Don't let your hard work go to waste.
As someone who has spent the past decade wearing eyeliner every day, I've spent A LOT of time wondering why my eyeliner wouldn't last on my face past 11 am. I tried and tested eyeliner after eyeliner, desperate to find one that had the staying power it promised. But then I discovered eyeshadow primer and suddenly I realised that it wasn't the eyeliner's fault, but the lack of base to help it stick.
Don't scoff—I know traditionally eye shadow primers have proven a little lacklustre and to be nothing but a myth. At best, these flimsy creams simply melt away along with the eyeliner above, and at worst, they can make the formula go cakey and lumpy. And when you do find an eyeshadow primer that behaves, you get the sense that it's the same formula as your face primer just rebottled into a smaller tube.
But in actual fact, eyeshadow primers are completely different to face primers. Sure, there are some similarities; eye primer ensures your eyeshadow or liquid eyeliner stays put all day long and prevents your shadow from creasing on your eyelids, eye primers also tend to come in a gel-like formula that melts away on your eyelid upon blending.
And to truly prove this to be true, I took one for the team and put it to the test. For one day, I wore my personal favourite eyeshadow primer (Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base by Nars) on my right eyelid and my personal favourite face primer (First Light Priming Filter by BECCA Cosmetics) on my left. I then applied the same Glossier's Pro Tip Liquid Eyeliner to both my eyes (this eyeliner too is a favourite of mine, you can read about that here).
By 12 pm, my right eyelid looked like I had just applied it; my eyeliner flick was still in place, still jet black and not a single smudge or crease had occurred. My left eye, however, was a different story; my entire flick had worn off. Not ideal when you forget your makeup bag that day.
So why I highly encourage breathing a new lease of life into products you own by using them for something other than function, – think lipstick as a blusher – I highly recommend using face primer on just your face and eyeshadow primer on your eyes.
Keep scrolling for our edit of the best eyeshadow primers and I promise you'll never have to worry about midday creasing, glitter fallout or bleeding eyeshadow again.
Look familiar? That's because every MUA you follow on Instagram has used this at some point in a tutorial. The eye primer from Urban Decay has reached a cult-favourite status for its lightweight formula and stay-all-day power will keep your lids in perfect shape for 24 hours...as my late-night antics can vouch for.
Primer Potion, €22, Urban Decay @ Debenhams
You don't have to spend a fortune to protect your eyeshadow masterpieces. This primer from Catrice is perfect as not only does it consist of a long-wearing matte formula but it also comes in a range of colours to either give you a neutral base or a pop of colour to get you started. Any of the shades can be worn on their own for subtle lazy day looks or act as a base for your creation.
Eye Makeup Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer, €3.95, Catrice
Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base, €27, Nars @ Brown Thomas
While I don't believe you need to fork out a tonne of money to find a decent eyeshadow primer, there's no denying that those on the slightly expensive scale work many wonders. This one from Nars is special as it's not like most eyeshadow primers as it's completely clear. Usually, when you use a toned primer, your shadows tend to not live up to their full-colour popping potential. However, Nars' Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base lets your eyeshadow talk for itself thanks to its clear gel-based formula.
If bright, bold eyeshadow is your vibe...then allow us to introduce you to this cream eyeshadow primer by NYX. It's optic white in shade with a pearl undertone that is stunning on worn on its own with a bold liner flick or as the ultimate blank canvas for any bold creation.
Cream Eyeshadow Primer, €8, NYX @ Boots
The MAKEUP BAG MUST-HAVE
A travel-sized, water-resistant eye primer should have a place in every beauty lover's handbag. Designed to enhance and extend the wear of your favourite shadows or pigments, this eye primer for Anastasia Beverly Hills ensures smooth, blendable and smudge-free application, while visibly boosting colour payoff and reducing the appearance of fine lines.
Eye Primer, €16, Anastasia Beverly Hills
Ever feel adventurous and want to rock a fuschia pink eyeliner but can't find one anywhere? Well this primer stick from E.L.F is about to become your BFF. Not only does the product prime your lids and prevent creasing but it can also be dipped into a powder-based shadow to create a D.I.Y liquid liner. E.L.F is not only a cruelty-free brand but they're vegan too which is just yet another reason why you need this in your makeup bag.
Studio Eyeshadow Primer & Liner Sealer, €5.15, E.L.F @ Superdrug
MAC's pro long wear pots can be worn as both cream eyeshadows or primers which is giving you double bang for your buck. Initially, they're highly pigmented and creamy but dry to create an intense but vibrant finish. The pots are longlasting, create seamless coverage without the weight or cracking you'd get with an alternative primer. You can mix them in with other eyeshadow and liners for a quick priming fix or apply directly as a base.
Pro Longwear Paint Pot, €22, MAC @ Arnotts
Main image by @celine_bernaerts on Instagram