Lube 101 Definitions

Witch Hazel

Usually refers to the extract of the witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis), which is commonly used as an astringent, meaning that it has the ability to shrink the skin and other body tissues. Witch hazel can limit inflammation and subdue some of the symptoms caused by inflammatory skin conditions such as razor burn.

Witch hazel extract is considered safe and is a common ingredient in many topical skin care products. In large amounts, it may be dangerous for people with liver problems.

Wakame (red algae)

A sea plant commonly known as red algae, brown algae, or edible seaweed. It has a high nutritional content, and it is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote skin health.

Carrageenan is made from parts of the wakame plant, and is also commonly included as a lubricant ingredient (see our entry on carrageenan for more information). Both wakame and carrageenan are considered safe. Allergies are rare; symptoms of an allergic reaction include skin itching and irritation.

Warming Lubricant

Warming lubricant is a personal lubricant with added ingredients which give a warming sensation to the users of the lubricant. Different lubricant work differently in order to feel the warming sensations. Some personal lubricants warm immediately upon contact while others need the friction of skin on skin in order to active the warming.

Some of the more common ingredients in warming lubricant formulas are Menthol, Peppermint Extract, Chili Pepper Extract, and Mentha Piperita. Most warming lubricants are water based which make them body safe and perfect for use with condoms and sex toys.

Water Based Personal Lubricant

Water-based personal lubricants are the most commonly used sex lubes and the gentlest type of lubrication for sensitive tissues. They dry out during use relatively quickly, but most people find the techniques used for reapplication a definite perk. The easiest way of reapplication is to add a small amount of water to the dried lubricant. Some of the newest water-based sex lubes have natural skin moisturizers like Carrageenan and Aloe added to make them feel silkier. One drawback: They wash off in water, so they’re not great for sex in the hot tub or any other water locations.