Have you ever wondered, “Are condoms vegan?” Well, the answer is – it depends. The main ingredient that makes some condoms not vegan is casein, which is the key protein found in milk. Casein is commonly used in the production of latex (which many condoms are made of) to give it a smooth texture. The good news is, today, there are a few options for condoms that are not made with casein (and are still smooth), which I’ll provide details for below. But first…
A Few Words About Your Safety
I’m all for taking risks. That is, not stupid ones. And when it comes to your health, please don’t take any stupid risks. You come into this world with one body. You don’t get a spare. It’s the only one you’ve got – this body that will automatically do everything it can to get you through life. Your body is hardwired to heal, to keep you safe, to keep you strong – if you just take care of it. Your body keeps on going, even when you think mean things about it, like you don’t like parts of it. It puts up with all of your negative thoughts, and it keeps performing to the best of its abilities. Please take care of your body, and this means practicing safe sex.
Anyone who might expect you to take risks with your health is not someone you should be hanging out with anyway, especially having sex with. Anyone who would ask you to not practice safe sex is someone you should avoid. That is a selfish and foolish person. Don’t waste your time on selfish and foolish people. Especially because there are so many cool and wonderful people in the world who are for more deserving of your precious time and energy.
Ok. There’s my lecture for the day. Now, on to the vegan rubbers!
What are condoms made of?
Traditionally, condoms were made from the intestinal membranes of lambs (not vegan!) This dates back to the start of the Roman Empire (753 BC.) It’s important to note that lamb “skin” condoms do not protect you from STDs, including HIV. Also, no big surprise here, lambskin condoms supposedly smell gross.
What’s in latex condoms?
Another common material used for condoms is latex, which originally comes from natural rubber trees. Modern latex is made with some synthetic processes, so it’s more rubber-like than what you’d consider to be 100% natural rubber, like the natural rubber used in some of the flip flops and vegan shoes I present on UniGuide.
Other materials that are used to make condoms today include polyurethane, which is a plastic compound, and polyisoprene, which is a totally synthetic, “non-latex” latex that doesn’t contain the allergens found in standard latex. I’ll get into more details on these below.
Pros and Cons of Latex Condoms
Latex condoms are effective at preventing pregnancy, as well as STDs, including HIV.
One of the downsides to latex condoms is that some people (six percent of the population) have an allergy to latex, while others simply find it to be irritating to their skin.
It’s also important to note that latex condoms should not be used with oil-based lubricants, like petroleum jelly, vegetable oils, coconut oil, or butter (and that includes dairy butter as well as vegan butter, which could have vegetable oil and/or nut oils in it.) All of these can damage the latex, thus reducing its protective qualities.
You can, however, use latex condoms with water-based lubricants.
Also, latex condoms do expire, so be sure to check the expiration date on the package.
Are latex condoms vegan?
The short answer is, some latex condoms are vegan, and some are not. Non-vegan latex condoms contain casein, as mentioned above, the main protein found in milk.
Vegan latex condoms, on the other hand, utilize plantbased ingredients, such as thistle extract, which serves a similar purpose of making the latex smooth in the manufacturing process.
Polyurethane condoms are made with plastic, and they’re also effective at preventing pregnancy and protecting you from STDs, including HIV. The pros of polyurethane condoms are that people with latex allergies can use them, and many people (men and women) say they feel better than latex condoms because they’re very thin.
The downsides to polyurethane condoms are that they can be more expensive than latex condoms, and they’re also less elastic than latex. Though the thinness of the material makes these condoms popular.
Like polyurethane boots, polyurethane condoms are free of animal products.
Polyisoprene is a refined, synthetic form of latex that does not contain the allergens that standard latex does. Polyisoprene condoms are also effective at preventing pregnancy and the transmission of STDs, including HIV.
Polyisoprene condoms are considered vegan. Though, as with latex condoms, you should not use oil-based lubricants with them. You can use water- or silicone-based lubricants with these types of condoms.
What are vegan condoms made of?
So, essentially, vegan condoms are those that are not made with lamb or pig intestines, or any other kind of animal skin (obviously). And, vegan condoms can be latex, providing the latex is the kinds that does not contain casein. As well, vegan condoms can be made with polyurethane or polyisoprene.
So, without further ado, here are the top-rated vegan condoms:
Glyde’s mission is to revolutionize sexual health and wellness. They source the materials for their line of personal care products from worker-owned and operated producers who utilize Fair Trade labor practices and provide equal pay to men and women.
The natural rubber used in their condoms is grown sustainably and is indigenous to the region where it grows. Glyde also focuses on keeping their carbon footprint low, and their packaging is made with recycled materials and vegetable-based inks.
The company is rich in notable certifications, including The Vegan Society, PETA’s Caring Consumer Program, and the Green Business Network. Plus, they’re a certified B Corporation.
Glyde’s condoms are completely free of casein, glycerin, parabens, petrochemicals, and the spermicide Nonoxynol-9.
L. is a socially conscious personal care products company that was founded by photojournalist Talia Frenkel, who worked for the Red Cross and United Nations. While working abroad, Talia witnessed many humanitarian crises, including women’s lack of reproductive rights and the impact that HIV/AIDS were having on local communities. She was motivated to do something about it.
Today, L. works with a network of more than 3,000 female entrepreneurs who are making health care products accessible to girls and women who need them.
All of L.’s personal care products are organic and they’re free of pesticides, chlorine, fragrances, and dyes.
L.’s vegan condoms get rave reviews from male and female users alike.
SKYN, by LifeStyles, provides a few different types polyisoprene condoms that are vegan and latex-free. They produce their polyisoprene condoms at a facility that is completely separate from any facility that makes natural rubber latex. So, if you have an allergy to latex, these condoms are a great option.
Trojan’s Supra BareSkin condoms are ultra-thin and made with vegan polyurethane. They’re designed to transmit natural body heat, which users rave about. Made with clear, odor-free, medical-grade polyurethane, these condoms are super thin but still strong.
Sustain Natural is another socially conscious brand that’s working to improve women’s health. They donate 10% of their profits to support women’s health organizations in the U.S.
All of their condoms are 100% vegan and free of harmful chemicals, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. They’re also FDA Approved, Fair Trade, and sustainably produced.
Durex’s Avanti line of condoms is made with ultra-thin vegan polyisoprene. These condoms get top reviews from users who say they’re a great alternative to latex.
Kimono’s MicroThin® line of condoms are made with vegan-friendly, casein-free latex. They’re also from free of spermicides, parabens, glycerin, and nitrosamines (which are carcinogenic compounds.)
Vegan Society-approved Fair Squared condoms are made with natural, casein-free latex. Made in Germany, these condoms are also manufactured with Fair Trade-sourced natural rubber in a carbon neutral production process.