The hackUsing calamine lotion as a primer before makeup.
The testIt’s used for chickenpox and insect bites but this old-school pharmacy staple is going viral as TikTok users spread it on their faces as a primer – using their hands or a foundation brush – allow it to dry and then apply makeup over it. But is there any logic here, or has the desperation to make anything go viral reached peak pointlessness? I’m veering towards the latter but in theory calamine – which contains zinc oxide, iron oxide and phenol – does absorb oil, so oily skins may see some benefit. But when used for longer than the recommended time (usually seven days) it could cause excess dryness.
Phenol is mildly acidic and used in chemical peels, so is arguably not suited to daily use all over your face. I put it to the test by switching my regular primer for the pink stuff. By the end of the day, my dry, eczema-prone skin felt irritable. My make up didn’t sit any better and while it did stay put, my skin felt taut. It felt how I imagine wearing a death mask might.
The verdictAvoid. Sure, it’s cheap, but when brands like elf, Makeup Revolution and NYX all have primers for under a tenner (with more skin-friendly ingredients), why bother? Save the calamine for when you really need it and back away from this hack.