Why Are People Using Lube As Makeup Primer?

The new beauty hack is now all over TikTok. But should you be doing the same?
tiktok makeup primer lube
Damilola Adejonwo is one of the makeup artists on TikTok that tried the lube-as-primer trend. Collage: VICE / Images: Courtesy of Damilola Adejonwo

But Y Tho explores a plethora of funny, strange, and peculiar trends to provide long sought-after answers to questions that have been swimming in all our heads.

Lube can be used in the bedroom for a variety of purposes—from exploring anal sex to squashing misogyny. And with a new viral beauty hack, those bottles may become a staple on vanity tables, along with makeup brushes and eyeshadow palettes. Well, at least if you ask some TikTokers. 


On TikTok, videos containing the hashtag #lubeprimer have garnered over 10.5 million views, with various users smearing personal lubricant on their faces before putting on their makeup. But why?

Makeup primer is used to create a smoother skin base by filling in pores and covering uneven texture. Besides making it easier for makeup to glide on, primer also helps makeup appear and stay longer on the face. But according to some TikTokers, lube can do the same things that makeup primers were designed to accomplish. 

As people hopped onto the bandwagon out of “what the fuck” curiosity at incorporating lube into their makeup routines, what’s perhaps more surprising than the throngs of people rubbing the slimy gel on their faces is that many left the experiment singing the lube-as-primer praises—including claims that it allows foundation to blend easily, and that it’s cheaper than store-bought makeup primer.

While posts of the hack have appeared on TikTok as early as 2019, the trend seemingly took off when TikToker @itsrady showcased it in a video in September. In it, she lip-syncs effortlessly while applying the clear, slippery substance onto her face using a brush.

Her video has since been viewed close to 7 million times, with plenty of other users stitching it to their own attempts at the uncovered beauty secret.

Damilola Adejonwo, a London-based makeup artist who goes by @senorfenty on TikTok, is one of them. He told VICE that he has always been adventurous in following makeup trends, so when he saw other TikTokers giving this a go, he knew he had to try it out. Of course, he didn’t miss the chance to document his attempt on the platform.


The results surprised him. 

“My makeup looked absolutely flawless,” Adejonwo said. “A lot of people will think because lube has a sticky texture, it would make my skin feel all gluey and slippery, but I found on my skin, it dried down matte, which made my makeup stay on all day.”

However, he noted that while he got compliments for his lube-based makeup look that day, he isn’t exactly sure if the liquid really was the secret to its staying power. 

“It’s hard to say if it’s because of the lubricant or perhaps it may have just been my lucky day,” he said.

This hasn’t stopped Adejonwo and other TikTokers from raving about the beauty benefits of using lube as a primer, though.

When Love Island contestant Georgia Harrison tried the hack out, she appeared shocked at how well it worked while noting that lube was way cheaper than her usual makeup primers.

“I’m actually really surprised,” she said in a TikTok video. “My skin usually gets quite dry when I’m putting on makeup but it looks really smooth.”

So have we just stumbled upon a legit second function of the slick substance? Or is this viral beauty hack a collective facial rash just waiting to happen?

Alexis Stephens, a dermatologist based in Florida who’s also active on TikTok, told VICE that using personal lubricant as a makeup primer isn’t the best idea considering that it may lead to facial allergies and sensitivities.


“The way the majority of personal lubricants are formulated tend to be problematic for facial skin and the ingredients used can lead to acne, specifically papules, whiteheads, and blackheads,” she said. “Additionally, the stickiness of the product can clog pores and trap bacteria and dirt on the skin.”

“I recommend avoiding the potential headache by using an actual makeup primer instead or a hydrating lightweight moisturizer,” she said.

Despite glowing reviews, the hack may not work well on certain people, such as those with sensitive skin. 

As beauty TikTokers delve into risqué lube smearing, there are those who believe that lube, no matter its dewiness, should be strictly reserved for its intended purposes. 

While he enjoyed a positive experience with lubing his face, Adejonwo said that he hasn’t done it again since his initial experiment, because he was concerned about using a product not meant for the face. 

So, as tempting as this wild beauty hack might sound, maybe don’t go rushing off to secure the slippery addition to your makeup routine just yet. 

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