What’s the difference between water-based and silicone lubricant?

What’s the difference between water-based and silicone lubricant?

Is water-based or silicone lubricant better? Are water-based lubricants safe for conception? Why use lube at all? Here, we answer all the questions you have about lube but are too afraid to ask, and highlight what to consider when choosing one.

Whether you’re planning on lubing up for sex, masturbation or to enhance sex toy play, rest assured there’s a personal lubricant out there just waiting to take your sexual experiences to the next level.

First up, why use lube at all?

Considering lubricants can make sex more comfortable, sensual and pleasurable for all involved, we say why not use it? In our book, anything that helps get people turned on and having more great sex is a big, resounding YES!

Personal lubricants reduce friction and chafing between body parts or toys, working to eliminate any pain and discomfort when you’re getting hot and heavy between the sheets (or wherever you choose to play!).

What's the difference between water-based and silicone lubricant?

Well, there are a few differences actually. What is water-based lubricant? Despite the name, water-based lubricant isn’t actually made of water, but rather contains water-soluble ingredients resulting in a lightweight lubricant that mimics the body’s own. As a result, water-based lube is a popular choice that can be easily rinsed away afterwards, making for swift post-sex clean-up.

The thicker consistency of silicone-based lubricants can take you all the way if you’re planning on a longer playtime (good for you!). Silicone lubricants are also a great option for anal sex as they create more of a barrier against the surface of the skin, protecting this delicate area from microtears.

However, there are a few downsides to silicone lubricants. First of all, they degrade the surface of silicone sex toys, making them less smooth and comfortable to use and more likely to create a breeding ground for bacteria.

Secondly, they’re more stubborn to clean up than water-based lubricants and can stain fabric. Finally, they often contain potentially irritating or harmful ingredients, which we’ll explore below.

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The ingredients for safe sex

Your lubricant will be getting up close and personal with your most sensitive areas, so it’s important to choose ones that don’t contain harmful or irritating ingredients. Here are a few to keep an eye out for:

  • Glycerin or glycerol: A sugar-based alcohol that may be added to create warming sensations or extra slipperiness. Some evidence suggests that lubricants containing high levels may increase the chances of vaginal infections or cause damage and dehydration to vaginal and anal tissues, but more research is needed here.
  • Cyclomethicone: Thought to be an endocrine disruptor, more commonly found in silicone-based lubricants.
  • PERC: A potential contributor to certain types of cancers, primarily found in silicone lubricants.
  • Parabens, petroleum jelly and added fragrances or dyes: Can cause irritation to sensitive tissues.

Although you might find these ingredients in products meant for other parts of the body - in lotions - for example, they’re not to be used around the genitals. You can get lubed up with Kiiroo safe in the knowledge that our products are 100% body-safe and designed for pleasure without irritation or worry.

Are water-based lubrications safe for conception?

The bad news for couples trying to conceive is that most lubricants kill sperm or affect sperm mobility and general vitality. Unfortunately, this goes for water-based lubricants too, which can cause sperm to swell and die.

The good news is that there are sperm-friendly lubricants out there that won’t have an effect, including some that claim to help increase chances of conceiving. And while we’re on the topic of good news, some more is that water-based lubricant is safe to use during pregnancy.

Ready to introduce some lube?

If you’re a newbie to lube, our Aqua Premium Water-Based Lube is a great place to start. Never sticky or tacky, this paraben-free, vegan formula is latex friendly, safe to use with all toys and is silky on the skin. Feeling adventurous?

Experiment with temperature play using our Spark Premium Warming Lube or Arctic Premium Water-Based Intimate Lube for sensations like no other. If you’re spoilt for choice, our Premium Lube & Cleaner Pack contains two different water-based lubricants and a bottle of our Pure Premium Toy Cleaner so you can play around, discover your favorite and safely clean your sex toys afterwards!

Raring to go but think you don’t have any lube in the house? Think again – there are plenty of ways to safely make homemade lube.

Explore our range of lubricants and get ready to level-up your sex game.

See how Kiiroo products measure against other companies. View our comparison table.