Have A Slick Holigay: A Guide To Buying Lube For Yourself And Others


At a loss for what kind of sexy gift to get your sexy person? It is my personal belief that one can never have too much lube at their disposal. Yes, there is such a thing as using too much lube: stop before you reach slip n’ slide status. But having a stockpile? Super helpful. It’s better to have some around and not wind up using it than to have none around and desperately need it. The thing is, buying lube for another person (as you may do during the holigays) is difficult because lube might be the most personal thing you can purchase someone (even more personal than underwear). It goes inside someone. And people have sensitivities and allergies — sometimes not even that person knows what they are. Plus you have to consider how the lube feels, how it tastes, etc. Here is a list of things to think about whilst purchasing personal lubricant for another human:

1. Is it glycerin free? Most people with vaginas are sensitive to glycerin because it’s basically sugar, and if you put sugar in a vagina, that vagina will become a yeast playground. What I’m saying is don’t give someone a yeast infection for the holigays. Not a good gift. Buy glycerin free. Steer clear of anything flavored.

2. Apart from glycerin, are there any other potential irritants in the lube? This could include parabens or citric acid. These could also include what I like to call “special effects” lube, like the tingly or warming stuff. Some people are sensitive to these ingredients, some are not. If you’re aware of your partner’s (or s’) allergies or irritants, then make your decision accordingly. If you’re not sure, though, better to be safe than sorry. Someone used warming lube on me once and I spent the rest of the night sitting in a bathtub full of cold water. Not a good night.

3. What is the intended use of this lube? Where is this lube going? Is it for anal sex? If so, use something thicker. Is it going on a silicone toy? Then use water-based lube only. Let me repeat that. If this lube will come into contact with a silicone toy, USE ONLY WATER-BASED LUBE OTHERWISE YOU WILL MELT THE SILICONE TOY. But is it for fisting? Maybe use the silicone lube (just don’t use the silicone toy after). You can have different lubes for different days.

4. Will either/any of you be putting your mouth on this lube? It might not seem like an important question, but if you’ve ever put your mouth on Liquid Silk Lube, you know this question is worth asking. Some lubes taste like nothing. Some lubes taste like dirty rubber tires. Some lubes are flavored and you shouldn’t buy them (because sugar), but some lubes have a flavor without being flavored and then the question is, do you like that flavor?

5. Are you still undecided? You’re in luck — many lubes come in sample sizes. If all else fails, get a few different kinds in smaller or sample sizes. I highly recommend this if you’re picking out lube for the first time or if you’re not sure about your person’s tastes in lube. Even after asking all the questions, so much of this is personal preference that it’s good to sample before committing to a giant bottle of something.

6. Don’t buy your lube at CVS. Or Rite Aid. Or any other large chain. Chain pharmacies are good for many things — but in the lube department, they’ll likely only have big brands like KY or Astroglide, and while these are popular, they might not necessarily be wonderful. You’re better off, in this case, buying from a shop like Babeland or Good Vibrations. Both places allow you to order online (and everything from Babeland comes in discreet packaging). If you can visit one of these shops or another lovely independent sex toy shop, that’s also excellent — you can talk to the sex educators in person, and they’ll always have the most up-to-date information about the products in their store. Also, get to a toy store if you’re able to taste the lube samples. You’ll be glad you did.

Okay, now onto the fun stuff. Let’s talk actual lube that you can buy. Every lube I recommend is glycerin free because I don’t want to light any hoohas on fire.



Price: $0.50–$22, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: Made by Babeland. Comparatively inexpensive. Tastes like zero things. Gluten-free. Good for anal and vaginal penetration — so all around quite versatile. Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Trace amounts of ethylhexyglycerin. Such small amounts that the lube is still considered glycerin-free.

Buy It Here

Babelube Natural


Price: $12

Valuable Info:  Mostly organic and entirely natural, vegan, paraben-free. Also made by Babeland, just with no artificial ingredients. Contains carrageenan (linked in some studies to reducing risk of HPV transmission, but not proven so still get vaccinated if you can). Safe to use with silicone toys. Great for someone who likes regular Babelube but doesn’t like that regular Babelube isn’t all-natural/vegan.

Potential Irritants: Citric acid.

Buy It Here

Liquid Silk


Price: $1–$20, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: Gluten-free. Super slidey (great for buttsex!) and feels amazing. HAS THE WORST TASTE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF TASTES (except for maybe vegemite, I don’t know what vegemite is about). Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Parabens.

Buy It Here



Price: $1—$20, depending on the size.

Valuable Info:  Gluten-free. Not a wonderful taste, but certainly not the awful taste that Liquid Silk has. In fact, this might be the most comparable to Liquid Silk without the worst taste ever. Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Parabens.

Buy It Here

Sliquid Organics Natural


Price: $1.50—$13, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: A lighter texture than most of the other recommended lubes. Paraben free! Even the bottle is recyclable, so when you’re finished you can feel free to chuck it in the recycle bin. Super eco friendly. USDA-compliant Quality Certification Services certified organic ingredients. Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Citric acid.

Buy It Here

Sliquid Sassy Formula


Price: $1–$20, depending on the size

Valuable Info: Made specifically for anal play (so it’s a bit thicker and heavier), but works great for other orifices too! Paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free and not tested on animals. Tastes like zero things. Bottle is recyclable when you’re finished. Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Legit, none that I can find.

Buy It Here

Hathor Aphrodisia Lubricant


Price: $20–$30, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: Very slick, organic and all-natural. Vegan and gluten free. Paraben free. Includes an ingredient called Horny Goat Weed, which aside from being an aphrodisiac is just really funny. Safe to use with silicone toys.

Potential Irritants: Legit, none that I can find.

Buy It Here



Price: $18–$30, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: THIS IS A SILICONE LUBE! DON’T USE IT WITH YOUR SILICONE TOYS UNLESS YOU PUT A CONDOM ON THEM AND EVEN THEN JUST USE A WATER-BASED LUBE FOR YOUR SILICONE TOYS! Great for fisting. Super slick. Also silicone lubes don’t dry up as quickly as water-based lubes, so this will last a bit longer than the other lubes in this guide. Also also, silicone lubes are better in the shower because they don’t wash away with water as easily as water-based lubes. Just FYI.

Potential Irritants: None that I can find — this lube is recommended for those with sensitivities.

Buy It Here



Price: $1.50–$26.50, depending on the size.

Valuable Info: Thinner and less heavy than Überlube, recommended mainly for vaginal sex because of its special moisturizing formula. THIS IS A SILICONE LUBE, SO DON’T USE IT WITH A SILICONE TOY. Use it with this instead. Washes off a bit easier than most other silicone lubes. Also sometimes recommended for those with vaginal dryness for everyday usage.

Potential Irritants: This lube is specially formulated for people with sensitivities, so yeah, not really any irritating ingredients here.

Buy It Here

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for the taste disclaimer on Liquid Silk. I always find it frustrating that so many people forget about taste.

    I mean it is a great lube, but I don’t want to taste it.

    Sliquid on the other hand, I think I could eat with a spoon.

    The green apple flavor goes great with vodka. (You might think that given the flavor it’d be a good match for tequila, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.)

    • ^ yessss DJ. i can figure out the mechanical qualities from description but taste is something i really can’t figure out without trying. I’m so not buying 200 bottles of lube out of curiosity – and sadly there is no such thing as lube tasting events.

      • A store I went to recently had tester section, were you could pick any from the shelf, squirt some on your hand or stick to test consistency and flavor. Kind of genius.

      • My usual rule is to go for the weirder flavours. You’re not going to be particularly disappointed if your loquat or lime doesn’t taste quite like what it should, but it can put a definite pause on events if ‘strawberry’ tastes more like cherry.

        • > it can put a definite pause on events if ‘strawberry’ tastes more like cherry.

          You *understand* me.

        • Also if you’re gonna go flavored, please check ingredients for irritants! Many flavored lubes include glycerin, and man does that not agree with some people. My body doesn’t particularly like aspartame either, and that’s what the darn sliquid green apple stuff is sweetened with, so I’m out of the running for that personally.

      • You can get a bunch of sample packets! That’s what I recommend when you’re not sure what’s up re: taste.

  2. Thank you! The allergens/irritants thing has become a big issue at our house, so this was really helpful.

  3. I saw “Potential Irritants: Parabens.” and thought I was being congratulated in Portuguese for learning all about lubes. #travelerproblems

    (I know what parabens are now; thanks Google!)

    • When I was just starting with lube, it didn’t cross my mind either! But man, my hoo-ha did NOT like it. And it took me forever to figure it out, too!

    • Awww, thank you! Honestly, I’ve wanted to do a lube guide for, like, forever, and the holigay theme just seemed like a good time to do it!

  4. I’ve found Good Clean Love (water-based, organic, vegan) to be really amazing despite its initial tinglyness (possibly due to citric acid? In any case I got used to it quite fine, and my crotch is a crybaby). The Almost Naked tastes like some sort of nondescript cake – but in a good way.

  5. Sliquid Sassy. Can not say enough about this stuff. Great product for all your lubicious needs. The thicker heavier consistency means it really stays where you need it, when you need it. It doesn’t dry too fast. And to quote my girlfriend, “It isn’t icky, sticky and ooky like some of the others.”

  6. Thanks for the silicone lube with silicone toys warning. You have saved me from potential disaster! :)

  7. Sliquid Sassy, sadly, does contain citric acid.

    I did a lube experiment allergy test last week.
    Step 1: found that most of the (all non-flavoured) lubes were OK on my calves. To my consternation, the two organic ones left me with hives. Not sexy.
    Step 2: based on Ali’s recommendation, tasted remaining three lubes. All were OK. Wasn’t allergic to tasting lube!
    Step 3: The ones with citric acid, I learned, aren’t great, well…elsewhere.

    Turned out that the only water-based lube that is ok as more than a leg moisturizer is the only one in my stack that wasn’t vegan. Does anybody have suggestions for a hypoallergenic, citric-acid-free, glycerin-free, paraben-free, vegan lube?

  8. Great idea for an article and thanks for all the info. Now I’m wondering what will happen in the not too distant future when a drone mixes up my address and delivers my giant-sized lube order to my next door neighbor. Awkward!

  9. I heart Liquid Silk for its moisturizing properties — but it’s definitely only for use after any oral activities have already gone down. (So to speak.) I think it tastes like lotion.

  10. Hmm, perhaps now is the time to branch out from free live samples at my schools health center and actual BUY some…

  11. also yea, would citric acid be a clear asset in a situation where all your base does indeed belong to me, in a chemical sense? As in Ph probs.

    just wondering

  12. I really want to be more into Sliquid and Babelube Natural that I am. Even with natural wetness and tons of lube everything dries out and magically disappears and there is nothing sexier than being like, “Oh hey, I realize you are mid-orgasm but I am worried I am going to hurt your vagina so I need to stop so I can re-apply”.
    Babelube is my default because it doesn’t seem to pull a vanishing act, but I really shouldn’t admit defeat until I try some of these other ones!

  13. I can highly recommend the Sassy and the organic Sliquid. There also is a Sliquid organics gel (purple label) which I think is just like the Sassy. but organic. Don’t quote me on that.

    Not as big a fan of the Babelube Natural, I think my finicky bits don’t like it. Maybe it’s the carrageenan? Who knows.

  14. Can I just say, this is the best holigay article yet? Because it is. And seriously? You even said which ones are gluten free. That is not a thing that’s usually done, but it’s a thing that I need. This is the best, most practical run-down of lube options I’ve seen.

    • Completely agree. Being able to see – easily – what’s GF *and* vegan was great. And Babeland will soon be getting some of my money because of it. Thank you!

  15. Babeland’s flavoured lubes (called Babelicious!!!) are still paraben- & glycerin-free & they’re AMAZING. Absolutely my favourite lube ever. The “dulce de leche” flavour smells EXACTLY like pancakes (and also very strongly & long-lastingly) which results in my girlfriend & I getting awkwardly turned on every time we walk past a pancake place or our housemates cook breakfast. Sadly we can’t afford to have it around all the time due to shipping costs to Australia so we’re always on the look out for a more affordable replacement.

    I’m also really glad to see someone else acknowledge the HORROR which is the taste of Liquid Silk. I’m an Aussie, I eat vegemite, I have eaten MANY meals with flies in them and I have gone down on a man who drank WAY too much coffee & yet Liquid Silk is still the most disgusting thing I have ever had in my mouth. It almost ruined a one-night-stand a few years back, but thankfully it was a repeat performance so she knew it wasn’t HER tate that was making me pull those apparently very entertaining faces. (She claims that it’s always tasted fine to her. I worry about her taste buds)

  16. Oh my lord, best post ever for a person in the sex shop biz. Liquid Silk for penetration only, if there’s oral on the menu or we’re taking our time I’m all about Sliquid Oceanics, which is like Organics but also contains sea vegetable extracts – so seaweeds and that kind of thing, which is great for the whole area.

    For what it’s worth also Sh!’s own-brand lubes are great too. Regular, Pure and Pure+ are comparible to Liquid Silk, Astroglide and Maximus respectively. And also worth noting is Astroglide does a Sensitive incarnation which contains very little of anything which would set off delicate people. I’m kind of trying most lubes out at the moment for work and thus far none of the stuff I’ve mentioned has set me off, and I’m a delicate flower. But Sliquid Oceanics is DA BOMB. No aftertaste and super moisturising.

    Oh and Liquid Silk is our favourite one for hand-moisturising on the shop floor right now. Esp after using antibac hand gel all day long. But don’t lick your hands, lest ye cry forevs.

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