4 Types of Lube and How to Choose the Best One For You

Should it be a water-based or oil-based lube

Do I need a numbing, warming, or edible one

Is a silicone-based lubricant any good?

There are many types of lube in the market.  

But choosing the right lube can make all the difference when you’re looking for that extra “wetness” in bed.

Let’s explore each type of lube and when you should go for them. We’ll also highlight some of the best lubes available to help you out.  

Also Check Out:

The 4 Main Types of Lubricants (+ Their Pros and Cons)

All sex lubes fall into one of four categories: 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the different types:

1. Water-Based Lubricant

Water-based lubricant is the most widely-available type of lube. 

As you may have guessed, it’s made with water as a base. For example, Coconu’s Water-based Lube is made with organic coconut water.

  • Non-sticky, non-staining, and easy to wash off
  • Compatible with any condom, barrier, and sex toy
  • Great for moisturizing vaginal tissue and combating dryness
  • May require frequent reapplication
  • Will wash away in water, so not suitable for water play (think: shower sex)
When to Choose Water-Based Lube

A water-based lube is perfect for quickies and won’t damage your condoms or toys. 

If you’re okay with reapplying as needed and staying out of the water, you can’t go wrong with this type of lube.

We Recommend: Coconu Water-Based Personal Lubricant

Coconu Water-Based Lube is a silky-smooth lubricant made with all-natural USDA-certified organic ingredients. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and non-GMO.

The lubricant is free of harsh ingredients (like alcohol, parabens, dyes, fragrances, gluten, petroleum, and phthalates), so it’s the best lube for sensitive skin.

Its long-lasting and gentle formula will preserve your delicate pH and moisturize vaginal tissue.

Use it with a latex condom (or any condom) and any toy or barrier for mind-blowing fun. 

The best part?

You can use it for penetrative sex, intimate massage, oral sex, and as a vaginal moisturizer to combat dryness. What more could you want?

Read More: In search of the gentlest lubes? Here are the 10 Best Lubes For Sensitive Skin.

2. Oil-Based Lubricant

An oil-based lubricant is made from plant and other natural oils for long-lasting lubrication. 

They require less reapplication than water-based lube.

  • Great for anal sex and long romps
  • Won’t wash away with water or saliva
  • Compatible with (pure) silicone, metal, and glass sex toys
  • Harder to wash off your skin
  • NOT compatible with latex condoms — oil degrades latex, which can cause breakage. Opt for polyurethane condoms instead.
When to Choose Oil-Based Lube

Grab an oil-based lube if you like long, luxurious love-making and don’t mind the mess or want to get busy in the bath. 

If you prefer latex condoms, choose water-based lubes instead.

We Recommend: Coconu Oil-Based Personal Lubricant

When it comes to natural oil-based lube, it doesn’t get better than Coconu Oil-Based Lube

It’s made with 100% organic coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and other ingredients.

Like our water-based lube, it’s vegan, non-GMO, and free of harsh chemicals. Not only will it last as long as you do, but it also makes for a seriously sensuous massage oil!

Even better?

Unlike most oil-based lubes, Coconu absorbs beautifully into your skin. That means no greasy stains or mess.

You can safely use it with a pure-silicone/glass/metal toy and non latex condom for vaginal or anal sex.

Read More: This is one task you don’t want to get wrong! Check out our guide on How to Lube a Condom.

3. Silicone-Based Lubricant

Silicone-based lube isn’t as popular as water-based and oil-based lubes, but it’s probably the most versatile. It’s both water and condom friendly.

  • Long-lasting and suitable for anal sex
  • Doesn’t wash away in water, making it suitable for water play
  • Compatible with all condoms, barriers, and non-silicone sex toys
  • Least likely to cause allergic reactions
  • Can be more expensive and less widely available
  • May damage silicone toys
  • Can stain your clothes and sheets
  • Harder to wash off the skin
When to Choose Silicone Lube

Silicone-based lube is best if you need an extra slippery and long-lasting sex lube and are really attached to your latex condoms. It’s also a safe option if you’re worried about allergies.

Avoid silicone lubes if you’re going to use silicone sex toys. 

Popular Silicone Lubes
  • Überlube silicone lube ($32/ 112ml): This unscented, unflavored silicone-based lubricant contains vitamin E for added skincare properties.

  • Gun Oil silicone lubricant ($31/ 120ml): This hypoallergenic lube contains vitamin E and aloe extract to protect and restore skin tissues and is specifically targeted at men.

  • Sliquid Spark Studio ($32/ 125ml): This is a vegan silicone lubricant free of glycerin, parabens, and sulfates. However, it contains menthol and may stain fabric.
Read More: If all this talk of water play is giving you ideas, read our Tantalizing Tips and Positions for Shower Sex.

4. Hybrid Lubes

Some lube manufacturers may mix water and silicone components to create a middle ground between them.

For example, a hybrid lube would be longer-lasting than water-based lube but easier to wash off than silicone lube.

  • Compatible with any condom, barrier, and sex toy (including silicone toys!)
  • Easy to wash off the skin
  • Long-lasting with a natural feel
  • Generally cheaper than silicone lube
  • By mixing silicone and water, you lose some of the benefits of both (for example, it may not be AS easy to clean, not AS long-lasting)
  • May require reapplication to prevent stickiness
Popular Hybrid Lubes
  • Sensuva Hybrid Lube ($16/ 125ml): This natural lubricant uses an aloe vera and water base blended with 15% silicone. Note that it contains propanediol (propylene glycol), which may cause problems with frequent use.

  • Sliquid Silk hybrid lubricant ($15/ 125ml): This hybrid lube is vegan, hypoallergenic, unscented, and glycerin free. It does contain citric acid, which is okay in most cases but could cause excess acidity if your vaginal pH is already acidic.

  • Good Vibes Please Cream Lubricant ($20/ 236ml): This water and silicone-based lubricant is glycerin free and safe to use with a silicone sex toy. 
Read More: Don’t ruin your vibe. Learn about the Best Lubes to Use With Your Sex Toys.

Specific Features You May Look for in Your Lube

Besides the main four lube types, there are many optional features you can look for in your perfect sex lube:

  • Natural: Natural lube is made with naturally occurring ingredients and not synthetic ones. If you like to keep things “down to earth”, natural lubricant is a great way to go.

  • Organic: Wait, isn’t organic and natural lube the same? Nope! Natural lubes aren’t always USDA-certified organic and may have used chemicals during processing. On the other hand, organic lube (like Coconu) is USDA-certified to be free from chemicals, GMOs, pesticides, and fertilizers.   

  • Edible: If you're a fan of lip-smacking oral sex, opt for an edible lube. This way, you know you’re not swallowing any nasty chemicals. (Tip: Coconu lubes are edible!).

  • Flavored: Flavored lube can make oral sex even tastier. Just know that these lubes often contain fragrances and sugars like glycerin, which can mess with your sensitive vaginal and anal tissue.

  • Sensation-inducing: Some lubes contain ingredients that create a warming or tingling sensation on the genitals, which can be fun for some out-of-the-box play. But many tingling or warming lubes contain harsh/irritating ingredients (e.g., menthol, capsaicin, peppermint).

  • Numbing: Numbing lubes decrease sensitivity where they’re applied. People use it to numb pain during vaginal or anal sex, which can help them relax and last longer. However, pain during sex is often a signal that you should stop. Ignoring pain can lead to injuries, making you more prone to infections and STDs.
Read More: If numbing lube is out, what’s the best way to prepare for anal play? Find out with these 10 Tips For Orgasmic Anal Sex.

How to Choose the Best Lubricant    

Here’s the thing: If you want to cover your bases for every type of sexual activity, you might want to pick up a few types of lube. 

You can get a water-based lube for everyday use, a silicone lube for anal sex, a flavored lube for oral, etc.

But if you’re just looking for the best lube to start you off, consider these factors:

  • Price: You don’t have to pay a fortune for your lube, but quality ingredients generally have a higher price tag. If you do purchase cheaper lube, check the ingredient list carefully. Low-quality lube can cause trouble and land you a costly visit to the doc.  
  • Lifestyle: Do you tend to have long sessions or quickies? Do you have more vaginal or anal sex? Is shower sex on the cards? Are you a condom user?  What toys do you use? Get a lubricant that matches your sex life.

  • Skin sensitivities: Take caution around skin sensitivities and allergies. Again, looking at the ingredient list goes a long way to avoiding an itchy, painful situation.

  • Reviews: Check out some product reviews before purchasing to see how others liked the product.

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Lube

We recommend avoiding lubes containing glycerin, propylene glycol, preservatives like parabens, artificial fragrances, and sweeteners. 

These ingredients can irritate your skin, causing burning, itching, and even a nasty yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. 

Read More: Wondering if coconut oil makes a good lube ingredient or substitute? Learn all about Coconut Oil As Lube and How to Use It Safely.

Lube 101: 5 Common Queries Answered

Get the lube lowdown with answers to these frequently asked questions:

1. What’s the Proper Way to Use Lube?

Squirt out as much lube as you want from the container and apply it to the vagina, anus, penis, or toy. Reapply as needed.

A few things to remember:

  • Lube applied under a condom can cause the condom to slip off
  • Store your lube at room temperature, securely closed, and in a dry place
  • Don’t be scared to get creative with your lube

2. Is Lube Necessary?

Look: Sex should never be painful, and good lube never hurts! 

It makes sex more fun, pleasurable and helps you last longer. 

For vaginal sex, your natural vaginal lubrication may be enough to enjoy safe and pain-free.

However, if you experience vaginal dryness (or are just having a dry day), use a vaginal lubricant to prevent pain and injuries.

Of course, lube also helps get your natural lubrication going during foreplay.

Use lube for anal sex because the anus doesn’t produce natural lubrication during arousal. Since the anus is generally tight, penetrative sex can be painful without lube.

3. What Causes Lack of Wetness While Aroused?

Vaginal dryness is nothing to be ashamed of, and many factors can cause it, such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Menopause
  • Low estrogen
  • High vaginal pH
  • Medications like antidepressants and contraceptives
  • Lack of arousal (we prescribe: more foreplay!)
  • Childbirth and breastfeeding

Check out our list of Home Remedies for Vaginal Dryness, or see a doctor if the problem persists.

4. Could My Lube Be Causing My Vaginal Issues?

The wrong lube can cause:

  • Allergy symptoms: burning, itching, swelling, rash, anaphylaxis, etc.

  • UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) symptoms: burning when peeing, frequent urination, inability to empty the bladder, back pain, etc.

  • Vaginal infection symptoms: Unusual discharge, unpleasant smell, itching, burning, pain during sex or urination, etc.

To prevent this, check the ingredients of your vaginal lubricant for allergens and harsh ingredients. If you’re using homemade lube, switch to something formulated for vaginal use.

Another thing:

Lube has a shelf life, and expired lube can wreak havoc on your sensitive tissue. 

5. Can I Use DIY Lube?

While no DIY option will beat a well-formulated personal lubricant (like Coconu), you could use DIY aloe vera or cornstarch lubes

When using homemade lubes, ensure it’s pure and doesn’t contain chemicals, additives, or contaminants (like from your kitchen). 

Some DIY lubes to avoid are baby oil, soap, vaseline, and vegetable oil.

Read More: Experiencing painful sex? Here are 10 Tips to Reduce Pain and Reclaim Pleasure.

Lube That Makes Waves in the Bedroom

Finding the perfect lubricant can truly elevate your pleasure and keep your body happy. 

Now that we’ve explored the ins and outs of the various types of lube, you can easily pick the one for your needs.

Curious about trying some lube varieties? We have got just the thing!

Try the Coconu Intimacy Gift Set – A pack of three full-sized Coconu organic lubricants. It includes a water-based lube, oil-based lube, and hemp-infused body oil (which doubles as a lube). It’s an excellent way to experiment and explore what works for you.