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13 best lubes to help ease friction and elevate your sex life

Whether with a partner or solo, explore everything from CBD-enhanced formulas to natural options

<p>We tested for scent, texture and ingredients – as well as whether they were safe to use with toys  </p>

We tested for scent, texture and ingredients – as well as whether they were safe to use with toys

When it comes to buying lubricant, there is every type of product out there, from tingle gels to flavoured formulas, so it can be really difficult to choose the right one.

Strangely, there is a stigma attached to using lube, although our bodies don’t always produce it naturally when we need it. There is nothing wrong with grabbing a bottle to make sex less painful, reduce friction or help to prevent injury.

There are a lot of different reasons why people might need a bit of lube including medical conditions, stress, dehydration or even birth control. Menstrual cycles and menopause can also interfere with how much natural lubricant the body produces.

With so many reasons why we can experience difficulties with producing lube ourselves, it’s a wonder why people can be embarrassed about needing these products.

However, the most important part about shopping for lube is to make sure it’s safe. Oil-based products can degrade latex condoms and not all products are condom or toy safe. You need a water-based product to make sure it won’t cause problems if you are using latex. Some products can also cause problems with silicone toys, causing them to rip where bacteria can get into.

Read more:

How we tested

When it came to testing, we had a lot to choose from including natural options, CBD versions and even bottles of probiotics. There was an endless supply of interesting options to try but all of the products we selected were of very high quality.

We decided to try a broad range of products including oil and water-based lubes. While some did state if they were toy or condom-friendly, it’s always worth doing extra research if you are unsure. The lubes were used with toys of different materials and there were no issues. Each was examined in terms of smell, texture and ingredients to see what they offered.

Price-wise, there are plenty of lubes on the market that are priced reasonably. The cheapest we sampled was £7.50 while the most expensive was £50 due to its CBD.

The person testing the lubes has a vulva and clitoris. They are also a lesbian so this was reflected in the way the lubes were tested. They are also neurodiverse which is why smell or texture is important to them. The reviewer has experience working around and writing about sex tech. They have been regularly writing about sex, ADHD and cannabis as a journalist for several years. If they aren’t writing about sex then it’s usually drugs but with way too little rock n roll for their liking.

The best lubricants for 2022 are:

By Quanna oomf lube

Best: Lube for vagina health

Rating: 9.5/10

Oomf is, quite simply, a brilliant product. The lube has been designed by a team that includes a gynaecologist and it shows, by how hard working this product is. It contains CBD which is thought to help with blood flow and discomfort by engaging with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system receptors that manage pain or anxiety.

Sometimes when using toys, it can be easy to experience bruising or discomfort during sex. In reviewing this product, we noticed that it was brilliant for helping to manage this, making it a fun and functional. Water-based lubes can usually get a little bit sticky after a while but Oomf was noticeably long-lasting too, which meant it needed very little topping up. As it was a natural product, there was no smell to the product either.

It also has a prebiotic formula which can help to maintain vagina health and prevent infections. The bottle is so neatly designed that it could be popped on the shelf with other cosmetics and no one would immediately clock it.

As a nice final note – the bottles are recyclable too. The price is a little higher than the other options but it’s worth it for such an innovative product.

Smilemakers generous gel

Best: Thicker consistency lube

Rating: 9/10

It was nice to have a change from the liquid lubes and switch to this gel-based version from Smilemakers. It quickly became a favourite as it felt thicker and needed a lot less topping up. It was also notably not as sticky as other water-based ones.

Even though it feels thicker, it doesn’t interfere with any of the sensations during sex and feels natural on the skin. It felt incredibly soft and helped to reduce discomfort – especially when it came to toys.

If gel formulas aren’t for you then Smilemakers has also designed three other consistencies which have lighter feels than the generous gel. The reasonable price on all of them means you can invest in a selection to try.

The vegan gel is also made with only five ingredients. One of these is dipotassium glycyrrhizate which is derived from the liquorice root and is a natural ingredient. It is thought to help with reducing inflammation while promoting healthier skin, and has also been linked to skin conditions such as eczema which can occur in more intimate places. There is no smell to the clear liquid which makes it a great choice for anyone avoiding heavier fragrances.

Jomo CBD arousal oil

Best: Lube for arousal

Rating: 8.5/10

This product felt luxurious from the moment we opened the fancy packaging. The arousal oil felt very different from other lubricants in that being oil-based, it felt thicker on the skin but silky soft. It was also the only product that came in a glass bottle which felt even fancier.

It’s designed to be used as a massage oil and a lubricant so is safe to use internally. But do note, as an oil product, it is not safe to be used with latex or silicone toys so will break condoms or glyde dams. That said, it’s still a great product and one we started to use on non-sex days when we felt a bit of vaginal discomfort. The reason for that is due to the different botanical oils including lavender, grapeseed oil and CBD which are used to minimise discomfort. It also created a lovely fragrance which while lovely, is strong so worth noting if you are sensitive to smell.

It is one of the more expensive products at £48 but to be honest, it’s worth it for the multiple uses and the CBD it contains. A little goes a long way with oils and this is no exception.

The Natural Love Company simply lube

Best: Environmentally conscious lube

Rating: 8/10

Natural lubricants are becoming a huge market as people are more aware of potentially scary ingredients in other products. The Natural Love Company has created a cruelty-free, vegan version that is made without additives or synthetic chemicals. This makes it a great choice for anyone struggling with allergies or sensitive skin.

The result is a great product that feels natural on the skin, isn’t sticky and doesn’t have an overpowering smell. The lube we tested had aloe vera in it which is thought to be calming and soothing to the skin. It did need topping up which meant adding a little bit extra, but this is normal with water-based lubes.

The eco-friendly bottle design is another plus. It’s made from compostable, wheat-based plastic including the lid which can be composted or recycled, which is impressive. The company also plants a tree for every bottle sold. The easy to use pump makes a nice change from other bottles with lids that need to be twisted off, and is not easy when you have your hands full.

Vivify natural intimate moisturiser balm

Best: Lube for soothing irritation

Rating: 8/10

Vivify was the only lube that we tested to come in a pot as opposed to a pump or bottle. The thick balm was a curious experience, melting into a natural, light lube the second we tried to use it. It was more difficult to open the product in a hurry though, as it relied on twisting it open, removing the inner lid then scooping some out.

It’s worth noting that this is not safe for latex or toys but is a great natural option if those aren’t being used. Where this product excels is that it offers relief from burning, itching and redness. This is down to ingredients such as olive oil that help to stimulate collagen production and elastin in the skin.

Other ingredients include avocado oil and sea buckthorn which help to regenerate cells and relieve any burning sensation. It’s also why the product is labelled as “moisturiser balm” and also potentially why it was great for helping to reduce discomfort in using tampons. We started to use the product around our time of the month when we experienced dryness, outside of having sex, as we found it soothing.

Sh! pure lube 250ml

Best: Value for money lube

Rating: 8/10

Sh has a range of lubricants in different thicknesses but pure lube is the best seller in its range. It’s easy to see why given how long it lasts on the skin without drying out, yet isn’t overly runny or watery.

This vegan lube worked well with our toys and needed very little top up. It’s completely clear and scent-free too so it didn’t have any awkward perfume or plastic smells. The pump bottle was also a very welcome design feature as it could be used with little mess or fuss once things got started. For those who need a thicker lube, the Sh pure plus is a better choice and works quite well for anyone who may have dryness or use dilators for vaginismus.

As the lube is water-based, it’s safe to use with condoms or toys too. It was also really easy to clean up too as it left no awkward stains, and washed off the skin quickly. At £12 for 250ml, this was easily one of the best value for money products we tried. The company has worked out the price as 5p per ml too which is oddly good to know.

Roam gel lubricant for the front

Best: Lube with a thoughtful design

Rating: 8/10

The first thing we noted when we saw the bottles from Roam was the braille on the side of the bottle. This is the only time we have seen something like this on any of the bottles. It wasn’t a discreet placement eitherm but the entire side of the bottle. We never think of lube as needing to have a well thought out design or be inclusive but Roam highlights how clever little additions can make a product.

The bottle is recycled while the formula has been divided into two options helpfully (and hilariously) labelled “for the front” and “for the back.” The front is lighter while the back is a thicker formula but both can be used vaginally.

With natural gluten-free and vegan ingredients the product is aimed at soothing any irritation including aloe vera, jojoba and also agave. The gel texture was a welcome break from some of the runnier lubes that we tested and it felt comfortable on the skin. It also worked well with toys but we weren’t sure about latex use as it wasn’t clearly stated. This is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a fragrance-free, thoughtful and recyclable product.

The Knude Society glide lube

Best: Lube for sensitive skin

Rating: 7.5/ 10

Glide is a natural vegan product that felt silky to the touch. The water-based lube has a short yet natural ingredient list including some unusual ones such as carrageenan, which is a red seaweed often used to preserve or thicken products.

Thankfully it seems brands are moving away from the more synthetic ingredients. Knude Society has embraced this with its natural water-based lube that felt natural on the skin and needed a minimal top-up. It didn’t feel noticeable when it was on the skin that we were using lube, which can be an issue with some of the thicker lubes out there. It was also completely clear and unscented which is again a nice departure from some of the synthetic fragrances that products used to use. It is also latex and toy safe.

The natural ingredients mean there is less chance of developing bacterial problems after sex, and Glide is also PH-balanced to help maintain the vagina’s natural acidity. The bottle was really easy to open during “the main event” without much mess or fuss. It was also discreet enough to not immediately appear as lube on the bathroom shelf too.

Naked Grapefruit just lube

Best: Lube for beginners

Rating: 7.5/ 10

The idea behind the brand is refreshingly simple and honest. Its lubricants and toys are designed to be as straightforward as possible without overloading on the details or ingredients. Just lube is a great example of this as it is just lube, with no nasty ingredients or surprises. At just £9.99 for 50ml it was also one of the cheaper and best value for money options we tested.

The smaller bottle meant it could be discreetly popped into a pocket or a bag which we were very much a fan of. The ergonomic pump on the bottle meant we could easily grab a top-up when needed without having to spend time prising plastic lids off too.

A little goes a long way with this product, although we found it did need to be topped up slightly. The product is also glycerin-free which is important if you struggle with yeast infections. Glycerin is often added to lube because it helps it to stay wet but it can contribute to an overgrowth of yeast in the body. And it’s latex compatible because it’s water-based.

In2mate Natural moisturiser

Best: Lube for menopause and health

Rating: 7.5/10

The In2mate set contains three identical pink and white bell-shaped bottles. One is a moisturiser, one is lube, and the other is a PH-intimate wash. This is important because while packing in a hurry, we threw the moisturiser into a bag not realising what it was. The result was what we felt like a very unnerving white lubricant experience.

That aside, when we did get to the test of the right lube, it felt light and natural on the skin. The range is designed to be PH-optimised while containing prebiotic and rejuvenating actives. It contains levan, natural plant fructose that can lock in moisture and a prebiotic called biolin, which may help the good flora in the vagina to reduce bad bacteria growth. This could help with fighting bacterial vaginosis, thrush or other infections or imbalances.

If you struggle with UTIs after sex then this could be a game-changer. Also, it could be a great lube to take while on antibiotics too. Biolin is also great for age-related thinning, chafing and dryness that can come along with menopause.

Olive & Bee natural intimate cream

Best: Multi use lube

Rating: 7/10

The first impression of this product is that it in no way looks like lube. The design, colour choice and wording are so discreet that you could stare directly at it and still not realise.

It felt instantly different to the others as well, in that it’s more of a balm, down to the natural ingredients of olive oil and beeswax. This means it’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and high in anti-oxidants, making it a great option for anyone looking for something that looks after vagina health at the same time. It purposely doesn’t use the word “lube” to describe itself as it notes it can be used by people in menopause or experiencing prolapse.

As it’s an oil-based product, it should not be used with toys or condoms which is stated on the bottle. It’s multi-use though in that it can be used as a lube, a moisturiser and also a massage oil. It felt incredibly soft on the skin, natural and thicker than the watery formulas that we had been using, so it was a very different experience.

Hoo Raa wake the neighbours

Best: Lube for trying CBD

Rating: 7/10

Hoo Raa’s lube has been designed for “frictionless fumbles together or alone” with 240mg of CBD isolate added for good measure.

The product has a non-sticky feel to it that felt natural on the skin when we applied it. A little goes a long way with this product and the bottle likes to pour a lot, so be mindful when squeezing it. What we did find with this lube was that we relaxed a bit more which may be down to CBD’s potential for soothing anxiety.

Thankfully, despite it being a CBD product, it doesn’t have a hemp smell which can happen. CBD is thought to potentially increase blood flow so it can help if you are struggling to get in the mood. This is a good product for anyone interested in starting CBD for “down there” or during. The bottle and marketing is cheerful, bright and not at all scary or an information overload, so it feels approachable and easy to use.

This product is not condom safe so take precautions, and there was no mention of toy safety. If you do like the product and use it often, then it’s worth noting the option for a subscription which could save you around £6 per purchase.

S8 aloe vera lube

Best: Soothing lube

Rating: 6.5/10

S8’s vegan lube contains a good amount of aloe vera which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a soothing product. Aloe vera is thought to be moisturising and calming when used on the skin. This is something we never realised was a thing for “down there” but here we are. The extra moisturisation from the aloe vera leaves is thought to aid sensation and glide.

Aloe infused products are thought to be thicker than other lubes but we didn’t find that to be the case here. It was still really light and felt natural on the skin rather than too thick but then again, being that it is water-based, that makes sense. It’s also paraben-free, phthalate-free, gluten-free, sulfate-free and condom safe. It’s also transparent and with no scent which is always welcome.

If aloe vera isn’t your thing then S8 do an entire range of literally every variety you can think of including flavours, hybrids and something called pride glide. At eight pounds a bottle, it’s one that you can afford to invest in a few to try.

The verdict: Lubricants

Out of all of the lubes that we tested, there were two very clear winners that we came back to repeatedly. But Quanna’s oomf had a slight edge over the Smilemakers generous gel as we loved the CBD, but both were just as good as each other. The well-designed packaging, clever formula and long-lasting property of the lubes meant they scored highly. In particular, the generous gel has become a favourite to use with toys such as strap ons, due to the thickness of the product.

When it came to honourable mentions, Roam was an impressive product and we loved how inclusive the packaging was with its braille. Another strong favourite was the Natural Love Company lube, because the product was just so well designed and thought through. Hooraa wake the neighbours also became a favourite as we loved the CBD content.

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