Eyeshadow primer is one of my most-used products. There hasn’t been a day that I’ve gone without it, ever since buying it in my early makeup days.
I quickly found my holy-grail primer in Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. Once a year, I run out of it, and then I just buy a new one and never think about it. This year, however, I found out that they repackaged my beloved primer and they added a doe-foot applicator. I hate doe-foot applicators. I just think they’re unhygienic for a product that I plan on using every day for a year... on the eyes, no less.
Feeling shocked and betrayed, I decided that it was time for me to move on and find a new HG eye primer.
I found four contestants to try out.
For the sake of continuity and science, I’m wearing the same look for all tests: a shimmery eye with a matte crease and eyeliner. I took a photo right after applying the eyeshadow, and one after four hours of wear.
Contestant 1: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Like we all do, I resorted to xoVain to find some replacements. I remember Alle mentioned that she used her face primer, Photo Finish, as an eyeshadow primer. Since I own it — and hate the feeling of it on my face — I decided to try it out on my eyes.
Texture: The texture is very silicone-y, and the primer itself is translucent. Upon applying, I immediately noticed what I don't like about this primer: nothing sticks to it. This made it quite hard to blend the eyeshadow because everything just keeps moving around.
Color payoff: I didn’t notice it help the eyeshadow payoff, but I didn’t need to use more product either.
Longevity: After four hours of wear, some light creasing had occurred. Mostly the colors had just blended into each other a lot more. Also, this one really irritated my eyes, but that might be a personal thing.
Conclusion: It’s not terrible if you’ve run out of product, but I would not be happy to use this every day.
Contestant 2: Zoeva Eyeshadow Fix in Pearl
I discovered this primer while browsing MakeupAlley. I meant to order the matte one, but I ended up getting the pearlescent one by accident.
Texture: The primer is almost too thick to squeeze out of the tube, and upon applying, it feels like glue or something curdled. It’s really hard to get an even layer with it because it's so thick. That also makes it harder to blend your eyeshadow.
Color payoff: I had to apply more of my matte eyeshadow so the shimmer didn’t shine through. My eyeshadow came out really vibrant with this one, though.
Longevity: After four hours of wear, there wasn’t much noticeable creasing, and the shadow still looked quite vibrant. After five hours, though, a "crack" started to occur where my mobile lid ends and my crease begins. This was terrible, and for that reason only, I wouldn’t use this again.
Conclusion: This primer is flawed.
Contestant 3: Essence Longlasting Lip Liner in Purely Me
Many old-school makeup artists swear by using a lip liner instead of an eye primer. Even Sir John (Beyoncé’s MUA) swears by it. If it’s good enough for Queen B, it must be good enough for me.
I opted for this lip liner by Essence because it was the most eyelid-colored one I owned.
Texture: Coloring in your eyelid with a pencil does not feel nice. After I got over the weird sensation of poking my eyeballs, I blended everything with my finger. Surprisingly enough, it felt quite sticky.
Color Payoff: I didn’t get my eyeshadow as vibrant as I’m used to with this one. Upon blending my eyeshadow, I felt like I was also blending in the color of the lip liner. That’s probably why they use a lip liner in the color of the eyeshadow underneath, but still.
Longevity: Crease-palooza! I felt like my lids were getting oilier by the second, and if I’d worn this long enough, I could've fried some food on there. After four hours of wear there’s very noticeable creasing, and after six hours, there’s just the eyeliner and the eyeshadow in the outer corner left.
Conclusion: Beyoncé’s lids must contain some sort of oil-free coating or something.
Contestant 4: Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Crème de Nude
This contestant was cast while I was just browsing the aisles of my local drugstore. I saw this one and immediately thought of the MAC Paint Pot that NikkieTutorials on YouTube swears by.
Texture: I liked that it was thick and it immediately evened out the color of my lids, just like my beloved UDPP.
Color Payoff: When you blend this product out, you immediately feel it setting. After that, it just becomes a base that’s really easy to apply your makeup to. Because it’s the right amount of sticky and smooth, it gives you a good color payoff.
Longevity: After four hours, minimal creasing had occurred and the eyeshadows were still where they’d been applied. This one also left the matte part matte, whereas with the other primers the shimmers from the lid had transferred to the matte crease.
Conclusion: We have a winner! I hardly notice any difference compared to my UDPP. Dare I say it? This is my new holy-grail eyeshadow primer!
Bonus conclusion: If your primer sucks, just get this Kryolan Cake Eyeliner because it stayed on through all the primer drama. Amazing.
- What's your favorite eyeshadow primer?
- Have you ever tried lip liner as eye primer?
- Are you as grossed-out by doe-foot applicators as I am?