There's lots of types of lubricants out there, and like we talked about in a previous blog post, it's a highly underrated personal condiment that we don't talk about nearly enough! There's different kinds, different textures, different ingredients, so before you pick one (or 2) out for yourself, it's best to know what kinds of sexy activities you want it for.
No matter what you buy though, I always recommend getting a lubricant that is free from Glycerin, Parabens, and Propylene Glycol!
Glycerin is a type of sugar that's used in many lubricants as a preservative, and can throw the vagina's pH off balance resulting in yeast infections, especially if you're prone to them. Parabens are in loads of cosmetic products have been known to cause allergic reactions. There have been links to Parabens and breast cancer, but nothing conclusive yet. Propylene Glycol is used as a humectant to make a lube, typically water based, slippery and keep it from drying out. Unfortunately that's known for causing allergic reactions as well. This is why I've decided to only stock lubricants like Sliquid & Yes which are free from those ingredients. I also love them because they are both organic; Sliquid is 100% vegan, and Yes is Vegetarian Society approved.
When you're choosing a lubricant, there are three main types that you'll come across - water based, oil based, and silicone.
Water based - Water based lubricant is the most common. It's a good all-rounder because it's safe to use with all types of toys and latex barriers. If someone isn't sure which type of lube is best for them, I always recommend a water based lubricant. One common complaint about water based lubes, however, is that they can dry out and go tacky more easily than other types of lubes. While this is true, you can always add a couple drops of water to the area, and that should reactivate the lubricant. I stock several water based lubricants with varying degrees of slipperiness. From the most basic to the most slippy: Sliquid H2o, Sliquid Satin, Yes Water based, Sliquid Organics Natural, Sliquid Sea, Sliquid Organics Natural Gel. While all these are excellent for most types of sexy fun, when it comes to anal I'd only recommend the Sliquid Sea and Sliquid Organics Natural Gel. Our butts don't lubricate naturally the way vaginas do, so you'll need something with a higher viscosity that will last a lot longer.
Silicone - Silicone lubricant is made from silicone oils. It's VERY slippery and generally lasts the longest. It's safe to use with latex barriers and non-silicone toys. Never use a silicone lubricant with silicone toys as silicone molecules will want to bond with each other and that will cause your toy to degrade. If you really like silicone lube though, you can always pop a condom over your toy to protect it. The other downside to silicone lubes is that it takes a long time to wash off in the shower and can also stain your sheets! Because of this, I've chosen to only stock Sliquid Silk which is a silicone/water based hybrid. It's still incredibly slippery, but has a much nicer texture that's easier to clean off. In fact it feels very similar to the vagina's natural lubrication, so it's one of our most popular lubes.
Oil Based - Oil based lube is the thickest of the 3. It can come in loads of different forms from a massage-type oil, to a cream, or even a buttery consistency. It's brilliant for things like mastubation and hand jobs. The loveliest bit about an oil based lubricant is that it's long-lasting and absorbs into the skin. It's important to note though that oil lubes break down latex so are NOT condom safe! They can be used with toys made from bodysafe materials like silicone and hard plastic. However it's been documented that oils cause PVC / Jelly toys to degrade and leach chemicals at a much faster rate. So chuck that nasty PVC toy you got a hen party and get yourself a safe, sexy one. For oil based lubricant, I stock Yes Oil Based. It's a gorgeous buttery texture that melts in your hands. Yes is the preferred brand of the NHS and many physiotherapists here in Ireland.
For a more in depth look into the chemistry and viscosity of different lubes, I highly recommend this blog post by Seattle-based sex educator Lorax.