Smitten Kitten's Hassle-free Guide to Lubricants

Learn the basics about lubricant types now and thank yourself later! 

Smitten Kitten curates the best-of-the-best formulations for all of the lubricants we stock. We have particularly high standards for the products we sell. If you see a lubricant for sale here, trust that it doesn't include any commonly irritating or bad-for-you ingredients.

Not all lubes work for all people or all purposes! Be your own best lube expert! Keep reading to understand the essentials of these 4 types of lubricants: 

  • Water-based, 
  • Silicone-based, 
  • Hybrids, and 
  • Plant-Oil based. 

Water-based lubricants

Water-based lubes are designed to mimic the feel of the body’s own natural lubrication and are preferred by many users. Available in textures from lightweight, barely-there coverage to ultra-thick gel, there will be a feel and formula for almost every person. 

These lubes are compatible with all safer sex supplies and sex toys. They may also be used for all sexual activities. 

Water-based lubes vary significantly in terms of quality. Some are moisturizing and supportive of tissue health and wellbeing. However, many commonly available formulas are irritating and even damaging for delicate genital tissues. Regardless of the overall quality of ingredients some users report itching or burning sensations when they first apply their water-based lubricants. Typically this has to do with a mismatch of pH and will subside quickly. 


  • Water soluble, easy clean up
  • Widely available, every drugstore
  • Compatible with all condoms
  • Compatible with all sex toys
  • Mimics natural body lubrication


  • Wide differences in quality
  • May cause irritation
  • May include common allergens
  • Reapply often

Silicone-based lubricants

Silicone-based lubricants are designed to create a reliable, long-lasting friction barrier for any sexual activity. Most silicone-based lubricants are lightweight and gently coat the surface of the skin providing serious slipperiness. You can expect to use less product per session because a little bit goes a long way. 

Silicone lubricants also vary in quality. However, most are now formulated using pharmaceutical grade ingredients and are widely considered hypoallergenic. Users don’t report burning or itching sensations related to silicone lube use. 

Silicone-based lubricants are compatible with all safer sex barriers and many sex toys, but not all. Some silicone lubes will adhere to the surface of some silicone toys and are therefore not recommended. This is why you will see a notation on our silicone toys that says “Not for use with silicone lubricants.”


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Long-lasting
  • Provides a great friction barrier for comfort and ease of penetration
  • No smell, no taste
  • Compatible with all condoms and safer-sex barriers
  • A little bit goes a long way


  • Not compatible with all silicone sex toys
  • Not moisturizing 
  • Difficult to clean up and may stain fabrics
  • More expensive per ounce than water-based lubes

Hybrid lubricants

Hybrid lubes are any type that are an emulsion (or mixture) of two or more of the other lubricant families. The most common hybrid lubes are water and silicone-based. However, there are also lubes that include a silicone and oil-based mixture.

Usually hybrid lubricants are creamy in both color and texture. These lubricants are almost always safe for all condoms and safer sex barriers as well as for use with all sex toys.

Hybrid lubricants are less likely than water-based lubes to cause itching, burning or other irritation. Like silicone lubricants, they are long-lasting and require less applications.


  • Long-lasting
  • Unlikely to cause burning, itching or irritation of any kind
  • Unlikely to contain common allergens
  • For use with all condoms and safer-sex barriers
  • For use with all sex toys


  • Typically only available at specialty stores


Plant-Oil based lubricants

Users enjoy the ultra-moisturizing and protective friction barrier provided by well formulated oil-based lubricants. These lubes feel wonderful and contain many healthful benefits. Naturally slippery, plant-based oils area great choice for any sexual activity.

Plant-oils pose a couple potential challenges though. First, they are NOT compatible with most condoms and other safer sex barriers. Also, because of the lasting power of oil in the body some users worry about them promoting urinary tract or bacterial vaginal infections. A well-formulated product mitigates these worries significantly. 


  • Super moisturizing
  • Healing and soothing for delicate genital tissues
  • Natural and often organic 
  • For use for all sexual activities


  • Not compatible with most condoms and safer-sex barriers
  • Will stain fabrics
  • Typically only  available in specialty stores

Now that you know the basics, it's time add some lubricity to your life. 

Still unsure?

Try one of our popular Smitten Kitten lube sampler packs.

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