Choosing the Best Eyeshadow Primer

pHow many times have you carefully crafted your eye makeup just to have it disappear and fade within just a few hours? Spending all that time and effort on your eye makeup will be tossed to the wind unless you have a good base underneath to keep it vibrant and lasting all day long.Here’s my list (in no specific order) of eye primers that I have tried, and hopefully you can find the one that works best for you.

1. Benefit Lemon-aid

benefit-lemonaide.jpgDescription: This soft, yellow cream instantly hides discoloration on eyelids, making them looks fresh and young… with or without makeup.Price: $18 ( eBay / Amazon )This primer comes in a small, smooth black compact with a mirror which is great for travel. The consistency is smooth and creamy and dries to a matte finish once dry. To apply it, I recommend using your fingers vs. a shader brush.Since the cream has a color to it and is somewhat thick in texture, it works great for covering any imperfections on the eyelid. But, you would need to cover all of the primer with eyeshadow unless you want to have that light cream color showing on your lid. My only drawback to this primer, is that it is difficult to get the product from the case to your lid because it is so dense. It works best when using your fingers as the natural oils will help smooth the cream across your lid.My rating: (4 of 5)4-lips.jpg

2. Urban Decay Primer Potion

primer-potion.jpgDescription: This is an ultra-sheer, totally nude eye base that glides on with the wave of a wand and then disappears instantly. It’s the ultimate eye prep for smoother, longer-lasting, crease-proof eyeshadow.Price: $16 ( eBay / Amazon )UDPP, as it is abbreviated, comes in a genie shaped bottle with a doe-foot wand that comes out of the tube with some product on it. The packaging is unique, but very difficult to get much product out of.This primer is basically colorless and has a thin, yet creamy consistency. It has proven to prevent creasing (at least for me) and is a good base for eyeshadows to stick to. My only problem with it, besides the packaging, is that it does not leave a smooth, matte finish or hide any eyelid imperfections.My rating: (3.5 out of 5)35-lips.jpg

3. MAC Cream Colour Base

cream-color-base1.jpgDescription: Versatile and multi-purpose, Cream Colour Base can be applied directly to bare skin, or layered over foundation, moisturizer, or powder. Smooth and easy to apply with a brush, sponge, or fingers- colour effects range from a light veil to highly dramatic, depending on method of application.Price: $16.50 ( eBay / Amazon )This base comes in a small, black compact with a clear lid so you can see the color even when the lid is closed. It is small enough to throw in your purse or take with you when traveling.The consistency is very creamy and easy to apply. I have found that using a brush or your fingers work equally well with this product, but I prefer using my fingers. Since the Cream Colour Bases come in a variety of colors, it is easy to choose the best shade for your skin if you plan on letting the base show through. My personal favorite is “pearl”.My only concern with this product is that it MAY crease if you have oily lids (I am unsure as my lids tend to be dry).My rating: (4 out of 5)4-lips.jpg

4. NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

nyx-jumbo-pencils.jpgDescription: Soft, smooth, easy glide on application. The perfect way to get eye-popping color combinations!Price: $3.45 ( Makeup Geek Store)These jumbo pencils are just that: large almost crayon-like pencils that applies creamy color directly to the lid. They come in a wide range of colors and are very portable- the perfect size for throwing in your purse.Since these come in so many colors, they make for a great base to “pop” the eyeshadows that you place on top. The texture is extremely creamy and somewhat thick. You can apply by drawing directly on the lid or by dipping a shader brush into it, then applying. Because these are so creamy, they will tend to crease more. My solution: place some UDPP or Lemon-aid underneath, and they will stay put.My rating: (3.5 out of 5)35-lips.jpg

5. MAC Shadesticks

shadestick.jpgDescription: A smooth and silky, rich and creamy eye shadow delivered in a sophisticated stick-style format. Provides rich gem-style colour overlaid by soft semi-precious finishes of shine. Glides on: works as a shadow – or a liner. Builds up coverage from sheer, and the colour always looks fabulous.Price: $16.50 ( eBay )These shadesticks are basically a colored base in a stick form. The product comes out of a black tube that you twist to receive more product. These are similar to NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencils, but are not as creamy. Since they are in a stick form, they are very portable and convenient.Shadesticks are great for applying more precise color on the lid underneath your eyeshadows to make them pop. But… they are VERY dry! As I tend to have dry lids, I cannot get these to apply smoothly as I can with the NYX pencils.My rating: (3 out of 5)3-lips.jpg

6. MAC Paintpotsmac-paintpot.jpg

Description: A highly pigmented eye color that goes on creamy but dries to an intense, vibrant finish. Long-wearing, colorfast. Creates seamless coverage without weight or caking. Blends smoothly over the lids. Cream-based, can be mixed with shadows and liners. Available in matte and pearl formulas.Price: $16.50 ( eBay )These primers come in small glass containers with a black screw-top lid. They come in a variety of colors and finishes, and are best applied with a small shader brush or your fingers.Although these aren’t as convenient or portable as the MAC shadesticks, the formula is much creamier and easier to apply. Since there is a variety of colors, you can choose a neutral shade to simply prep the eye, or choose a bolder color to make your eyeshadows “pop”.These are by far my favorite primer as they blend easily, do not crease, and cover any eyelid blemishes fairly well. My only problem with the product is that the lid occasionally get stuck and is difficult to unscrew.My rating: (5 out of 5)5-lips.jpg

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CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


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HI! I love the site, it’s so informative and fun. Great idea about the inspiration page :) I like your choice of top eye primers, paint pots are great. I have oily eyelids and I find that if I apply MAC paint or UDPP first then the paint pot, it last the enite day for me (just a tip for any makeup lovers with oily eyelids) :) Keep up the good work!

This is straight shenanigans, this make up business!!! My girl is all growing up now…just to think she only had a handful of shadows when we went to Canada just a few months ago! :) So…you do the makeup and I”ll take the pictures. We could seriously come up with a great side business for weddings, proms, family photo shoots…all kinds of stuff. That would be soooo fun. We need to at least live in the same state!!!! Geeze!

Thanks so much!!! Where have you been hiding all my life! You are awesome!
Keep up the good work and I will spread the word!
I discovered you on Pursebuzz!

Hi Marlena. Great site, tips and FOTD’s. Thank you for the time it takes to put this together.

Thanks! I’ll have to pick some up on my next trip to Sephora.
By the way, I am loving your site. I love all of your makeup tutorials and pictures and such. My favorite so far is the Kim Kardashian look.

I like your suggestions and love the paint pots…Have you ever tried Laura Mercier’s primer, it is by far my favorite and hardly gets any attention. thanks for all the great info!!

Have you ever tried Laura Mercier’s primer, it is by far my favorite and hardly gets any attention.

I’ll have to try that one- where do you get it?

Okay…I am at work and should be um…working, but I am super hooked! I love your website! Anyway, let me know if you ever try Two Faced Eye Shadow Insurance…I just bought it, but haven’t started using it yet.

I almost bought it, but was spending moola on more eyeshadows…. shocker, huh? ;) I would like to try it sometime- I swatched it, and it seemed really similar to Urban Decay’s Primer Potion

Try DE-CREASE by Loreal i think its good too ! I really love how you do your eyes.

Here’s a tip on getting the paint pot lids to open easier if they are stuck. Get some hot water in a bowl and drop the paint pot in for at least 30 sec. the lid should open like a charm! =)

I agree with sanderlees. I’d like to know more about the paint pots…what colours to get finishes etc. Any help would be great. Love your tips!!

Hi Sanderlees and Liv :)

Starting out I would get “Painterly” as it is neutral and goes with everything. Plus it’s “cream” vs. “frost” so you have the option of having a non-shimmer look if you choose.
Then from there, just pick the colors that you would wear most- if you wear a lot of bronzey golden colors, get Indianwood. If you wear a lot of aquas, get Greenwood. etc….

Hope that helps a little :)

i really love your website. i stumbled upon your videos just yesterday on you tube and i’ve watch almost every single one of them since then. your videos are probably the most informative ones i’ve come across and i have seriously become a big fan.

keep up the good work and we’ll keep on watching!!!=)

My really cheap primer brand is Monistat hehehe, I read at The Beauty Brains that Monistat Chafing Gel has pretty much the same ingredients than Smashbox Photofinish Primer, so I bought it and it works wonders!

I need help on trying to decided what colour primer shadow to use to make colour pop. I like that Idea, but, some of the videos I have watched on YouTube show like sharkskin on the bottom and then colour on top. It seems so dark. Do you use specific colours of paint pots as your base and how do you pick the colour to use underneath?
Thanks- You Are Great, Debbie

Hi Debbie :)

Some people use sharkskin as a base as it is black, and anything on top of black will really pop. But… it is more difficult to blend out harsh lines where the black base ends. I use a paintpot close to the color I’m going to put on the lid. If I were to wear pinks, I would put “fresco rose” on the lid to make the pinks stand out more. If I were wearing aquas, I would put on “greenstroke” or “delft”. I never put colored paintpots all over the eye area- just on the lid. I use a neutral base for above the crease.

I hope that helps :)

i just tried estee lauder’s eyeshadow base, because i wanted to get the free gift, and its my mom’s favorite brand, so I was buying her a b-day gift, and it works SO MUCH better than my too faced eyeshadow insurance!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s $15, and you get a lot. It is probably similar to mac’s paint pots, because it is creamy and comes in a jar as well. =) I wish i could return my too faced eyeshadow insurance…. oh well, you live and you learn =)

the “for your E.. only” benefit eyeshadow primer is the one I use everyday.
It’s a peachy color, easy to apply, comfortable to wear. It really helps the eyeshadow lasting longer and favorizes blending.
The problem I have with, is that it’s not covering enough the blemishes you should have.
I’m waiting to finish it and try the MAC painpot :)
Is the cream base the same as prep+prime ?

First I must say I’m new here, and I LOVE this site: It’s very informative and at the same time esthetic and very nice to look at… Keep up the good work

Second – I want to coment about the shadestick: if you asked for my opinion when I first used it it would be like yours. After a while I got a tip on the internet to roll the shadestick in my palms before I used it and TA-DA… magic: it became much creamier and very easy to use. I also Love the fact I can smudge it with my finger towards the eyebrow since it does not set as fast as the painpots (which I love too, of course…)

Thanks for the tip :) I think I’ve had such a hard time with the shadesticks as my eyes are so dry- they just don’t apply very creamy :( I keep trying to work with them…

Hi Marlena,
I just bought some L’Oreal HIP paint tube in “Lofty” to use as an alternative to a MAC Paint Pot or Paints (although they are my favorite). I was pleasantly surprised by it’s color (rosey neutral, soft pearl), consistency (very smooth application, super easy to apply, a little goes a long way) and the fact that I have oily lids and there was absolutely no crease after even 12 hrs of wear. I’m a single working mama so I’m always on the prowl for a bargain. I got this product and an eyeliner pot at Walgreen’s in a “buy on get one free” sale. SWEET! I also came across some Maybelline Dream Mousse Shadow pots in Mint Dream, Lilac Cloud and Turquoise Breeze (all for a smashing price of $1.67 each). These come out very sheer (unless you apply alot of product) and pearly, very pretty! I liked them also for a base, but I did notice a bit of a crease after the day was done. One more product I have been liking for a base are Maybelline’s Cooling Shadow/Liner. They have a nice feel (they are actually “cooling” when applied) but they are tad bit dry, at first. They are long wearing and my fav right now is Cold As Ice 05. It’s a bright, sparkly white crayon similar to NYX jumbo glitter liner (but the glitter is smaller and more blendable). I’m going to try UDPP in my next Sephora order. Have you tried Benefit’s “Boi-ing” or “Ooh La Lift” shadow base?

Marlena ~ i love ur utube vids and ur website is great!! This review was veeery good; i’m surprised you don’t have mac paints on this list.

Hi Marlena, have you tried the smashbox lip and lip primer? If you have, how does it compare to Urban Decay’s Primer Potion or to the other ones you’ve reviewed? Thanks

Hi Marlena!
I am a fan of colors, but am hesitant to use the variety available because I don’t know what works best with my skin tone, in any case I’m going to buy some colors and play; however, I was interested in your advice about an eyelid primer for oily skin? You mentioned Benefit’s Lemon aid in a tutorial – is that the best then for oily skin? Thanks for what you do!!!

Hey Marlena, I absolutely looooove this site :)
Got a question … I am darker toned, will the Benefit Lemon-Aid still work for me?

hey marlena and all make up geeks …
i graduated from a make up school , but let me say that i learned allllllllllllllllllot from u and from every one who comments on this web site ..
when i was in school my teachers told me that laura mercier has the best primes and foundation …
personally , i have not tried it , ( it is a bit expensive ) but i heard it is exellent ..

What would you recommend for oily lids? I mean i don’t actually have oily skin but i bought Benefits Lemon Aid and it didn’t present creasing, so i must presume i need something, erm, prevents creases to the max =/ I mean, did i not apply enough or..?

I so love my eyeshadow and hate how half way through the day half of it has disappeared into the crease! xxx

What about “Too Faced Eeyshadow Insurance” from Sephoa?.. Nice blog by the way…keep the articles coming!

Hi Marlena,

Thanks for a great site. What about Mac’s Paints (the ones in small metal tubes) A friend recomended me to use the Paint called Bare Canvas as a primer, she said that it wasn’t too good with loose stuff, but for the rest it held better than the Paint Pots…what’s your opinion?

Have a nice weekend



tq 4 the info marlena & Eliss..i have extreme oily eyeslid n face…i regret buying Crean colour base in luna as they crease so quickly…grrrr…now i definetly gonna get pain pot…i not too fair and not to dark skin tone..right in the middle…which paint pot suit me???

FYI, for those that have heavy oily lids, such as mine, MAC paint pot will not work very well on you. I found that my crease became oily after 5-6 hours wearing eyeshadow over it; and I did try the painterly paint pot which is less creammy than the rest. This would probably work well on those with normal skin.

As for me, I’ve found that BareMineral/or BareEssentuals eye primer works great on me! Definitely stayed on from 8AM to midnight when I use it as base. It came out like a mouse through a small twistable slended tube that as big as a pen. And best, it blend well into your skin and is colorless (well some of you might not like it being colorless…) but it works great! The only down turn, it’s a small tube and ran out a little faster….

You should try it out Marlena and let us know how you like it.

The primer I’ve found that works best for me is Lancome’s Effercenes waterproof concealer. I keep coming back to it. It covers all the imperfections as well as conceals my dark circles really well. Just wanted to put that out there….

So NYX doesnt really work well? i mean im on a budget & generally my eyeshadow tends to really crease after a while & i mean it gets annoying since i spend time actually tryn to get a gud look.

What MAC paint pot or paint would you recommend as a base for someone of a NC43 complexion? Thanks for your site, it is great!

Just bought Mac prep&prime for eyes – I’ve been using Lemon-aid but was finding it a bit dry. The girl on the Mac counter was really helpful and went through all their primers with me; I used it for the first time today and I’m so pleased – eleven hours and my eyes still looked good. Excellent!

well i have never used all those brands i use drug stores brand for example revlon loreal , maybellyn etc. does any of these brands have a primer the base for an eyeshadow that i can buy from there