Before running out and getting one, read this basic info and have a look at my swatches to understand why they are so important!
What is it?An eyeshadow primer is meant to be a base for your eyeshadow. You have to apply this after your moisturizer and before any eye make-up. They usually come in a liquid, creamy or compact formula and are mostly silicon-based (just like face primers), because silicon smooths out any imperfection or messy texture you may have on your eyelids to prep them for eyeshadow application.
How should I use it?Wait a few seconds after you have moisturized and gently pat the primer all over your lid, crease and browbone. Let it stay for a few minutes before doing your eye make-up, so the primer will set properly on your skin.
What difference does it make?The first time you'll use an eyeshadow primer you will probably notice how different your shadow will look. It will be easier to apply and blend it, the colour will be more vibrant and true-to-pan, and it will also last longer! You will also experience less fallout and fading throughout the day.
I have tried three different primers so far, probably the most popular ones (E.L.F., Too Faced and Urban Decay). In the picture below you can see the same eyeshadow (MAC in Fig. 1) swatched on my bare arm with and without primers. *
Left to right: 1) no base, 2) over E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer, 3) over Urban Decay Primer Potion, and 4) over Too Faced Shadow Insurance:
The swatch with no base looks definitely duller than the other three. There is probably no noticeable difference between the three swatches with primer on, except maybe that swatches 3 and 4 have a more intense colour compared to swatch 2.
Staying power is something that can be really boosted with the right eyeshadow primer. Therefore I put my swatches to test and rubbed a clean tissue over them several times.
As you can see, the eyeshadow with no base faded away quite easily and the colour is barely noticeable. The other three performed better, Too Faced Shadow Insurance (4) being the most resistent one. To my surprise, Urban Decay Primer Potion (3) came off more easily than E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (2)!
*Swatches in natural light, no flash
There are some final budget considerations. If you've never owned an eyeshadow primer before, you might want to start off with something relatively simple and cheap, such as the E.L.F. one, which retails for about €3.50 or €4 (depending on discounts) on their website. This is a really good product for the price, and probably one of my favourite items from the whole E.L.F. line.
Urban Decay Primer Potion is no doubt the most popular eyeshadow primer out there. Urban Decay is not currently available in Italy, except for one Sephora store in Milan. I have a sample size of the Primer Potion which came with the Naked Palette I bought back in the UK. You can buy this online from some UK websites or on Amazon.com for about £12. Personally I'm not a fan of the packaging: although it looks kinda cute it gets really difficult to get the product at the bottom, and the sponged wand doesn't help.
Packaging wise, Too Faced Shadow Insurance is a much better choice. It comes in a small clean tube which makes it definitely easier to squirt out the right amount of product you want to use. It's also easier to find in Italy, you can buy this at any Sephora store for €14.
This one is a total winner for me and the one I reach for most of the times.
I'd love to hear your experience about eyeshadow primers! Have you used others I did not list in this post? Leave a comment!