My eyes are my favorite feature to play up, and I often spend the most time in my makeup routine on eyeshadow application. I always make sure I prep my lids with either eyeshadow primer or base so that my shadow performs to its full potential and lasts all day.
Eyeshadow primers and bases are often mistaken for one another, with the terms used interchangeably, however they actually serve very different purposes. While one product can act as a two-in-one, makeup lovers should be familiar with the difference between eyeshadow primer and base to enhance their eyeshadow application for their own needs.
What is an Eyeshadow Primer?
Eyeshadow primer is applied to the eyelids before shadow in order to create a smooth and even surface. It helps avoid creasing and keeps your skin’s natural oils from disturbing your eyeshadow. Primers commonly come in beige or white colors. I like using beige to help even out my skin tone.
What is an Eyeshadow Base?
Eyeshadow base helps enhance a shadow’s color to look more vibrant. It typically feels more tacky than a primer to help pack on a shade. Eyeshadow base does not typically stop creases or oils, and so isn’t designed to help with wear time of the shadow. Bases come in a range of shades that you can use to manipulate the color of your shadow, as well. I like using white base so my shadow translates as closely as possible to how it looks in the pan.
Can You Use Eyeshadow Primer and Base Together?
I don’t recommend using both products together, as different formulas may not work well when layered. If you decide to experiment, be sure to apply primer first, and use thin layers of each product.
Here are my picks for favorite primers, bases, and do-it-all eyeshadow shadow prep products:
e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer ($3)
This super affordable and classic eyeshadow primer is still a drugstore staple in routines everywhere. To put it simply: it just works. It’s a thin formula that helps mattify the lids so that shadow blends easily and stays put for hours.
Covergirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer ($7.94)
The Lid Lock Up Primer is a bit of a two-in-one product, as it gives your shadows all-day wear but offers the slightest it of tackiness to help intensify your shadow. It’s thicker than the e.l.f. Primer and a bit more heavy duty if you’re dealing with moderately oily lids.
NYX Eyeshadow Base ($7)
I use the NYX eyeshadow base for most of my bright and colorful eyeshadow looks. The white shade makes every color you apply over it pop! It’s got a slick and tacky consistency but if you apply it in thin layers, it will dry down so that it doesn’t crease as easily.
M.A.C Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($22)
While on the pricier side, I will always stand by the argument that the MAC Paint Pot is a justified purchase every time. It can be used in several different ways depending on the shade you choose, but my favorite use is for eye prep. It acts as both a primer and base, giving you a fresh first layer for long lasting and vibrant shadow. It’s a cream product but never feels heavy or cakey, and can also be used as a standalone shadow or even as concealer. I use the shade Soft Ochre.
In a crunch, and need to prep your lids without a primer or base? Don’t be afraid to use your favorite concealer, followed up by a thin layer of setting powder. Oil-free, matte concealers work best for this purpose.