October 6, 2022

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.

Lube as primer: @shannonlawlor

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

La Roche-Posay Hyalub5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
La Roche-Posay
Hyalub5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
£30

CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum
CeraVe
Hyaluronic Acid Serum
£13

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Hydrating
Laura Mercier
Pure Canvas Primer Hydrating
£34

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15
Hourglass
Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15
£73

Stila One Step Correct Primer
Stila
One Step Correct Primer
£26

By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Primer
By Terry
Hyaluronic Hydra Primer
£42

Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer SPF50
Charlotte Tilbury
Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer SPF50
£39

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer
Fenty Beauty
Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer
£24

Next up, I tried all the trending beauty products on TikTok, and I have some thoughts.