We know that makeup primers work well in general to provide a smooth base for foundation.
They’re the perfect prep to help your base last all day without fading, creasing or shine showing up by lunchtime.
However a lot of people don’t like adding another step, or the way they feel on the skin.
Another option is to use an eye primer only. Like for the face, they help eye colour and liner stay in place and also help intensify the colour of eye shadows that are too sheer for your liking. Those with oily eyelids will find them particularly useful.
They’re the kind of product you might think is unnecessary until you actually try one and realise the real difference they make in the look and performance of any eyeshadow applied on top.
“Eye makeup will never last the distance without a longwearing base to avoid creasing,” says experienced editorial makeup artist Kiekie Stanners.
“Always start with a long wear cream all over the eyelids first before starting with any powder or liner products. Any colour is fine, but a warm neutral can be used under any style of eye makeup you desire.”
Many artists like using a cream colour product in a subtle or complimentary to create that base, rather than a dedicated primer.
Fellow makeup artist Kath Gould rates Mecca’s Mecca Max Zoom Shadow Sticks in Matte for this use.
“Use as an eye base and apply eyeshadow on top, she says. “Alternately [for a long-lasting eye look] use as an eye colour on its own and set with translucent powder.”
However dedicated primers also work very well at anchoring colour and use ingredient technology designed specifically for longevity and to counteract skin’s natural oils that sometimes cause products to break down or smudge and move around.
How to use an eyeshadow primer
Complete your skincare and apply any foundation as usual.
Then, apply a pea-size amount on the eyelid, using the applicator wand or stick. Blend using a clean fingertip or a flat shadow brush from lash line up through the crease of the lid blending well.
Allow a minute or two for the product to dry before going in with any eyeshadow.
Five of the best eyeshadow bases or primers
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
With a wand for easy application, this product comes in five different shades to seamlessly match your skin tone. The formula evens out discoloration and imperfections while enhancing eyeshadow’s true color and prolonging its wear by counteracting skin’s natural oils and providing a smooth makeup base. It’s easy to blend and a little goes a long way.
MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot
One of the most well-known coloured eyeshadow bases among makeup artists and novices alike, this long-wearing, blendable cream shadow can be used as an almost imperceptible primer or an eyeshadow in its own right, depending on which shade you choose. There are number of skin-hues in different depths that work for a diverse range of people and the lighter shades work well to help powder eyeshadow applied on top really pop colour-wise. They go on creamy but dry down to a matte texture that never creases.
Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Urban Decay knows a thing or two about helping makeup stick around, just think of its famous and much-loved makeup setting spray. This eyeshadow primer works has the same aim and despite having being round for years still works just as well, if not better, that newer arrivals. It works well with very oily eyelids and hooded eyes and also helps prevent mascara from transferring.
Mecca Max Zoom Shadow Stick Matte
Scribble over lids with the stick and blend with your fingers for a simple eye look or use as a base for eyeshadow a more involved look. With 10 shades there are a range of colour options so you can chose to match with brighter looks or use the black one as a liner and base on the outer corner of eyes for a smoky eye that will last all night.
e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer Sheer
At just $8 from Kmart, this is a good place to start if you’re unsure how to use an eyeshadow primer or base, or if you’re not sure you want to commit to one in your routine. It doesn’t work as well for helping eyeshadow colours pop but will still help onto the pigment and prevent creasing and the fuss-free application and blending is a plus.