TikTokers Are Using Calamine Lotion as Makeup Primer

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There’s nothing TikTok users will not experiment with, especially when it comes to beauty. Over the years, TikTok has truly become a social ecosystem for beauty trends. Among the tried and tested catalog? Blush on your under-eye area, jaw contouring, the white concealer hack, and even lube as a makeup primer.

Now, back with yet another TikTok beauty trend, people are using calamine lotion as a makeup primer. But is it safe? Here’s what you need to know before jumping on the trend.

First of all, what is calamine lotion?

When we think of calamine lotion, we usually remember summers when we accidentally fell asleep in the sun and needed something soothing to help lessen the itchy aftermath (i.e. the sunburns) or to treat other skin irritations such as poison ivy rash. We all know what it looks like — usually a pinkish liquid that is applied topically — but what is actually in calamine lotion? Well, a few ingredients.

“Calamine lotion contains mostly zinc oxide and iron oxide, but can contain other ingredients such as glycerin, water, carrageenan, and calcium hydroxide,” board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD, explains to Teen Vogue. “The ingredients can often be too harsh for those with sensitive skin and can lead to over-drying and severe irritation. [This] can sometimes worsen conditions such as acne, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis.”

What is the calamine lotion as a makeup primer hack?

TikTokers have taken the over-the-counter remedy and household favorite conventionally used to treat sunburn, poison ivy, and itchy/inflamed skin and turned it into a makeup primer. Inspired by pro-MUA Tia Samuda’s videos, most people seem to apply an opaque layer of the product to cleansed skin with either a brush, a beauty sponge, or their own hands before letting it dry. Once the lotion has settled (for some it’s still visible on the skin), they go ahead and apply their foundation as normal.

So, technically, yes, some people can use this type of calamine lotion as a makeup primer but — much like anything with anything related to skin care — the potential risks will depend on your skin type so it is always better to speak to your dermatologist first. But Dr. Chimento warns: “The usage of calamine lotion for beauty purposes should be reserved only for those with moderate to severe oily skin.”

Even though TikTok might have sparked the chemist in all of us, not all of us are makeup pros and Dr. Chimento ultimately advises that it is better to “stick with products that are developed as a sole purpose to act as mattifying primers and contain ingredients such as dimethicone and cyclomethicone.” If you are at a loss for recommendations, hers include Laura Mercier’s Pure Canvas Primer, Benefit’s The POREfessional FACE Primer, and The Ordinary’s High-Adherence Silicone Primer.

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer – Perfecting


Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pore Minimizing Primer


The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer


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