In a perfect world, all lubes would be glycerin and paraben-free. But that’s simply not an option. These potentially dangerous ingredients give lubes certain qualities that we really love. So, when a lube comes along that takes away these problematic ingredients, we have to ask ourselves two questions: “Is it just as good?” and, “Is it just as safe?”
I’ll admit, too, that ever since my early days of sexual experimentation, I haven’t been much of an Astroglide fan. It’s always felt to me like going in to the gyno (which could be because it’s the same lube that my gyno uses) more than sexy.
And true, this lube starts off very smooth and silky-feeling. It’s comparable to other water-based lubes, like Probe Thick Rich. However, I felt like it dried out very fast. Just putting it between my fingers and rubbing them back and forth, this lube dried up in about ten passes, whereas the same amount of a comparable water-based lube, Probe’s Silky Light, took 60+ passes (and for reference, that one has no parabens either, although it does contain vegetable glycerin).
Also, as another bonus, this lube has a very sweet taste to it. As you’ll see below, two different ingredients could have contributed to that: the butylene glycol and the xylitol. This lube would be great for oral sex, particularly cunnilingus (if you’re in a trusting relationship and don’t use dental dams) since it’s fairly vagina-friendly while still tasting good.
Wait, fairly vagina-friendly? What does that mean? If it doesn’t have glycerin or parabens in it, what does this lube have? I decided to go in depth with some of these ingredients and see if it’s really safer than normal lube.
- Purified Water: Fresh, safe H2O. Nothing wrong here, just don’t use it for anal.
- Butylene Glycol: This petroleum derivative is body-safe. It’s not carcinogenic nor is it toxic, but some people do find it a little irritating to the skin, particularly if they have sensitive skin. In fact, it’s very commonly used in many other health and beauty products, so if you’ve had reactions to other such products, you may want to skip out on this lube as well.
- Propylene Glycol: This odorless and tasteless ingredient is actually listed on the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry as harmful to the skin, renal, and respiratory systems. It’s job is to absorb water, which, in lube form, would indicate that it’s supposed keep the water in the lube from absorbing too quickly. But, the ATSDR also notes that it’s, “generally recognized as safe.” This ingredient is found in many lubes, especially those with water-bases.
- Xylitol: This is a sweetener often given to diabetics since it’s sugar-free. Which makes this lube actually taste pretty good for a water-based, unflavored lube. It’s completely safe for humans (and even has some beneficial qualities to dental hygiene) however, it can be toxic to dogs. So don’t leave your Astroglide out where Floofykins can get it.
- Polyquaternium-15: This article seems to indicate that polyquarternium-15 may have some link with HIV replication, which could be a bad sign for couples where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is trying to remain negative. In fact, many sites seem to agree that this ingredient is just an equally-bad replacement for parabens since it can also damage skin cells.
Understand that just because it’s glycerin and paraben-free doesn’t mean it’s 100% body-safe and use it at your own risk. Remember, lubes work differently for everyone. Another, more natural, water-based lube like WET Naturals Beautifully Bare might be a better choice if you’re seriously concerned.
If you are serodiscordant partners (one partner is HIV+, one isn’t), if you’ve had reactions to other lubes, or if you’re just not a fan of water-based lubes, this lube won’t be a good option for you. If you don’t really care, there are probably still better lubes out there for you. If the ingredients don’t concern you and you’re looking for something that tastes sweet, try Astroglide’s Glycerin and Paraben-Free Formula out for sure and see. Who knows? You could love it.