bottle and its box in the background to show it's thick texture

It’s noticeably hydrating with skin-soothing ingredients 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 18 flavors (including seasonal varieties like Pumpkin Spice).

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

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 compared to other lubes,” 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, as an example, we can definitely see the difference between the two — and why it’s so easy to over-apply this lube:

labeled comparison photograph showing the difference between the aloe cadabra water-based lubricant and good clean love almost naked lube caps, comparing size, with aloe cadabra's large cap hole labeled on the left and good clean love's small cap hole labeled on the right

Luckily, being water-based, Aloe Cadabra personal moisturizer 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.

Also Good: AH YES WB Water-Based Lubricant

Also Good
AH! YES WB
5.0
$27.99 (5.1 oz)
Pros:
  • Extra-Thick Formula, Cushiony Texture
  • 96% Organic Ingredients
  • No Added Fragrances, Flavors Or Dyes
  • Ideal For Those With Sensitive Skin
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • Might Be Too Thick For Some
  • No Pump Dispenser
  • Not Waterproof
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.
$23.79 @ AH! YES -> CODE: WHI $27.99 @ Lovehoney

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.

I really like this aloe-based 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 water-based lubricant on a fingertip with its bottle and box in the background to show its thick texture

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.

One thing I noticed was that this particular lube does leave a noticeable film on the skin after use — but being a water-based formula, 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 ah yes wb water-based personal lubricant bottle on red table with plants and a candle

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.

Runner Up: Sliquid Naturals H20 Water-Based Lube

Runner Up
Sliquid Naturals H20
4.8
$14.00 (4.2 oz)
Pros:
  • Mimics Your Body’s Own Lubrication
  • Only 5 Body-Safe Ingredients
  • Kind To Sensitive Skin
  • Colorless, Odorless, And Flavorless
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • No Pump Dispenser
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Others
  • Not Waterproof
Osmolality: 500-700 mOsm/kg (Meets WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 4.0 to 4.4 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: Sliquid Naturals H20 is a best-seller for a reason — it has an amazing vegan formula that doesn’t compromise on quality or performance. Emulating your body’s natural lubrication, this product is incredibly slick and is perfect for those with sensitive skin.
$11.69 @ The Enhanced Male –> CODE: WHI10 $14.00 @ Sliquid

Sliquid Naturals H20 is a water-based lube that is GREAT and it’s actually one of my personal top faves!

Completely clear without any flavor or odor, I found it to be incredibly long-lasting for a water-based lubricant and extremely hydrating.

Similar to Aloe Cadabra’s “moisturizer-like” feel, Sliquid is like a sex lotion that left my skin feeling nourished and smooth during and after each use.

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.

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

“I did not have to apply much Sliquid H20 if I’m being honest,” fellow tester Alison Huff said. “It’s super-smooth and although it looks and feels like liquid, living up to it’s name, it isn’t especially runny — which was surprising!”

If you’re looking for a fresh and fragrance-free water-based lubricant to try, Sliquid H20 is the perfect one to reach for.

How We Made Our Water-Based Lube Picks & Features We Considered

photograph of product tester zoe displaying one of the water-based lubes we tested on the back of her hand to display its texture

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 during testing 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.

The most important criteria to look for in a water-based lubricant include:

When selecting the best water-based lube, we weighed and tested:

  • How our skin reacted to each formula
  • How they felt during (and after) use
  • How often they required reapplication (during masturbation, vaginal sex, and oral sex when applicable)
  • Whether they worked with condoms or our favorite sex toys
  • How difficult they were to clean up after use
  • Whether they stained our bedding or other fabrics
  • How they impacted our overall sex life

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.

All of the lubricants we tested were used vaginally, during masturbation, and in some cases for oral sex, with no irritation reported by our team.

Water-Based Lubes That Didn’t Make Our List

aerial photograph of three water-based personal lubricant products — sliquid h20, good clean love biogenesis, and good clean love bionude — that didn't make our list of top recommendations of the best water-based lubes

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 safety criteria.

We screened for:

Glycerin (can cause yeast infections)
Parabens (can lead to endocrine disruption)
Unsafe osmolality (did not meet World Health Organization recommendations)
Unsafe pH levels (could cause irritation and increased risk of STIs)

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

  • LOLA’s Personal Lubricant
  • Slippery Stuff
  • Astroglide
  • ID
  • KY
  • LubeLife
  • Fleshlight
  • Doc Johnson
  • System Jo
  • Intimate Earth
  • And many others…

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 osmolality.

Water-Based Lubricants We Tested — But Didn’t Recommend

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

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

You might need to try a few different products before finding your perfect water-based lubricant, just as we did — but all of the testing will have been well worth the effort.

  • Good Clean Love Liquid: This one barely missed making the cut — it scored just one-tenth of a point below our final pick. Overall, Liquid 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.
  • Good Clean Love BioGenesis: Overall, 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.
  • Good Clean Love BioNude: We’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 others we recommended.
  • Good Clean Love Restore: This 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.

What To Know About Water-Based Lubes

photograph of product tester gena examining a bottle of good clean love almost naked water-based personal lubricant and reading the label closely

When it comes to water-based lubricants, there are many factors to consider including how you intend to use the lube, how long it lasts (and how often you need to reapply it), safety, and other pros and cons.

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, and they tend to feel very similar to the natural lubrication of the vagina.

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

Some water-based lubes have a gel-like texture that’s thick, while others have a very slippery, liquidy consistency and they tend to have a lightweight texture compared to other types of lubes — although not always.

Plant cellulose is often used as a thickening agent, but other ingredients can include vitamin E oil and chia seed extract.

The best water-based lube has fewer chemicals compared to silicone lube (and in some cases, oil-based lubes as well).

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

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?

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 sex or vaginal intercourse
  • Will not be used for anal sex

Water-based lubes tend to be a “universal” choice for most sexual activities but they’re typically not the best option 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).

Is Water-Based Lube Safe?

In a word — yes.

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

There are additional safety considerations you should be aware of, however: 

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.

  • When it contains parabens: Sometimes used as preservatives in lubricants, parabens 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 paraben-free.

  • When it contains unsafe pH or osmolality levels: Water-based lubricants with a pH that is too low or an osmolality that is too high can damage vaginal and rectal tissue, leading to irritation or increasing your risk of infection.

For vaginal sex, the pH should be between 3.8 to 4.5.

For anal sex, the pH should be between 5.5 to 7 — but it’s worth noting that most water-based anal lubes do not have an appropriate pH for the activity.

Osmolality of a water-based lube should be below 1200 mOsm/kg, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • When you’re prone to UTIs, yeast infections, or general skin irritation: It is possible that some lube ingredients could cause a UTI (urinary tract infection) or a yeast infection if their presence causes a disruption in the genital microbiome, and even if a lube is made from entirely body-safe ingredients, some of them may be potential allergens.
  • When ingested: Water-based lubricants can be safe to swallow in small amounts, although some of our top recommendations offer versions that are safely flavored and meant for use as edible or flavored lube during oral sex.
  • If expired: 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.

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 lube 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 play
  • Some lower-quality lubes may leave unwanted residue behind

Closing Thoughts

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

Best Overall
Also Good
Runner Up
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
$27.99 (5.1 oz)
$14.00 (4.2 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This lube is one of our team’s favorites because it's easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera, and comes in 18 delicious flavors. [Full Review + Video]

Description:

Bottom Line: This water-based lube is our team’s top pick for those looking for a thick, incredibly long-lasting lube for sensitive skin made with 96% organic aloe, and no added fragrance, flavor, or dyes. [Full Review + Video]

Description:

Bottom Line: A tried-and-true favorite from Sliquid, our testing team loved this lubricant's silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and cleans up easily. [Full Review]

Best Overall
$11.95 (2.5 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This lube is one of our team’s favorites because it's easy to use, lightweight, highly versatile, made with 95% food-grade NSF Certified organic aloe vera, and comes in 18 delicious flavors. [Full Review + Video]

Also Good
$27.99 (5.1 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This water-based lube is our team’s top pick for those looking for a thick, incredibly long-lasting lube for sensitive skin made with 96% organic aloe, and no added fragrance, flavor, or dyes. [Full Review + Video]

Runner Up
$14.00 (4.2 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: A tried-and-true favorite from Sliquid, our testing team loved this lubricant's silky-smooth (and truly liquid-like) texture that doesn’t drip or run, yet lasts for an incredibly long time and cleans up easily. [Full Review]

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.