Have you been keeping up with your superhero movies this summer? Whether you’re Team Marvel, Team DC, or totally out of the loop, you’re surely familiar with the formula of a great origin story--that intimate, memorable look at the ordinary made extraordinary.
Here at Pulse, we obviously save our allegiance for Wonder Woman, but this surge of superheroes has prompted us to share a super origin story of our own: how we created our water-based H2Oh! personal lubricant that’s light-years ahead of the rest with the help of heroic yet humble chia seed extract. It’s blockbuster material, if we do say so ourselves, and you’re the first to hear this story.
The Dark Days of Drugstore Lubes
It was a bleak time in bedrooms across the land...maybe you were there. Bands of dastardly drugstore lubricants ruled with a cold, sticky hand, gumming up caps, spilling in nightstands, and interrupting intimacy with their false promises to stimulate, not irritate. It was hard to know which bottles could be believed: could we trust the warming lubes? The flavored formulas and suspiciously-scented serums? More often than not, those lubes sent vaginas cringing in fear of dehydration, irritation, and infection. These sensitive tissues began to wonder how long their powers of natural lubrication could hold against the cheap, brutish invaders, and if help would ever come.
Pulse put a crack team of scientists, doctors, sexual wellness experts, and technologists to work. Their mission? Develop a safe, gentle, silky smooth, and hydration-packed formula that would blow these other water-based lubes out of the, well, water. Their leader, the wise and nurturing Dr. Cindi Buxton, ND, LAc, has years of experience as a naturopath and holistic women’s health expert. We knew that if anyone could collaborate seamlessly with chemists and compounders and meet our customers’ most important sexual needs with gentle, creative, and scientifically-sound solutions, it was her.
Vagina Villains: The Lube Ingredients We’ll Never Use
First, we identified our foes. You know from our interview with Lauren Streicher, MD that water-based personal lubricants can be packed with nefarious--or at least irritating--ingredients lurking at every turn. Our Formulations team found the ones to avoid and charged them with “health crimes,” swearing we’d never let them into our top-secret lube lab or our proprietary formulas. The lineup of offenders includes:
- Parabens: Popular preservative in our competitors’ lubricants.
Crime: Impersonation of Human Hormones. Parabens can absorb into the body, where they mimic powerful estrogen. Some studies show carcinogenic activity of parabens, which have even been found in high concentration in certain breast tumors. In men, parabens act like excess estrogen and block normal testosterone activity--so we blocked them.
- Petroleum products like Propylene Glycol: Common additives with an inflammatory past.
Crime: Harboring Dangerous Fugitives. Petroleum products like propylene glycol can be contaminated with combustion materials associated with cancer. Not what we had in mind when we said we wanted to heat things up in the bedroom.
- Chlorhexidine or Sodium Hydroxide: Harsh chemical preservatives.
Crimes: Harassment and Assault. These unnecessary additives can cause aggravation, irritation, and allergic reactions when they come in contact with tender genital tissues, so they, too, made our permanent blacklist.
- Glycerin: A common and complicated skincare additive.
Crime: Disturbing the Peace. Glycerin is one of the main ingredients in many of our competitors’ lubes, because it is very cheap and has moisture-attracting powers. However, in large quantities, glycerin can disrupt a normal, healthy vaginal environment, causing possible cellular damage and contributing to overgrowth of vaginal yeast. Our scientists conducted careful negotiations with this double-agent: H2Oh! contains only 0.01% glycerin (statistically insignificant), a tiny amount used to extract the natural lubricants from organic chia seeds for our formula, and not nearly enough to disrupt our delicate vaginal health.
In addition to their dangerous individual “powers,” all of these ingredients share an off-putting property: their mere presence causes high osmolality, which is a trigger for tissue dehydration and damage to mucosal cells in the inner labia, vagina, cervix, anus, rectum--even the head of the penis. Since so many of our competitors’ lubes lead to high osmolality and in turn, major dehydration and irritation, we knew it was essential to make a water-based formula that matches the body’s natural lubrication. This balanced solution would lovingly lubricate these sensitive tissues even further, promising more comfortable, longer-lasting sex without pain, irritation, or infection.
Hydration Heroes: Why We Added Pure Chia Extract to Our Lube
Once our scientists knew which lube ingredients to avoid, we started looking for a secret source of hydration and comfort. As it happened, the hero of Pulse’s H2Oh! Personal Lubricant was no lab accident or experiment gone awry, but a natural, botanical goddess of goodness we already knew.
Salvia Hispanica bounced into the Formulation team’s headquarters and revealed her alter ego: Organic Chia Extract. Already a wellness darling in the food and beauty industries, beloved for her health benefits and versatility, Chia Extract promised that her keen powers of hydration (thanks to massive quantities of omega-3s, antioxidants, and slippery soluble fiber) could help fight the dehydrating effects of other drugstore lubes and easily soothe vaginal tissues.
We were all too happy to have her help and, with Dr. Cindi’s approval, became the first and only lube company to use extracts from organic chia. We skipped the seeds, went straight for the plush, silky, hydration-boosting extract, and made it the star of our recipe. Next on our scientists’ list? Find Chia’s perfect sidekicks. We called in pharmaceutical-grade all-natural HEC, a plant-based cellulose, to bring a cushiony slip to our lube, and invited the bio-based, skin-friendly humectant propanediol to lock in moisture in the lube formula and the vaginal tissues themselves.
Individually, these ingredients are impressive. Together in our H2Oh! personal lubricant, they become a tireless powerhouse of hydration that’s safe and gentle, exceptionally long-lasting, and easily refreshed mid-romp with just a few drops of water. While they stick together to work flawlessly in bed, they never get sticky (or tacky, or gummy, or goopy). Like every great superhero, this dream team arrives when you need it most, saves the day, and slips discreetly away after a job well done--that’s lube scientist speak for “blissfully easy cleanup!”
When we saw our unique water-based lube in action, we knew we’d found the ultimate ally for the battle of the lubricants and decided it was time to unleash our powerful creation. H2Oh! feels as silky smooth as a silicone lube, but it’s safe to use with silicone toys, condom-friendly, and perfectly pH-balanced so it’s gentle and safe for sensitive skin. The people had to know.
As whispers spread from bedroom to bedroom, an uncanny thing happened. The bottles and tubes of drugstore lubes just...vanished. Little by little, then all at once, those sticky vessels were replaced with shining beacons of pure, luxurious hydration: a Pulse Pod of H2Oh! on every nightstand.