Is Using Calamine Lotion as a Makeup Primer Safe? What You Need to Know

All products featured on Teen Vogue are independently selected by our editors.

However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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.

TikTok content

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

At the time of writing, #calaminelotion already had over 6.6 million views on TikTok.

Among those who tested the trend is @flavorfaay2 accompanying her video with the text, “Ok this sh*t is gold 10/10”.

Another user, @therealembree uses calamine lotion as a makeup primer commenting that it doesn’t smell like anything in her video and ends her tutorial with: “I think give it a try.”

What do experts think of using calamine lotion as a makeup primer?

Because calamine lotion contains zinc oxide, Dr.

Chimento notes that the product does have “an anti-inflammatory capability” which is “good for wound healing, soothing to the skin.” However, it is notably the glycerin found in some calamine lotions, like those trending on TikTok, that make the product eligible as a mattifying primer — but not without some caveats.

“This can be beneficial for those with oily skin, as glycerin helps to absorb excess oil and create a smooth surface for foundation application,” explains Dr.


But she cautions, “Those with sensitive or acne-prone skin should approach with care, as the other ingredients can cause over-drying and irritation.” It’s important to note that everyone’s skin is different and you should always do a patch test before incorporating any new product into your routine to ensure you don’t have a negative reaction.

So, is using calamine lotion as a makeup primer safe? While it may work for some individuals, it is not recommended for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

There is a risk of over-drying and severe irritation, which can worsen conditions like acne, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis.

If you still want to give it a try, proceed with caution and do a patch test first..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *