Lubes, Lotions and Potions: Manufacturers Talk Gateway Products
Sensual body care products have strong consumer interest and plenty of appeal for customers of all types. With lubes, massage oils, creams, lotions, and sprays all bringing in significant sales, manufacturers weigh in on the mainstream appetite for these products and the industry’s current trends.
At Loob Lube, creative director Maureen Haggiag says sensual body care products are more mainstream-friendly than toys. “The prevailing message supports targeted beauty and healthy ingredients which adds to product appeal and emphasizes the mind, body, spirit connection as the dominant takeaway.” She notes that current trends include sensual body creams, fragrance and “the feeling that couples can touch each other in a fun and healthy way.” According to Haggiag, using sensual body care products lighten the mood and helps users to feel more self-confident. “All lubes can be used with condoms without compromising their integrity...They can also be used with toys like vibrators — even those made of silicone material.”
Silicone-based lubes are especially popular, Haggiag said. “They have a very unique, silky feel that is soothing to the skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. Silicone is also hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for lube users with sensitive skin or allergies. And since these lubes contain mostly silicone instead of water, they often last longer and need to be reapplied less often.”
Packaging is important when it comes to body care products, she explains. “It’s the first thing people see and represents the brand without even trying. It should speak to the market and the consumer and reflect the vibe of the product.”
Consumable products are extremely popular with couples and enhance intimacy, Haggiag suggests because “you are using more of your senses and are more in tune with each other’s bodies. It is also something you are experiencing together and at the same time, and if it tastes good, your entire body, your brain chemicals and mood feel better and you are aroused more.”
Haggiag finds that lubes, lotions and potions are not only welcoming to first-time users, they’re also popular as gift items, including Loob Lube’s travel sizes which are easy to carry and gift to friends and family. She says women are the main purchasers of these products, and they are likely to introduce them to their significant other.
Carrie Smith, director of product development at Wicked Sensual Care agrees that sensual body care products have plenty of mainstream appeal. “They are personal care products of an intimate kind,” she says. “We definitely think that it is a gateway product into the adult world if you will; it’s really essential for improving one’s sex life. We say lubricant is the most easily accessible, inexpensive way to do that, and it provides an immediate positive response. Even if you don’t think you need it, it just makes everything else feel better.”
In regard to trends, Smith says her company’s data shows their water-based anal gel as their No. 1 best seller. “We are also known for our flavors, which have no after-taste and are flavored with stevia. We have really made flavored lubes accessible again — they do taste really good,” she asserts. “Flavored lubes are much more accepted and understood in a younger demographic because for younger people a flavored lube is fun and tastes good and is a gateway item for them.” She adds, “If we can get them in young with a flavored lube, we have a customer for life as they progress and experiment with other things.” Some of Wicked Sensual Care’s most popular flavors are salted caramel, cinnamon bun and candy apple. “You can mix and match them and make different flavors, too. For example, candy apple and cinnamon together become apple pie.”
Smith, with a background in skin care, says that packaging is always very important. “We want it to be functional and make sense for the consumer. Making our packaging discreet was really important for us, too.” She adds that, “I was a mom of teenagers when I started this venture, and I didn’t necessarily want them to know I was using lube. I wanted something I could leave out that blended with other personal care products.”
To increase the popularity of lube products, Smith says Wicked Sensual Care provides many in-store training sessions. “Staff members tell us that people come in and say they don’t need lube. There’s a stigma that we are trying to change by calling it a personal care product. We make sure our staff knows how to explain to consumers that using it doesn’t mean you’re old or decrepit. It just makes everything better, and it’s a must for anal play since you don’t self-lubricate.” She adds that “It’s a great thing to change things up with a flavor or a sensation, and if you’re introducing a toy, lube helps facilitate that. It’s becoming more acceptable to couples as people are recognizing their own sexuality. And, with the insurgence of Viagra, men have longer erections and women need a little help if sessions go longer, so this is another place we find lube to be really helpful and accepted.”
Like Haggiag, Smith finds that some products can also make popular gifts. “It depends on the situation, but we have a wonderful stroking cream for men that makes a great Father’s Day gift. You’ll also see lubes with bachelorette gifts, almost as a joke, but once people experience it, they’ll come back for more.”
For Wicked Sensual Care, sensual body care products have a 50-50 appeal between men and women. “We cross over all demographics, from young parents to young couples, same-sex couples, menopausal women.”
Janette Bilodeaux, marketing director at Classic Erotica, agrees that sensual body products have wide appeal, and enhance intimacy. She describes her all-time best seller in sensual body care as COOCHY Intimate Shave Créme. “It’s been a No. 1 top seller for Classic Erotica for over 35 years,” Bilodeaux relates. “The ‘Oh So Original’ formula was first created by Moe Levy, our CEO and founder.” The collection now offers seven fragrances, including top sellers such as Frosted Cake, Slick Chic Pear Berry and Loves Me Loves Me Not. The shave experience that the product offers appeals to both men and women, Bilodeaux states, adding that its appeal is based on leaving users feeling “super sexy — and that’s a real turn-on.”
Dean Fresonke, CEO at CarraShield Labs, agrees that lubes and other sensual body care products have become a lot more mainstream-friendly in recent years.
“Lubes have made a magical transformation from the back shelf of adult shops to the end caps of big box drugstores over the past 10 years. I think there’s two reasons — lubes are a really valuable way to increase sensual enjoyment, and lube packaging is subtle enough that mom can walk her kids by the display and not flinch.” At CarraShield Labs, Fresonke is seeing an upswing of interest in a lubricant that has health benefits. “Most lubes are great for playtime but may actually end up irritating the skin. We’ve gone far beyond playtime and are researching ways our CarraShield-based lubricant can stop cancer-causing HPV infections,” he says.
As to how these body care products enhance intimacy, Fresonke feels lubricants make a huge difference to couples of all ages. “Let’s face it, guys are a bit clumsy and don’t always know their way around a woman’s body, especially early in a relationship. A premium lubricant like Divine 9 can transform an irritating rub to a sensual massage. Science has turned older guys into Superman with just a little pill, but it’s likely they are with older women who often become drier with age, especially after menopause. A great lubricant like Divine 9 with CarraShield can create a Wonder Woman that can keep up with her Superman.”
Jacqui Rubinoff, director of marketing and sales at Eye of Love, says bath and body products are a friendly and accessible way to open the door to other toys and products. “We’re already fast entering mainstream, and we specifically designed our products to be used daily; the packaging is very mainstream and discreet.” She believes that packaging can make or break a product. “You could have the most amazing formula in the world, but the customer won’t pick it up if it doesn’t have an appealing look. It is also essential to have good packaging in brick and mortar stores, because your product is among many others and needs to stand out.”
Rubinoff believes sensual body care products enhance intimacy by setting the mood and creating a romantic environment, something that Eye of Love is particular about promoting. “This is something that is essential and often overlooked, whether you just started dating, or have been together for years. We aim to make this process as easy as possible. For example, we have an intimacy kit with everything you need to set the mood. All you have to do is light the Pheromone Shea Butter Massage Candle, sprinkle the Sensual Rose Petals on the sheets, and spray the Pheromone Body & Ambiance spray and you’re good to go,” she attests.
At Eye of Love, Rubinoff find that customers usually purchase individual pheromone perfumes and colognes for themselves, based on their own connection to a specific fragrance. “However, our gift sets are very popular especially during Valentine’s Day and the holiday season. It is much easier for someone to walk into a shop and get a gift under $50 that contains everything they need, rather than smelling individual fragrances and choosing specific products.” This year, Rubinoff notes that Eye of Love’s mini gift sets are popular. “They contain a mini Pheromone Massage Candle, a mini Pheromone Parfum Roll-on and Sensual Rose Petals. Perfect for weekend getaways.”
As to who purchases Eye of Love’s internationally sold products, Rubinoff suggests that appeal differs by country, with some regions purchasing a majority of male-based products, and others female. “We have an almost even split worldwide for our products. Everyone is looking for a little added edge.”
And with the increased popularity of sensual body care products, consumers may just have found a way to get that edge, while manufacturers are increasing sales and adding new products.