WATCH: I tried the #lubeprimer trend so you don't have to

There are a lot of products out there that claim to make your skin glow, but is lube one of them?

Emma Jones 4 minute read November 16, 2021
man and woman putting cream on their faces

“[Lube] has qualities that people may find appealing for now, but is it really good for their skin?” says dermatologist Dr. Zaki Taher. GETTY


TikTok users are putting lube on their faces, saying that it gives makeup that perfect “dewy” look. While these products might not be bad for your skin at first glance, dermatologists warn that your mileage may vary based on the type of product you pick and your skin’s individual sensitivities. 

In one video with more than 117,000 likes, user @seananthonyv mixes Durex Original Lube with his foundation, claiming it makes the base “flawless and smooth.” Another video has TikToker @itsrady putting Durex aloe vera massage lube on her face with a jade roller, before putting on the rest of her makeup. 

Proponents of the practice claim that lube provides the perfect base that makeup can stick to throughout the day, increasing the durability of the product. The silky texture of the lubricant is also supposed to give users a fresh, dewy look that is thick enough to also smooth out imperfections.  

With these claims, it’s no wonder that the tag #lubeprimer has 10.4 million views on TikTok. But Dr. Zaki Taher, a board-certified dermatologist at Lucere Dermatology & Laser Clinic in Edmonton, warns that over time, your skin might not thank you for the practice. 

“It has qualities that people may find appealing for now, but is it really good for their skin? That’s a totally different question,” says Taher. “…when you look at something like lube, it [can] have a paraben in it…so many people are working so hard to have these better skincare products that are healthier for the skin. Do you really want to be using a paraben-based product?” 

Healthing’s Emma Jones gives it a try…


Lube is designed to last through an intense period of fun and should be washed off — it’s not meant to sit on the skin for hours. That sticky texture that hangs onto makeup so well can also do a pretty good job of hanging onto dirt and other pollutants we encounter throughout the day, while also making it more difficult for sweat to get out of our pores. Both increase the risk of acne and rashes.  

Taher also warns that oil-based lubricants could wreak havoc on acne-prone skin. Lube may also contain irritants, like fragrances, dyes, and flavoring, that are known to increase skin sensitivity. Individual results may vary, but those with sensitive skin or eczema may want to stay away from this trend all together. 

Dr. Jason Rivers, a clinical professor of dermatology at UBC and dermatologist at Pacific Derm in Vancouver, doesn’t see a huge concern with using lube on the face if users find it works for them. Since it’s meant for other sensitive areas of your body, Rivers says, it’s probably safe for the face. However, he warns that users should watch for any added ingredients like menthols, which do carry a risk of sensitizing or irritating the skin.  

Rivers also says that, depending on the product, there could be other ingredients manufacturers don’t have to list on the label, increasing the chance of reaction.  

Lube not the best idea to protect skin in the winter months
As Canadians brace for another winter, preventing dry skin will no doubt become its own trending topic. Rivers warns that those who suffer from dry skin shouldn’t turn to lubricant to keep their skin moisturized, as water-based lubricants may feel good to begin with but could actually promote evaporation — leaving your skin dryer than when you started.

Taher recommends looking for products that have a seal from the Eczema Society of Canada, as these products have been scientifically reviewed and deemed safe for sensitive skin. He also explains that different skin types will need different products to protect and nourish the skin’s moisture barrier, as moisturizing oily skin or treating a lipid imbalance will take a different approach than treating dry, cracked skin.

If you’re having trouble finding the right product, contact a dermatologist to find out what is best for you. And always remember — just because the product seems to be doing a good job in the 30-second TikTok video doesn’t mean it’s the best idea for your every day.

“I would never stop someone from doing things that they think might be interesting to try or that they [think] is a good thing for them to do,” says Taher. “But I’m always careful to say, what is it exactly?… What will it do to you and not to the person who was in that Tiktok Video?