TikTokers Are Using Lube as Makeup Primer — Is That Okay, Though?

If this trend has ~slipped~ into your feed, you're likely curious whether it's worth trying.

Face lube tiktok primer
Photo: Getty Images

Ah, TikTok, the digital home of viral trends both extremely useful (remember those exfoliating gloves?) and so bonkers, you're left scratching your head in confusion (friends, please don't use numbing spray to prevent pain while wearing sky-high stilettos). Whether you're game to try just about anything you see on your FYP or you're a liiiiittle more cautious about it all, there's always something new and, ahem, unexpected popping up all over your feed.

Case in point: #lubeprimer, which has already racked up more than 10 million views on the viral video app, touts sexual lubricant as the perfect makeup primer. Yes, you probably already have a go-to primer stashed away in your makeup bag, but some TikTokers tout lube as the secret sauce to creating a smooth canvas and allowing your makeup to stay put all day long.

While some users are (rightfully) skeptical — beauty guru Sean Anthony literally said, "I'm scared" before giving it a go — others are much more enthusiastic about it, loving the immediate "dewy and glowy" look that they score from mixing lube with their foundation, which helps makeup glide on smoothly. The lubes of choice for most TikTokers seem to be gentle, water-based picks such as Durex Play Feel Original (Buy It, $12, worldcondoms.com) and Durex Massage & Play 2-in-1 (Buy It, $9, amazon.com) which adds skin-soothing aloe vera, it really does seem like lube is the beauty secret you never knew you needed.

And TBH, it's hard to deny the results: Lube somehow makes every skin texture and tone look radiant, even, and, well, lubricated. But just because it's effective, does that mean it's actually safe?

"In a word: no," says Alicia Zalka, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep, a line of skin-balancing, anti-odor products. "Lubricants designed for smooth and friction-free sexual encounters contain ingredients that are meant for 'down there,' not 'up here.'" In fact, even Durex even commented on Anthony's video to note that they don't recommend using their products as makeup primers, noting on their website that they shouldn't be used anywhere near the delicate eye area. (

Okay, but with so many lubes on the block specifically designed for sensitive skin, wouldn't it stand to reason that if it's safe enough for your delicate vaginal area, it's also fine to use on your face? Not quite. "Lubes are designed for temporary use, not a full day of wear on the skin," says Dr. Zalka. So what might not cause irritation after brief use during sexual activity probably isn't the best bet for your pre-work glam application… especially if you're not thoroughly washing it off until you're ready to hit the hay many hours later.

Not to mention, "these products may contain chemicals that are not meant for the face at all," says Dr. Zalka. Think: parabens (chemicals that are known to mess with your hormones) and propylene glycol (a potentially irritating hydration agent) — both of which are potential allergens that can cause reactions in people with sensitive skin, notes Suzanne Friedler, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC. Other potentially troublesome ingredients in lube include chlorhexidine gluconate (an antibacterial germicide that could irritate the skin on your face), nonoxynol-9 (vaginal spermicide — which is mean to kill sperm, certainly not meant for your face, and often causes allergic or unpleasant reactions even when used as directed), and fragrances, which are known irritants, particularly in those with sensitive or reactive skin. (FYI, it's not just lube — your sex toys might be toxic, too.)

You'll definitely want to avoid putting novelty lubes on your face, including warming, numbing, or flavored lubes, notes Dr. Zalka. "Some lubes contain sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia to give them flavoring," adds Dr. Friedler. "Others contain anesthetic agents such as benzocaine that could make your face feel numb," along with trapping heat in the skin, upping the risk of irritation or an allergic reaction.

And "if the lube contains oil (such as castor oil or even coconut oil), that could be a trigger for acne," adds Dr. Friedler. Though lube is meant to keep things wet, its stickiness hardly makes it an effective hydrator, and it can easily clog pores and trap bacteria and dirt on the skin, leading to breakouts. (

Plus, following the TikTok method of using lube all over your face or even mixing it in with your skin-care products for extra hydration only helps "lock in" those potentially reaction-causing ingredients to the skin — a recipe for disaster even if you don't count yourself in the sensitive skin camp.

"Bottom line, with so many choices of great facial primers, save the lube for its intended use," suggests Dr. Friedler.

Still, if creating a smooth canvas for your lewk is on your priority list, don't fret. You can achieve a dewy, glowy vibe with products that won't cause breakouts or leave your skin feeling sticky-icky. For super dry skin, Dr. Zalka loves a dab of CeraVe Healing Ointment (Buy It, $11, ulta.com), a lightweight yet nourishing moisturizer that'll soothe even the scaliest of skin. She also loves applying Ghost Democracy Softglow Facial Oil (Buy It, $38, ghostdemocracy.com) under her tinted moisturizer, which creates a dewy canvas on her face. If her skin needs some extra exfoliation, she opts for the celeb-fave Foreo face brush, which is gentle enough for easily irritated skin.

Of course, primer helps lock in all that solid skin care, and there are so many great ones out there at all price points. Amazon customers love E.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer (Buy It, $9, amazon.com) for a "looks like an Insta filter IRL" blurring effect, but there's truly no shortage of skin-perfecting primers out there to try. (Check out some more safe, pro-approved long-lasting makeup tips here.)

Keep your lube by the bed where it belongs, though, because it truly is a game-changer in more ways than one — just not on your face.

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