Lube vs Lube: Aloe Vera
Good Clean Love and Aloe Cadabra
Aloe vera is a great choice when you’re looking for a light sexual lubricant or daily personal moisturizer. In this Lube vs Lube we cover what to look for & expect in an aloe-based formula and compare 2 of the best known brands.
Organic, Sustainable & Nutrient-Rich
What's not to love?
Aloe Barbadensis – a.k.a. aloe vera – is a succulent plant that’s packed with naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals & amino acids. The aloe vera used in personal care and beauty products comes from both the inner and outer leaf. Because it oxidizes quickly (think apples and avocados), aloe vera is usually processed into a dried powder and later reconstituted with water.
Aloe vera is one of 400 species of Aloe. It no longer grows in the wild, but thrives as crop grown in Southwest America, Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, the Bahamas, and the West Indies. Aloe is drought & insect resistant. Since it doesn’t need pesticides to cultivate, virtually all aloe vera is certified organic.
Aloe can be traced back over 6,000 years to early Egypt and has historically been used to treat wounds, reverse hair loss, calm hemorrhoids, and as a laxative.
It’s important to note there’s limited scientific evidence to support topical use of aloe in treating skin conditions. There are serious considerations when using aloe as a dietary supplement. And there is no evidence supporting its use for any other condition.
But that’s okay because you didn’t really believe it could reverse hair loss, did you?
While we always go with the science, we’ve also slathered aloe vera on many a sunburn. It’s hard to question aloe’s ability to deliver soothing moisture when you’ve experienced such sweet relief!
Aloe as a Lubricant Ingredient
Aloe-based lubricants usually don’t contain glycerin, propylene glycol, or propanediol. These lubricants are less concentrated than glycol-based formulas, which is great for vaginal health and is of special concern for women who struggle with yeast infections, BV, or are trying to conceive.
There’s also some limited evidence that aloe vera has anti-fungal properties and is effective against Candida albicans – the fungi most responsible for vaginal yeast infections.
While we’d love to see it, we haven’t found any related research showing aloe vera is safe for lactobacillus – the beneficial bacteria most responsible for keeping our mini ecosystems balanced. This reflects on the nature of research more than the safety of aloe, so we’re not concerned.
Although allergies are rare, you should avoid aloe vera if you are sensitive to garlic, onions, tulips, or any plant in the Liliaceae family. Some people find aloe irritating and there are indications that people who have eczema or contact dermatitis may want to avoid aloe.
That said, aloe vera is safe and gentle for the vast majority of people.
Ingredients Common in Aloe-Based Lubricants
Aloe is pretty good stuff on its own – but it isn’t slippery and it spoils quickly. Fortunately, most aloe-based lube formulas we’ve cataloged highlight the organic aspect of aloe by using gentle ingredients acceptable in natural food products.
Aloe Barbadensis – We tag a lubricant as aloe-based when the first ingredient is aloe and the formula does not contain glycols.
Plant gums – Xanthan, guar, agar, and sclerotium help add slip and lasting power to aloe-based lubricants. They remain on the skin and can feel tacky or ropy as they dry, but are easily reactivated with a few drops of water.
Plant cellulose – sometimes listed as cellulose or hydroxyethylcellulose – is a thickener and stabilizer. It holds water in gel form, adds lasting power, and feels nice on skin.
pH balance – Small amounts of citric acid or lactic acid are used to balance pH. This helps preservatives work better, prevents discoloration, and ensures a formula is skin-friendly.
Preservatives – Potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and sodium lactate are gentle preservatives found in nature. They’re used in small amounts and are an absolute must for aloe, which spoils very fast.
Flavor / aroma – Every aloe-based formula we’ve seen contains flavor / aroma to offset aloe’s mild but unpleasant taste. Most flavors are noted as being natural or organic. Most lubes contain the barest amount and we don’t consider aloe lubes to be flavored.
Botanicals – Many formulas contain plant extracts traditionally valued for their health benefits. While we respect natural and holistic approaches, it’s hard to find supporting science. We aren’t able to say if plant extracts help or hinder – especially in such small amounts. But like any ingredient, they do add to the potential for irritation and allergies.
What to Look For & Expect
In an aloe-based lubricant
Natural – Most formulas we’ve cataloged stick to the short list of ingredients shown above.
Smaller, light-proof packaging – This helps prolong shelf life and ensure you can finish a bottle before freshness becomes an issue.
Low to moderate lasting power – Because aloe is mostly water and because aloe-based lubes don’t use glycols, these formulas are generally lower lasting.
Slightly unpleasant taste – Aloe is packed with nutrients we think comes through as a vitamin taste.
Light, pleasant smell – To offset its taste, every aloe lubricant contains a small amount of flavor / aroma.
Easy cleanup – Aloe can be left on the skin and washes off with water. It won’t stain most fabrics.
Safe for most toy & condom materials – Most aloe lubricants are safe for all materials except polyurethane. There are a number of exceptions, so be sure to read the label before using any lube with condoms.
|Lubricant||Good Clean Love||Aloe Cadabra|
|Sizes||1.5 oz, 4 oz||2.5 oz|
|MSRP Per Ounce||$3.00||$4.75|
|Real World Per Ounce||$2.70||$3.70|
|Recommended For||Vaginal Sex,|
Use with Condoms
Use with Condoms
|Not Safe For||No Warnings||Polyurethane|
|Consistency||Light Gel||Light Gel|
|Lasting Power||Lower Lasting||Moderate Lasting|
|Feel||Becomes very sticky.|
Add water to reactivate.
|Becomes slightly sticky.|
Add water to reactivate.
|Taste & Smell||Light, sweet taste.|
Strong vanilla smell.
|Light, slightly sour taste.|
Faint vanilla smell.
|Shelf Life from DOM||36 Months||12 Months|
The Bottom Line
Aloe vera is safe, gentle, and effective, but lower lasting. Overall, we recommend aloe when you’re looking for a light-duty sexual lubricant or daily personal moisturizer.
While Aloe Cadabra is a bit more expensive, all of our reviewers agree it’s the better formula – it lasts longer, is less sticky, and doesn’t have a strong smell.
Our mission is to help you find safe, effective lubricants – we hope this helps! Do you use aloe-based lubricants? Which ones are your favorites and why? Let us know in the comments below ?