In my big lube guide, I wrote about the science of how water-based lubricants work. This guide is going to be more practical. I'll show you which water-based lubes are the best, including the safest, thickest, and longest-lasting brands.
Pros and Cons of Water-Based Lube
Water-based lube has some advantages and disadvantages compared to silicone, petroleum, and plant-oil based lubricants.
Easy to clean up - since water based lube is water-soluble, it's easier to clean and will come off with a quick rinse. (Unlike water-proof silicone lubes)
Works with silicone sex toys - Water-based lubes work best with silicone dildos and vibrators. This is in contrast to silicone based lubes, which warp and destroy silicone sex toys.
Smells Good - The best water based lubes, like Sliquid products, have a mild citrus smell or no smell at all. If your water-based lube smells like funky chemicals, then you know it has petroleum-derived ingredients inside it--these are harsh on vaginal and rectal tissues and are not good water based lubes.
It evaporates - Since water evaporates, water lubes need more frequent reapplication, especially for hand-jobs and solo penis masturbation. As the water evaporates it leaves behind additives like thickeners, preservatives, and humectants on your skin, which makes you sticky until you add water again. The best water-based lubes are less sticky because they don't contain sugar alcohol ingredients like glycerin.
Risky for vaginas and butts - Water-based Lubes like K-Y and Astroglide contain harsh preservatives and petroleum derived ingredients, which are used to lower the manufacturing cost. Studies have shown these strong lubes can damage the mucous membrane and flora of the rectum and vagina, leading to an increase in the risk of BV, yeast infections, and STI transmission. For detailed info on this read my research findings in my big lube guide.
Healthiest Water Based Lubes
Here are the best (and safest) water based lubes available. They last longer than K-Y and Astroglide, but more importantly, they are formulated to be gentle on your sensitive tissue. Many of them are created by woman-owned companies that prioritize healthy products over just making money.
Sutil Luxe is my favorite water based lube! It contains Hyaluronic Acid which makes it soft and silky.
Contains 10% silicone lube plus cream emollient, making a very longest lasting lube that has moisturizing effects.
Good Clean Love
Aloe vera juice is used as the water for this lube natural.
A thick lube with gentle ingredients, best for anal play.
Coconut water is used as the base ingredient in this lube.
This lube only contains only three ingredients besides water: seawand extract, citric acid(preservative), and propanediol (prevents evaporation).
Ingredients: Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Zemea, Lotus Root, Oat Beta Glucan, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid
This is a water lube with a silicone feel. If you're a silicone-lube-only person, this will convert you to water lube. It's so silky and soft, i just want to rub it on my hands even when it's not for sex. It also lasts longer than any 100% water-based lube i've tried.
The bottle is also bio-degradable and all the ingredients are Eco-certified and botanically sourced. The key ingredient to its unique feeling is Hyaluronic Acid aka 'Nature's lubricant'. Hyaluronic Acid is already in the body and helps lubricate joints and keep the skin elastic. In Sutil Luxe, it binds to H20 to give it an extra slipperiness, while simultaneously preventing it from evaporating.
For silicone sex toys, there isn't any lube I would recommend more than this guy. It's also pH balanced and has a low osmolality, which means it won't disturb the vagina's bacteria balance and increase the risk of infections.
Sliquid Silk - Long Lasting & Creamy
Ingredients: Water, Silicone, Emollient Esters
This lube contains 10% silicone ingredients. I'm not sure if it's against the rules to include a hybrid like this in a water-based lubricant guide, but it's 80% water and a great lube so I don't want people to miss out on it.
The silicone ingredients make it very long lasting. Compared to the other lubes on this list, only the Sutil Luxe comes close to competing with its longevity. And when you're done, you can actually wash it off, it isn't water-proof like 100% silicone lubes are.
Another ingredient is cream emollients, which give it the creamy white look and extra lubrication. Emollients are also used for lotions, so it can be used to moisturize dry skin in a similar way.
Sliquid is a great lube company and if you follow my blog you've seen me mention them a bunch. They've got 24 different lubes available, and most are water-based.
Some other good Sliquid lubes to try are H20, Sea, Sassy, Swirl, Satin, Sizzle, and the Naturals line.
Good Clean Love - Aloe Juice As The Water Base
Ingredients: Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Agar, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate & Natural Flavor
This lube uses Aloe juice as the water and is 95% organic. It smells and tastes like vanilla, it's totally safe to eat too and makes for a great flavored lube.
This is a good lube for vaginal use or penis use, but it gave me a bit of a sting when I used it anally. The lactic acid means it is more acidic, this i great for vaginas which naturally have a higher acidity, but the colorectal environment has low acidity and this lube is too acidic for some butts.
It also comes in a cinammon vanilla flavor called Guilty Pleasure, I haven't had the chance to try it yet.
Best Water Based Lubes For Anal (Silicone Safe)
For anal silicone toys you need a lube that is thick! The thickness gives you extra cushioning for your delicate rectal tissues, so you can go bigger, harder, and deeper without pain. Water-based lubes also won't damage your silicone toys when you use them anally. If you just want a lube for skin-on-skin anal sex, then it's best to use silicone lube because it lasts the longest.
For this section there's two anal water-based lubes I recommend. Sliquid Sassy and Jo H20 Anal
For Sensitive Skin: Sassy
Ingredients: Purified H2O, Plant Cellulose from Cotton Cyamposis, Guar Conditioners, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid.
Sassy is Sliquid's thickest water based lube. It's one of the most high-rater lubes on amazon with 4.5 stars. I went through all of them and only found two people out of 165 that complained of any stinging or burning.
It lasts longer than most lubes and is the best cushion for pushing silicone booty toys. Because it is so thick it won't work well vaginally and isn't meant to simulate natural lubrication.
Thickest: Pjur Backdoor Water
Ingredients: water, glycerin, xanthan gum, sodium hyaluronate, benzyl alcohol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, citric acid
This has one ingredient that doesn't work for me: glycerin. It can cause burning in some people and has been shown in a few studies to damage the epithelial layer of the rectum. But, that being said, it has good reviews and some people love it. It also contains mild preservatives like citric acid, unlike the alternative Jo H20 Anal, which contains parabens, a questionable chemical.
If you feel you have a tough butt, and want the thickest water lube possible, this might be a good match for you.
Some More Tips
When you buy a new water-based lube start small. Just get a 1oz or 2oz bottle to test if it works with your body. Then you can get a 8oz bottle or bigger if you decide it's a good match.
Just Add Water - If your lube starts to dry out you can use a spray bottle to add just enough water to get things working again. This is a good way to save on your water-based lube.
Buy From Your Local Sex Shop - If you live near a progressive sex shop, they will have samples available that you can test on your hand. The staff is also friendly, knowledgeable, and can help you find the best safe water lube for your needs.