Liners, shadows, and mascaras can end up looking like a hot (smudged) mess at the end of the day if you don’t use a good primer. Keep your eye makeup on with these reader faves.
If you’re like most of us, you may be guilty of getting ahead of yourself sometimes. You get home from a first date and spend the rest of the night imagining your wedding day and the number of kids you’ll have. You start thinking about a baby room, browsing Home Depot for the perfect duck wallpaper — even though you haven’t so much as kissed the guy. The same goes for makeup. Before any of the groundwork is laid, you meticulously layer on eye shadows, liners and mascara before priming. And the next thing you know, all of your hard work has smudged off your face. We know: We’re guilty of these jump-the-gun habits too.
According to the makeup experts we talked to, if you don’t prime before applying eye makeup, you’re committing a serious makeup crime. If you’ve been putting the horse before the cart with your morning makeup routine and aren’t convinced that you need (or have time for) this crucial step, maybe this will do it: Experts say that the No. 1 way to prevent makeup from melting and smudging is to prime. (Think about it this way — taking an extra 10 seconds in the morning to apply eye primer is quicker than spending five minutes wiping eyeliner off your lower lids in the afternoon.)
To prevent these kinds of makeup mishaps, we’ve combed through more than a thousand reviews of eye primers to bring you the 12 that work best. Readers say these primers do exactly what they’re supposed to: Keep your eye makeup looking as fresh as it did the moment you applied it — all day.
12 Best Primers
No. 12: ELF Mineral Eyeshadow Primer – rating: 8.6*
One reviewer was “shocked” that this super affordable primer is the best one she has ever used. You only need a “small amount and voila… [your] eye shadow stays on all day.” Reviewers agree and say that it “leaves eyelids dry, and makeup does not slide off.” And not only does it give shadows excellent staying power, it also “makes the colors more vibrant.”
No. 11: BareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer – rating: 8.6*
If your shadow ends up smudged all over your face by the end of the day, “just try this primer once and you won’t be without it.” The product is “light” and “weightless” when you put it on, and it keeps your shadow on all day without creasing. One reviewer calls this her “miracle” product and other reviewers agree, saying that it is “definitely worth every penny.”
No. 10: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – rating: 8.7*
Readers say this primer “adds a subtle sheen and color for a nice glow.” It is “my absolute go-to holy grail of eye shadow primers,” swears one. It is also an “absolute must-have if you use any sort of mineral eye shadow, because shadows stick to my eyelids like metal to a magnet.” One person says she can “work all day, work out, sweat like a pig and my eye shadow will stay put” with this primer. And one reader found that applying a little under the lower lash lines and setting it lightly with powder “will keep my mascara from smudging.” Brilliant.
No. 9: Mary Kay Eye Primer – rating: 8.9*
This primer is “quick drying, not messy, not greasy, and there’s no residue, peeling or creasing.” One reader says, “I wore eye shadow and liner for 21 hours once with this product, and I looked just as great at the club at 2 a.m. as I did at the 6 a.m. meeting that morning.” It’s also “great for aging skin [since it] gives you a nice even canvas to apply eye shadow.”
No. 8: ELF Studio Eye Primer Liner Sealer – rating: 9.0*
One trusted reviewer calls this primer “beyond brilliant.” Another says, “I can’t get over how amazing this product is! It not only turns any eye shadow you want into eyeliner, it makes it WATERPROOF!” It also sets your eye shadow in place while giving it a crease-proof finish that lasts all day. How can you beat that?
No. 7: MAC Prep + Prime Lash – rating: 9.1*
“If you have sparse lashes, this is for you!” say readers. It “creates a dramatic effect” and “every time I use it people ask me if my lashes are false, because it adds so much length,” says another. It even gives “thin Asian lashes an amazing [boost]” since “every other lash primer just makes [my] poor lashes even droopier, not to mention clumpy!” Readers also say it helps protect lashes to “keep them nice and healthy.” Devotees promise “it’ll give your fave mascara new life, and your lashes will look amazing!”
No. 6: Blinc Lash Primer – rating: 9.1*
“Every woman should have this product!” says one reader. Why? “Other primers are too thick, dull the color of my mascaras and make my lashes stiff. NOT THIS STUFF! It glides on smooth, doesn’t make my lashes hard even after two coats and seems to lengthen by adding just a touch of extra wispiness at the tips of my lashes,” one reader explains. Another says that she uses it “before going to bed, which seems to darken the color of my lashes and make them longer/thicker.”
No. 5: Too Faced Shadow Insurance – rating: 9.2*
“The first day I used this [product], my mother asked me when I had gotten the new eye shadow. It was one I had worn regularly for months, but this primer makes it so much more vibrant,” says one reader. Another says, this primer “stays on even when I rub my eyes by mistake (I wear contacts).” Readers also like that it “works great on my lower lids to keep my eyeliner in place.” And, it “leaves a tiny amount of shimmer, which is flattering and brightening to the eye area without looking like a disco ball.”
No. 4: Laura Mercier Eye Basics – rating: 9.2*
Why it’s great: Readers “could not believe the feel or lasting power of this product” and find it a ” wonderful eyelid primer/cover-up.” It “also works as a perfect neutral/natural shadow.” It’s great for mature skin as well. One reader “had been using concealer as a base and was told to switch to this to keep the under-eye bags from looking too wrinkly,” and it works!
No. 3: Lancome Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base – rating: 9.4*
All mascara can pull on lashes, causing them to become brittle and fall out, “but this protects and conditions your lashes,” says one reader. “With continued use, my lashes are in much better condition and less prone to breakage,” says another. Another reader says, “This is one product that I panic if I run out of, ” and “the best thing about this base is that it turns even the cheapest mascara into something that looks like a luxury purchase.”
No. 2: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Lid Lines – rating: 9.7*
Why it’s great: “This product works great for my over-50 eyelids. It really smoothes out the lines and discoloration and keeps my eye shadow looking perfect all day,” says one reader. Another agrees: “I recommend this product no matter your age.” Women who’ve tried them all say, “While the other [primers] do help shadow stay crease-proof, this REALLY makes it look great and is good for your skin, too, because it’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and green tea extract.”
No. 1: NYX Cosmetics HD Eye Shadow Base – rating: 10.0*
This trusty little $7 primer is a reviewer favorite. “This primer does exactly what it’s supposed to do and it looks perfect all day,” says one raving reviewer. Another calls it “a steal for the money!” This primer is perfect for smoothing out lines and securing your eye shadow all day long. “I will never buy an expensive eye shadow primer again. I will keep repurchasing this because it does exactly what it’s supposed to and it is at a great price,” adds another reviewer.
*At time of publication
Source : Total Beauty