TikTokers Are Using Lube As a Primer—Here's What Dermatologists Think
Believe it or not, #LubePrimer is catching on like wildfire on TikTok—essentially squirting lube all over one's face as a makeup primer. (Primer is what goes on your face before makeup is applied to hydrate and smooth the skin, hide unwanted spots and more.) Seriously: With more than 10 million views, it's been especially popular among makeup artists and beauty content creators, such as Rady Zilincik.
Zilincik's friend, Luke Kohutek, a makeup artist and fellow TikToker, shared this "hack" with her a couple of years ago. Several of his TikToks have gone viral, some lube ones reaching almost 3 million views.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time someone has tried something along these lines. Huda Kattan, a makeup artist, experimented with K-Y Jelly, milk of magnesia and Vagisil in the same way on YouTube.
"I tested it out and really liked the results," she said. "My skin felt very smooth and my pores were diminished, almost like after using a silicone-based primer." Her video about this prompted a discussion on Reddit with other interested users.
Zilincik isn't the only person who's loved the results: Many other beauty creators are raving about it all over social media, too. But can putting lube on your face be bad for your skin?
Why are people using lube as a primer?
This trend has become popular for many reasons, from how it makes makeup look to how it helps makeup stay on for longer. Beauty content creator and TikToker Sean Anthony said using lube made his face smooth and glowing, and called the product "grippy" and a stronger performer than his regular primer.
When makeup artist and TikToker Adenike Akinpelu mixed her foundation with lube, she was surprised to find her makeup looked more blended with the lube than without it.
While this hack has plenty of amazing benefits, is it safe? According to dermatologists, that depends—but it's something you probably want to avoid.
"Using lube as a primer could cause irritation and breakouts," said Geeta Yadav, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in the Toronto area.
"The main risks are the potential comedogenic (or pore-clogging) nature of lubricants and the risk for irritation [or] allergy in those predisposed," said Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist. Oil-based lubricants are especially likely to clog pores. "This is really on a case-by-case basis—many folks can surely use lubricants without issue, but some will have an adverse reaction."
Your makeup may not look pretty for as long with lube underneath it, either. "There's a good chance your makeup will never fully dry or set, as lube is designed to stay moist," Yadav said. "I'd skip it. Why risk the possibility of unnecessary blemishes?"
If you are going to try this trend, it's best to make sure you don't have any underlying sensitivities first. Zilincik suggests using an unscented lube and doing a patch test, which can determine if you're allergic to certain substances.
"I advise everyone to do a patch test before putting anything new on their skin, especially products that weren't specifically designed for this purpose," she said.
Playing it safe
While several TikTokers used or recommended Durex, the company doesn't agree. Durex commented on Anthony's TikTok video, complimenting his look but discouraging people from using the product as a primer. E.l.f. Cosmetics posted a related video promoting their primers rather than lube.
So, if you have a sensitivity or want to stay on the safe side, don't worry: Plenty of other products exist with similar (and better) benefits.
"Products actually intended to be used as makeup primers are most certainly better options," Mudgil emphasized. "These products are tested for their potential comedogenic (acne-causing) properties, as well as for their likelihood of causing irritation [or] allergy."
While using lube as a primer is a creative and viral idea kickstarted by many beauty content creators, it's probably a trend you'll want to skip. "Not everything you see on the internet is worth trying," Yadav said.