Product Review: The Ann Summers Silicone Gel 100ml

As part of my marathon training, I’ve been listening to the Mo-Joe podcast, in which the most recent release had the host (and aspiring marathon runner) George Lamb discussing his hunger with his father. During George’s lamentations over a rather tasty looking (sounding?) cake his dad comments that he needs to get some protein in him through ‘a nice juicy steak’. George’s replied (paraphrased) was along the lines of ‘Dad, this is 2018: There are better ways to get protein now than steak’.

Why do I bring this analogy up?

Because, when testing the Ann Summers Silicone Gel, I felt like George – craving that sweet, perfect cake, and Ann Summers was my father.

Parabens Ann Summers?

Really?

This is 2018. I thought the adult industry was pretty much aware that parabens don’t belong in lube.

Get with the times.

The Ann Summers Silicone Gel 100ml

Call my a snobbish health nut (because, given I’m an athletic whole-foods plant based vegan, I’d say ‘fair cop’) but I tend not to like putting parabens in to my body when I’m given a chance. And, thankfully, most of the adult industry is behind me on this one point.

The offending product.

Sliquid have long avoided parabens (as have companies such as Wicked Sensual Care, and Yes) and other lubricant retailers have since jumped on board. Fuck, even Johnson & Johnson (owners of the No 1 lube to avoid, KY Jelly) officially recognized the risks of parabens in cosmetic products back in 2015 and have since removed Buthylparaben from their ingredients lists altogether (though they still have methylparaben in their lube, because they like keeping that stuff toxic AF). Should we not be done with this by now?

Why are parabens avoided? Because they’re a currently researched potential cancer risk. This was initially discovered by the University of Reading in a study led by Philippa Darbre and published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology (well-respected and peer-reviewed). When researching 20 breast tumours the group found that there were high concentrations of para-hydroxybenzoic acids (parabens) in 18 samples.

Parabens, to our current knowledge mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers, and that’s without all the other ways it can wreck havoc in the body.

Given the location of the tumors (and breast cancer tumors in general), the study concluded that the cancer cells were probably caused by paraben-including deodorants.

Deodorants.

As is, things that we don’t even apply to our body internally or put on skin with highly sensitive memberanes (like the genitals).

Now imagine what parabens in lubricant can potentially do.

No thanks!

Yet, here we are, with a ‘silicone gel’ from Ann Summers which is actually a silicone/water-based hyrid from Ann Summers (in which silicone isn’t even the primary ingredient) and we’re presented with an ingredients list which reads as follows:

Propylene Glycol, Aqua, Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Daucus Carota (Carrot) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Laureth-7, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Potassium Sorbate, Imidaxolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Whhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy!?!

Okay, I know why – parabens are used in the cosmetics industry as a preservative in order to lengthen the shelf-life of a product. But we have so many other ways of doing this now when it comes to lubricants. Same as we don’t need propylene glycol (an ingredient in antifreeze which science is still making its minds up on in terms of toxicity). Oh and while we’re at it why the fuck is there are formaldehyde-releaser that might potentially derive from the urine and ‘other bodily fluids’ of animals in my lubricant.

What the fuck Ann Summers!?!

Thank fuck that I got this free from a friend to review rather than having purchased it because otherwise I would have had to take one strike with the vegan police (and, come to think of it, still might). Still, I suppose that’s what I get for not checking to see if the product I apply to my genitals is animal cruelty-free and doesn’t include the piss of a rabbit or some such other animal in it. Haha, silly me, so foolish!

Seriously, though, this roster of ingredients blows my mind and makes me angry for every other consumer out there. Because, here’s the thing – this is an easily accessible high street item that most people will pick up as either their first or their standard lubricant.

I know young me would have. Even current me didn’t initially think twice about accepting it from a friend to review. ‘Oh, Ann Summers, they sell to a very large audience,’ I thought, ‘So I bet their products are relatively good now and I’d like to let my readers know what I think about them’.

Well, here’s what I think: Avoid!

The lubricant itself? Not dreadful, not the best.

Here is what the lube looked like when it dolloped out of its tube.

It’s thick – goopy to be precise – and its slick when applied to the body but in that cloyingly awkward way that someone who has a crush but hasn’t quite learnt the boundaries yet might be. The difference being that socially awkward person has their reasons, is probably new to their emotions and, in time, can and will learn. Ann Summers has no excuse.

They’ve been around for years.

They know the game.

They know what their competitors are doing and they sure as shit know about parabens. Anyone with even the slightest of interest in adult products and the community knows about parabens, so there’s no excuse.

They’re fully aware and yet they still peddle this stuff anyway because, here’s the kicker, they know they can sell it. They are, by producing and selling this product en masse essentially relying on the lack of the consumer’s knowledge (or interest) in order to peddle a product that’s cheaper to make, lasts a long time (coz parabens and Imidaxolidinyl Urea, aka. potential animal piss), and will sell because who really looks at the ingredients list for lubricants?

Expecting integrity? From companies in the health and wellness industry?
Fuck us right?

As a general rule of thumb we like to trust that adult retailers have our best interests at heart, especially with big and established companies such as Ann Summers. Even I, to a degree, trusted this product when I took it in my hand without a passing thought. But, sadly, I (like many who will have purchased this lubricant) misplaced my trust.

As for taste-testing this lubricant? I’m afraid it’s a no-go from me. I really can’t stomach the idea of stomaching what might be in it. I don’t think even cricket-eating, rabbit-skinning Emmeline from back in the younger years would have found the prospect of potential animal ‘bodily fluids’ that appealing.

Oh, and when I applied it to my genitals I got a mild stinging, a sense that it would provide a good buffer or glide for a powerful vibrator and not much else.

This is an unremarkable gel-based lubricant in all ways except its ingredients list, which just leaves me seething at the fact that we’re still at this point.

I mean, c’mon.

It’s 2018!

Final Thoughts

Usually this would be the area where I summarize how I feel about a product. However, this review has been more of a romp into the world of why parabens are bad for you, why it always pays to check the ingredients, and the overall ethics of the industry I operate in.

Because of this, I really do urge you to go over the review in depth and actually look at the information I’ve presented.

Click the links, do some searches yourself, read counter-arguments. Maybe you’ll look in to all of this and decide that you’re totally fine with parabens and that I’m overreacting. Maybe not. Either way I’ll feel happier for it. Why? Because you’ll be a more informed adult product consumer for it and I am so sick of the fact that adult companies rely on the lack of knowledge and kindly benefit of the doubt that we all so often give them in order to peddle potentially problematic products.

So, yeah. I don’t recommend this lubricant.

0/10

Sad doggo .Gif.

Oh, and before I’m accused of reviewer snobbery or bias let it be known that my mother’s choice of sex ed for me was an Ann Summers magazine that I had brought to her and kept securely in my side drawer at all times (alongside many other Ann Summers catalogs).

I adored Ann Summers growing up – they were a company I idolized. I got my first toy from them. Now I barely even bother to walk in to their stores and, when I do, I’m continually left sighing and let down. I was the ultimate Ann Summers fan girl. Now I’m just tired of this crap.