What is the difference between water based and silicone lubricant? Your guide to finding the best lube
We all know that lube can make sex more comfortable — and better — but many people still don't know the difference between water-based and silicone lubricant.
They're two of the most popular forms of lube. But they have some key differences which you should bear in mind before purchasing. Get the low down below.
What is a water-based lubricant?
Water-based lubricants are water-soluble, and they are the most widely-used type of lube, per Healthline.
They come in two different varieties: with glycerin or without glycerin. If your water-based lubricant contains glycerin, it will have a slightly sweet taste.
But the most important fact about water-based lube is that it is safe to use with condoms — both latex and non-latex. They typically don't stain sheets or clothing either.
What is a silicone-based lube?
Silicone-based lubricants don't contain any water, and they offer a different feeling on the skin.
They're thicker and glossier than their water-based counterparts, and won't dry out as quickly either. Silicone-based lube is known for being incredibly long-lasting, so if you're looking for something that doesn't need to be reapplied often, you're in the right place.
Silicone is also hypoallergenic, so most people who use it won't experience any reaction. And it's also safe to use with condoms.
So what's the catch? Well, they're a bit more tricky to wash off – you'll typically need to use soap and water to clean up afterwards. And some silicone-based lubes have also been known to stain sheets and clothing.
What is the difference between water-based and silicone lubricant?
The main difference between water-based and silicone lubricant is that water-based lubricants can be used for any sexual need, whether it be penetration, masturbation or sex-toy play.
Meanwhile, silicone-based lubricant can be used for all of these things, except with silicone-based sex toys — as the silicone in the lube will gradually break down the toy.
But due to silicone-based lube's long-lasting effects, you may want to opt for it when considering shower sex, as water-based lubricant will just wash away.
Also, water-based lubes can get sticky and require frequent re-application — so choose silicone if you're in need of a session that goes on till the early morning... But remember! There will be a bit more tidying up afterwards.
What is the best water-based lubricant?
There are a range of water-based lubricants that promise to ensure comfort during sexual activity — here's our round-up of the best...
With a "100% natural, moisturising formula", Durex Naturals Intimate Gel Lubricant is pH-friendly to help maintain balance. It also promises to increase "smoothness and comfort".
Liquid Silk Lube — £12.99
Liquid Silk Lube comes in a handy pump tube container that you can leave on your bedside table for whenever the mood strikes. This is a great lubricant to use with sex toys, as it's non-tacky and doesn't dry out easily. A little goes a long way!
Lubido is known as the nation's favourite lube. It's vegan-friendly, paraben-free, and of course, condom safe — making it a good option for those who are looking for something simple that gets the job done.
KY Jelly Personal Lubricant — £4.69
KY Jelly is "gentle enough for everyday use and safe to use with latex condoms". It claims to "compliment" your personal moisture to ensure that you feel comfortable during sex.
This is a great two in one lube for the more adventurous pairings out there. It can be used as lube for sex, as well as for body massage. It's also non-greasy and fragrance-free. This means it'll wash off easily when you're finished.
What is the best lubricant for a woman?
There are a bunch of different lubricant options out there for women. But ultimately, it's up to the person in question to decide what's best. From water-based to silicone, bear in mind your priorities when deciding what lube to pick up.
If you're wanting a long-lasting lube that doesn't need to be reapplied often, then silicone is your best bet. But if you're looking for a versatile lubricant that can do it all — including sex toy play — then it's safer to stick to water-based.
All of the lubricants listed above are great for women to use, alone or with a partner.
What is the safest personal lubricant to use?
The safest personal lubricant to use is the one that works for your personal needs.
In terms of contraception, bear in mind that oil-based lubricants — while completely safe to use — render most condoms ineffective. They can also cause vaginal irritation.
However, if you're concerned about irritation, then you should limit our use of lubricants with fragrance or flavouring.
The ingredients that are more likely to result in irritation or inflammation, and should be avoided by those with more sensitive skin include: glycerin, nonoxynol-9, propylene glycol and chlorhexidine gluconate.
You're best off sticking with some of the lubricants we listed above. We'd particularly recommend Durex Naturals Intimate Gel Lubricant or KY Jelly Personal Lubricant.