There's no point carefully applying layers of eyeshadow if it's all going to be wiped off as soon as you've left the house. Or, if you're opting for a vibrant look, you don't want to waste all of that precious time if you can't see each of the colours to their full potential.
If you've all but given up when it comes to applying brighter eyeshadows after repeated episodes of smudged or creased eyes, it might be time to invest in one of the best eyeshadow primers.
An eyeshadow primer is your secret weapon when it comes to keeping your makeup looking magic during a long day. These lightweight formulas set the tone - literally - for long-lasting looks that refuse to budge.
Tackling makeup struggles from all angles - smudging, creasing, fading or simply vanishing into the skin - these miracle products will have you stepping up your game with confidence next time you're doing a full face.
The best eyeshadow primer really depends on the look you're going for. If you're opting for eyeshadow that just needs a little help staying in its place, you'll want a lightweight and easy to apply formula - probably one in slim applicator format. If you're going all out with heavier makeup, you might benefit from a slightly thicker formula that offers a clean, opaque base to truly show off your efforts.
Some eyeshadow primers also come bolstered with eye-loving ingredients, which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines or dark circles.
We've rounded up all of the best eyeshadow primers.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer
If ever there’s a brand that requires a heavy dose of protection before going all out with vibrant makeup, it’s Fenty Beauty. Luckily, Fenty came through with a product that does it all. Because the Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer does one thing many other makeup products falter at: it works on all skin tones.
Its weightless “invisipink” formula melts into the skin, creating a super smooth surface for effortless blending while boosting colour vibrancy. It’s also designed to help grip colour for serious crease proof, fade proof stamina.
Buy now £19.00, Harvey Nichols
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
There’s a good reason that Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer is called a potion and that’s because it’s basically magic in makeup form. Similar to concealer, a quick dash of this across your eyelids promises a neutral base for all kinds of colours on top without any underlying base shadow coming through.
Something of a miracle product, this formula still packs a punch in every way: it lasts for a full 24 hours, offers a crease-free shadow and a smoother application at the same time.
Buy now £19.50, Boots
benefit Stay Don't Stray Concealer & Eyeshadow Primer
Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray primer works effortlessly around the eyes to make concealers and eyeshadows stay put no matter how long you’re going out for.
An impressive formula that firmly keeps everything in its place (no panda eyes of any kind of colour in sight), this popular eyeshadow primer is lightweight and designed for impact. It blends smoothly and evenly over the eye area for flawless, long lasting results and comes in a few different shades, too.
Buy now £23.50, lookfantastic
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eyeshadow
While some eyeshadow primers come in stick or pen formats, Estee Lauder’s is more of a cream. Designed as an eye-specific variation of the endlessly popular Double Wear formula, this Stay-in-Place eyeshadow base is one of the best for heavy duty application and stays put for hours on end. If you’re looking for more of an intense base before layering colours on top, this formula is well-equipped to let your makeup magic shine through.
Buy now £20.00, Selfridges
NYX Professional Makeup Eye Shadow Base
NYX makes some of the best budget friendly makeup on the market and the brand’s Makeup Eye Shadow Base High Definition follows suit. It is one of the most versatile products and comes at a low cost.
This primer does it all, with its ability to make your skin appear smoother, even and equipped for long-lasting makeup application. It’s famed for its ability to minimise eye creases, too, making it a top hit for those with hooded eyelids.
Buy now £5.40, Boots
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Eye Base
MAC’s vibrant array of eyeshadows arguably wouldn’t be half as successful if the brand didn’t have an equally as impressive eyeshadow primer to match. Luckily, the Prep + Prime 24-Hour Eye Base does exactly that.
This high-powered formula takes no prisoners when it comes to doing the job properly, adding a matte, lightweight coating to your eyelids so they’re prepped and ready to perform. This universal formula dries quickly for an invisible finish and is resistant to both sweat and humidity: perfect for a night out.
Buy now £18.40, lookfantastic
Natasha Denona Eyeshadow Base
If you’re looking for more precision in an eyeshadow primer, look no further than Natasha Denona’s Eyeshadow Base. With its teeny applicator, it’s perfect if you’re looking to go all out with unique eyeshadow looks and applies seamlessly on the skin.
This expert eye primer prolongs eyeshadow wear, while also helping to fortify the skin beneath. It does that with two key ingredients: Spherical Pigment, which ensures the base glides on easily and Algae Extract, which helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles and strengthen the fragile, delicate skin around the eye contour.
Buy now £22.00, lookfantastic
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Eye-Fix Primer
Elizabeth Arden’s Advanced Eye-Fix Primer is a multi-award winning product and goes above and beyond to ensure your makeup looks just as good when you’re coming home as it did before you left the house.
Renowned for its ability to work as an invisible shield between the eyelids and your makeup, it ensures shadows, liners and powders stay fresh and colour-true for longer. It also only takes 30 seconds to dry before you’re free to go wild with colours.
Buy now £21.00, Elizabeth Arden
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Nars’ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is something of a cult classic and is loved for its lightweight, effortless application and ability to keep your eyeshadow looking fresh for hours on end - and then some.
Crafted with a blend of polymers and mineral powder, this foolproof formula establishes a firm grip on colour, keeping everything where it should be with no fading or smudging in sight. It also helps to nourish eyelids at the same time, thanks to its deep sea extract and antioxidant-rich rice extract.
Buy now £21.00, Cult Beauty
Makeup Revolution Ultimate Eye Base
Makeup Revolution is proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get good results and the Ultimate Eye Base is a great choice if you’re looking for an opaque look. While it’s a little thicker than some other formulas around, it’s ideal for nights when you’re hoping to layer up the eyeshadow and don’t want any interference from your skin tone underneath. This vegan formula is a top choice for staying power and banishes all creases, too.
Buy now £4.50, Amazon
Much like everything Rihanna touches, Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer is a work of magic. Its versatility, mid-range price and unfailing ability to keep eye makeup looking swish makes it our favourite eyeshadow primer of the bunch.