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Happy Friday! Today we’re going to talk some Makeup 101 – Are Eyeshadow Primers Necessary? I’ve received a lot of emails asking if you needed to wear primer and what primers are best, so I’m going to share some of my favorites with you and what makes them work. All products are cruelty free.
I consider eyeshadow primers a necessity for several reasons.
First and foremost, eyeshadow primers provide you with a smooth canvas to apply your makeup. That makes it easier to put color on and blend. Think of it like priming the wall in your house for paint before you paint. If you don’t do that, you can end up with places that don’t look quite right, where color might cake or wear off.
Second, eyeshadow primers make your eyeshadows more vibrant. They help to intensify the color and make it more ‘true to pan’, rather than having your skintone dull the color. This also helps when you have an eyeshadow color you like but the pigmentation is weak. It will help it show up better on your skin.
Third, eyeshadow primers help your eyeshadows to last all day. No one wants to apply eyeshadow and have it disappear in just a few minutes! This prevents things like the natural oils of your skin from eating away at the color. If you have oily or hooded eyelids (which I have both!) you need eyeshadow primer to keep your makeup around.
My favorite eyeshadow primers are Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion, and Jesse’s Girl Eyeshadow Primer. Both the Too Faced and Urban Decay products are paraben free.
Too Faced Shadow Insurance – $20 for .35 oz
Isododecane, Talc, Cyclopentasiloxane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Glyceryl Triethylhexanoate, Polyethylene, Trihydroxystearin, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Isopropyl Lanolate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Propylene Carbonate, Dimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol. May Contain (+/-): Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion – $24 for .37 oz. (I believe this is vegan)
Isododecane, Talc, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Lipids, Triethylhexanoin, Trihydroxystearin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyethylene, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Alumina, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Stearate, Synthetic Beeswax, Propylene Carbonate, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Tribehenin, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ceramide 2, Alaria Esculenta Extract, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide. [+/- (May Contain/Peut contenir): CI 77019 (Mica), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride)].
Jesse’s Girl Eyeshadow Primer – $5.99 for .16 oz
Isododecane, Polyethylene, Talc, Cyclopentasiloxane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Isopropyl Lanolate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Propylene Carbonate, Dimethicone, Beeswax, Triethylhexanoin, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Trihydroxystearin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben May Contain: Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 , Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride CI 77163
Now let’s talk about what makes these work. All three eyeshadow primers have Isododecane as their first ingredient. This ingredient helps to prevent water from evaporating off the skin, makes it easier to spread product on top of it, and it’s weightless. This is really important in helping to create that perfect canvas for color.
Talc is next on the list. I know you often read about talc being a filler, but with these eyeshadow primers, that’s not the case. For eyeshadow primer, talc prevents caking. It also is an absorbant, so it can soak up excess oils.
After that we’ve got lots of silicone variants. Silicones, like my favorite dimethicone, give you a silky smooth feel. They also help to prevent flakyness. Finally, they’re water-resistant. This helps your eyeshadow to last through sweating or rain.
Isopropyl Lanolate, beeswax, ethylhexylglycerin etc are all emollients that help to make things soft and smooth. They’re also thickeners, so that the primer isn’t runny.
VP/Eicosene copolymer helps your eyeshadows bind to the skin and stay in place all day, while disteardimonium hectorite helps to suspenct the eyeshadow on top of the primer.
Tocopherol (vitamin E) is the preservative ingredient in Too Faced’s primer, Urban Decay uses phenoxyethanol and Jesse’s Girl uses parabens. Nicki has written several times about parabens (Spotlight on Parabens, 3 Reasons Why Paraben Alternatives Might Be Worse Than Parabens), so if you’re curious, worried or need to know more, I highly recommend reading her articles.
Finally, sorbitan sesquioleate serves to rule them all, ahem, bind the ingredients all together.
Now that you’ve got a better understanding on what all the different ingredients do in an eyeshadow primer, and what eyeshadow primers are for, I hope you’ll choose to use one! They’re available at all different price points. I’ve tried over 25 different eyeshadow primers over the past 5.5 years and the three above are my all time favorites. What’s your favorite eyeshadow primer?
Other Good Eyeshadow Primers
Darling Girl Primped & Primed Eye Lid Primer
Cover FX Anti-Age Smoothing Eye Primer
Too Faced Champagne Shadow Insurance (champagne)
Too Faced Candelight Eyeshadow Insurance (iridescent gold)
Too Faced Lemondrop Eyeshadow Insurance (yellow color correcting)
Urban Decay Sin Primer Potion (gold)
Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion (mattifying)
Urban Decay Original Primer Potion
Tarte Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12-Hour Smoothing Eye Primer
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Nyx HD Eye Shadow Base
Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer
bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer
Buxom Stick Around Eye Primer
BECCA Eye Priming Perfector