The best eyeshadow primers for eye make-up that lasts

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If it feels like your eyeshadow has a habit of disappearing, eyeshadow primers are one of the most effective ways to help make-up last.

Have you ever spent the best part of ten minutes applying your favourite eyeshadow, fully blended with eyeliner in tow, only to look in the mirror an hour later and find out that it’s no longer as pristine as it once appeared? Or worse, it’s been completely dissolved, creased and not at all what you had imagined? This is the exact kind of shadow situation we want to keep from occuring and there is one product which really helps to prevent eyeshadow from fading. Enter, the eyeshadow primer.

An eyeshadow primer is designed to anchor eyeshadow to the eyelids. They are especially helpful if you have oily skin as you might also have oilier eyelids, meaning any kind of matte eye look is highly unlikely to see out the entire day. Eyeshadow primers act as a great base if you want make-up to last until the end of the day, or evening.

What is an eyeshadow primer?

“An eyeshadow primer is essential to prep your lids for indestructible eye make-up that stays on all day without creasing or smudging” says Danielle Roberts, Urban Decay’s global make-up artist. “It creates an even base to build colours onto and binds them together to create perfectly bended, crease-free eyeshadow.” It’s usually a clear gel-like consistency or skin-toned lightweight liquid, that helps to make the eyelids appear smoother, and creates a base for eyeshadow to be applied more smoothly, without creasing into the lines of the skin.

How do you apply eyeshadow primer?

“Using a clean finger or blending brush, blend across the eye to create the perfect, even base” adds Roberts. If it’s a liquid, allow around 30 seconds for it to dry. If it’s a gel-like formula, eyeshadow can be applied as soon as the primer has absorbed into the skin.

Given we’re all eyeshadow aficionados, the Stylist beauty team has tried their fair share of eyeshadow primers. There are plenty out there, but we’ve whittled them down to our edit of the best ones.

These are the 7 best eyeshadow primers…

  • Best for: oily eyelids

    Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

    Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, £11

    A nude liquid that dries invisible, this primer is leaves eyeshadow looking crease-free for longer. “I don’t wear eyeshadow often, but I do blend foundation over my lids and scribble on eyeliner.” says Hanna Ibraheem, Stylist’s senior beauty writer. “Thanks to my (extremely) oily eyelids though, neither the foundation or eyeliner makes it to midday without smudging - unless I put on this Urban Decay primer. It keeps anything on my eyelids in place and prevents any oil from seeping through. I wear it every time I put on make-up.”

  • Best for: dry eyelids

    MAC eyeshadow primer

    MAC Prep + Prime 24 Hour Extend Eye Base, £16.50

    Infused with moisturising vitamin E, MAC’s eyeshadow primer is compatible with all skin types.

  • Best for: waterproof make-up looks

    Too Faced eyeshadow primer

    Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer, £17

    A waterproof liquid formula that disperses easily out of the needle-nose applicator.

  • Best for: creating brighter colour

    NARS eyeshadow primer

    NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, £21

    This fragrance-free primer instantly mattifies the skin, ready for eyeshadow to be applied. “If you have any eyeshadows that are a bit disappointing pigment-wise, this really amps up the payoff and colour brightness” says Shannon Peter, Stylist’s beauty director. “I also love using it under cream eyeshadow with are notorious at creasing in the eye socket as it helps keep them smoother for longer.”

  • Best for: barely-there texture

    Smashbox eyeshadow primer

    Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer, £20

    Sweat and humidity resistant, Smashbox’s eyeshadow primer maxises the colour output of matte and shimmer shadows.

  • Best for: colour correction

    Laura Mercier Eyeshadow Primer

    Laura Mercier Eye Basics Primer, £21

    Creamy and lightweight, this primer comes in a collection of six shades that target different areas, including brightness, colour correction and can act as a nude eyeshadow on its own.

  • Best for: redness

    Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow Primer

    Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Base, £21

    A non-greasy formula, Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadow primer neutralises redness and discoloration whilst providing a base for shadow.

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Images: courtesy of brands.

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