TikTokers Are Using Lube as Makeup Primer & Here’s What a Derm Thinks

Elizabeth Denton
TikTokers Are Using Lube as Makeup Primer & Here’s What a Derm Thinks
Photo: TikTok.

We’ve seen a lot of wild beauty trends over the years. Remember squiggly brows?! Some of the actually useful ones involve using unexpected items to make our lives easier, such as tape to guide eyeliner application. But what about the new TikTok trend of using lube as makeup primer? Yes, like personal lubricant often used during sex. Folks on TikTok are putting it on their face before applying foundation, as well as mixing it with their favorite complexion product. The results are mixed.

For some, it smoothes skin and allows makeup to apply evenly without bumps and flakes. It worked for TikToker @seananthonyv who said in a viral video, “You need to start mixing your lube with foundation. It makes it glide extra smooth.” @MannyMUA733 tries it, too. Both guys look great, though Manny notes his foundation is sure not to last even a few hours. Then you’ve got @itsrady who included it in her “best makeup hacks” video. What is going on?!

It looks like most of these creators used a silicone-based product to get a glowy, radiant finish to their foundation. As @glamzilla notes in her video, you can get the same effect with your favorite serum. Strangely, we saw @mikaylanogueira try it as well but the video seems to have been taken down. She used a water-based lube and did not like the process or the finished product. She said she gets a better glow from her favorite Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow.

Basically, there’s a chance this will work for you. But with all the stellar makeup primers on the market, what’s the point? Except for a fun TikTok, of course. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, tells STYLECASTER that lube can even be harmful to your skin.

“First and foremost, not all lubricants are the same and what may work fine as a facial makeup primer for one person could be irritating or breakout-inducing for others,” she says. “Some are oil-based and can clog pores. Others, like those with concentrated glycerin, can leave a sticky residue that may attract bacteria and debris, promoting acne.” Eek! You do not want to deal with that.

Murphy-Rose says using lubricant might be fine as primer in a pinch (though we’re not sure what situation that would be!), she definitely doesn’t recommend it for regular use. Though “water-based lubricants are least likely to clog pores and hypoallergenic products will be least likely to irritate skin,” she notes.

Lube as primer might be a funny TikTok trend, we’d stay skip it to keep your skin healthy. There are also great radiant primers on the market, including Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiant Primer + Serum ($17.99 at Ulta), Ilia True Skin Radiant Priming Serum ($52 at Sephora) and Wet n Wild Photo Focus Dewy Face Primer ($5.99 at Ulta). Save the lube for the more sexy things.

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