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The Best Eye Shadow Primers

Best Eye Shadow Primer

One of my every day “must use” makeup products is my eye primer. If I’m going to apply eye shadow, then I spend an extra minute to apply a primer first! It makes my shadow blend more smoothly, covers up the visible blood vessels on my lid (this goes a long way to making my eye makeup look better) and makes my shadow last all day instead of about 6-8 hours. If you’re going to wear shadow, you need to be wearing an eye shadow primer!

There are a lot of eye shadow primers out there, and I’ve tried most of them. These are my favorites, though I use them for different reasons. Which one is your favorite?

Basic All Day Primer

These primers are very lightweight and dry clear on your skin (at least they do on my skin). They both do a great job of keeping eye shadow looking great all day, I don’t notice a difference between them.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Add Coverage

I usually have a lot of visible blood vessels on my eye lids, and using a primer that conceals while it primes makes my shadow look much better! I use the NYX because it is a great match for my skin tone, but the staying power is a little less than the Urban Decay or Too Faced shadow primers.

NYX Professional Makeup Eyeshadow Base in Nude
For deeper skin tones, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Caffeine

Neutralize Redness

My lids do have some redness, and if I want to cancel that out without adding a lot of coverage then this eye shadow primer from Urban Decay does a good job of that.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden

Avoid Fallout

There are some eye shadows that are very glittery or release a lot of powder as you apply them. This is when I like to use a primer that has extra “grab” to really hold those shadows on to my lid. I usually apply a very small amount over either concealer or my NYX shadow base (which cover up those pesky blood vessels). They also make regular shadows a bit more vivid.

ELF Glitter Primer
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue

Increase Intensity

If you really want to make your shadows more vivid and add some pop, you should reach for a white or black eye shadow base. I like white for lighter colors and black for darker colors. NYX makes both white and black versions. Note that some people use a shadow stick for this purpose as well, but I think the staying power is better (by a few hours) when you use a shadow base instead.

NYX Professional Makeup Eyeshadow Base in White

Under Eye Primer

Have you ever had your under eye concealer melt off by mid-day? There are a few under eye primers that do a pretty good job of keeping your concealer where it should be. My favorite is actually the Marc Jacobs (full review coming soon), which is actually an eye shadow primer but does a better job for under the eyes. Use a very small amount and blend it in place with a fingertip. I apply right after my eye cream.

Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Eye Primer
ELF Hydrating Under Eye Primer, Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

PR Sample, Affiliate Link
I’m disclosing PR sample because I think both Urban Decay and Too Faced have sent me samples in the past. But I’ve purchased (or repurchased) all of these products on my own.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 2.6.18
    Rebecca said:

    I’ve used Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden forever, mainly to correct dark veiny eyelids, but I recently noticed that it was not looking great as my eyelids get crepey and dry/flaky from age and retinol eye creams. A Sephora SA receommended Laura Mercier Eye Basics. It has a smoother, creamier texture than the UD and the color I chose (Flax) is a nice neutral beige with just a little sheen than covers and evens out without any heaviness. I actually prevents creasing better than the UD and is much easier to apply and blend.

    • 2.6.18
      15mins said:

      I’ve tried that as well and it does cover a bit more than the UD, but my shadow fades away by dinnertime when I use it. How is the staying power for you?

      • 2.9.18
        Rebecca said:

        I haven’t yet worn it for more than 6-8 hours, and only with powder eyeshadows. I found that I have to apply it pretty heavily – try using a little more than you think you need and really letting it set before you apply eyeshadow – maybe setting it with just a little translucent powder would help, since it’s creamy and not as tacky/grabby as the UD.