The Best Eyeshadow Primers

Is your eyeshadow falling flat? If you're not getting the pop of color you've been looking for, it might be time to add an eyeshadow primer to your arsenal. This pivotal product creates an even base layer for unmatched saturation and staying power. Whether you prefer subtle shadows like shimmery gold or pale pink or love vivid shades like indigo or blue, a primer will keep your look in place all day.

What to Look For

When choosing an eyeshadow primer, consider three factors: your skin type, the shades of shadow you typically wear, and the evenness of your skin tone. The NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow & Liner Primer is our favorite all-around option. With shades for multiple skin types and an all-day formula, it keeps your eyeshadow in place for hours. However, the Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion is our top pick for those with more mature skin. Designed to add hydration and minimize the look of fine lines, it gives you a more youthful look. Explore these two products and our other top picks below.

NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow & Liner Primer

Eye on the prize

This tinted primer keeps shadow in place all day.
Best Overall

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This primer is the secret to long-lasting eyeshadow. Designed to prevent smudging and creasing, the primer glides effortlessly across your eyelids to create a smooth base layer. Once applied, the shadow is vivid and saturated, giving you a high-impact final look. It can even be used on its own to add a little color to your lids, offering you multiple ways to wear it.

Pros:

  • It’s available in a wide range of shades, so there’s something for every skin tone.
  • The product is vegan, making it an animal-friendly option to add to your makeup collection.

Cons:

  • Because it’s very sheer, it won’t hide discoloration or blemishes.

Milani Eyeshadow Primer

Believe your eyes

This sheer primer makes eyeshadow pop.
Runner Up

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Tired of washed-out eyeshadow? This primer helps intensify the pigment in your favorite shades to deliver an ultra-rich final look. It also smooths out your eyelids to create a flawless base for shadow. Once dry, you can apply anything from a light tint to a dramatic smokey eye and have confidence that any look will last all day.

Pros:

  • Because it doesn’t use an applicator, you can apply it directly to your makeup brush for added precision.
  • It delivers the same quality as higher-end products for a fraction of the price.

Cons:

  • If you have a darker complexion, the tint may be too light — even when dry.

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Young at heart

Achieve younger-looking eyes with this hydrating primer.
Best For Mature Eyes

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Avoid unwanted creases with this premium primer. Designed to even out skin’s texture and fill in fine lines, it delivers perfect eyeshadow all day long. Infused with Dermaxyl, it helps plump and firm the skin while also adding moisture to prepare more mature skin for eyeshadow application. Even for those with plump, youthful skin, it delivers a silky-smooth foundation for your favorite shades. The results are flawless eyeshadow every time.

Pros:

  • This primer is ideal for those with oily skin. It helps smooth eyes and prevent smudging for less fallout.
  • It dries transparent, so you can use it no matter your skin tone.

Cons:

  • The formula may separate in the tube and need to be mixed up prior to your first use.

Revlon ColorStay Eye Shadow Primer

Beauty on a budget

Keep eyeshadow looking fresh all day without breaking the bank.
Most Affordable

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If you love vibrant eyeshadow, this primer will amp up your entire makeup regimen. The smooth, hydrating formula is infused with shea butter to keep skin moisturized and crease-free. Designed for 24-hour wear, it also prevents eyelids from getting greasy. Try pairing it with vivid eyeshadow shades like pink, green, or purple to see the results for yourself.

Pros:

  • Because it uses shea butter, it’s a moisturizing option for those with more mature skin.
  • It blends effortlessly into your skin for a barely-there look and feel.

Cons:

  • The formula is much thinner than many other primers, so it’s more challenging to apply.

NYX Professional Makeup Eyeshadow Base Primer

Smooth operator

This cream-based formula goes on silky smooth for a flawless finish.
Best Cream-Based Primer

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If you prefer a creamier formula, this eyeshadow primer is for you. The pigmented product helps to brighten eyes and create a smooth base for your go-to shadows. The neutral, beige shade seamlessly blends into most skin tones and allows you to intensify your favorite hues, from golden bronze to hot pink — and everything in between. It’s also certified cruelty-free, making it an animal-friendly product you can feel confident in.

Pros:

  • It also comes in black and white, allowing you to choose the shade best suited to deliver saturated eyeshadow.
  • Because it’s oil-free, it’s a suitable formula for all skin types.

Cons:

  • If you don’t set it with powder, it may crease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to use eyeshadow primer or concealer?

Eyeshadow primer helps keep your eyeshadow in place more effectively than concealer. While concealer will create a more even skin tone and help cover discoloration or blemishes, it doesn’t prevent creasing or fallout. On the other hand, primer is designed to grip your eyeshadow and intensify the pigment.

Can all skin types use eye shadow primer?

Eyeshadow primer is suitable for all skin types. It will help keep your eyeshadow in place, especially if you have oily skin. The primer helps prevent natural oil from causing creasing or smudging on your lids, allowing your shadow to stay in place from morning until night.

About the Author

Hannah knows all about what it means to find makeup, skincare, and haircare products that are right for you. Her goal is to help everyone find the ones that work for them and that bring their desired looks to life. After many years of trial and error, Hannah has finally built her own personal beauty routines, and she hopes to help everyone find theirs.

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