Body-safe and ethically made for your enjoyment.
by Jessica Toscano March 11, 2022
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Shopping for the right lube can be challenging, especially if you’re on the hunt for one that’s ethically made and as body-safe as possible. Thankfully, the increased demand for clean ingredients means more options that tick all the boxes. Whether it’s a silicone blend for slippery shower sex or an oil-based formula for an intimate massage, many brands now match personal morals with performance standards, so you never again have to choose between quality and ethics. Let’s discuss.
What even does “clean” mean?
It’s no surprise if you’ve come across “clean” labels while shopping for everything from moisturizers to body washes, but what exactly does the term mean in the realm of sexual wellness products? For Brittany Lo, founder of clean self-care and soon-to-be sexual wellness brand Beia, a clean brand means the ethical manufacturing of high-performance products with quality ingredients. “There are so many incredible ingredients out there to use,” Lo tells Intrigue. “It oftentimes is more expensive, but if you’re willing to put in the work, there are those options.” And her team is putting in the work.
Beia’s upcoming sexual wellness line features a lubricant manufactured with what Lo believes is only the best of ingredients for her customers. “A lot of lubes are for the purpose of added moisture for reducing friction and obviously, for more desirable sex,” she says. “In addition to [our lube] doing that, we also incorporated aloe vera, squalene, [and] coconut oil — all very high-end ingredients — so it is hydrating your body.”
But it’s the absence of potentially harmful or controversial ingredients that truly establishes her brand as clean. From a young age, Lo experienced skin sensitivities that later forced her to rethink the way she relied on self-care. That’s why it became her mission to create products that are equally effective and non-irritating as well as safe to use. All of Beia’s products are cruelty-free, vegan, dermatologist-tested, and free of parabens and synthetic fragrances, her sexual wellness line being no exception.
“It’s so important we keep it clean [and] make sure we’re not launching anything until the effectiveness is top-notch,” she says. “We’re almost doing 20 reiterations of [our lube], when a standard company usually does two or three rounds of tweaks.”
To take her sexual wellness line a step further, Lo decided to focus on sustainable packaging and designed refillable glass bottles with airless pumps to create one of the most eco-friendly lubricants on the market. Clean doesn’t just translate to ingredients, says Lo. It also means upholding ethical standards. But because there are no formal criteria to verify clean brands, the definition of the term varies from company to company.
How do I know if a lubricant is clean?
Despite the clean movement’s lack of federal regulation, there are several ways to decipher whether a product qualifies. Depending on the company, clean could mean a seal of approval, like those by MADE SAFE®, a program that uses their clean seal to help consumers identify products free of known toxins. Then, there are brands like Beia that list ingredients that are absent from their formulas on product packaging and labels. Commonplaces are free of parabens, petroleum, alcohol, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. Some brands even include additional labels like “organic,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic,” or “dermatologist-tested” to describe in what ways their products are safe or toxin-free, although like “clean,” none of these terms are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you’re ever unsure about a specific ingredient’s level of toxicity, EWG’s Skin Deep® database lists the safety of nearly 9,000 ingredients with respect to three areas: cancer, allergy and immunotoxicity, and developmental and reproductive. They also use a seal of approval to verify products that meet their health and safety standards. Currently, over 2,000 are EWG VERIFIED™.
Are clean brands worth the hype?
While the benefits of purchasing from clean brands are myriad (recap: ethical sourcing and better-for-you ingredients), not using clean products doesn’t necessarily translate to bad for the environment or ill health. That said, if you’re presented with the option of a high-performance product that’s free of potentially harmful substances and is also eco-friendly, why even consider anything else? “If you choose to get intimate, but you’re not investing in the right products, you’re not really investing in yourself,” says Lo.
Here, seven slick favorites to begin your clean journey.
1. Wisp Harmonizing Lube, $12
Planning to take your sexcapades underwater? This silky silicone formula needn’t require more than a few drops to decrease friction and increase pleasure for as long as you turn up the heat. Plus, it is FDA-cleared, fragrance-free, condom-safe, hypoallergenic, and non-irritating.
2. Royal Water-Based Premium Lubricant, $13.99
Infused with organic aloe, this water-based lube takes ultra-hydrating to new levels with a long-lasting formula that’s compatible with all condom materials and sex toys.
3. Coconu Oil-Based Lubricant, $24.99
The secret to incredibly smooth body massages and tasty oral-based pleasures? This USDA-certified organic coconut oil-based lube that’s packaged sans plastic. With each bottle purchased, a portion of proceeds is donated to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA).
Chill out with this unbelievably decadent CBD arousal oil that can be taken orally for induced calm or applied topically for increased sensation.
5. Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant, from $12.99
Get busy and help save the planet with this first-ever lube to become certified carbon neutral, meaning for every bottle purchased, Almost Naked donates to a soil restoration project in the United States that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the amount equivalent to that bottle’s carbon footprint.
6. Sliquid Silver, from $36.99
Slick like its name, this ultra-concentrated silicone blend is latex-, rubber-, and plastic-friendly, so you’ll never again experience pleasure without gliding.
7. Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD, $48
Soothe discomfort and enhance sensations with only a few drops of this full-spectrum CBD oil free of alcohol, petroleum-based ingredients, phthalates, glycerin, parabens, and dyes.