Do I Need to Use an Eye Shadow Primer?

Updated 07/14/17
Eye shadow primer can enhance the look of eye shadow. Emma Innocenti/Getty Images

What Is An Eye Shadow Primer?

An eye shadow 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.

Why Use a Primer?

Do you really need to use an eye shadow primer? It's a matter of preference and can also depend on the eye makeup look you want to achieve.

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 more even. Eye shadow primer helps eye shadow adhere to the eyelid, stay in place, and also prevents creasing.

Related: SheaMoisture Primer Review

Here are five more reasons to consider using an eye shadow primer.

1. Eyelid Prep

Eye shadow primer is used to prep the eyes for eye shadow. It assists with longer wear and makes the eye shadow easier to blend, providing a smooth canvas on which to apply eye shadow and to help it stay in place.

2. To Even Skin Tone

Eye shadow primer is used to even out skin color and discolorations. It’s helpful for those with darkened or discolored eyelids, which is often hereditary. Eye shadow primer can also cover visible veins.

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3. To Intensify Color

Eye shadow primer can make pigment stand out and look more vibrant. Some shadows, especially powder formulas, appear lighter than they look in the palette. This is often a problem on deep skin tones. Primer can help you achieve more color.


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4. Skin & Makeup Barrier

Primer also acts as a barrier between the skin and makeup. This is good for oily skin types because it can keep oil from the skin away from the eye shadow, helping to prevent eye shadow from fading or smudging.

5. To Prevent Creasing & Smudging

Primer is useful in hot, humid weather to keep eye shadow from fading or smudging. It also helps prevent creasing from normal eye movements.


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Eye Shadow Primer Vs Eye Shadow Base

A primer helps prevent creasing and fading, and helps with making eye shadow last longer.

An eye shadow base is usually thicker and is mainly used to intensify color and make eye shadow adhere to the eyelid. Some eye shadow bases don't prevent creasing or fading, although there are some products that are formulated to act as both a primer and a base.

For even more staying power, some women and makeup artists use a primer first and then follow with an eye shadow base.

There are also eye shadow primers that add a shimmery glow or radiance to the skin.  In addition to its Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer ($20), Too Faced's Shadow Insurance Champagne gives skin a touch of shimmer and Shadow Insurance Candlelight, illuminates the eyelid.

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. Also 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 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.

For Further Reading:

  • Review: Real Techniques Enhanced Eyes Makeup Brushes
  • 20 Makeup Tips For Contact Lens Wearers
  • How to Safely Remove Eye Makeup

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