I love Good Clean Love lubricants because they’re wet *and* they’re safe. It’s awful, but most lube makers ignore all kinds of new research about sex lubricants’ potential hazards: That’s possible because the US FDA’s lubricant testing model has traditionally been based on rabbit vaginas, which are very different microbiomes than the human vag!1
In contrast, Good Clean Love was founded with the single goal of creating a less-irritating lubricant, 19 years ago (in 2003), and is very attuned to new scientific studies about osmolality and ingredients. Hence: All Good Clean Love lubes are iso-osmotic, balanced to match vaginal & anal concentration levels; plus pH-balanced for vaginas. That’s rare.
GCL has 4 primary personal lubricants: I’ll review pros & cons of: Good Clean Love Almost Naked lubricant (aloe-based) vs. BioNude lube (water & plant-cellulose-based); the newer Good Clean Love Liquid & Hybrid lubes; and Restore vaginal gel. What’s the difference: why choose one Good Clean Love lubricant over another? Skip to the end for a quick recap!
Choice #1: Almost Naked Lubricant
Pros: Best-studied for safety; Cheapest by volume; Thick consistency (drips away less!) yet still iso-osmolal (balanced); Natural aloe vera + lactic acid; Less preservatives.
Possible con: Not for anyone who dislikes vanilla scent.
Buy it: Normally $12.99, $3.25/ounce
I can’t see myself ever going without at least 1 tube of GCL’s original lubricant by my bed. Almost Naked is Good Clean Love’s most-affordable product by volume, and has an organic aloe vera base. This makes it more “gel-like”: it’s thicker. But unlike most thick lubes, it’s got a concentration (osmolality) that won’t force your vaginal cells to pull in water and shrivel up. So, Almost Naked was a huge, exciting discovery for me—once I learned I had to toss 🗑️ the Simply Hybrid Jelle I’d started using a lot in 2020. I’d enjoyed its thickness, till I learned about how its major ingredient propanediol is this close 🤏 to propylene glycol chemically: not good!
Almost Naked is thick to start, but spreads out really smoothly once you run it down a dildo or vibrator. It’s not clumpy, it becomes very close to natural moisture, quickly.
Almost Naked, being one of the first safer, natural/organic lubricants on the US market, is the most widely studied by folks who have demonstrated its effect—or lack thereof, it’s just not disruptive like most other lubricants—on vaginal tissue integrity, and rectal tissue too. (Where it also does no harm 🍑, but may sting a touch upon application, since it’s more acidic than the “butt canal” is.)
Almost Naked has been fantastic for me, and I recommend it sooo much! My vag feels incredibly better these days than 6 months ago when I started finding out all about unsafe lubricants 😭.
But: Good Clean Love Almost Naked is not for anyone who can’t stand scents: it’s got a natural vanilla flavor. That may be offputting to some folks, who’d do better with BioNude, next; while other people will enjoy the vanilla, like my boyfriend who thinks the taste is fun during oral sex.
Choice #2: BioNude Lubricant
Pros: Has a more “normal lube” wet, drippy feel 💦; Water + cellose base, with lactic acid & electrolytes.
Possible con: May get absorbed a little more quickly; Marginally more expensive (3oz. tube vs. 4oz. for Almost Naked).
Buy it: Normally $12.99, $4.33/ounce
Why? It feels more like “normal” water-based lubricants; it’s drippier, slicker right away, since it doesn’t have the aloe that Almost Naked does. Instead, purified water is the first ingredient, then cellulose is the primary thickener. Hydroxyethylcellulose, to be precise; called “plant cellulose” by some makers like Sliquid. (But, BioNude is better balanced to match normal vaginal osmolality; though Sliquid H2O, at least, isn’t unsafe.)
Like the more-watery Sliquid Sea, GCL BioNude has carrageenan, an ingredient drawn from red marine algae which scientists have studied in some depth for its ability to prevent or clear HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
Part 2: Hyaluronic Acid Lubes
Good Clean Love’s two newest lubricants, called “Liquid” and “Hybrid,” both contain hyaluronic acid (as well as the lactic acid found in earlier GCL products). It’s seen as safe, yet very moisturizing; and is often used in topical skin lotions these days as well. On Good Clean Love Hybrid vs. Liquid:
Good Clean Love Hybrid Lubricant
Pros: Hybrid lube is better padding, lasts longer; Great on textured toys; More cum-like look. Hyaluronic acid adds more moisture. Lowest pH (4.2) besides Restore gel (4.1).
Possible con: You may be concerned if you’re extra sensitive to glycerin: concentration is below 1%, though. More expensive by volume than Almost Naked or BioNude.
Buy it: Normally $11.99, $7.09/ounce; or $5.91/ounce when bought in 2-pack ($19.99)
This is the first hybrid lubricant that GCL has made: that means it contains silicone (dimethicone), as a thickener. Hybrid lubricants last longer than water-based ones! (They dry up a bit less, because the silicone isn’t absorbed by your tissues.) And, hybrid lubes are non-damaging to silicone sex toys, because they have a low percentage of silicone, less than 10%. (Read more on silicone + silicone interactions here.) I’ve enjoyed silicone lubricant as extra padding with high-texture and fantasy dildos, for example.
Hybrid lubes are also creamy, usually: Good Clean Love’s Hybrid is a slightly “milky” white. So, it’s a reasonable choice for use in an ejaculating dildo.
And it is well-balanced to even be used in higher volumes, vaginally (or anally); around 370 mOsm/kg. That’s versus vaginal fluid osmolality, usually given as 290–300 mOsm/kg, though normal values may run up to 480 mOsm/kg in cycling vaginas.2 Shocker: Good Clean Love Hybrid contains glycerin, and it’s still more balanced than Sliquid Silk: ≈87% lower osmolality, in fact, based on my averages. It has propanediol, another high-osmolality-producing ingredient, too, which would explain why Good Clean Love’s Hybrid is about 100 points (mOsm/kg) higher osmolality than other GCL products. Still, each ingredient is found at a concentration at below 1%—the small percentage of glycerin & propanediol aren’t enough to make this lubricant unsafe. It’s all about proportions. I’ll put it like this: (1) Good Clean Love Hybrid is like eating a strip of bacon once a week, amidst a generally healthy diet, full of plants; while (2) using Astroglide Liquid is like having a Big Mac with large fries & sugary soda two times a day, every day. The first isn’t going to give you a heart attack; but the second one dramatically increases your risk.
Good Clean Love Liquid Lubricant
Pros: Hyaluronic acid moisturizing benefits (see below); Thicker than BioNude.
Possible con: More expensive by volume than Almost Naked or BioNude. Still not quite as thick & long-lasting as Almost Naked.
Buy it: Normally $11.99, $7.09/ounce; or $5.91/ounce when bought in 2-pack ($19.99)
Good Clean Love’s Liquid is similar to BioNude except: thicker, a little more gummy than BioNude. It feels less runny because of its hyaluronic acid and propanediol (less than 1%). Liquid’s pH and osmolality match BioNude’s very closely, in my measurements.
Really, Liquid has more the consistency of Sliquid Sassy: except, on a molecular level, it’s less concentrated: It’s got a better osmolality for the vagina.3 That’s better, because Good Clean Love Liquid’s not making cells suck in more water than they’d naturally hold & damaging cell layers that protect against harmful microbes.
Overall, Liquid lube by Good Clean Love has the most “natural wetness” feel of all GCL lubes; like slippery moisture down below. Personally I do like Almost Naked’s greater gel-longevity; but see Liquid as a strong contender, and a good choice for, say, air pulsation toys where you want good padding in the hole, but you’re not going to be thrusting with so much friction. Unfortunately, it is more expensive: It must be the hyaluronic acid…
About Hyaluronic Acid Lubricant Safety
You can read Good Clean Love’s page on hyaluronic acid (HA) here. Their founder became interested in the ingredient after reading a 2013 study that found hyaluronic acid performed comparably well to estrogen therapy at relieving vaginal pain for post-menopausal women. A more-recent systematic medical review, 2021 Journal of Sexual Medicine, states similarly that hyaluronic acid can function as a substitute for estrogen therapy (though more studies are needed), and hyaluronic acid has “has a profile of efficacy, safety, and tolerability.”4
So, HA is good if you don’t produce much estrogen, and your vagina experiences more dryness, burning, and discomfort. But, is it only for menopausal vaginas & others with limited estradiol in their bodies?
The answer is that we’re not 100% sure just yet, but several studies have shown other hyaluronic acid benefits for vaginal health. One concludes, “HA favors repair of vaginal epithelial injury,” (it has “wound healing activity”); HA helps “vaginal epithelial cells… increase their production of different antimicrobial peptides” (that protect against harmful germs); and it helps boost vaginal immune response, “ameliorating vaginal epithelium self-defense.”5 Another study backs that HA aids self-defense & repair in skin cells, and is not accompanied by inflammation.6
Reading this info has made me personally less wary about hyaluronic acid—which is found naturally in the human body’s eyes, joints, and lower skin layers (mainly in the dermis), and makes things remain wet & plump.
Hyaluronic acid does come in different molecular weights; higher weights have more bonds, and are more difficult for the body to break down (they may be used in dermal fillers to plump up face wrinkles, for example). Good Clean Love informs that they use “low/medium molecular weight for maximum skin penetration.”
Restore Vaginal Gel
Pros: More acidic, to help balance vaginal pH that’s not right. Organic aloe with lactic acid. Can be worn around; may help relieve menopausal dryness as well.
Possible con: Scented like Almost Naked; More expensive; and, if you use this regularly, you may want to buy extra syringe-applicators.
Buy it: Normally $16.99, $8.50/ounce; Or, may be purchased in larger packs, to get down to $5.62/oz.
So, Restore Vaginal Gel is essentially Almost Naked except lactic acid is moved from ingredient #5 to ingredient #3 (meaning Restore’s got more lactic acid). That makes Restore’s pH 4.1, vs. the 4.5 of Almost Naked. (Anywhere from 3.8 to 4.5 is seen as a healthy range for the not-currently-menstruating vagina.) I’ve seen Restore praised in several reviews by folks who are specifically trying to lower their vaginal pH, which had been out of balance.
Restore is meant as a gel that you can put in and wear around: For folks with postmenopausal dryness, it’s recommended. To use: Draw the Restore out of its tube with the included applicator,7, by pulling down on the plunger (while pressing on the top of the tube, if it’s getting emptier.) Then, lie flat on your back and shoot it up as deep into the vag as possible. It will stay in place better if you do this as you’re about to go to sleep. Still, Restore is thick like Almost Naked, so it can be carried around vaginally, and won’t damage tissues. If your pH is higher than normal: it may sting going in (but so will volume of most water-based lubricants, they are usually 4.0 to 4.5 pH).
I started stocking up on Restore Gel after I was experiencing a lot of burning & got diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis (BV); and the Good Clean Love gel is soothing for a while. The best thing is to use it right as your period is ending (if you have a cycle), when BV is more likely to return. It’s not a cure-all; I used this gel after taking the antibiotic metronizadole, which was more effective for me when taken orally. I would strongly recommend that anyone with recurring BV or other vaginal dysbiosis take a probiotic containing Lactobacillus crispatus orally, regularly, up to twice a day. That specific strain is the most protective against vaginal infection. (Brands I’ve found with L. crispatus are Azo “Complete Feminine Balance,” cheapest; and Jarrow’s.)
Recap: Good Clean Love Lubricant Meta-Review
Good Clean Love is my own personal-lubricant Jesus.8 Like, it’s saving my vagina this year—I’m feeling so much better about what I put in there. That, after I went on a lube-research journey and discovered Good Clean Love is adamant about publishing accurate pH & osmolality (fluid balance) data for every product, and for the public to see:
So you don’t have to be a scientist with expensive testing devices (and degrees!) to figure out what’s safe, you can actually trust Good Clean Love to have done the research for you. Huge respect for this company 🙌
Recap of what each of the Good Clean Love personal lubricants is best at:
- Almost Naked: Best value! Extra-thick aloe base. (Scented.)
- BioNude: Most “standard lubricant” wet consistency—but without harmful chemicals.
- Liquid lube: Great natural wet feel; unfortunately more pricey.
- Hybrid: Best for padding rougher/textured toys; or for squirting dildos. Also more expensive.
I like all of ’em, but will be using Almost Naked most consistently, with Hybrid occasionally for the really-draggy silicone or sex toys with lots o’ bumps!
Stay safely wet, my friends! 💦
- See discussion of the rabbit irritation model in Wilkinson et al., “Personal and Clinical Vaginal Lubricants…,” link in this section.
- See an average of 370± 40 mOsm/Kg given in Ayehunie et. al’s “Hyperosmolal vaginal lubricants…,” section 3.1 and Fig. 1: which tracks samples vs. the fluid-donors’ menstrual cycles. Osmolality rises (highest at CD25) after progesterone should’ve peaked; and is lower prior to/right after ovulation, CD 10–15.
- ≈ 270 mOsm/kg vs. Sassy’s readings in the 700-800s (averaged at 763).
- Carlos Campagnaro M. Dos Santos et al., “Hyaluronic Acid in Postmenopause Vaginal Atrophy: A Systematic Review,” Journal of Sexual Medicine 18, no. 1 (Jan. 2021; epub Dec. 2020): 156–166, doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.10.016.
- Guiseppina F. Dusio et al., “Stimulation of TLRs by LMW-HA induces self-defense mechanisms in vaginal epithelium,” Immunology and Cell Biology 89, no. 5 (November 2010): 630–639, doi: 10.1038/icb.2010.140.
- Silvia Gariboldi et al., “Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid Increases the Self-Defense of Skin Epithelium by Induction of -Defensin 2 via TLR2 and TLR4,” Journal of Immunology 181, no. 3 (August 2008): 2103–2110, doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.181.3.2103.
- If you don’t want to keep using the same plastic applicator, like if you do have BV, then pick up some 30mL Luer lock syringes, sold in bulk; they’ll do the trick too.
- Ignore the cheesy Depeche Mode parody-joke.😂