TikTok's "Zone Priming" Trend Is The Ultimate Makeup Hack For Oily Skin

Ensure your gorgeous glam stays put.

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As far as makeup goes, nothing’s worse than watching your oily skin practically eat your foundation over the course of the day. Even if your makeup was perfectly smooth in the morning, an oily T-zone is almost always bare by noon. Meanwhile, the drier skin on your cheeks looks cracked and flaky. Sound familiar? Then you need to know about TikTok’s zone priming trend.

In her now-viral video, TikTok creator @amelia0livia shared the zone priming trick, which entails applying a different type of primer to each area of your face depending on your skin’s individual needs — and makeup artists and dermatologists are all about it.

By using a different primer on each part of your face, you ultimately create the perfect canvas for your foundation, BB cream, or powder — and one that’ll ensure your makeup stays put for hours. “Priming the T-zone helps absorb excess oil and prevents makeup from dripping or pooling as the day goes on,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. Using a moisturizing primer on the other areas of your skin, then, helps ensure your makeup doesn’t crack or cake by the afternoon. “As a dermatologist, I prescribe targeted treatments on a daily basis, [so] it makes sense to use different products that address the needs of a particular body part,” says Zeichner.

Makeup artist Elizabeth Seropian loves the trend as well, and notes how common it is for makeup to slip and slide on different parts of the face, especially if you’re prone to oily skin. Her take? It’s key to prep your face if you want your glam to last, and that includes using the right products in each area. Here’s what to know.

How To Zone Prime Your Face

Before even touching any makeup, you’ll want to seal off your skin care routine with your fave moisturizer. Once your skin is set, that’s when you’ll get into your T-zone with an oil-free, mattifying, or anti-shine primer. Seropian says to look for primers that include ingredients like water/aqua, silica, and vitamin E — all things that’ll help protect your skin, she says. For extra oily or acne-prone skin, Zeichner recommends using a mattifying primer with 2% salicylic acid in your T-zone to reduce shine, remove excess oil, and blur your pores. Once the oil is gone, it ups the odds that your makeup will stay put.

To prevent flaking and cracking in other zones like your cheeks, skip the mattifying and anti-shine primers and opt for something more moisturizing. Look for moisturizing formulas with ingredients like peptides and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. “Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge to pull in water to the outer skin layer, while peptides help improve skin radiance,” Zeichner says.

A pro tip? Once you apply a primer to each zone, give them time to dry down and soak in before using other products, says Seropian. That way, your makeup will go on smoothly — and stay that way all day.


Dr. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., dermatologist

Elizabeth Seropian, makeup artist