Left to right: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden, UD Original Primer Potion, NYX HD Eyeshadow Primer, Bare Escentuals Prime Time, MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study
While I was in graduate school, I discovered higher end makeup (story to come at a later time), and thus began my love of eyeshadow. Buuuuut... the eyeshadow didn't love me back. Over a relatively short period of time, I went from one or two Maybelline quads that never get worn to a large collection of loose eyeshadows in a wide variety of hues and textures. Not only did was I clueless on how to wear and blend the colors, but I didn't know how to apply them or how to pick colors that flatter. Needless to say, I was a complete and total mess from the cheeks up.
I eventually got to where I could pick pretty colors, wearing several shades at one time, but I struggled so severely with fall-out, fading, and "melting" all over my face that it wasn't worth the hassle. Not until I started watching beauty videos did I realize the key component I was missing: eyeshadow primer!
The purpose of primer is to make the surface of your eyelids hold shadow a little better. It creates an almost sticky surface (tacky) for the color to stick. Once I discovered Urban Decay and the Naked Palette, I started using primer to keep the shadow lasting longer.
Holy cow, what a difference! I haven't found a primer that completely doesn't work, but I have to say that Urban Decay's original Primer Potion is probably my least favorite and the least impressive. Eden (another UD primer) is actually quite good, and although I stray from it to try other brands, I'm always impressed when I come back to it and it still works so great. MAC's paint pot in Bare Study is nice and adds some shimmer to your lids (a nice addition to your eyeshadow colors), as does Bare Escentuals eye brightening Prime Time (the tube in the front in the picture), which is nice for many looks. NYX HD eyeshadow primer is a nice economical option, and it works well - better than UD original, but not as good as Eden. The one that impressed me the most in formula and the least in packaging was definitely Bare Escentuals Prime Time (the pen-looking one in the middle).
Bare Escentuals Eye Brightening Prime Time comes in a squeeze tube
Original Bare Escentuals Prime Time now comes in a pen that clicks out product
My biggest complaint about this product is that you don't ever actually have to click the pen to get product to come out - removing the cap created a vacuum that "draws" the primer out. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but it's frustrating and can potentially lead to messes. I assume the sponge-tip-like applicator is so that you do not need to use your fingers so much to apply, but you end up using your fingers to blend the product and get full coverage on your lid anyway. And the sponge absorbs product you can't get back! And it's not even spongy! It's hard and is uncomfortable to apply! I'd actually re-purchase this primer if it weren't for the packaging. That's just a deal-breaker for me.
Whether your lids are really oily and slick, or even if they're dry all the time, a good primer that suits your skin is essential for lasting power in wearing eyeshadow, and even liner. I recommend trying a couple out to see what you like best, and working it into your regular makeup routine. Expensive is not necessarily better, and even some drugstore brands (and affordable brands like NYX) make really fantastic quality primers that can make a world of difference. After all, you spend your money on all these great eyeshadows and palettes, shouldn't they stay on your eyes long enough for you to enjoy them?