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Why You Should Use an Eyeshadow Primer

Why You Should Use an Eyeshadow Primer

I confess, I never used to use an eyeshadow primer, but over the years and having studied as a makeup artist, I realised the value of this product to the point now where I would not apply eye makeup without it. 

I personally have combination skin with oily eyelids which means any eyeshadow I apply without a primer will crease, cake and become horribly patchy within a few hours. I used to think that was just how things were until I was introduced to the power of primer. By adding primer to my eye makeup routine I realised that I can have makeup that lasts all day without the creasing and caking etc. In fact my eyeshadow can look as good after ten hours as it looked when I applied it. 

So what is primer?

Simply put, it is a product you apply to your eyelid prior to applying eye makeup that allows the makeup to go on smoother, last longer and prevent creasing and fading. It will also help with colour intensity.

Most of the major cosmetic companies have their own version of an eyeshadow primer and everyone will need to find the one they prefer and which works best for them. They come in different shades, textures and consistencies and come in every price range. What works for one person may not work for another, but by trial and error you will find one that works best for you. 

A good primer should go on smoothly and even out your skin tone. It effectively leaves a smooth, even canvas on which you apply shadow. Things such as skin discoloration, small veins on the eyelids will be minimised. If like me, you have oily lids it will create a barrier between your skin and the eye makeup preventing creasing, fading, smudging etc. It should therefore be applied to the whole eyelid from lashline to brow, corner to corner. 

You can use various method for application, finger, brush, applicator, but I recommend a small brush such as a concealer brush to evenly apply over the entire lid. You do not need to apply tons of it, a light even layer will work best. If you plan to use eyeshadow under the eye you can also apply the primer under the eye to help prevent smudging. Always allow the primer to set for a couple of minutes before applying shadow. 

As I mentioned there are different types of eyeshadow primer and some work better for dry lids, oily lids, some offer shimmer or radiance to brighten the eye area and some come in different shades to best match your skin colour. Trial and error are the key and if you can get samples great, but if not try them out at places such as Sephora and ask for samples if they are available. You should not try products out on your actual eye and you never know the cleanliness of it, instead apply some to your inner arm and apply a shadow over both the primed area and non-primed. You should see an immediate difference, but the real trial will be to see how the colour lasts.  

Below you see two examples of a brown and blue eyeshadow applied over Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original  and NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and in the middle of each, no primer at all. (A review of the NARS primer can be found here).

left to right: Kat Von D Wrath from the Monarch palette on UD Primer Potion, No Primer and NARS Eyeshadow Base.

left to right: Kat Von D Wrath from the Monarch palette on UD Primer Potion, No Primer and NARS Eyeshadow Base.

left to right: Urban Decay Prank from Spectrum palette on UD Primer Potion, No Primer and NARS Eyeshadow Base.

left to right: Urban Decay Prank from Spectrum palette on UD Primer Potion, No Primer and NARS Eyeshadow Base.

You will see that the colour intensity is much greater in both the primer samples. These two primers are the ones I personally use on a regular basis. The NARS one works best for me as it minimises the oiliness on my lids much better, but I tend to use Urban Decay on my clients, unless they too have oily lids.  

I guarantee, once you start using an eyeshadow primer and find the best one for you, you will never look back. 

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