Ask Elle: All About Eyelid Primers

Hey you! I hope your week is going well. I was having a bad day but that all changed once I hit my biggest daily views ever--over 20k! I just wanted to thank you for stopping by. You're awesome! But back to today's Ask Elle--what is eyelid primer and why do we need it?

Whether you call them eyelid primers, eyeshadow primers, or eyeshadow bases, these are handy products to keep in your makeup bag. And there are eyelid primers for every budget. They take seconds to apply but are so very beneficial. Simply blend them all over your lids before applying eyeshadow. Here's what they do:

{with primer and without}

  1. Even out skin tone/redness/discoloration--A couple of instances where this is beneficial: visible veins or dark/bruised lids. Primer can instantly brighten lids.
  2. Staying power for shadows--Some drugstore (and even some high-end) shadows don't last all day and fade or melt away from lids. Eyelid primers can make shadows last all day (and night) and some make shadows water-proof.
  3. Color enhancer--Again, not all shadows are created equally. I've seen shadows in every price range that are chalky and without good pigmentation. Using an eyelid primer causes the colors to pop and be seen. Tip: If you have darker skin, use a white primer.
  4. Staying power for eyeliner--I also will blend in eyelid primer where ever I am prone to put eyeliner. This helps to: set the liner, make it last all day, and not blur away.
  5. No creasing shadows--Be it shadow quality or oily lids, sometimes the shadow will crease. Unless this is some hot new trend I'm not aware of, I try to avoid creasing shadows by using primer first.
  6. Smoothes lines--If you have wrinkles or an uneven lid surface, give primer a try.
  7. Shadow Blender--Eyelid primer can help to blend shadows more effectively.
  8. Highlighter--Depending on the shade you choose, some eyelid primers can highlight underneath the brows or the inner corner of eyes.

Types of Eyelid Primers:

  • These come in a tube and are applied by squeezing the tube or using the doe-foot applicator. They are very thin in consistency and some brands have a few colors (skin tone, white, champagne, gold) to choose from. Swatches at bottom of post.
    • Brands suggested (note: I have not tried every primer available):
      • Urban Decay Primer Potion $$ (4 colors)
      • Wet N Wild Fergie $ 
      • ELF $ (some with oily lids didn't like, but best deal for $1, and comes in 4 colors)
      • Too Faced Shadow Insurance $$
      • L'Oreal Decrease $
      • Benefit Stay Don't Stray $$
      • Reader Recommended: Lorac $$
  • Some primers come in a thicker consistency (more on those below) like a cream base or gel-silicone base. Pictured are NYX Eyeshadow Base $ (also in white and one of my faves) and Mirabella Primer $$. 
  • There are other products available that are not technically called eyelid primers but can be used as such.
    • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils $ (pictured, milk)--These creamy pencils come in a variety of colors and can be worn alone on the lids. See other uses for the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil here.
    • Maybelline Color Tattoos 24 Hour Cream Gel Shadows $-- Just like NYX, these come in a variety of colors and can be worn alone. These are outstanding with staying power.
    • MAC Paint Pot $$ is another fabulous cream option, similar to the Color Tattoo.
    • Concealers--If in a pinch (and what I used to do before drugstore primers were available) use a non-creasing concealer (I've tried all consistencies, so use the brand that works for you) as an eyelid primer. These only come in skin tones, but can work if needed. The one pictured is the L'Oreal True Match. I rub it on a brush before applying to my lids--the end is too sharp for my lids.
    • NOTE: Many of the primers are paraben-free. But if you'd like to make your own primer, take organic body butter and mix with organic foundation.

Swatches of some of the eyelid primers mentioned. 
Allow these thinner consistency primers a few seconds to dry before applying shadows.

Do you use eyelid primers?
What brand is your favorite?

Have a beauty question? ASK ELLE!


  1. very cute post. I dont really wear primers. but heres my beauty question: whats the best eyeshadow to wear with blue mascara


  2. Congrats on 20k daily views - such a big milestone! I swear by Urban Decay's primer... It's so magical.

  3. what an informative post! congrats!

  4. Congrats on the page views!! I swear by my MAC groundwork primer. I've used it for years and it really helps keep your shadows in place and on longer.

  5. Hey Elle, Congrats on the views, must make you happy to know that all your hard work is appreciated!! I am in the market for a primer so this is perfect timing. It just stinks over here in france because not all brands are available and the ones that are, are most often way more expensive. Ex. Revlon nail polish is over 14$ here!!! Gosh I miss Target or CVS sometimes. I try to stock up every summer but still end up running out of stuff anyways..oh well. Here is hoping to 30k soon:)

  6. I admit, I don't use them - I guess I have a problem with non-organic make-up, especially when it comes to the areas of my skin when the skin is the thinnest. Was nice to see a swatch of primer/no primer, though. x

  7. Now I know what I've been missing this whole time. I've never even heard of a primer for eyelids.


  8. I really need to start using these - I need more staying power for my eye shadow!

    Pearls & Paws

  9. My whole attitude toward makeup changed when I discovered this product. Before, shadow wouldn't stick to my skin and I wondered why; after, it looked great. Learning about this product made something incomprehensible easy. Primer rocks!

  10. WOWZA...congrats on the over 20K, Elle:) And love love love UD Primer!

  11. I usually just use a sweep of concealer on my eyelids and that's always worked like a charm for me!

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

  12. Great blog , nice post! Ofc I'm your new follower! Don't forget to visit my blog too!

  13. I've only tried ELF but it works great for me! I wish I would have started using it sooner!

    {love jenny xoxo}

  14. Normally I use urban decay.. but I just got a sample of another brand in my birchbox, and I love it too! (not sure what brand it is though!)

    It definitely helps with creases. Great post!


  15. I really need to get some primer again! I've been lazy about going shopping :)

  16. Great tips - I often wonder why people rave about primers, but this definitely explained it!
    And congrats on your daily views - so exciting :)

  17. The Urban Decay Primer Potion has always been a favorite and I emptied it to the last drop.

  18. Congratulations on all of those views! That's wonderful. I didn't know primer could make such a difference. I'll have to try it. (And you're welcome for the compliment!)

  19. I've always wondered what the point of eyelid primers is... now I know. Thanks!

  20. oh Elle, I never ever wear I shadow. My lids are naturally tinted and everyone always asks me the shade and I say "essence of Renae". LOL

  21. im kind of a fan of elf's Xo Megan, www.TfDiaries.com

  22. I'm going to have to start using prime. I never know there was such a big different. Until now. Congrats

  23. I´M Using Shadow Insurance by Too Faced, and I quite like it. Nevertheless, I'll try the NARS prime rwhen this one is finished!


  24. I just recently started using an eyelid primer! Love this post. So helpful! xo, Julie

  25. Congrats on getting so many views in one day! That rocks! I have never tried one of these, but maybe I'll pick up an ELF tube.

  26. First congrats! Second I have very oily lids so I have to use a primer my favorite is UDPP or for drugstore I love the Fergie one. Great post!

  27. This post couldn't have come at a better time because I've just purchased my first eye primer.

  28. thats awesome Elle! you really deserve it! i know you work really hard on your blog and thats so awesome to hear! i have really been digging the step by step tutorials using the pictures. and the way you style your pictures - and your blog topics are always really cool- you inspire me!

  29. Oh wow, now i have more ideas. I do use a primer and it's my favorite but it's not really cheap. it's the too faced one. so now i have a few more ideas on how to save money when it comes to beauty. thank you.

  30. I don't really wear a lot of makeup and usually nothing at all around my eyes.

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  31. UD primer potion is my absolute fave!

  32. Congrats my popular friend! You converted me to eyeshadow primers and they are great! Hello from Boracay!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  33. I had heard that e.l.f. was a dupe for UD Primer Potion and I was so excited to save money. But alas, I hated it. I must have oily lids or something.

  34. Congrats........This post reminds me of needing to go beauty shopping and replace some... Thank you for sharing with us, great tips too. Thanks for the visit in my blog and for the sweet thoughts.


  35. I had actually never heard of eyelid primer (I'm so hopeless with makeup). It makes sense, though! I'll have to give it a try with some of my metallic eye shadow that seems to lose its shimmer throughout the day.

  36. I have always wandered if I should buy one, and now you have convinced me! I'll try first with my concealer, and go to the store on the weekend. Luckily most of the cheap brands you suggested are available here too!. Thanks.

  37. I tried primer but it really messed up and clogged up the skin around my eyes. Do you recommend one that's more delicate and gentle than the others?


I respond to comments via email, so make sure I can respond!
For a faster response, please use Twitter or email: elleseesyou@gmail.com

More ways to keep up with me: Bloglovin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram , Youtube or email: elleseesyou@gmail.com

You made my day by visiting! See ya tomorrow :)


All products mentioned are purchased by me unless stated.
All pics, thoughts, etc, are mine unless otherwise noted. Publishing or redistributing any content from this blog is strictly prohibited. Please seek permission first. Thank you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...