TikTok Isn't Always Right—This Is Why You Shouldn't Be Using Lube as Primer

TikTok has blessed us with many great things: mouth-watering recipes, killer outfit transitions and a shedload of beauty hacks. However, as someone who has dedicated her entire career to helping people get the most out of their beauty products, I beg you not to put lubricant on your face. 

As a beauty editor, I don’t shy away from being outspoken on pointless viral hacks, but I must admit this is the first time I have actually felt compelled to dedicate an entire article to one. If you have been on TikTok at all over the past few months, there’s a high chance you will have seen many videos with TikTokers showcasing the beauty hack du jour—using lube as a skin-smoothing, pore-disguising makeup primer.

Yes, you did read that correctly. TikTokers are prepping their skin for makeup by applying lubricant. And it’s taken off big time, with the hashtag #lubeprimer having racked up 10.4 million views and counting. And I suppose I sort of get it. Lube has a high silicone and water content, which in theory means that it will deliver a smooth, dewy finish when it’s applied to skin.

And the viral TikTok videos prove it to be true. Yes, when you use lube as a primer and apply your foundation over the top, the results look pretty good. But that’s not to say the results are any better than what a normal makeup primer that is, you know, actually designed to be applied to your face would give you. But the reason I’m urging you not to jump on board this particular beauty-hack train isn’t because it doesn’t work. It’s because it’s actually really not good for your skin.

I know we shouldn't need medical experts to tell us this, but putting lubricant designed for other areas onto the skin on your face doesn’t bode well for the state of your complexion. Medical consultant Ifeoma Ejikeme, MD, explains, “When you look at the ingredient list on lubricants, you’ll see they are not ingredients you would associate with skincare. They can contain cooling, numbing and heating actions, which can cause irritation.”

But even if it isn’t irritating your skin, there are countless other reasons why applying lubricant on your face is not a good move. “Silicone can minimise the appearance of pores, but it can also block them if the product isn’t non-comedogenic (acne-causing). There are other commonly found ingredients in lubricants, such as the spermicide nonoxynol-9. It is a chemical that paralyses sperm but also takes out other organisms, thus disrupting the delicate facial microbiome we rely on for healthy skin,” says Justine Hextall, FRCP, consultant dermatologist at Tarrant Street Clinic.

And that’s not all. You’ll may also be dealing with skin-sensitising fragrance and antibacterial ingredients such as chlorhexidine that will dry out and irritate skin on the face if used too often. So please, please just use your normal makeup primer. There are heaps of great products out there that will give you the same effect and not upset your skin. “If you want to find a hydrating primer that contains a small amount of silicone for a smooth finish, I highly recommend La Roche-Posay’s Hyalu B5 Serum,” says Hextall.

Shop the Best Makeup Primers to Use Instead

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