Down the Rabbit Hole
Ingredient research is one of the internet’s biggest rabbit holes that we’re still trying to climb out of. You’ll find such negative and contradictory information, you may never want to put any product on your body ever again. It’s THAT scary.
We’ve cataloged hundreds of lubricants and their ingredients and yes, there are some really awful products that have no business in your vagina. But are natural lubes better than synthetic ones?
The short answer is no – natural and synthetic lubricants are best thought of as alternatives that fit a range of needs.
Labeling Laws – While there are organizations that certify ingredients and help determine which are permissible in natural products, the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are largely marketing terms with no widely agreed upon definition.
At SLICK.SEXY, we tag a lube as Natural & Organic when its ingredients come from directly from nature, are synthesized from nature, or are acceptable in natural foods & skincare products. An example is hydroxyethylcellulose, which sounds scary but is really lightly processed plant cellulose from the bark of pine & spruce trees.
Allergies & Irritation – You can be allergic to or irritated by both natural and synthetic ingredients. Preservatives and fragrances are the biggest culprits, but as individuals we experience a wide range of reactions to every ingredient. In fact, synthetics are a godsend for people with plant allergies – ask any condom wearer who’s allergic to latex!
Safety – Both natural and synthetic products can be damaging or toxic if not used properly. While we value the wisdom of holistic medicine, we place more weight on science. There’s been more clinical research given to synthetics than natural ingredients. We think it’s a shame, but for right now we know more about the safety and effectiveness of synthetics.
Environmental Impact – The production of both natural and synthetic ingredients has an environmental footprint. Despite internet extremism, synthetics can be manufactured responsibly and synthesizing ingredients found in nature reduces the agricultural burden we place on our planet. On the flip side, natural ingredients like organic, sustainable aloe vera provide a living for millions of people without unduly harming the environment.
Effectiveness – There’s a big difference between needing a light lubricant to use with condoms and planning a marathon weekend of sex-eat-sleep-repeat. The bottom line is many natural lubes don’t have the lasting power you need for certain kinds of sex.
The Bottom Line
In general, synthetic lubricants are formulated from a wider range of ingredients than natural ones. For this reason, synthetic lubricants have a wider range of safety and effectiveness and you should be more selective when you shop.
Both natural and synthetic ingredients have a place in bodycare products. As a smart consumer, don’t fall for the idea that synthetics are bad … And don’t believe that natural always means safe. It’s great to be an informed and conscientious shopper, but you also need to use what works for you.
Our mission is to help you find safer, gentler lubricants – we hope this helps! Have questions or feedback about this FAQ? Got a lube you love and want to recommend? Let us know in the comments below ?