I review sex toys for sextoy.com. You can find Intimate Organics Hydra and other lubricants on their site. Disclaimer: I am not paid for these reviews (unless your purchase something via an affiliate link) but I am given free products in return for my honest opinion.
I’m a bit of a lube snob. I’m confused when I meet someone who doesn’t keep a bottle or two handy by their nightstand. I’ve been known to gift Astroglide-using friends with something better because I can’t stand the thought of them being stuck with something so sticky just because it’s available at the grocery store.
When I was given the opportunity to select toys to review this month, I was excited at the chance to review Hydra, the vegan lube from Intimate Organics. I wanted to review this lubricant for two reasons:
- I have been using this lube for a long time now, and been looking for an opportunity to give my opinion.
- I have been using this lube for a long time now, and my latest bottle was almost empty!
I was first introduced to Hydra by a hippie girlfriend and HER hippie girlfriend, both huge fans. It’s a lubricant I’ve happily gone out to buy with my own money both before and after I began to do sex toy reviews.
According to the packaging, Hydra is vegan and made with “certified organic extracts” (which does not mean that the whole product is organic!). It is free of three major, dangerous ingredients which are frighteningly common in other lubricants:
- DEA – a cosmetics ingredient believed to aid in the formation of carcinogens
- Parabens – a potential allergen for some of the population which may mimic estrogen
- Glycerine – a sweetener and preservative which has been known to encourage yeast infections.
I have long known about the potential issues of glycerin, but recently discovered parabens through unfortunate personal experience with a former favorite lube, Maximus, and a long distance lover. I didn’t even know what the ingredient DEA was until seeing it on the packaging while writing this review, and finding this excellent article about dangerous ingredients in lubes by Domina Doll.
I know this lube makes sex slippery. But now I find myself wondering — what is in Hydra? According to the ingredients list:
- Water. This is a water-based lubricant, and is therefore safe with both condoms and silicone-based toys (as well as pretty much all other toy materials).
- Propanediol. Whoops, this is another name for propylene glycol, a humectant — an agent to keep things moist. According to Domina Doll’s article, it can be an irritant or cause of yeast infections in some.
- Cellulose gum, which is used to increase viscosity (slipperiness!).
- Phenoxyethanol. Probably being used as a preservative.
- Benzoic acid. Another preservative.
- Phenethyl Alcohol. A natural, antimicrobial chemical with a slight floral odor.
- PPG-2 Methyl Ether. A solvent.
- Methylisothiazolinone, a preservative which is commonly used in body care products but about which some concerns have been raised.
At this point we get into the ‘organic extracts’ section of the ingredients list.
- Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract — a.k.a. Goji Berries, one of the hip ingredients of the moment about which all kinds of health claims are made.
- Cymbopogon Schoeanthus Extract — also known as lemongrass. Why is this here?
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract — yup good old garden aloe. There are probably tiny amounts of this in Hydra, but it is the basis of some other lubes. It’s possible this helps soothe body parts tired out by excess friction.
Finally, the ingredients list finishes with Sodium Hydroxide, which is lye — scary in quantity, but often used for pH balancing in minute amounts.
Probably not coincidentally, the complete ingredients list is only on the box itself where it will be lost when it’s inevitably thrown away. It’s true that Hydra is vegan, and is lacking in three ingredients which are all too common in lubes, and all too commonly cause problems. Yet one shouldn’t get the idea that the word ‘organic’ in the brand name means this is something a horny earth-lover in your neighborhood might mix up in her kitchen.
Is this lube safe? Well, I’m not a doctor. In my opinion, the wise thing to do is to avoid sugars like glycerin — that’s just asking for trouble — and then practice trial and error. If you find a lubricant irritating, stop using it and try something else. One person’s favorite lube is another’s bane — I’ve known people who swear by Peekay’s Hydra-Smoothe, a similarly named water-based “cream lube,” but something in that product makes my penis itch!
In the end, all I can say is that Hydra has never to my knowledge caused my partners or I any problems. I can only speak to this lube, of course — I’ve never used any of Intimate Organics’ other products, which unfortunately include “natural” anal relaxers, products that I doubt are any safer than other dangerous anal sex aids.
Setting aside the sex toy nerdery for now, what can I say about using this lube for sex? Hydra is moderately thick. If I put a small amount on my hand and turn my hand upside down, it does not immediately begin dripping; larger amounts will drip somewhat. It lasts a while and is not completely free of residue, but the aftermath is much less sticky than other lubes. It has a very slight sweet flavor which is neither delicious nor nauseating. This lube does have a slight odor; it smells kind of like aloe.
Hydra mixes well with a woman’s natural lubrication and works great on dildos and vibrators or for masturbation. While some may prefer even thicker or silicone-based lubricants for anal play, I’ve used it for that purpose on a number of occasions. Conveniently, Hydra is available in a number of sizes: in 2 oz, 4 oz, or 8 oz bottles and in disposable 4ml packets for single-use.
As we begin 2011, Hydra is my favorite lube; the one I most want to keep at my bedside or in my travelling bag. However, this year I plan to review a number of other lubes. I’ll make sure they are all glycerin free, at least. We’ll see if this lube is still my favorite come next New Years!