7 Best Water-Based Lubes That Are Safe & Glycerin/Paraben Free

Water-based lubricants are lightweight, versatile, and compatible with all sex toys and condoms, but are not created equal and may contain unsafe ingredients.
Image Of Single Hand Holding Bottle Of AH! YES WB Lube Through Big Water Splash Against Blue Background

In A Hurry? Start With Our Top 7 Water-Based Lubricant Picks

If you’re ready to surf waves of pleasure in the bedroom — and we know you are — take a look at our top choices of the very best and safest water-based lubes.

Note: All of our recommendations are free from glycerin, parabens, capsaicin, benzocaine, and added fragrances, flavors, and dyes.

These ingredients can be irritating or toxic and some can increase the chances of developing a vaginal infection, as we’ll discuss. We also did not include any products that contain THC or CBD.

When choosing the best water-based lubes, we considered: their intended use, performance, texture, consistency, ingredients, additives, and potential allergens.

Additionally, we reached out to every manufacturer to investigate the pH and osmolality for the products we recommended, listing their values with each. We’ll explain what these terms mean and why they’re important.

As a result of our strict safety and performance criteria, none of our recommended products are rated below a 4 out of 5 and represent the absolute best products available.

Click on a product name to jump directly to that product review, or start at the top.

*When you purchase a product using an affiliate link, we earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support!

Water-based lubes are ahhhh-mazing because they’re so versatile and easy to use — not to mention they can turn any sexual encounter into a naughty slip n’ slide at a moment’s notice.

They’re often the first type of lubricant people try because they’re essentially foolproof — water-based lubes won’t degrade condoms or sex toys, they don’t leave nasty stains behind on your bedsheets, and they’re highly accessible to everyone.

We’ve found — and in many cases, personally tried — the very best water-based personal lubricants, taking into consideration their performance, ingredients, and safety to ensure the choice you make is perfect in every sense of the word.

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.

The Best & Safest Water-Based Lubricants Available Right Now

Mimicking the texture of your body’s natural lubrication for super sexy comfort, while offering incredible versatility and easy clean-up, these underrated gems are guaranteed to become staples on your nightstand.

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 osmolality and pH-friendly, so you can dive right in with confidence.

Never heard of these terms or why they’re important?

That’s ok, because we’ll explain the science and best-in-class features we looked for later in this review.

For now, let’s jump right into our top picks.

As a result of our strict safety and performance criteria, none of the water-based lubes we recommend are rated below a 4 out of 5 and represent the absolute best products available.

Editor's Note: All products reviewed by Women’s Health Interactive are independently researched, vetted, brand-neutral, and deemed to be the very best in their category.

We do NOT accept sponsored or paid reviews.

We are able to fund our team and maintain high editorial standards, objectivity and independence by earning affiliate commissions (*) when you purchase a product that we recommend, at no extra cost to you.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Aloe Cadabra Natural Personal Lubricant

Top Pick: Lightweight Formula
Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant
5.0
$11.95

[Note: Get the Aloe Cadabra Personal Lubricant for only $10.16. Use code MyOrganicAloe and get 15% off. Valid only until May 31st, 2022.]

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
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.
Try Aloe Cadabra Read Our Review
When you purchase a product using 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 Natural Personal Moisturizer & Lubricant is an exceptional water-based lube that feels lightweight and slippery while offering incredible hydration — and we know because we tried it ourselves.

Watch our unboxing and review of Aloe Cadabra below:


In her 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.”

Made with 95% organic aloe vera — NSF Certified and harvested in a way that removes all latex from the plant leaf — this product is a 2-in-1 vaginal moisturizer and personal lubricant with a gel-like consistency that’s slippery — but still feels completely natural.

With a pH between 3.8 to 4.5 and an osmolality of 172 mOsm/kg, it is perfectly balanced for vaginal use, however, its low pH isn’t suitable for anal sex — luckily, there are great anal lubes available.

Edible and vegan, Aloe Cadabra also has a wide variety of flavors perfect for venturing into some tasty oral sex play.

In her review, Vanessa mentioned that Naked Strawberry was subtle and enjoyable — so it’s a great one to start with!

We can’t recommend Aloe Cadabra Natural Personal Moisturizer & Lubricant highly enough — and once you try it yourself, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Learn more* about Aloe Cadabra or check pricing*.

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AH! YES WB – Organic Water-Based Personal Lubricant

Top Pick: Thick Formula
AH! YES WB - Organic Water-Based Personal Lubricant
5.0
$21.99
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 A Flavorless 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
Osmolality: 260-290 mOsm/kg (Passes WHO Standards)
pH Level: 3.8 to 4.2 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: This hydrating lube will make all of your fantasies a pleasure to explore — again and again. With a cushiony texture that’s thicker than you’ll find in most water-based lubes, AH! YES WB – Organic Water-Based Personal Lubricant uses a luxurious formula made from organic ingredients you can trust.
Try AH! YES WB
When you purchase a product using 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!

Water-based lubes are notorious for having a lightweight texture but AH! YES WB lets you enjoy a thicker consistency with more cushion — and without sacrificing the versatility you desire from a water-based lubricant.

It’s also one of few water-based lubricants that’s labeled as organic. For a product to be labeled as “organic” in the United States, it has to be made up of at least 95% organic ingredients.

Take a closer look at AH! YES WB below:

Screenshot Of A Youtube Video About AH! YES WB - Organic Water-Based Personal Lubricant

One reviewer raved about it, saying:

“This product has transformed my sex life! I have suffered for years with very early menopausal symptoms following treatment for cancer. [This lubricant] is fantastic and has completely transformed my life. And it’s all-natural, no nasty chemicals, which really matters too.”

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

With a pH of 3.8 to 4.2, it is perfectly balanced for vaginal sex — adding moisture right where you need it, instantly.

Although its heavier texture might seem like a good fit for backdoor penetration, it’s probably best to choose a lube designed for anal sex to match your anal pH.

Like most water-based lubes, AH! YES WB can be safe to swallow in small amounts, but if you’re looking to add a little bit of flavor to oral sex, there are a variety of edible and flavored lubes to choose from.

In addition to offering incredible hydration, AH! YES WB has a body-safe osmolality of 260-290 mOsm/kg, falling safely below the WHO’s recommendation of <380 mOsm/kg to minimize the risk of epithelial damage and prevent irritation and infection.

Although not everyone will be a fan of the squeeze-tube application, it’s a minor downside compared to everything this product has to offer.

With a stellar formula made from organic ingredients, AH! YES WB is a natural lube you can trust to fulfill your sexual fantasies again and again.

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

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Good Clean Love BioGenesis Fertility Lubricant

Top Pick: Fertility-Friendly
Good Clean Love BioGenesis Fertility Lubricant Good Clean Love BioGenesis Fertility Lubricant
4.8
$19.99

[Note: Get the Good Clean Love BioGenesis Fertility Lubricant for only $16. Use code WHI20 and get 20% off from Good Clean Love — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Mayo Clinic Recommended Hydroxyethylcellulose Supports Sperm Viability And Motility
  • Promotes Healthy Vaginal Flora To Create A Supportive Environment For Getting Pregnant
  • Hydrating Texture Lasts As Long As You Do While Baby-Making
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • Applicator May Feel Clinical And Can Be A Mood-Killer
  • Only 12 Applications Per Carton And Not Available In Larger Product Size
  • Doesn’t Come With A Pump Dispenser And Is Meant To Be Used With The Included Applicators
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Osmolality: 300-400 (Meets WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 3.8 to 4.2 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: While closely mimicking the natural moisture in your vagina, this lube works with your body as added magnesium and calcium ions help to create an ideal environment for getting pregnant. Hydroxyethylcellulose is an ingredient recommended by Mayo Clinic to promote the motility of sperm — giving those little swimmers the best chance of reaching their destination.
When you purchase a product using 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!

Lube is meant for everyone, but not every lube is ideal for those who are actively trying to become pregnant. In fact, some lubricants can make it more difficult to conceive.

This water-based lube was developed with the help of scientists to provide not only comfort during intimacy but a safe and welcoming vaginal environment that supports sperm viability and motility.

Mayo Clinic advises the use of lubricants that include hydroxyethylcellulose when you’re trying to conceive because it doesn’t negatively impact sperm motility — and it’s an ingredient found in BioGenesis Fertility-Friendly Lubricant from Good Clean Love.

Take a closer look at BioGenesis below:

Screenshot Of YouTube Video About Good Clean Love BioGenesis With Play Button

With added magnesium and calcium ions, this patent-pending lube supports conception and matches the ideal fertile environment.

It’s also free from parabens, glycerin, and petrochemicals and made with a limited list of high-quality ingredients.

While closely mimicking the natural moisture in your vagina and with a pH level of 3.8-4.2, this lube works with your body to create an ideal environment for getting pregnant.

BioGenesis helps to “retain healthy vaginal pH levels while simultaneously supporting sperm health and movement” and it does so without raising your vaginal pH to dangerous levels.

It’s designed to adapt vaginal pH as sperm enter its territory — this is especially important because sperm has a higher pH.

The osmolality of BioGenesis is in the 300-400 range, which is safely within the WHO’s maximum recommendation of <1200mOsm/kg.

The only major drawback to this product is that it comes in a relatively small tube with just 2 ounces of product — and it isn’t available in larger sizes as of this writing.

Additionally, it’s meant to be used with the included applicators so it doesn’t offer a convenient pump dispenser. The applicators can feel downright clinical in the moment, which can kill the mood — at least briefly.

That said, you can certainly squeeze some onto your fingers for application — but it might be a little messy.

If you’re looking for a safe water-based lubricant and a baby is on your radar right now, BioGenesis Fertility-Friendly Lubricant is a great option.

Learn more* about BioGenesis or check pricing*.

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Sliquid Naturals H20

Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless!
Sliquid Naturals H20 Sliquid Naturals H20
4.8
$16.99
Pros:
  • Mimics Your Body’s Own Lubrication — Only Better
  • Long-Lasting Vegan Formula Is Kind To Sensitive Skin
  • Colorless, Odorless, And Flavorless With Just 5 Body-Safe Ingredients
  • 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
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.
When you purchase a product using 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 a lightweight but decadent lube that feels like your body’s natural lubrication — only better — Sliquid Naturals H20 is a long-lasting water-based product that hits all the right notes.

“Naturals” is in the name for a reason.

Made with only five ingredients, this lube is actually Sliquid’s original formula — every base in the Sliquid Naturals line of products begins with this blend.

Take a closer look at Sliquid H2O:

Screenshot Of A Youtube Video About Sliquid Naturals H20

Colorless, odorless, and flavorless, Sliquid Naturals H20 is a crystal-clear water-based lube that looks like its namesake — although it’s safe to swallow in small amounts, we don’t recommend drinking it!

With a pH ranging from 4.0 to 4.4, this lube is best suited to vaginal sex, as its pH is on the low side for anal. (Click here to explore the safest anal lubes.)

Additionally, its osmolality is in the 500 to 700 range, which is well within the WHO’s maximum recommendation of <1200mOsm/kg.

The 100% vegan formula is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

One reviewer absolutely swears by this product, saying:

“I have had a few surgeries including a hysterectomy and have been in menopause for over 10 years. This is the ONLY product that has worked for my husband and me. He said it feels natural and for me, intimacy is pleasurable again. It is safe to use and it is amazing. Without this product, I would not be able to enjoy being intimate with my husband.”

Some folks who prefer to use a pump dispenser for application may be disappointed, as this lube only comes in a squeeze bottle or tube — but that’s certainly not the end of the world.

Sliquid Naturals H20 allows you the freedom to explore your sexuality without worrying about unsafe ingredients — the only thing left to do is enjoy yourself.

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

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Good Clean Love BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant

Formulated For Sensitive Skin!
Good Clean Love BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant Good Clean Love BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant
4.7
$12.99

[Note: Get the Good Clean Love BioNude Ultra Sensitive 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:
  • Great For Anyone With Sensitive Skin
  • Sperm-Friendly — Safe For Those Trying To Conceive
  • Long-Lasting
  • No Added Fragrances, Flavors, Or Dyes
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • The Lack Of Pump Dispenser Can Make Reapplication Difficult
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Osmolality: 240 to 400 mOsm/kg (Meets WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 4.0 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: Having sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a water-based lubricant thanks to Good Clean Love’s BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant. Long-lasting and safe to use when trying to conceive or when pregnant, this product will allow you to enjoy yourself without worrying about sensitivities.
When you purchase a product using 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!

Similar to BioGenesis — its sister lube from Good Clean Love — BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant is a long-lasting water-based lube that’s fertility-friendly if you’re trying to conceive, but isn’t specifically formulated for conception like BioGenesis.

This product’s soft, slippery, and lightweight formula adds a seductive texture to your body’s natural lubrication during vaginal sex — taking intimacy to the next level in mere moments.

Take a closer look at BioNude below:

Screenshot Of YouTube Video About Good Clean Love BioNude With Play Button

BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant has a pH of 4.0 and a body-safe osmolality ranging from 240 to 400 mOsm/kg — making it perfect for vaginal sex.

Although the osmolality is anal safe, the pH is on the low side — especially when there are better anal lubes available.

Additionally, it’s safe to swallow in small amounts during oral sex and one reviewer even noted that it is “lightly flavored” although there is no added flavoring.

As the name suggests, this lubricant is formulated for those with sensitive skin.

One reviewer said, “Finally found the perfect lubricant for me. It does not irritate and really provides much-needed moisture.”

Good Clean Love’s BioNude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lubricant is a fantastic water-based lube that mimics your body’s natural lubrication safely and naturally — what more could you ask for?

Learn more* about BioNude or check pricing*.

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Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel

Restores Vaginal pH!
Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel
4.7
$16.99

[Note: Get the Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel for only $13.60. Use code WHI20 and get 20% off from Good Clean Love — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Extremely Hydrating Gel That Eases Itch, Irritation, Dryness, And Odor
  • Formulated To Match A Healthy Vaginal Biome
  • Organic Aloe Formula Is Ideal For Vaginal Use
  • Limited Ingredient List And Free From Estrogen, Parabens, Petrochemicals, Glycerin And Artificial Fragrance
  • Compatible With All Sex Toys And Condoms
Cons:
  • Tube Only Provides 15 Applications
  • Meant To Be Used With The Included Applicator, Which Can Be A Mood-Killer
  • Not As Long-Lasting As Silicone Or Oil-Based-Lubricants
  • Can’t Be Used For Sex In The Bath Or Shower
Osmolality: 250-400 (Meets WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 3.6 to 4.1 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: Designed to rebalance your vaginal pH, this restorative gel is a lifesaver for those with particularly delicate vaginas. It can be used for intimacy and beyond to help restore and maintain a healthy and balanced vaginal pH and it’s great for alleviating irritation, discomfort, and odor.
When you purchase a product using 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 prone to pH imbalances that can lead to off-putting odors, dryness, itching, and a very un-sexy vaginal environment, this lube is a must-have!

Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel is a water-based lube formulated with organic aloe and designed to support vaginal health by closely matching the natural biome of a healthy vagina.

As most women know, hormonal fluctuations that come with age, health conditions, medications, and even stress can negatively affect your vagina — causing dryness or irritation in the process.

Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel is an estrogen-free, water-based lubricant that can be used during sex or as a vaginal moisturizer to promote comfort and support your vaginal biome.

Take a closer look at this amazing lube below:

Screenshot Of YouTube Video About Good Clean Love Restore With Play Button

Restore Moisturizing Gel is formulated to maintain a healthy vaginal ecosystem by not only matching its natural pH and osmolality but the salt and lactic acid levels of a healthy vagina, as well.

Because this product is pH-balanced for vaginal use, it may not be ideal for anal sex — we recommend reaching for an anal-specific lube instead.

Restore Moisturizing Gel’s limited ingredient list is free from parabens, glycerin, petrochemicals (those derived from petroleum), and artificial fragrances so you can use it with confidence.

One reviewer said, “I have been using this product for the past 4 weeks and it is the best thing I have ever purchased.”

One downside of this product is that it’s designed to be used with the included applicator — which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, the application can feel a little clinical and isn’t sexy at all.

For this reason, the tube doesn’t include a pump dispenser so it might be a little messy if you intend to apply it using your fingers — which you can do if you prefer.

Additionally, it isn’t available in larger tube sizes, however, you can purchase multiple packs — it just means more plastic tubes that’ll end up in a landfill someday.

Packaging aside, Good Clean Love Restore Moisturizing Vaginal Gel is a great personal lubricant for everyday use and during intimacy.

Learn more* about Restore or check pricing*.

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#LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant

Budget Pick!
#LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant
4.6
$6.99
Pros:
  • Multi-Use For Any Situation — Sperm-Friendly & Safe To Use When Trying To Conceive
  • Slick, Gel-Like Formula Glides Like A Dream
  • No Added Fragrances, Flavors, Or Dyes
  • 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
Osmolality: ~600 mOsm/kg (Meets WHO Recommendations)
pH Level: 3.5 to 4.75 (Balanced For Vaginal Use)
Bottom Line: #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant is a best-seller for a reason, offering a slick, smooth consistency through a fantastic sperm and condom-friendly formula. Long-lasting with a texture like silk, living the #LubeLife has never been so exciting.
When you purchase a product using 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!

This best-selling water-based lubricant has a silky-smooth texture that feels soft on your skin as it provides the perfect accompaniment to your body’s natural lubrication whenever it needs a little boost in that department.

Versatile and long-lasting, #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant is compatible with all condom types and the inclusion of sperm-friendly hydroxyethylcellulose means it’s safe to use when you’re trying to conceive.

Watch their entertaining video below:

Screenshot Of YouTube Video About #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant

Although it is described as “the perfect dressing for your salad,” according to the company, we don’t recommend tossing your salad with it, if you know what we mean — it generally shouldn’t be used for anal play.

The pH of #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant is between 3.5 to 4.75 — which is a little too low for anal use and much better suited for vaginal sex.

Its body-safe osmolality of ~600 mOsm/kg meets the WHO’s recommendations for a comfortable, non-irritating ride your vagina will thank you for — in more ways than one.

One reviewer gushed, “I have tried a lot of lubes, but this is silky smooth and keeps you wet all night long.”

If you’re ready to go on a wet and wild adventure — and live the #LubeLife yourself — you’ll want to take this water-based lubricant with you.

Learn more* about #LubeLife or check pricing*.

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Why Use Water-Based Lube Vs. Others

Close Up View Of Water-Based Lubricant In Someone's Hands To Display The Label

Not all water-based lubes are created equal but with so many options available, it can be hard to know what to look for.

In this section, we’ll talk about:

Why Use A Water-Based Lube

Water-based lube 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.

Pros Of Using Water-Based Personal Lubricants:

  • 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 can be safe for conception when hydroxyethylcellulose is found in their ingredient list

Cons Of Using Water-Based Personal Lubricants:

  • 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 isn’t always ideal for anal sex
  • Some lower-quality lubes may leave unwanted residue behind

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When Should You Use A 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
Oil-Based
Silicone-Based
Condom TypesAllPolyurethane, nitrile and lambskin onlyAll
Sex Toy TypesAllAll but latexAll but silicone
Bath/Shower UseNoYesYes
Does It Stain?NoYesYes
Lube Type:
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?

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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 an edible lube during oral sex.

Additionally, most lubes are good for at least a year and can last as long as three years before they expire.

→ Read more about which lube ingredients are safe and which you should avoid

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What To Look For In A Water-Based Lube & Safety

Close Up Photograph Of Clear Water-Based Lubricant Being Poured Into Open Hand From Above

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 safe ingredients.

When considering the overall quality of a water-based lube, we used a rigorous process to decipher the good from the bad.

Counterintuitively, while the performance of a lube is important, it should always come AFTER ingredient, safety, and formulation considerations.

After all, even if a lube works great, if it has dangerous chemicals or additives that can lead to infections or increase your risk of irritation, how it performs is secondary.

Luckily, we found lubes that combined the best of both worlds.

In this section, we’ll talk about:

What To Look For In A High-Quality Water-Based Lube

When choosing a water-based lube, you’ll want to select one that uses safe ingredients — which we’ll talk about in just a bit — that doesn’t include anything you are allergic or sensitive to.

Additionally, you should always opt for a lubricant that is pH-balanced, has a safe osmolality, and is FDA approved.

The final consideration is how that lube performs in the bedroom.

All of these are reflected in our ratings.

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

  • Natural Ingredients: It is always better to use lubes with a limited list of high-quality natural ingredients that won’t cause irritation or possibly lead to endocrine disruption. This includes avoiding things like parabens.
  • Allergens: This is always a consideration of ours, particularly with aloe. Because aloe leaves contain natural latex, it’s important to select products from reputable companies that remove the gel from the leaf thoroughly. Always check the ingredient list to spot other things you may be allergic or sensitive to.
  • Additives: Ideally, you want to look for a lube that keeps its ingredient list short and sweet. Those with added fragrances or dyes are best avoided because they can irritate vaginal tissue. Glycerin also is problematic because it can cause vaginal infections and pH disruption. Flavors can be safe, provided they are derived from natural sources and not sweetened with sugar — which can promote yeast infections.
  • Formulation: This includes how the lube is formulated, how the ingredients fit together, and the pH and osmolality of the lube.
  • Texture/Consistency: Last but not least, we looked for a lightweight consistency that feels 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.
  • Performance: Finally, we looked at how a personal lubricant performs. A lube that works great but has dangerous chemicals or additives can lead to infections or increase the risk of irritation, so its performance is secondary.

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What Are The Safest Ingredients For A Water-Based Lube?

Let’s start by looking at the best and safest ingredients that are often found in water-based lubes.

Safe Water-Based Personal Lubricant Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Aloe vera gel or juice
  • Vitamin E oil**
  • Plant-based oils like coconut oil**
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose
  • Propylene Glycol

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

Propylene glycol sounds scary, but it’s actually a nontoxic and noncarcinogenic type of alcohol that works as a skin conditioning agent.

Hydroxyethylcellulose is a body-safe gelling ingredient derived from plants and it is often used in vaginal lubricants designed to alleviate dryness and irritation.

It is a key ingredient in fertility-friendly personal lubes because it doesn’t negatively impact sperm motility — which we’ll talk about next.

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  • Safety Of Lubricant Ingredients When Trying To Conceive

The research about how the pH of a lubricant affects fertility isn’t entirely conclusive yet, though some suggest it might be beneficial to use a lubricant with a neutral pH when trying to conceive just to be safe.

The research is also somewhat inconclusive regarding whether or not lubricant has a major effect on fertility.

One study that performed an in-vitro analysis looked at how some lubes affected the motility and vitality of sperm, finding that certain lubricants seemed to have a negative effect on sperm function.

Despite the research being uncertain, most sources suggest that using a water-based lubricant is okay when trying to conceive.

The Mayo Clinic advises that those trying to conceive should use a lubricant that is hydroxyethylcellulose-based because “these lubricants don’t decrease sperm motility and are the most like natural vaginal mucus.”

It’s important to note, however, that some water-based lubricants that include hydroxyethylcellulose and are marketed as being “sperm-friendly” or “safe to use when trying to conceive” also include parabens.

Products that contain parabens are not included in our list of recommendations.

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What Are 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.

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 — which is a total mood-killer.

Unfortunately, MANY water-based lubes often contain glycerin.

None of the personal lubricants we recommend include glycerin for this reason — we want you to enjoy yourself, not scratch yourself silly during a yeast-induced itch-fest!

Why You Need A Paraben-Free Water-Based Lube

Parabens, which are 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, as well — the last thing we want is to suggest products that might be potentially harmful to your health.

Additional Lube Ingredients To Avoid

Other ingredients that aren’t in any of the water-based lubes on our list include synthetic capsaicin and benzocaine, which are often used in stimulating lube that creates warming or cooling sensations.

It’s important to note that even if a lubricant is made from 100% safe ingredients, you should always check the label to look for things you may be allergic or sensitive to.

Finally, you’ll note that all of our lubricants contain no added fragrances, flavors, or dyes, as they can be irritating.

→ If you’re looking for flavored lubes, click here for our top picks.

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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.

In her article, What Is Lube Osmolality And Why Is It Important?, medical review board member Susan Milstein, Ph.D., described the effects of hyper- and hypo-osmolality like this:

“In both cases, the difference in osmotic pressure between your body and the lubricant is like a tug of war, with water acting as the rope.”

The osmolality of vaginal tissue ranges from 285-295 mOsm/kg and the rectum is around 290 mOsm/kg, so the best lubes for each will have an osmolality that closely matches them — known as iso-osmotic.

While the suggested safest osmolality is below 380 mOsm/kg, the WHO recognizes that most lubes greatly exceed that range and recommends that personal lubes have osmolality less than 1200 mOsm/kg.

All of the personal lubricants included in our recommendations fall within the acceptable range, with an osmolality well below 1200 mOsm/kg, and in some cases below 380.

We verified this information with each company directly to provide accuracy and complete transparency where every lube’s osmolality is concerned.

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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.

A healthy vagina has a pH of less than 4.5 and you generally don’t want it to exceed that number, because a higher vaginal pH can also increase the likelihood of infections.

When it comes to anal sex, the pH of a personal lubricant is of equal concern.

The rectum has a neutral pH between 7 and 8, so water-based anal lubricants should be in a pH range between 5.5 to 7 to match it more closely.

It’s important to note that many water-based lubricants being marketed for anal sex have a pH that is suited to the vagina, rather than the anus — so proceed with caution.

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FDA Approval Of Personal Lubricants

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.

This process involves a formal submission to the FDA that demonstrates “that the device to be marketed is as safe and effective, that is, substantially equivalent, to a legally marketed device.”

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.

This clearance must be obtained for new products, as well as existing products if there is a significant change made to the recipe or manufacturing process.

The FDA provides a searchable database you can use to verify the 510(k) clearance of any lubricant you already have on hand – or one you intend to purchase in the future.

All of our recommendations have either a registered 501(k) clearance certificate on file with the FDA as of this writing or were exempt from providing one.

Exemption from requiring 510(k) clearance is not necessarily a bad thing. A product that is marketed as a “personal moisturizer” rather than a “personal lubricant,” for instance, may not need it.

That said, a product must be deemed exempt by the FDA — which is a form of approval when 510(k) clearance is not required.

In either instance, you can trust that the product you’re purchasing is approved for sale in the U.S.

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The Texture, Consistency, And Performance Of Water-Based Lubes

Water-based lubes generally have a texture and consistency that closely resembles your body’s own natural lubrication — only in a much larger supply.

Many people prefer to use personal lubricants that don’t feel like lube, and that’s where water-based products really shine.

Silicone and oil-based lubes, on the other hand, tend to have a texture that’s slippery and often silk-like, but that comes at a cost: they feel noticeably unnatural.

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

When considering a water-based lube’s performance, we took into account different preferences some might have by including a lighter texture more akin to your body’s own lubrication, as well as lubricants with a thicker texture.

This also included formulations that were designed to enhance vaginal flora, pH balance, and fertility.

As a result, we chose a variety of textures, consistencies, and formulations in our selections.

Lube Alternatives: Safe (And Unsafe) Home DIY Remedies

It’s best to stick with specially formulated lubes for the reasons we’ve outlined, but in a pinch, there are some mostly safe home lube alternatives you can try.

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In Conclusion

Water-based personal lubricants are amazing because they’re so versatile and easy to use.

In fact, they’re often the first type of lube a person tries because they’re basically foolproof — they won’t degrade condoms or sex toys, they 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 water-based lube recommendations have taken all the guesswork out of the process so you can trust them to do your body good — in every way.