After 54 hours of research evaluating 92 products, we picked Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion as our top choice.
Eyeshadow is core to any makeup junkie's beauty routine.
And even if you're not interested in experimenting with smokey eyes and cut-crease eye makep, finding the best eyeshadow primer will be an awesome tool for enhancing your eyes.
Here's the deal:
A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology has found that bigger eyes are associated with increased facial attractiveness.
And what better way to fake the illusion of big, bright peepers than with the best eye primer you can find?
Whatever goal you're trying to achieve with your eye makeup, pairing it with a good quality eye primer will make a difference.
The best eye primers don't only extend the wear of your eye makeup, but they also make everything appear brighter, smoother, and more vibrant.
What's the bottomline?
The good news is we've done the hard work for you! We scoured the internet, studied and tested, to determine which products are worth looking into. We think you will be pleased with the results.
This drugstore eye primer from e.l.f. is all sorts of fun and genius. It's a dual-ended product containing a stick-form eyeshadow primer on one side and a liner sealer that transforms any eyeshadow into a long-lasting eyeliner on the other. It's ridiculously affordable too!
The chubby stick makes a precise application a bit tricky to achieve. Also, the formula is quite thick, so you have to really work it onto the lids.
The eye primer side has a thicker, drier formula. Because it's not as creamy as softer liquid formulas, you really have to take your time blending the product in.
On the flip side, this allows the primer to set right away. Unlike other eye primers that remain creamy on the lids for a while (and, thus, have to be set with a powder or a neutral eyeshadow), el.f.'s primer instantly resists creasing without the need to be set. The dry formula also makes this eye primer suitable for oily eyelids.
Another bonus? The texture and sheer tone on this primer makes it a great primer/tint for other areas of the face. We found that swiping this on the undereyes, nose bridge, and forehead instantly mattified those areas and gave it a smoother, more poreless look. Awesome!
Application-wise, this eyeshadow primer falters a bit. The stick format sounds great in theory. But being a chubby stick, it does make applying the primer a little bit awkward -- especially if you have little lid space.
Nonetheless, we don't see this as a dealbreaker. The workaround we suggest is to pick up some of the product with your middle finger, using your finger to swipe the product across your lids. This technique also lets you warm up the product before application, which makes blending so much easier.
As for performance and longevity, this affordable eye primer can indeed back up its claims. It doesn't extend the wear of eyeshadow mind-blowingly-long like some of our other top picks, but the improvement in the vibrancy and longevity of our eye makeup (compared to days when we didn't wear a primer) is very much noticeable.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points of this product is that it comes with a special eyeliner sealer. And it's not just any sealer, mind you. Aside from using it as a topcoat that prevents your cat-eye from fading away, you can also use it as a mixer to transform any eyeshadow into a liquid liner.
That's right -- if you're into colorful makeup, having this product can eliminate the need to buy multiple individual eyeliners in different colors. Talk about saving cash!
If you're looking for an affordable eyeshadow primer that does a good job, it's hard to compete with the e.l.f. Studio Eye Primer & Eyeliner Sealer in the aspect of cost-per-use. It's the best cheap eye primer, but the fact that you're getting two different products with a bunch of possible uses makes the deal even sweeter.
The Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue is your go-to eye primer if you want opaque, glittery magic all over your lids. It locks pigment and glitter in place all day long. Not only that, it actually helps boost the colors of your eyeshadow -- perfect if you want your shadow colors to really pop.
Some reviewers found that using this eye primer can be tricky to master. But it should be all smooth-sailing once you get the hang of it.
In this eye primer, Too Faced used a special formula that really emphasizes the vibrancy and shine of glitter eyeshadow. In a nutshell, it's the ideal texture for this specific application -- something that we, and hundreds of other satisfied reviewers, would likely agree on.
Using this eye primer, however, takes a bit of getting used to. Efforts by first-time users are often derailed by either applying too much or too little product. The texture is also sticky and tacky, but that's something we would expect from a glitter glue anyway.
If you're a fan of glitters, shimmery pigments, or any other type of metallic deliciousness on your lids, then this eye primer is a must-have.
We all know how hard it is to keep glitter shadow in place, which explains why many gals are so intimidated by it. But using this eye primer makes a massive difference as far as wear and longevity are concerned.
It locks down your eye makeup to prevent that dreaded pigment fall-out and ensures that your lids are glittery all day. We appreciate that it's sturdy enough for oily eyelids and humid climates, as well.
This eye primer is specifically formulated to enhance the reflective quality of glitter shadows. The difference between this glitter glue and a regular eye primer is truly noticeable, as the former is a lot grippier and stickier than your standard formula.
For $22, you can get a tube of this eye primer, which contains 0.35 oz of product -- a pretty good deal if you think about it. Considering that it performs well in its specific niche, we think that Too Faced's glitter glue gives good value for money.
Made with relatively clean ingredients, bareMinerals' Prime Time Eyeshadow primer is your best bet if you're into natural cosmetics or struggling with sensitive eyelids. It does a great job of extending the wear of your favorite shadows. What's more, it's well-loved by many for being durable enough even for oily eyelids.
According to some reviewers, the shape and size of the packaging make it challenging to squeeze the product out of the tube.
This eye primer has a nice, spreadable texture that makes it a breeze to apply. It forms a slightly tacky film all over the eyelids that helps it grip and hold onto eyeshadow more effectively.
Prime Time does what it claims. Because it has a subtle, neutral tint that helps cancel out discoloration on the eyelids, colors appear more accurate and vibrant upon application.
The longevity is also impressive. It prevents eyeshadow and eyeliner from smearing and smudging all over your eyelids until the end of the day. Also, it's one of the few eye shadows that generally works well with pretty much all types of eyelids -- from super dry to sensitive to extremely oily.
This eye primer performs excellently. But what really sets it apart from other good eye primers is its clean ingredients list. If you're sensitive to talc, SLS, or synthetic fragrance, this eye primer contains none of those.
A tube of this natural eye primer will set you back $19 (a bit cheaper than that if you buy it from Amazon), and that's quite pricey for something that contains just 0.1 oz of product. However, if you're dead set on getting a primer that is made with clean ingredients, bareMinerals' eye primer is definitely worth it.
The Eye Basics Eye Primer from Laura Mercier comes in six different shades to suit different skin tones and preferences. It's pigmented enough to cover unevenness on the eyelids for seamless color application. It's also durable enough to extend the wear of your eye makeup and protect it from creasing.
You'll have to shell out $28 for a single tube of this eye primer which, understandably, might be too much for people on a budget.
This eye primer's formula definitely leans more toward being thick and creamy. A little product goes a long way. In fact, applying too much of this primer can lead to caking and flaking, so you really shouldn't use too much.
Some reviewers with super dry eyelids found this eye primer a bit drying. On the flip side, it's great if you have oily skin. Surprisingly enough, reviewers with mature skin have raved about this Laura Mercier gem for its ability to prime the eyelids without making them "look older."
As the best tinted eye primer, Laura Mercier's Eye Basics is awesome if you want something that can double as a stand-alone eyeshadow. Not only is it available in various shades to accommodate people of different skin tones, but it's also available in two different finishes: matte and shimmery. All colors (with the exception of the special "Eyebright" shade, which we will discuss in the next section) are pigmented enough to cancel eyelid discoloration.
We particularly enjoy wearing the shimmery shades as brightening eyeshadows. Whether you prefer using it on its own or layered with other products, Eye Basics will resist creasing and fading. It's also waterproof, which is great if you live in a wet climate.
Laura Mercier is known for products that cater to people of different ages. It's unsurprising, then, that they threw in a bunch of skin-loving ingredients to help care for the complexion -- which people with mature skin will likely appreciate. This eye primer has botanicals that help soothe the eyelids. It also contains Vitamins A, E, and C for antioxidant protection.
Another feature special to this eye primer is that it comes in a special brightening variant called Eyebright, which is a vibrant, mid-tone blue that can help refresh dull and tired-looking eyes.
At $28, this eye primer isn't cheap by any standard. However, the quality, performance, and special features that it offers make the price more than worth it.
Smashbox's Photo Finish Lid Primer keeps eyeshadow in place for eight hours. It is available in four different shades and comes in convenient tube-and-wand packaging. On top of its wear-extending powers, many are impressed by the velvety finish it gives, which makes your eye makeup look truly photo-ready.
A tube of this eye primer contains 0.08 oz of product, which makes it the most expensive product on this list in terms of price-per-ounce.
The Photo Finish Lid Primer from Smashbox has a creamy yet lightweight formula. It's not goopy nor pasty, and it sits really well on top of the eyelids. We love how it primes our lids and leaves a velvety-smooth canvas for eyeshadow application.
Another plus is that you only need a small amount of this primer. Fortunately, the wand applicator makes it easy to simply dot a tiny amount of product on each eyelid.
True to its word, this eye primer does extend the wear of your eye makeup. It protects shadows from creasing, smearing, and cracking. There's also a noticeable decrease in color fading throughout the day.
The Photo Finish Lid Primer has oil absorbers that help lock shadow in place. For that, we deemed it the best eye primer for oily eyelids. Interestingly, in spite of being mattifying enough for oily skin, this primer doesn't exacerbate the look of lines and wrinkles on aging eyelids. We also found that it works particularly well for hooded eyes.
The Photo Finish Lid Primer comes in three "skin" colors -- namely, light, medium, and dark -- but it also comes in black and white. The black eye primer is designed to intensify colors -- perfect for creating a sexy, smokey eye -- while the white primer was designed to brighten the eyes and make colors pop.
As a side note, several reviewers have noted that the shade medium is darker than what they expected. So unless your skin color is tan or darker, you might want to consider going for the lightest shade.
Admittedly, this eye primer for oily lids is quite pricey at $21 for just 0.08 ounces of product. Fortunately, you'll frequently find it selling at a discount on Amazon. So when it's on sale, make sure to stock up!
This drugstore eye primer doubles as a versatile brightener, which you can use to highlight the eyes and the high points of the face. It gives a soft and blurred finish which makes it great for the eye area, cheeks, chin, nose bridge, and forehead. Many reviewers also enjoy its lightweight texture.
Some people find the pen-type packaging hard to control.
This drugstore eye primer has a lightweight gel-type consistency, which suits its brightening formula really well. The texture helps camouflage lines and creases around the eyes while the radiant finish attracts light. It's free of talc, fragrance, oil, and parabens.
Revlon's PhotoReady Eye Primer contains photochromatic pigments that reflect and bend light for a bright-yet-diffused glowy finish. It's a nice affordable option, especially for ladies who frequently turn to makeup to conceal dull and sleep-deprived complexions.
This product offers decent staying power, but it's not to be used for extreme situations like all-night partying or a sweaty day under the sun. It's a great primer for day-to-day use, though. It's definitely one of our top picks for a day at the office after a particularly-stressful (and possibly sleepless) all-nighter.
On top of being used as an eyeshadow primer and an eye brightener, this Revlon product also makes for a subtle all-over highlighter. You can use it to brighten the high points of the face -- much like a natural-finish, subtly-luminous liquid strobe. We enjoy applying it on top of the cheekbones, on the nose bridge, and right in the center of our foreheads. Essentially, it's like a cheaper drugstore version of the ever-so-popular Touche Eclat from Yves Saint Laurent.
You can get a tube of this eye primer for less than $10 at Amazon. It's a good deal, really, which is why we consider it as the best drugstore eye primer.
Urban Decay's Primer Potion has achieved cult-fave status for all the right reasons: superior longevity, ease of use, and staying power. It resists creasing and fading for 24 hours, with many reviewers even saying that it can withstand crying and all-night partying.
This eye primer is a bit drying for dry and mature lids.
Urban Decay's Primer Potion being crowned as the best eye primer overall comes as no surprise to anyone. It, after all, is a cult-favorite product that is considered by many as their holy grail eye primer. It has a creamy, blendable texture that spreads easily and dries quickly. It transforms the eyelids into the perfect canvas for eyeshadow and eyeliner -- smooth, velvety, and even-toned.
Urban Decay calls this eye primer "indestructible" -- claiming that it can hold eye makeup in place for 24 hours. While it's highly unlikely that someone would actually wear eyeshadow that long, an overwhelming majority of reviewers agree that this has the best staying power among all the eye primers they've tried. Some even shared that it withstood crying, hot yoga, and -- wait for it -- car accidents. Crazy, right?
We won't risk our lives to try and test if the car accident claim is true. However, we do agree that the Primer Potion resists creasing and fading until the end of the day. It makes colors appear more vibrant and seamless. Plus, it's available in a bunch of different shades that suit various tastes and skin tones.
This eye primer features space-age polymer technology that fills in imperfections on the skin's surface, helping make the eyelids smooth and prepped for eyeshadow application. It also has a special shade called Freebase, which is designed to brighten the eyes and intensify the color of eyeshadow.
As a high-end product, the Primer Potion isn't something anyone would consider cheap. However, it does contain a lot more product per tube than most eye primers. That being said, with the performance and reliability it offers, we'd say spending $24 on it is a great investment.