As consumers become more health and ingredient savvy companies have begun to introduce more and more products to cater to the increasing needs of this growing (and beneficial) market. However, there are some companies that have held tight to strong ethics to start with.
Shunga Erotic Art is one of them.
I’ve been using Shunga products for a few years now. Partly because of their gorgeous aesthetic (which is undeniably stunning at times) but mainly because of their ethos.
Shunga Erotic Art have been in operation for over 16 years and, during this time, they have maintained a strong focus on providing 100% Canadian-made, high-quality adult products. This includes many organic ingredients, vegan products, and not a single paraben in sight.
The Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant follows this trend in terms of ingredients and ethics, but what about performance? Read on to find out.
Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant
The Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant is exactly what is suggests—a flavored water-based lubricant for all to enjoy. Shunga does this by using pure plant-based glycerin.
Why does this matter? Well it won’t for everyone. But if you’re vegan, ethically-minded, prone to UTIs, or simply want to avoid anything untoward if the option is there then this will be great news. Typically there are three main types of glycerin—animal-based (coming from connective tissue), plant-based glycerin, and synthetic glycerin.
Glycerin itself is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs and retains moisture, and is therefore used in a lot of food and cosmetic products. There’s been a long-standing belief that gylcerin can cause UTI’s because of its similarity to sugar (and even I have mentioned this in the past), but the current consensus is that glycerin (although sugar-like) will not cause or aggravate UTIs and shouldn’t be avoided for this reason.
This will come as a relief to many, but if you’re still dubious or you feel adamant that glycerin just does not work with your body then there’s still nothing wrong with avoiding it if you wish. It does, however, mean that you’ll miss out on this lubricant.
Whether this is a shame also depends on what you require from your lubricant.
As water-based lubricants go, the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant performs very well. Fragrance-wise this lubricant does have a gentle aroma, and it’s an appealing sweetness that you’d expect from a product using glycerin. I’m not too sure that I could isolate the exact scent, but it’s not in any way overpowering and isn’t really a factor unless actively trying to detect it.
In terms of flavor the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant is very nice.
Truth be told I thought this was an oral lubricant at first. It’s gentle-yet-flavorsome sweetness is reminiscent of one of my favorite oral oils—The Shunga Intimate Kisses Organic Warming Oil—except with a slightly skewwhiff aftertaste that isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. Buuut seeing as it’s not actually geared towards oral use this isn’t much of an issue and works in the favor of the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant, which can perform fluidly as both an oral and general lubricant with little issue. And, yes, I may have tasted waaay too much of this lubricant before coming to this realization (sufficed to say I like the flavor).
(Edit: For the sake of transparency allow me to say that I fucked up a previous iteration of this review and got this product mixed up with another similarly packaged but slightly different (organic) Shunga lube. Shunga‘s line and how it’s marketed confuses me a bit but that’s no excuse. The review has now been amended to address this oversight).
This lubricant is listed as a Melon-Mango medley, though I can’t say it tastes like either. It is (as said above) much more akin or a fruity green tea product from Shunga, but with a bit of a bitter undertone to it. This isn’t an aftertaste (and the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant emphasizes that it doesn’t actually have one, which I think is accurate) but it’s not going to win everyone over either, because it is quite an odd flavor. I like it but I don’t love it. I’d use other flavored lubricants before using this product as my go-to, as I feel it performs much better as a general lubricant with the option of being used orally too.
So what mainly matters when it comes to this lubricant is its consistency and longevity, and how does it perform in these regards?
The Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant can be clearly considered as ‘thick’ or perhaps even ‘gel-like’. It’s goopy form easily spills out of the bottle but is in no way thin or runny and maintains a strong sense of integrity when spread over the skin. This makes the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant effective when used with strong or particularly buzzy sex toys to provide an effective buffer against any unrefined or otherwise overpowering sensations. It also opens it up for use as an anal lubricant (although I admit we haven’t used it as such personally).
Because this lubricant is thick it does feel rather artificial and noticeable when applied to the genitals, making each slather an intentional and highly tactile experience. This will appeal to some individuals, and I personally found the thickness of this lubricant to facilitate somewhat of a performative element during use, but for others it will be too noticeable or too ‘artificial’ in its viscosity.
But in terms of ingredients artificiality won’t be a concern, as the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant maintains a minimal ingredients list, which is as follows:
Water/Eau (Aqua), Glycerin/Glycérine*, Propylene Glycol, Sucraloce, Various Flavors, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Na4 EDTA
When it comes to longevity Mr Peaches and I never had to reapply this lubricant during use. It caused no irritation whatsoever and provided a consistent and slippery glide during sex. We never had to reapply and didn’t feel like it diminished sensation (though it didn’t augment the sensations either).
That being said this lubricant does contain sucralose, which is so frustrating (especially considering the effort to use plant-based glycerin) and may aggravate people who are prone to UTIs. What a bummer.
Again, during any sex act this was a lubricant that felt noticeable ‘there’ and whether this is a pro or con will depend on what you want from your water-based lubricant. The thickness and persistence of this lubricant will be an amazing turn-on for some and is particularly good for providing a slick canvas for various body parts (breast sex anyone?), but not everyone is looking for such a goopy lubricant.
In terms of more objective downsides, this lubricant can feel a bit sticky and thick on the skin if left to naturally dry and may require a bit of a longer clean-up session than some people may be comfortable with. As such the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant isn’t the best when it comes to quickies and access to a shower or bath afterwards is useful.
I also found that this lubricant tended to spill out of the bottle and get everywhere (even clinging to the bottle), which is not ideal and is something I’d like to see addressed in future. Shunga can (and do) provide some very practical and beautiful containers for their product range, so it would be nice to see at least some of that practicality applied when looking at this lubricant. And, yes, containers and packaging do matter, especially when it comes to a product that is actively dispensed in some way.
Outside of this, though, I can’t think of any other cons to this lubricant. I have very sensitive skin but experienced no reaction with this lubricant, which is always a relief. For those who are interested this product is also gluten-free, although this just makes me wonder—who the hell is adding gluten to their water-based lube?
Overall I am very happy with the Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant, which provides a viable, effective, and long-lasting lubricant for those who want an interchangeable oral and general lubricant to hand that actually performs effectively as both.
The thickness of this lubricant won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s taste just might and adds an additional layer of play to this versatile lubricant.
Users with sensitive skin can also feel reassured by the minimal and very conscious approach that Shunga has taken when it comes to ingredients, making this lubricant a strong choice overall.
People who like thick lubricant.
People looking for a nice-tasting lube.
People who want an interchangeable lubricant.
Do Not Recommend to:
People who want a thin lubricant.
People who dislike the ingredients.
People who need a quick clean up.
The Shunga Toko Aroma Lubricant was provided to me by Shunga in exchange for an honest review.