Comparison and Review of Eyeshadow Primers from Various Brands

by lyn on April 17, 2012 · 13 comments

in Base & Primers, NARS, Paul & Joe, Too Faced, Urban Decay

eye primers

Over the years, I have been accumulating a host of eyeshadow primers. My lids get oily and I absolutely hate the way my eye makeup will start creasing and turning patchy and disgusting. So eye makeup primers are an absolutely must for me.

I will be doing comparisons on products that are touted as “eye primers” and not other cream or liquid based eyeshadows. I used to own a few more primers but have long binned them because they didn’t work at all.

eye primers
eye primers
From left to right; Too Faced Eyeshadow Insurance, Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden, Paul & Joe Eye Primer 02, Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin, Urban Decay Primer Potion Original.

Too Faced Eyeshadow Insurance (<<link to review):
I used to think this primer was Holy Grail status however it has started to separate a bit more frequently these days. No matter how much I shake the little tube, it will separate in a day or two. I didn’t have this problem when I first purchased it. You can see from the swatch that the oil or glycerin has sort of loosened from the beige pigment. And because of the problem, eyeshadows do not spread as smoothly over the primer. I am so annoyed with this product now! When it used to work, it was absolutely great and I didn’t have issues with application. It also helped my eyeshadows last the whole day.

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (<<link to review):
I bought this in Hong Kong last year and it is definitely my favourite primer at the moment. It dispenses as a white cream but blends out clear. Eye makeup apply very smoothly over this primer and it helps intensify the eyeshadows more. My eye makeup lasts all day without getting patchy. If I ever run out, I am going to repurchase this baby.

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden:
This is Urban Decay’s answer to a flesh-toned, matte primer and the Sephora SA told me it is supposed to be better than the original formula. Unfortunately, I tend to squeeze out a bit too much each time so it won’t spread evenly when applied too thick. The amount you see in the swatch above is enough for six pairs of eyes. You only need a teensy-weensy bit. I still have issues with creasing when using this primer but it does go past the fifth hour mark. It’s not great but not the worst either.

Paul & Joe Eye Primer 02:
Although we bade P&J goodbye from Malaysia, this primer is still in my stash mainly because I love the packaging so much. I got it three years ago and probably need to throw it out but I must confess I still use this primer every once a while. It has a fluid texture that feels really cooling and lightweight. The skin-toned shade does help lessen some redness around the eyes too. Sadly, this thing doesn’t last and by the sixth hour, my eyeshadows are almost gone or creased. I don’t know why I still love it though (someone please help knock some sense in me)… Maybe it’s the faint orange blossom scent? Maybe is the sheer and airy consistency? Maybe it’s the girly-cute packaging? I don’t understand what it is but I can’t seem to bin this primer!

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin:
I got this on a whim last year and was looking for a shimmery primer. Sin came very close to what I had in mind and I fell in love with the glistening champagne pink shade. Like Eden, you only need very little product because it does not spread evenly when too much is used. In fact, I am still having a bit of trouble using it because I find the consistency quite difficult to apply. I do like using it as a highlighter or eye lid wash though. I don’t think my eyeshadows last longer with this primer and the performance seems to be similar to Eden too.

Urban Decay Primer Potion (the Original):
My little tube came with the Naked palette and I am seriously liking this stuff. It has a very smooth consistency and spreads so easily, unlike Eden or Sin. It doesn’t require rocket science to figure out how much or how little to use. Eyeshadows go over very easily and the primer has a nice enough slip so blending shadows is not an issue. I do find my eye makeup lasts better with the Original and usually takes me past the eighth hour. I will probably go back to get a full sized tube soon.

What eye makeup primers are you using and loving lately? Do share because I’m a sucker for primers and love to discover different products too.

PS – Don’t forget to participate in my giveaway and stand a chance to win a fabulous Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick (<<link)!


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

plue April 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

i have Too Faced and while it works pretty much the same as UDPP, the one thing I dislike about is the packaging, it split open at crimp area and allow air to go in, thus drying up my TFSI faster than normal. And yea, I also have the same problem of oil/ glycerin separating from the beige pigment, but that was before the split open crimp area. I had thought my tube was faulty so I just suck it up and shake and roll it so I can use it. By the way, does your tube of TFSI have this weird plastic scent? Mine does >.< Even when I had just bought it.

Since now UDPP comes in squeeze tube, I won't be going back for TFSI, too many disappointments lol
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lyn April 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Ya, such a waste, right? I was initially very in love with TFSI but it’s getting worse and worse. I can’t even bear using it these days :-( Mine has a scent but it’s very faint and has somewhat faded. I thought it smelled like uncooked rice. I’m actually quite surprised that I like UDPP and should have just gotten the original instead of the other versions.


dom April 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Yep, exactly the same problem as you with TFSI. To mix it back together, I squeeze my tube (with the cover on) – squeeze and pinch the tube up and down. I’m thinking that once I run out of TFSI, I’ll switch to UDPP again. The foil also came off my TFSI cover lol. So that packaging isn’t pretty anymore.
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lyn April 18, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Oh my, I can’t believe the cover actually came off! You must have been doing a lot of squeezing ;-) I’m quite sad that it stopped working as well as before because I really did like TFSI. I hope the folks at Too Faced will take everyone’s negative experience into consideration and make some improvements. It’s obviously a problem with their formula.


Connie De Alwis April 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

I’m a big fan of the original UDPP. Have been on my single tube for years! Takes forever to use up. You’re making me keen to check out NARS!
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lyn April 18, 2012 at 9:40 AM

I think you’ll like the Nars primer because it’s almost similar to UDPP. I do wish it came in a squeeze tube instead because that doe foot applicator doesn’t go all the way down. I have a feeling that most of the product is sitting right at the bottom so I may have to cut the tube open one day.


Jyoan April 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I am actually looking at the primers from lesser known brands now. I am using one from Canmake, and I have MUJI. Trying L.A. Splash, and other forms of primer, like M.A.C paint pot.
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lyn April 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

I’ve never tried Canmake or MUJI but I do have a Paint Pot and it still creased on me. I think it’s just something I have to put up with since I have oily lids :-(


Fiona April 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I’m currently using and loving UDPP Original but I find that Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer a good dupe of UDPP :). The only thing I hate about Proof 10 is the doe foot applicator sponge which tend to peeled off lol.


lyn April 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Oh, I’ve actually read good things about the Etude House primer, so thanks for the recommendation! But it’s a shame what happened to the applicator. Probably bad QC ;-) But as long as the product still works!


Ting May 18, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I have Mac paint pot in painterly and urban decay’s as well. I find that with some eye shadow they crease even if I use urban decay primer. I’m suspecting if it’s the quality of the eyeshadow casing it to crease. Like you, I have oily lids even if staying inside an air conditioned room the whole day. Your reviews about the primers definitely help a lot. Thank you so much. Next I will try NAR’s primer. :)


lyn May 19, 2012 at 8:49 AM

I don’t necessarily think it’s the eyeshadow. Sure, some are more crease-y than others but it’s sometimes the eye primer that’s not that great. I have used same shadows with Nars and UD primers and the performance was worse with UD. As for Paint Pots, they just don’t work as a primer for me. I have to apply a separate primer below. I would definitely recommend the Nars primer, so far it’s one of the best. But I’m always on the lookout for other primers and if I find something better, you’ll see it on my blog ;-)


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