What are you looking for in a good eyeshadow primer? A winning primer needs to be lightweight, non-sticky, quick-drying, and to not have too much colour pigment. Highly pigmented shadow primers can modify the colour of the shadows that you lay over them. The role of the eyeshadow primer is to set your shadow in a smooth fashion, ensuring that they do not crease for many hours, as well as evening out your skin tone. Also, a good primer will help the pigmentation of your eyeshadows to pop and give them optimum colour punch, increasing vibrancy without altering the finish of the product. Therefore, a good primer will not dull the finish of a shimmer, metallic or duo chrome shadow. Remember that when applying an eyeshadow primer, it is always best to pat it on the eyelid surface with either a tight bristled eyeshadow brush or your finger tip and to wait at least 60 seconds for the product to set and dry before overlaying your shadows. If your shadow primer is insufficiently dried, you run the risk of immediate creasing or not reaping the benefits of long lasting shadow wear without fading. This is especially true for those of you who have eyelids that are more on the oily side.

High-End Primers

There are some really fabulous high-end eyeshadow primers to choose from on the market. I would highly recommend you try:

Urban Decay Primer Potion - This cult favourite features polymer technology that actually fills in ridges and imperfections on your eyelids and creates a perfect, smooth canvas. Urban Decay claims their product provides 24 hour shadow wear and they aren't lying!

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base - This primer is not only polymer but mineral based. I love it because it literally dries on contact and primes the lids to a smudge-proof tee!

Stay Don't Stray 360 Degree Stay Put Eyeshadow Primer by Benefit - This product is dubbed "the power primer" as it could be used on lids and under the eyes as a primer for both your eye shadows and concealers. This primer is also available in two shades so that you can match your skin tone perfectly. An "all around" terrific product!

Eye Basics by Laura Mercier - This is a water-resistant and creamy primer that dries to a semi-matte silky finish. Eye Basics is available in a range of neutral and colour correcting shades. The colour correcting primers in this line are a godsend to those who need to neutralize eyelid skin tone imperfections as they are preparing for shadow application.

Shadow Insurance and Glitter Insurance by Too Faced - Shadow Insurance is an absolutely wonderful crease and fade proof primer that sets shadows for hours on end! Its sister Glitter Insurance is a phenomenal primer for loose and pressed glitter eyeshadow application. With this primer glitters don't budge!

"Not Actually Primer" Primers

Many renowned makeup artist's most beloved eyeshadow primer is actually a cream eyeshadow. M.A.C.’s Pro Long-Wear Paint Pot in the shade Soft Ochre or Painterly dabbed on the lids creates a perfect canvas for your shadow creations.

In my previous blog I revealed my trick for amping up eyeshadow pigmentation using the NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in the colour #604 Milk. This pencil is great as an everyday shadow primer too... as long as you blend the product well after applying it to your lids. You need this product in your makeup bag! It's a keeper!

Another great way to prime your eyelids for shadow is to use a concealer on your lids as a base. This method is also great to obtain a cut crease eyeshadow look. I will forever sing the praises of the infamous concealer Shape Tape by Tarte, which works wonders as a primer. Any good concealer can double as a primer and do the trick if blended uniformly.  A mini Beautyblender works like magic for this purpose.

Drugstore A+ Primers

There are a few drugstore brand primers that I think are super effective. The following have the Makeup By Marla stamp of approval:

IStage Eyeshadow Base by Essence comes in a compact little tube and is applied with a doe foot applicator. The product dries rather quickly and makes shadows stay in place throughout the day. Pretty impressive for $3.99!

The Nyx Proof It Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer... goes on smooth with 20-hour lasting power.

NYX HD Eyeshadow Base is another great primer option you can find at the drugstore. It is silky soft and literally glides on with a buffed finish.

Hard Candy Eyes The Limit Primer dries colourless with a satiny finish and provides seamless, long wear for all shadow formulations.

Milani Eyeshadow Primer is excellent! It goes on invisibly and creates the perfect canvas for flawless eyeshadow application.

And last but not least... I always recommend my much-loved Eyeshadow Primer by Annabelle. This very good quality and low priced primer is in a cute and compact package. This baby is my travel buddy!

Comments or questions? Drop me a line in the comments section below and I will chat with ya!

Until next time my Primed Pretties, always remember that you are gorgeous and Rock Your Beauty! 

Marla xxx

Marla Overland BSW, PSW is a Professional Social Worker in practice for over 30 years in the Public Health Care system and privately. Marla has also been a long-standing, avid follower of makeup and beauty trends and enjoys to share her suggestions and beauty world scoops with friends and readers of her online blog.

(2) comments


Thank you Marla 😍! I have been wanting to buy a high-end primer, but I did not know which were worth spending on!


Glad to help Jasmine [smile]. Thank you for following my blogs [love][love]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.