I think we can all agree on one thing: sex is fun. As technologically advanced and innovative as we like to believe we are, there’s no denying the pleasure of good, clean, primitive fun.
Except, it’s not that clean if you’re using conventional lube.
Just like food, the “personal care” market is loaded with nasty chemicals and unnatural substances that aren’t apparent at first glance. Labels don’t tell us anything unless one inherently knows which ingredients to avoid. Lubes, in fact, pretty much tout these three claims:
“Longer lasting formula!”
“Now with warming action!”
“Pleasant cherry flavor!”
(It’s a little alarming, by the way, that they have to add in the word “pleasant” before that…)
So what’s a health-conscious, sexually active consumer to do?
First, like any product, assess the ingredient list. Ingredient lists are your partner in chemical crime.
A typical lube on the market might look like this one:
“Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Acacia Honey Type O, Methylparaben.”
By the way, propylene glycol, the primary ingredient here, is produced from propylene oxide, which is produced from propene, which is produced from fossil fuels: petroleum, natural gas, and to a much lesser extent, coal.
So, you’re basically stuffing petrolatum/gasoline/sometimes coal up your snatch. Sexy, right?
And I don’t have to give you the low-down on parabens at this point, I hope. But here it is from Skin Deep, just in case.
Anyway, in the video above, I showcase and compare three different lubes I found at my local CVS store (shout out to CVS for all the amazing deals, yo!). Here’s my review, in typed form:
- Wet Platinum –
Ingredients: Dimethicone , Cyclomethicone , Dimethiconol
I used this as my rubric of comparison. Wet Platinum is your typical silicone lubricant, odorless and tasteless. The consistency reminded me of Purell, except it didn’t dry up.
The main concern with using this lube is the fact that dimethicone was the primary ingredient (the other two ingredients are structurally the same as well).
Health lesson 101 – Dimethicone is a polymer that acts as a sort of rubber sealant on skin. That means that while it has an infinitely smooth, lubricating texture, it coats the skin with a nonporous covering, which doesn’t allow skin to breathe. Which is bad.
That leads to clogged pores, trapped bacteria, sebum and dirt. Not a great mixture.
Environmentally speaking, dimethicone is also non-biodegradable. So not only are you hurting your body, you’re hurting the earth. Just say no, Felicia.
- Astroglide Natural Liquid –
Ingredients: Purified Water, Xylitol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Pectin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Potassium ascorbyl, tocopheryl phosphate (Vitamins C & E), Lactic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol
I have to admit, I got excited when I saw this in CVS, a run-of-the mill pharmacy that is just starting to foray into more natural products (see my Insta for proof!). However, I was quickly chastened by the ingredient list upon my in-depth examination.
Most of the list seemed innocuous, until I reached the last one: phenoxyethanol. Wassat? I think I had seen it prior on the list of a few other non-natural cosmetic lists, so my interest was piqued. Add the fact that it was the very last ingredient, a spot usually reserved for preservatives, and I just had to know.
The results were disappointing. Phenoxyethanol is a paraben-like substance that acts as an endocrine disruptor in animal tests (not condoning animal tests here, just including this as a fact). It’s a popular preservative in companies that try to “greenwash” their products.
As a glycol ether, phenoxyethanol’s chemical of origin is commonly used in such pleasant products as paint, lacquer and jet fuel. It’s a popular ingredient in perfumes, sunscreens, mascara, foundation — you name it, it’s probably there.
The worst thing is that a lot of the brands I trusted: Kiss My Face, Andalou Naturals, Alba Botanica, Carol’s Daughter… all of them had this ingredient, lumped in with other (let’s just say it) garbage brands like Revlon, Maybelline and Wet N’ Wild. It’s pretty disappointing.
Still, if we aren’t using phenoxyethanol as a preservative, we have to use something. With all our brains and advanced thinking, why haven’t we come up with a preservative solution that doesn’t harm us? Maybe it’s time to stop funneling so much money into building condos, protecting big chemical and manufacturing weapons, and come up with a solution that will bring everyone peace of mind and body. Let’s Kickstart this, guys! Who’s with me?
- Aloe Cadabra –
Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Reconstituted), Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E Oil), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Food Grade), Sodium Benzoate (Food Grade), Organic Vanilla Planifolia Oil
For every toxic product out there, there are at least two or three alternatives. I was pretty surprised to find Aloe Cadabra on the shelf, right next to the KY Jelly.
At first glance, I could already tell it was a natural product. The packaging and the overall message it sent was, “Look at me, I’m different! I have a non-corporate name you’ve never heard of, and the word ‘Aloe’ used with a portmanteau of ‘Abra Cadabra!'”
So naturally, I picked it up.
I was very happy to scan the ingredients and find not one offensive outlier. With that out of the way, I can readily provide a review.
Aloe Cadabra has a pleasant smell and mostly neutral taste. If anything, it tastes like aloe jelly, with a hint of vanilla, hardly something I can critique, since I like both.
Performance-wise, I wasn’t super thrilled. While it did work well as a sort of “lube-like lotion” it dried up like it was a moisturizer after about 8-10 minutes. After that, it just got a bit sticky.
Still, I would prefer to have used it than used nothing. And the peace of mind I had that it was completely natural definitely allowed me to enjoy… *ahem* the activity at hand much better.
The bottom line here? I’m still on a quest to find the perfect, high-performing, all-natural vegan lube. You can bet I’m going to keep searching, and always blogging about it along the way.
Till next time, my little Vegan Chaosters.