All Beauty, All the Time—For Everyone.

Do I Need to Use an Eye Shadow Primer?

Woman applying eye shadow to her eyelids

Emma Innocenti / Getty Images

An eyeshadow primer is often a multipurpose product, the most important purpose being to give eye shadow staying power. Primers can come in different shades that blend with skin tone. White primer is often used to make eye shadow shades more vibrant.

Some women simply use their foundation or foundation primer as an eye shadow base and find that it works just as well, but foundation or makeup primers usually just help make makeup application smoother and evener. But, since face primers are made for smoothing, sometimes they don't hold shadow in place as well as eye primers. Eye shadow primer helps eye shadow adhere to the eyelid, stay in place, and also prevents creasing. Unsure of how to use this game-changing product? Ahead, watch makeup artist Carissa Ferreri's eyeshadow primer tutorial, plus pro tips and our favorite primer recommendations.

Five Reasons to Use an Eyeshadow Primer

  1. Eyelid Prep: Eye shadow primer is used to prep the eyes for eye shadow. It assists with longer wear and makes eye shadow easier to blend, providing a smooth canvas to apply eyeshadow to and help it stay in place.
  2. To Even Skin Tone: Eye shadow primer is used to even out skin color and discoloration. It’s helpful for those with darkened or discolored eyelids, which is often hereditary. Eye shadow primer can also cover visible veins.
  3. To Intensify Color: Eye shadow primer can make pigments stand out and look more vibrant. Some shadows, especially powder formulas, appear lighter than they look in the palette. Primer can help you achieve more color, especially if colors don't seem to show up much on your skin tone.
  4. Skin and Makeup Barrier: Primer also acts as a barrier between skin and makeup. It can keep oil from the skin away from the eye shadow, helping to prevent fading or smudging. If you have oily eyelids, primer is a must to keep your shadow in place all day.
  5. To Prevent Creasing and Smudging: Primer is useful in hot, humid weather to keep eyeshadow from fading or smudging. It also helps prevent creasing from normal eye movements.

How to Apply Eye Shadow Primer

  1. Smooth a small amount of eye shadow primer onto the entire lid with your fingertips, blending up and out toward the brow. Try to apply as close to the lash line as possible.
  2. Using a concealer brush or base brush, blend evenly.
  3. You can also use a primer under the eye if you are adding a line of eye shadow color underneath the lower lash line.
  4. Let the eye shadow primer set for a minute or two before applying eye shadow.

Pro-Approved Primers

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base $26
Shop
Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer $21
Shop
e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer $3
Shop

Related Stories