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I used lube as a primer for a week

IMAGE VIA @thefigrcom/instagram
WORDS BY MARY ROSE MADIGAN

“My regular primer retails for just over $50 bucks and I got the lube on special for less than $10. Money talks, and I was listening.”

I love a trend or a life hack, and I’m not above anything that is in vogue. Bring on corset tops, baggy jeans, and lube as a primer. Yes, that’s right, lube as a primer. Last week I replaced my usual primer with lube, and I’m ready to tell you what happened.

So, what made me decide to do this? I spend plenty of my free time lurking around beauty groups on the internet. I’m a bit addicted to a before and after picture and love hearing about the best cheap skincare I can buy at a chain store chemist. So when I started seeing people posting about using lube as a primer, I was intrigued. Ultimately it led to me falling down a TikTok rabbit hole, which convinced me to give it a go.


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The reviews by influencers and beauty bloggers were always glowing, and it seemed like a cheap, effective life hack. Sign me up! I popped to my local supermarket, bought myself some lube and decided to give it a go for a week to see if it was worth the hype.

Now, I should tell you something right now – I have dry, sensitive skin. The kind that flares up in winter and summer (okay, fine, it’s a mess all year ’round). It’s prone to being flaky, and even finding a basic moisturiser that doesn’t make me break out is a mission and a half. I’m the kind of person that needs to look for skincare that has a ton of natural ingredients in it.

I’m also the kind of person that must stay very far away from any harsh chemicals but the allure of the lube was just too great for me to resist. My regular primer retails for just over $50 bucks and I got the lube on special for less than $10. Money talks, and I was listening. So, what did I discover? Well, lube does work as a primer; it firms up your skin, making it easier for your makeup to sit and stay put. The first time I tried it, I was really impressed.

It helped my makeup apply well and I looked a bit more glowy – I was sold. But, after using it for a few days, I quickly realised it wasn’t doing my skin any favours. Yes, while it works well at first, the lube base began to turn on me. As I mentioned, I have sensitive skin, but lube in general (no matter what kind you buy) is pretty thick, so it was blocking my pores and by the end of the day my face was red. I was giving blotchy instead of glowy.

Even after I used the gentlest facial wipes, I found my skin still looked red and raw and only a facial seemed to be able to calm it down. Using lube was making my skin feel like it had spent the day suffocating and gasping for air – not exactly a fabulous feeling or the vibe I was going for. I headed online to see if this was just my personal reaction to using lube on my face or a common one. I found that there are several ingredients found in most lubes – like spermicide and castor oil – that many people are sensitive to.

Still, I wanted to give it a full week, so I kept going with using the lube as a base, but unfortunately, it was just making my skin mad. By the end of the week, my skin was flared up and I was particularly flaky. All my makeup, no matter what primer I used, was starting to look clumpy rather than sleek and glossy.

Ultimately, my experiment taught me that if you were out of primer and needed a quick fix you could absolutely reach for your lube, and it’d work. But it’s not something for everyday use, particularly if you have sensitive skin like me. Primers were developed with ingredients that were chosen to minimise the chances of your skin breaking out, and that’s what makes them worth the extra money and lube best left for sex.

For more on the lube as primer trend, try this.

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