While we might all be curious about the best plunger or probiotic tampon or cold-sore remedy, it can be difficult to discuss these more personal items. That’s why we’re tackling Things We Don’t Talk About, a series in which we track down the best hygiene-, sex-, and bodily function–related things we all need but might be too embarrassed to ask about. In this installment, we consult experts on the best ecofriendly condoms.
Looking for ecofriendly options for condoms is complicated. Kim Marks, the owner of As You Like It, a nontoxic and environmentally conscious sex shop in Eugene, Oregon, calls it a catch-22: “Condoms are onetime use, but we need them for safe sex,” she says. Still, there are companies that go the extra mile to ensure that their rubber and manufacturing processes are sustainable.
“As an FDA-approved item, condoms are highly regulated,” says Coyote Amrich, director of purchasing and product development at Good Vibrations. “As such, there are only so many ways a condom can appeal to people looking for a more responsible brand.” There are two main companies that are transparent about their manufacturing, and each sex-toy shop we spoke to recommended their condoms. In talking about organic condoms, Marks also stresses the importance of paying attention to the lube used on them. Below are six organic and vegan condoms, plus the best personal lubricants to use them, as recommended by our experts.
Best vegan and organic condoms
Marks and Amrich, as well as Searah Deysach of Early to Bed and Zoë Ligon of Spectrum Boutique, both recommend Glyde for those looking for an ecofriendly brand. A certified B corporation based in Australia, Glyde touts itself as the “first certified ethical, vegan and fair-trade premium condom brand” and produces condoms that are free of glycerin, paraben, talc, and other harmful chemicals. Made from sustainably grown, non-GMO natural rubber sourced from worker-owned-and-operated producers with fair trade and labor practices, the condoms are also considered vegan because they’re free of casein, which is a dairy-derived ingredient common to many brands. “They have been around for a long time, we trust them, and their condoms are great,” says Deysach. “I think they are a really top-notch and trustworthy company.”
Sustain also makes condoms that are non-GMO, vegan, fair trade, and made from natural latex. The rubber is sourced from a Forest Stewardship Council–certified plantation in southern India that provides free medical facilities for workers and schools for their children. Free of dyes, fragrances, and nitrosamine, Sustain is more “vagina-friendly” and hypoallergenic according to Ligon, and is also recommended by Marks, Amrich, and Lisa Lawless of Holistic Wisdom.
Best latex-free condom
If you prefer to use a latex-free condom, Ligon recommends the new brand Unique Plus. “In general, latex-free condoms are more hypoallergenic and cause fewer reactions for people (even if they don’t have a latex allergy),” she says. As a bonus, Unique’s condoms come in ultrathin packaging, which is better for the environment.
Best organic personal lubricants
When talking about the safety of condoms on the body and the environment, it’s important to consider the lube used on them, according to Marks. “Some people need to have latex-free condoms, but other people are just reacting to the lube that the condom companies are using on their products,” says Marks. “When it comes to picking out a condom, you are experimenting a little bit, and that’s why picking out the lube that’s really body-safe is really important.” If the lube that comes with your condom of choice doesn’t work for you, Marks suggests wiping it off and slathering it with one that does. Her choice is Aloe Cadabra, “one of the most organic lubes on the market,” she says. “They are NSF-certified and are designed as this amazing menopausal and postmenopausal vaginal moisturizer, which means it’s excellent for anybody dealing with vaginal dryness or irritation.”
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