The Best Eyeshadow Primers To Buy Now

Banish eyeshadow smudges and creases for good with the perfect eye primer for you...

eyeshadow makeup

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Updated on

Whether you're after a truly flawless smoky eye that won't leave you panda-eyed at the end of the night or just want to amp up the intensity of your feline flick, an eyeshadow primer is your beauty best friend. This unassuming product will help banish pesky eyeshadow creases, ensure that your eyeliner swoop stays in place throughout the day and can double up as a standalone shadow. We're all familiar with makeup primers in general (for the best makeup primers click here) and you can even make your own. There are primers made specifically for oily skin too but sourcing the best eye primer for you is a whole different ball game. You want something gentle, easy to apply and long lasting. What's the poin in applying a flawless eye makeup look (shop ourfavourite budget eyeshadow palettes right here) if it smudges its way to oblivion in the blink of an eye? When shopping for the best eyeshadow palette for you it makes sense to invest in an eye primer too. Eye not only give you a great canvas to work with when you're settling in to create that Instagram-worthy eye look, they make sure that eye look goes the distance too, whether you've opted for the ultimate smoky eye or a wet look gloss eyshadow.

Sold? Before you add one to your make-up arsenal, read up on our cheat sheet and discover the best formulas out there to make sure you're fully, ahem, primed...

Shop: The Best Eyeshadow Primers


Grazia Eyeshadow Primers - 2021

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Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer, £17.50

Summary: This product is a cult classic for a reason. It hails itself as the 'number-one primer* for indestructible, all-day eyeshadow'.Product Specifications: Paraben free this formula fills texture on the skin's surface, leaving a smooth, even base.Pros/Cons: The pros? It's a pro favourite. It's easy to apply. We're head over heels.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, £18

Summary: Create the perfect canvas for a major eyeshadow look with this Smashbox Photo Finish primer.Product Specifications: Soft focus pearls in the formula help to even the tone and texture of the delicate skin on the eye area.Pros/Cons: This product is velvety smooth on application and easy to remove when you reach for your micellar water at the end of the day.

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Nars Smudge Proof Shadow Base, £21

Summary: This new gen eyeshadow primer even boosts the vividness of your eyeshadow shades.Product Specifications: The product's unique polymer blend wards of smudging, caking or cracking.Pros/Cons: Eyeshadow stays where you want it to from the first application, long lasting doesn't cover it.

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Benefit Stay Don't Stray Eyeshadow Primer, £22.50

Summary: A lightweight multi-purpose makeup hero that does what it says on the tin.Product Specifications: You can apply this all the way around your eyes to ensure your under eye concealer stays in place too.Pros/Cons: This primer doesn't just focus on keeping eyeshadows in place on your lids, it keeps under eye concealer where you want it too.

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Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot, £16.50

Summary: This one's a blendable cream shadow that can be worn alone or as a base for eyeshadows.Product Specifications: A pot cream shadow from the brand beloved by makeup artists the world over, the eyeshadow primer is the definition of multi-purpose.Pros/Cons: Use as a barely-there eyeshadow or as the base for more statement looks.

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NYX Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer, £6

Summary: This one's a budget eye primer that doesn't compromise on efficacy.Product Specifications: Cruelty-free and waterproof, this formula is a winner.Pros/Cons: Smooth this eyeshadow primer on before applying your favourite eyeshadows to ensure durability.

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Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Base, £22

Summary: This lightweight eye primer can be used as a concealer too.Product Specifications: The formula even contains golden chamomile to soothe skin, minimise redness and decrease puffiness.Pros/Cons: This product promises buildable coverage with up to 16 hours wear.

What are the best eyeshadow primers to buy now?

Simply shop our pick of the best above!

How do you apply eyeshadow primer?

First, make sure that you've cleansed your face thoroughly. You only need about as much primer as a grain of rice for both eyes. Any more than this won't dry properly, causing your make-up to flake; any less and it won't have the requisite staying power. Then, using your fingers or a small brush, apply a thin layer from the lash line up to your brows, working it into the creases. Wait 20 seconds before continuing with your eye make-up.

What's the best eyeshadow primer for oily lids?

Eyeshadow primers are a godsend for those of us with oily lids (which can be caused by anything from over-rubbing your eyes to hormonal fluctuations). Though any primer should extend the life of your shadow, we’ve found Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion, £19.50, (which comes in a handful of different shades) andNars’s Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, £21, to be particularly resilient. It's also worth making sure that you're using an oil-free eye make-up remover at night, refraining from over-applying your eye cream and avoiding silicon-heavy formulas.

Why should I use a primer instead of concealer or foundation?

If you're anything like us, you've probably tried smudging foundation or concealer onto your eyelids to even out the colour and lock down your shadow. We're sorry to break it to you, but this beauty 'hack' is actually having the opposite effect - especially if you are using an under-eye wand. The creamy formula of your concealer contains oils to help the product blend effortlessly into your skin - meaning that it'll exacerbate the problem of oily lids and cause your shadow to crease quicker. With a range of eye-priming options available at the thriftier end of the price spectrum, there's no excuse not to add one to your beauty arsenal.

Which are the best eyeshadow primers on the high street?

Previously something of an investment purchase and available only from pricier brands, a clutch of high street names have recently added hard-working primers to their product line-up. We've road-tested NYX's Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer, £6, and Collection's Illuminating And Reviving Eye Primer, £4.99, and were impressed by their long-lasting formulas.

Can I wear an eye primer without eyeshadow?

If that is what you so desire, then yes. Most eyeshadow primers come in a neutral hue, meaning that they can be used to add subtle colour to the lids - an easy look for day time. Urban Decay's Primer Potion is available in a range of shades, while MAC's cult Pro Longwear Paint Pots, £16.50, come in 23 covetable colours, many of which have a slight iridescent shimmer (it's no surprise that these are a backstage favourite for make-up artists during fashion week).

Do I need eye primer?

The short answer? If the fact that your eyeshadow tends to smudge, crack or crease bothers you then yes, an eye primer is something you should consider investing in. There are some great budget options out there if you're not up for splurging on your first one, but an eyeshadow primer is well worth picking up if you're keen to boost the staying power of your favourite eyeshadow looks.

READ MORE: The Very Best Eyeshadow Palettes That You'll Want To Add To Your Make-Up Bag Immediately

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