Let's Talk About - Eye Primer & Base!

If you’re new to makeup, chances are you’re a little confused about the two and what they’re used for.  If you wear eye makeup, these could be the most important products in your makeup arsenal!  After all, every look needs a solid foundation.

Primer and Base are NOT the same thing… this is a common misconception for even those of us who are quite familiar with cosmetics.  Unfortunately many companies market what would normally be primers as “eyeshadow base”, which can be confusing. Although they do similar things, knowing the differences are crucial.


Eyelid Primer:

Primer is used for several things… to help eyeshadow last longer, to prevent eyeshadow creasing, and to help eyeshadow show up better on the eye.  Primer is not necessarily essential, but is very beneficial for any eyeshadow look, no matter how simple.  Primer can help keep eyelids from getting oily, which is the main cause for creasing and fading.  Primer can boost the performance of even the worst quality eyeshadows, and is also helpful when it comes to eyeliner.

Most primers are a liquid-type product, similar to a concealer.  Often they will come with a doe-foot applicator, or in a squeeze tube.  It is easiest to apply eye primer with your fingers.

When it comes to primer, you don’t want to use too much, or you’ll negate the primer’s effects all together.  A few drops of primer will do for your entire eye.  Blend primer across the eyelid, until it mostly disappears onto the skin.  Most primers are skin-colored, but some have a different tint.  Either way, the color should be very faint on the eye.

Popular Primers:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance - $18

Urban Decay Primer Potion - $20

ELF Eyelid Primer - $1

L'Oreal De-Crease Eyeshadow Base - $5


Eyeshadow Base:

Base is normally a cream product used to intensify the pigmentation of eyeshadow.  Unlike primers, these don’t always prevent creasing (the texture is thicker) but they will really brighten up your eyes.

Base often comes in jars or pots.  Base could also be a cream eyeshadow - thus it could come in any color.  White is the best base shade for making eyeshadow stand out.

Eyeshadow base is also best applied with a finger!  You only need a small amount or you’ll see creasing.  You can wear both primer and base… base would go on after primer.  Primer controls eyelid oils better than base would alone.

Popular Bases:

NYX Eyeshadow Base - $4

Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadow - $4

MAC Paint Pot - $18



  • Can concealer be used as eye primer?  -  Nope!  Concealer contains oils in it and is much too thick for the thin skin on the eyelids.  Doing so will probably make your eyeshadow crease more than just leaving it on bare lids!  However concealer could work as a base.
  • Will primer help my eyeliner last longer?  - Yes!  Use your finger to blend the primer down along your lower lashlines, and on the top get it as close to your eyelashes as possible.  Primer should help with longevity of all your eye makeup!
  • I use primer but my eyelids are still greasy! - This happens!  Some eyelids are just more oily than others, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Keep tissues or oil blotting sheets with you and pat your lids lightly.  Since oil is the culprit for eye makeup woes, getting rid of excess will help greatly.

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