For the past week, I’ve been using lube (yes, that lube) as my go-to beauty product. For this experiment, I used a silicone-based lubricant called Uberlube. According to the certified sex experts over at The Pleasure Chest, “the soft and silky formula is enriched with Vitamin E, keeping skin healthy and moisturized.” They even added that the formula is “doctor recommended!”
Enriched with Vitamin E and doctor recommended? How could I not try this out? But let’s take a second to discuss the science here. Uberlube is made up of four ingredients: Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Cyclomethicone, and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E). “All of these ingredients, except vitamin E, are variations of silicone based polymers. The appeal of using them in skin care products is they create a non-greasy smoothing effect on the surface of the skin,” explains Dr. Keira Barr, dual board-certified dermatologist and the founder and chief wellness officer of Resilient Health Institute. “They fill in fine lines and uneven texture, creating a smooth and flawless look in products like makeup primers and lotions.” Dr. Mitalee Christman, a dermatology resident in New York City, adds that anti-frizz serums for hair contain multiple silicones.
OK, so the science backs it up. But I still had to put it to the test. Below, find out how lube works as a hand cream, a hair product, a primer, a face moisturizer, and a scar gel.
I typically use L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream as my go-to and I’ve got to say… I love this stuff. Anyone who touches my hands immediately comments on how soft they are and I have grown accustomed to always having silky smooth palms and knuckles even in the dead of winter.
Sitting here at the end of my week of using Uberlube in place of my usual L’Occitane cream, I can safely say that my hands are the driest they have ever been. They are by no means rough, but there is a certain level of moisture I’ve grown accustomed to that the lube was unable to meet.
“What I’m looking for in the perfect hand cream is not only emollients like silicones, but also exfoliants like lactic acid and sun protective ingredients because the hands see so much sun,” says Christman. “You don’t want your hands to dry to a sticky finish. For that reason, hand cream is the worst application I can think of for a silicone-based lubricant.”
Unlike my disappointing experience using lube as a hand cream, lube was a surprisingly excellent hair product. I usually get Keratins every six months or so and am approaching the tail end of my last one. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the keratin process, this means my hair is an awkward mix of glossy pin-straight pieces and wild frizzy curls. Finding a sulfate-free hair product that caters to both of these textures has been challenging to say the least.
I’ve been looking for a product that will maintain my hair’s natural texture while calming the frizz and keeping it as healthy-feeling as possible. Lube is this product. “Because the ingredients leave a coating on the hair strands, it can make hair appear shinier and provide an appearance of smoothness and tame the frizz,” Barr says. The dimethiconol in Uberlube also acts to actually make your hair healthier, according to Carol L. Clinton, MD and founder and medical director of Timeless Skin Solutions. “Dimethiconol has a high molecular weight and is used on unhealthy hair to help with split ends,” Clinton says. “They are frequently the basis of leave-in hair conditioners.” As if that all wasn’t already great enough news, Clinton adds that using Uberlube as a hair serum can also be used to help prolong the effect of hair dyes and tints.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say lube is an excellent primer, but it definitely gets the job done. In fact, I usually use Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer and I didn’t even really notice a difference between the two products. They both have that same dry but just sticky enough to hold your makeup finish that also leaves your skin feeling smooth to the touch and photo ready.
According to Christman, the product was effective because silicone-based lubricants actually do have some of the key ingredients commonly used in makeup primers. That being said, they’re also lacking some. “A good primer certainly has silicones to create a smooth base for your foundation, but the best primer has additional star ingredients like antioxidants and sunscreen, which this is lacking,” she explains.
If lube is a bad hand cream, it’s safe to say it’s a terrible face moisturizer. I had just gotten an extremely hydrating facial prior to this experiment (my facial was on a Sunday and I started the experiment on a Monday). I’ve gotten this facial before and have found that using my usual belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb helps me maintain the benefits of the facial for weeks going forward. But using Uberlube as my go-to moisturizer for the past week totally reversed any progress my skin had made from the facial.
By the end of the week, my skin was dry and crawling with a bunch of almost rash-like barely-visible-but-still-excessively-annoying irritations. “Because [silicone-based products] provide a film on the skin, some people experience clogged pores, inflammation and acne breakouts,” Barr says. “This can be especially true for individuals using benzoyl peroxide products.”
I didn’t have any scars to test this out on first-hand but, according to Christman, you may want to consider using a silicone-based lube as your new scar gel. “Silicone gels have improved the appearances of post-surgical scars in research studies,” she says. So, when you’re in a pinch and have a scar but forget to buy scar gel, you can throw a little bit of your lube on there.