Why Our All-Natural Water-Based Lube Won’t Dry You Out
By Laura Shinn
Ever had sex in the shower or hot tub? It sounds exotic and delicious—and makes for a great sex scene—and it feels...terrible. It’s ironic: Water is full of moisture, yet it does a great job of removing your own natural moisturizing lubricants from the ladybits. Think about licking your lips to briefly moisturize them, only for them to get more chapped and flaky.
But when it comes to lubricants, a water-based lube formulation is a slick, slippery slice of heaven.
The Virtues of Water Based Lubrication
Typically, water based lube is the more common lube. Depending on the formulation, they can be thicker or thinner than silicone-based lubes, and they are typically gentler on the skin if they don’t include harmful chemicals found in most water-based lubricants, i.e significant % of glycerin, or propylene glycol, or petroleum products . They make for an easy cleanup—and will wash right out of your high-thread count sheets. Water-based lubes are also safe to use with silicone sex toys, since silicone-on-silicone will cause a reaction that’ll break down the toy over time.
Our Surprising Discovery in the Lab
Weirdly enough, water-based lubes have a reputation of drying up easily—or drying out the vagina.
Wait. What? Doesn’t that…defeat the whole purpose? Seriously.
Well, we were right there with you.
“We worked well over 100 iterations to get the perfect water-based lubricant recipe,” says Amy Buckalter, CEO and Founder of the game-changing Pulse lubricant warmer and dispenser and Pulse Pods. “As we were testing these formulations with all-natural ingredients, we’d spot-test them on our arms in meetings to see if any reaction would happen—and red spots were forming. And we’d think, ‘How could there be anything in there that would be an irritant? Everything in this formula is hypoallergenic!’”
That’s when Amy and her team had a genuine Oprah “Aha Moment”: there was a type of polysaccharide gum in one of the ingredients that was literally sucking moisture out of the skin. The “reaction” was actually dehydration.
Let’s just take a quick pause to breathe and acknowledge our sadness about the idea of a dehydrated vagina.
How We Made Water More Moist
We knew that we had to pay close attention to how the gums worked together. “They’re really polysaccharides that form a chain of carbohydrates,” explains Dr. Cindi Buxton, the Seattle-based naturopathic doctor who worked with Pulse chemists to develop both kinds of lubrication formulation in Pulse Pods. “Poly gums are great for water-based lubes, because they keep the water together, binding it into a thicker solution. But some will work to grab the water and keep the water, instead of giving it to the body. It takes a long time to put together the right combination of those poly gums, to get them perfectly stabilized with the water, exchanging water with each other instead of going rogue and searching for water—and making the lubricant slick, gooey and sleek.”
Tapping into the Power of Chia
The team looked for a naturally-derived ingredient that’s safe and well-tolerated. The plant that worked? Chia, a seed which—if you’re not familiar with the Chia Seed Pudding recipes taking over Instagram—naturally retains water.
So without further ado, meet H2Oh!, Pulse’s FDA-cleared plant-based water-based lube. Available just in time for Valentine’s Day, H2Oh! serves up the aforementioned naturally slick, gliding sensation of your dreams. That said, not all water-based lubes are made equal—it’s important to read labels. But in the meantime, go forth and spread the good news: water-based lube with plant-based ingredients—a.k.a. liquid gold—is on its way!
Laura Shinn is a Portland, Oregon-based writer and strategist covering health, wellness, food, fashion and culture.