Another day, another TikTok viral trend to explore. The “sticky method,” which is supposed to ensure your makeup covers acne and/or dark spots in a truly jaw-dropping way, is the latest on the beauty agenda.
TikTok personality Mikayla Nogueira made popular the technique in a video titled “How to Perfectly Cover Acne Using the Sticky Method.
” In the video, Nogueira is shown with completely bare skin and declares that she will make her blemishes “don’t exist,” thanks to “sticky” products. In the video, Nogueira says, “Our face is about to get really sticky.”
She starts by priming her skin with a serum that has a sticky finish, such as Glow Recipe’s Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum. She applies the serum and waits for it to dry before moving on to the next step: face primer.
The trick is to apply an equally grippy, sticky primer (Nogueira recommends E.L.F. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer) over the now-dry serum; this helps “adhere matte concealer like glue,” according to Nogueira.
She then applies Nars Soft Matte Concealer to her blemishes with a small, precise concealer brush, highlighting the importance of allowing the concealer dry before applying foundation; she even uses a handheld fan and stresses that you should not blend the concealer before applying foundation, even if it seems needed. Nogueira’s acne and dark spots disappear after she applies a medium-to-full-coverage foundation with a sponge.
Since Nogueira’s video was posted in late August, the sticky method has gained popularity, with others attempting the technique with similar success; you can see them by searching #stickymethod. The original video by Nogueira has over 4.8 million impressions, while one response video has over 80,000.
But is there any science behind the method or a reason it works so well?
“The sticky method makes total sense,” says makeup artist Jamie Greenberg. “Creating the sticky canvas grips onto your concealer and can make it a little tackier and heavier. This is better for staying put over your zit or blemish, and by not blending, you’re keeping the coverage more pigmented.”
Once you’ve applied foundation to even out your skin tone, the concealer is less noticeable. “It’s a more reliable way to keep that heavy coverage in place rather than spreading the concealer around,” says Greenberg.
Greenberg recommends Pür 4-in-1 Sculpting Concealer specifically for its heavy-duty nature. “Tapping heavier concealer onto the blemish helps it meld with your skin without dispersing the coverage. If you blend it around, the pigment spreads and sheers out more, rather than staying in the one spot,” she explains of the “no blending” method.
“For tough imperfections, you want that heavy coverage. If you’re just trying to brighten under the eyes, for example, then it makes sense to blend the concealer out.”
Pennsylvania-based board-certified dermatologist Nazanin Saedi, MD, agrees. “For people who have acne, I tend not to recommend layering products upon products, especially as part of your daily skincare and makeup routine,” she says.
“I often recommend thin makeup products that are all oil-free. Layers of thicker, ‘sticky’ products will clog your pores, worsening your breakout and increasing the risk of developing more acne.”
Dr. Saedi recommends sticking (sorry) to the sticky method for big events, not every day. “The sticky method is a great way to look your best for a special occasion, just don’t make it part of your daily routine.”