If you told me a year ago that I would be that girl applying Vagisil as a makeup primer and heading off to work for the day, I probably would've called you crazy and moonwalked away. But lo and behold, here I am, wearing a cream meant to treat vaginal irritation, in my New York City office, on my face. And I have to say, it's pretty effective — and I truly don't know how to feel about it.
Like any experiment worth its weight, the whole thing began as a dare. It started when I was doing a slow drive-by of the beauty team (they're always the ones with the really cool sh*t on their desks), when I saw a tube of Vagisil peeking out of a shopping bag on Beauty Editorial Assistant Alaina Demopoulos' desk.
I obviously wasn't going to pry, until she told me about a phenomenon that horrified me as much as it intrigued me: beauty bloggers have been using Vagisil on their face as primers. As you can imagine, I nearly fell off my dinosaur. I really couldn't for the life of me understand why bloggers who had oodles of high-end beauty products at their disposal would ever dare to put Vagisil on the face.
I literally did not believe this for a second, so naturally, I decided to try it out for myself and boy was it entertaining.
Because this vagine-creme was going straight onto my moneymaker, I thought it'd be best to ask Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York for his thoughts on the matter. It's safe to say he wasn't exactly recommending that everyone and their mother try it.
"Vagisil contains resorcinol, which is commonly used in skin care products because it has exfoliating benefits. Resorcinol is an ingredient used in some chemical peels in the office."
He urged me to stick with makeup primers that were, you know, meant to go on your f*cking face, and explained that because the point of Vagisil is to combat itchiness, I may run into some issues. "My concern with the use of Vagisil on the face is potential irritation from its ingredients, along with the fact that your face will probably feel numb because of the benzocaine."
Although Dr. Zeichner advised me that this was far and away not the smartest idea, he did give me a glimmer of hope to hang onto: "Vagisil contains resorcinol, which is commonly used in skin care products because it has exfoliating benefits. Resorcinol is an ingredient used in some chemical peels in the office."
And at 25 years old, that small side note was enough for me to give it a whirl. It's also worth mentioning that the price point was also an obvious draw since writers aren't exactly known for filling up an infinity bathtub with cash and jumping into them at the end of every month. I don't even have the fancy tub, let alone that much cash on hand.
Compared to the typical primer you can find at Boots or Superdrug for around £20, you can head to Boots and get a box of Vagisil for £4. That's eight tubes of Vagisil for the price of one tube of Huda Beauty's Complexion Perfection (£27) or nine tubes of Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Primer (£12). And frankly, if it's good enough for makeup artists on Instagram with millions of followers, it's good enough for me.
Finally, it came time to try it out. I woke up, showered, and started my daily routine with one big exception: I applied Huda Beauty's Complexion Perfection to half of my face and a thin layer of Vagisil to the other side, and yes, you could definitely tell they were different products.
While Huda's primer went on smoother and was a little more moisturising, Vagisil definitely had a grainier consistency that was cool to the touch. Did one side of my face go completely numb? No, but it definitely felt a bit more tingly compared to the other side. Dr. Zeichner was not lying about that part one bit.
Here's what each product looked like as soon as I applied them (Huda is on the left, Vagisil is on the right):
As you can see, the Huda product was a little less chunky and toned down the redness in my face, whereas the skin with the Vagisil appeared to give my face a bit of a sheen. But in order to seriously put these products to the test, I had to wait until the afternoon to see how well they held up.
As soon as 1 p.m. rolled around, I ran to the bathroom to check the status of my mismatched face and made an interesting realisation. On the side with my normal primer, my wonderful combination of oily-dry skin looked a bit more dewy, but my eye makeup was definitely smudged more.
As for the side with the Vagisil? Well, it actually didn't look all that bad. My makeup did actually stay in place for half the day, which was honestly pretty surprising, but it did dry out my skin a bit. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because I had an stubborn chin zit that needed to be blasted with a little hot air. My foundation looked a little uneven, but I'd hedge a bet that if I moisturised my face before work this morning (whoops!) it would do the trick. It'd also be interesting to see how the formula holds up in the summer sun on the days when it looks like I've been constantly running through a sprinkler (read: everyday).
So would I ever put Vagisil on my face again? Possibly, yes, I just wouldn't rent out a billboard and tell everyone about it.