In this post, we’re going to talk about KY jelly.
KY jelly is a personal lubricant designed for couples to experience wetter (and better) sexual intercourse. This can be useful when a woman is not naturally lubricating enough (vaginal dryness) and, of course, when the couple tends to go for anal sex and other kinky stuff (like toy use).
But how good KY lubricant actually is? And is KY jelly safe to use? – This is going to be the main topic of our article. And as the title suggests, KY could improve in certain areas.
If you don’t care about any of this and just want to grab your own tube of KY Jelly, go ahead and visit KY Amazon Store.
Back to our K-Y Jelly review…
Besides going through what users have to say about it, we’ll be checking into safety of the ingredients, the value of osmolality, and test the KY jelly ourselves to let you know how it feels.
In the end we have found 7 reasons why KY jelly may not be the best lube and why you should probably stick to something else when using sexual lubricants.
Also, do not forget to grab yourself a copy of one of the most amazing guides to improve your sex life. Tons of new techniques and secret tips & tricks to try in bed are revealed in it. You’ll be able to spice up your sex life and make a relationship with your partner even stronger.
What is KY jelly?
“K-Y Jelly” is a famous personal lubricant and just one of the products in the KY line. Other personal lubricants by KY are:
- K-Y Liquid,
- K-Y Ultra Gel,
- K-Y True Feel, and
- K-Y Natural Feeling With Aloe Vera
The products differ in format (some are thick, some are thin) and in the type of lube you’re getting (water-based, silicone-based, …). Of course the ingredient composition also varies from one product to another.
Anyway, in this article, we only focus on KY Jelly. Based on the official description, KY Jelly should be on the thick side, made for couples who enjoy thicker sexual lubricants.
KY Jelly is water-based, which means that the main ingredient in this intimate bottle is, you guessed it, water.
Water being the main ingredient, this lube for sex migt seem completely safe. However, we’ve discovered a few things about K-Y Jelly that you should take into consideration before applying this thick gel onto your private parts. Now, as Rafa Benitez would say: “Let’s talk facts!”
7 reasons to avoid KY jelly
Not trying to imply that K-Y doesn’t have a good lubricant, but as any independent lube review, we should carefully analyze what exactly is inside this intimate bottle and provide objective criticism.
There’s no such thing as perfection. But some lubricants do stand out as being very close to that. Some common criteria we take into consideration when evaluation lube quality, are:
- Does it include irritant ingredients?
- Can it contribute to development of yeast infection?
- Is it safe with condoms and toys?
- Does it feel good, according to majority of the customers?
- How much did we like it personally when testing it?
We have found 7 things K-Y should take into consideration, and perhaps improve their product in the future. Hope this K-Y Jelly review will provide all the needed info for everyone searching for what exactly KY Jelly is and is KY Jelly safe.
1. KY lubricant may irritate your sensitive skin
After noticing several users complaining about irritation, we decided to inspect each ingredient of KY jelly. Findings were surprising. You’d think lube manufacturers avoid chemicals that are known irritants, but that’s not the case here.
Below you can find all KY jelly ingredients. And next to them you can find EWG hazard rating and whether they are marked as an irritant:
- Water, EWG rating = 1 (safe) ; Irritant = No;
- Glycerin, EWG rating 1-2 (safe, but may cause yeast infection)= ; Irritant = No;
- Hydroxyethylcellulose, EWG rating = 1 (safe); Irritant = No;
- Gluconolactone, EWG rating = 1 (safe); Irritant = No;
- Methylparaben, EWG rating = 3-4 (moderate hazard); Irritant = Yes;
- Sodium Hydroxide, EWG rating = 3-4 (moderate hazard); Irritant = Yes;
- Chlorhexidine Digluconate, EWG rating = 2-4 (moderate hazard); Irritant = Yes.
We always say that everyone should avoid lubricants that include ingredients rated above 3 by EWG SkinDeep. That is because such ingredient composition may result in bad user experience, such as catching an infection or experiencing burning sensation.
You can see that 3 out of 7 ingredients are known irritants marked with warning pictograms such as “irritant” and “corrosive” by PubChem.
So, our 1st conclusion is, KY jelly includes ingredients that can irritate skin. While many users aren’t going to experience any discomfort at all, people with sensitive skin may indeed suffer from irritation, redness and itching.
2. KY jelly includes glycerin
Even though it isn’t rated as one of the dangerous ingredients by EWG SkinDeep database, glycerin is still an element that should be avoided when it comes to intimate lubricants.
Glycerin may not be all that bad for skin uses, however, the problem occurs when used for vaginal application. Several studies have associated glycerin with yeast infection.
There are two things one should know about glycerin (aka glycerol) before using lube for sex:
- It degrades to sugars, which act as a feeding source for Candida species.
- It is highly osmolar ingredient, contributing to development of infections.
It may be completely fine to use glycerin lubricants if you don’t have a history of vaginal thrush. But for those women who are prone to experiencing problems with vaginal infections (mainly yeast infection), they should definitely pay attention to glycerin as an ingredient.
Glycerin-free lube is the way to go, just to be on the safe side.
We see this as a great opportunity for K-Y also, as we believe that they could grow their profits and increase customer numbers, simply by creating a glycerin-free water based lubricant.
3. Parabens are featured in a KY lube
Quite frankly, there’s no excuse for adding parabens into formulation of a personal lubricant. KY lubricant does include methylparaben, which has several downsides and can contribute to not only a bad sexual experience, but can also result in health issues.
What are parabens? – Parabens are chemicals that work as preservatives. It’s a cheap way for extending shelf life of a lubricant. Parabens are featured in many skincare products. Most common parabens are: methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, …
Why are parabens dangerous?
- 1st, they are known irritant ingredient, causing skin irritation and burning sensation.
- 2nd, they have been proved to work as endocrine disruptors, contributing to the growth of carcinogenic tumors.
Yes, cancer. Here’s the research saying that: “… parabens can promote the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast tumors even in tiny amounts — around 5 to 10 nanograms.”
People with sensitive skin are bound to have ruined sexual experience, due to irritation. But the major concern with a long-term use of such products is in-fact the estrogen mimicking properties of parabens. Development of carcinogenic tumors found in female breasts, has been linked to this ingredient.
You will notice that many manufacturers nowadays are labeling their products as “paraben-free”, with which they’re basically saying “our products are safe and healthy”. This is not the case when it comes to the KY lubricant.
4. KY jelly is hyperosmolar
Osmolality – a funny word that many people never heard of before, and that no one is paying attention to when choosing their lube.
However, the value of osmolality is of key significance. To simplify it, it will make your skin moist and revitalized if the osmolality is good, or it will dry out your skin and increase chances of catching an infection if the osmolality is bad.
How, can you check the osmolality of a lube? – Normally you won’t be able to find this info written on a tube or a product packaging, you will have to dig a bit deeper. Sometimes this info is published on the manufacturer’s website, but sometimes you’ll just have to contact them asking “What is the osmolality of your lubricant?”
Here’s a good article that also talks about dangers of hyperosmolar lubricants, and how important it is that you aim for hypo- and iso- osmolar lube.
Osmolality is measured in mOsm/kg of water. The definition of an osmole is: “An osmole is an amount of a substance that contributes to the osmotic pressure of a solution.”
Personal lubricants can be:
- Hyper-osmolar: more than 1.200 mOsm/kg
- Iso-osmolar: between 270-310 mOsm/kg
- Hypo-osmolar: less than 270 mOsm/kg
Osmolality of KY Jelly is 2424 mOsm/kg, which ranks KY lubricant into hyperosmolar category. Recommended are of course those personal lubricants that rank into category of an iso- and hypo- osmolar categories. Meaning that a perfect lube would have osmolality below 310 mOsm/kg. Such is the case of Aloe Cadabra, which carries the osmosity value of 172 mOsm/kg.
It can be seen from the linked graph that most K-Y products are high in osmolality. Which doesn’t really give any extra points to the brand. In fact, we found a study that mentions KY and warns lube users about KY’s osmolal properties. This is an excerpt from that study: “hyperosmolal personal lubricants such as KY Jelly, and the surfactant N9 were found to be toxic to lactobacilli that can help protect against infections by acidifying the vagina with lactic acid, a broad antiviral and anti-bacterial agent.”
5. KY jelly is not certified organic
More and more manufacturers are making their products healthier for the end user. People are becoming aware about the harmful effects of toxic ingredients, thus there’s been a lot of emphasis in the recent years on going ecological and organic.
Skincare products have been made (and are still being made) from chemicals, which are all but natural. People used to trust “brands” instead of checking the ingredient composition and how natural their product actually is. Even the largest, the most known brands, have been using formaldehyde-releasing agents, parabens, irritants, allergens and endocrine disruptors as part of their personal lubricants.
In recent years, several lubricants are following quality standards with which they are able to obtain certified organic certification, indicating that the ingredients used for making the product are organically produced.
Usually, this means that the price of the lubricant is going to be higher (because the manufacturer isn’t using the cheapest available materials for creating their final product), and it may also mean that the lubricant may expire faster (less aggressive preservatives are being used).
However, KY lubricant does not have certified organic certification to this date [source].
This is yet another reason why KY Jelly may not be the best lube and one should consider using an alternative. Certification is important, because it means that the company has to follow the highest quality standards for creation of their products, while also being “forced” to use the best quality materials to work with.
6. Not compatible with polyisoprene and polyurethane condoms
As it is written on the official product description, KY Jelly is only compatible with latex condoms. This means that two types of condoms can’t be used with the KY lube:
- polyisoprene condoms, and
- polyurethane condoms.
We find this interesting because KY jelly is water-based, and most water-based lubricants can be used with all materials, with all types of condoms, not just latex. Seems that some ingredients of KY jelly react with those materials, breaking them.
It is true that the latex condoms are the most popular condom type and most widely used. However, some people may be allergic to latex material and if you are one of them KY Jelly is sadly no good for you.
Also, just how many people are thinking about the material when buying condoms? – Sometimes you’re just not sure what you have in your “inventory”. You bought those condoms a while ago, and now just before putting them on, you must reroute your full attention to the material, finding whether it can be used with your lube.
Anyway, such limitations are a bit of an obstacle, because you have to pay extra attention to make sure your lube won’t break your condom.
7. KY jelly is a thick gel that some may not like
This is from our testing and some people may not agree, with our conclusions. We tested KY Jelly solely for the purpose to finding out “how it feels”. Sometimes you get a lube that people are negative about and you may actually end up liking it.
The description of the product says that the KY jelly is a rather thick gel, opposed to a watery thin liquid substance. This description is definitely true and while some people may enjoy thicker stuff for lubing up, we were not impressed.
- Within just few minutes of use it became very messy.
- It tends to dry out and becomes a bit sticky.
- Once you put it on, oral is impossible, because of the horrid taste.
- Some of it ended up on our sheets leaving stains.
Messy, messy, messy … while high quality lubricants we had the chance to try, left you feeling clean and fresh, this one is quite the opposite. With KY jelly you and your partner have to be prepared for a messy adventure.
I still remember the taste when I tried to give my partner a blowjob, and the taste was just off. It was weird and it didn’t feel natural. I personally prefer scentless and flavorless lubricants.
The drying up and the stickiness are hard to avoid when you’re playing with water-based intimate lubricants. So that one was no shock. But we found that lubricants without glycerin are less likely to cause such effect.
On the good side, it didn’t cause any irritation or burning sensation so thank god for that. I always get goosebumps when I have to try something with parabens, or any other irritant ingredients.
Anyway, this is our 2 cents. K-Y is definitely a well-renowned brand and has many loyal customers using their products. However, our experience with them was just not the best. Maybe we are in minority here.
I am sure many lube users, straight and gay, will find KY jelly to be an astonishing addition to their sexual acts, regardless of this critique.
Is KY Jelly Safe? What can I use instead of KY jelly?
The thing we’re all anxiously trying to get to the bottom of: Is KY jelly safe?
We honestly believe that a non-frequent user should be OK when using KY Jelly. It is going to make things wetter and reduce friction. However, the inclusion of glycerin is a concern for those prone to yeast infection. Another factor to consider are parabens and irritant ingredients, which may end up in a burning sensation for those with sensitive skin. Our answer would be, KY Jelly is semi-safe.
OK, so what are some alternatives? What can you use instead of KY jelly?
If you are sticking with the water-based lubricants, there are several options out there that are glycerin- and paraben- free. Certified organic and praised by the customers regarding how well they perform.
These are just 3 water-based alternatives that you can get instead of KY lube, which are clean and natural:
- Aloe Cadabra; natural lubricant with organic Aloe Vera, clean & tasteless.
- Yes WB; organic personal lubricant, scentless, flavorless, non-sticky.
- Sliquid H2O; simple and natural water-based lubricant for pleasure.
By grabbing any of these, you can relax and fully enjoy your sexual moments. Yes, these can all be used with condoms and toys, and no, there are no parabens, glycerin, formaldehyde, PEG, etc. included here.
These are not just safe, these also perform very well as you can read from many online reviews.
And if you are thinking about making your lubricant from home, here are a couple of safe lube options that might end up making your day.
Thanks and take care!