Eye makeup takes the most time and effort to perfect. Just think of the different cosmetic products you use on such a small area. Eyeshadow, eyeliner, brow tamer, and mascara have to be layered on with a steady hand. Unfortunately, it’s common that after only a few hours, you’ll notice that your painstaking work has worn off. To prevent this from happening and ruining your day, you need a simple solution: eyeshadow primer.

It might sound like just another way for makeup companies to take your money, but a primer is an essential step that you really shouldn’t skip. It’s specially designed to help your makeup stick to your skin while smoothing out imperfections. An eyeshadow primer, in particular, can make the pigments in your shadow palettes appear more concentrated. It’ll keep you looking as flawless at the end of the day as you did the moment you stepped out of the house.

9 Best Eyeshadow Primers Worth Your Money

With so many eyeshadow primers being sold by drugstores and high-end retailers, finding the right one can feel like a massive undertaking. Whether your lids are oily or dry, or your budget has limitations (because you can’t live without your 100 shades of eyeshadow), there’s a primer on this list for everyone. Keep scrolling to see our top recommendations.

  Product Size Key Benefit Price  
Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eye Shadow Primer 10 g (0.35 oz) tube Combats oiliness and creasing $13.48 Buy on Amazon
Nyx Professional Makeup Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer 7 mL (0.23 fl oz) tube with wand applicator Makes your eyeshadow water- and weather-proof 6.99 Buy on Amazon
Milani Eyeshadow Primer 9 mL (0.30 fl oz) tube Provides a nude, matte base $5.99 Buy on Amazon
Revlon ColorStay Eyeshadow Primer 10 mL (0.33 fl oz) tube Ideal for dry skin $4.89 Buy on Amazon
Too Faced Shadow Insurance 24+ Hour Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer 11 g (0.35 oz) tube Infused with vitamin E $16.99 Buy on Amazon
Wet-n-Wild-Photo-Focus-Eyeshadow-Primer Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer 10 mL (0.34 fl oz) tube Matte finish with a little shimmer $8.19 Buy on Amazon
Covergirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer 6 mL (0.20 fl oz) tube with wand applicator Won’t irritate sensitive skin $8.90 Buy on Amazon
Maybelline Master Prime Long-Lasting Eye Shadow Base 6.85 mL (0.23 fl oz) tube with wand applicator Available in 3 finishes $6.36 Buy on Amazon
Physicians-Formula-Eye-Primer-Duo Physicians Formula Eye Primer Duo 2 tubes, 9 g (0.31 oz) each Two primers for the price of one $9.38 Buy on Amazon

1. Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eye Shadow Primer

One of the problems caused by oily skin is that makeup can’t seem to stay in place on your face. This is especially true for your eyelids because there are small creases where makeup tends to settle and accumulate. To tame the grease, try Thank Me Later Eye Shadow Primer by Elizabeth Mott. This sebum-absorbing blend is lightweight and dries almost instantly. It provides a transparent base that won’t clash with your shadow colors.

2. Nyx Professional Makeup Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer

If durability is what you’re looking for, then Nyx Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer is your jam. This product is made to stand up to sweat and humidity. Use the applicator to smooth it over your lids, and your makeup will stay put in any situation. One reviewer tested it with an intense smokey eye, and her look remained fresh for over 16 hours. With this primer, you’ll never have to worry about piling on too much eye makeup.

3. Milani Eyeshadow Primer

Let’s face it. Makeup addiction is real and can easily empty your bank account. Thank goodness there are dupes for expensive brands, like this product. Milani Eyeshadow Primer is just as effective as that bareMinerals Gen Nude primer you’re coveting but much cheaper. What’s more, Milani’s light beige formula goes on with a velvety feel and disappears on all skin tones. Thousands of makeup influencers agree that it’s the perfect matte base to make your colors look more vibrant.

4. Revlon ColorStay Eyeshadow Primer

Dry-skin sufferers are familiar with the struggle to keep makeup from clumping and flaking off. The best makeup for dryness hydrates the skin to make it look smooth and supple, and that includes primers. Revlon ColorStay Eyeshadow Primer is formulated with luscious emollients like shea butter and cucumber for extreme moisturization. It also has tea leaf and aloe vera extracts to nourish your skin.

5. Too Faced Shadow Insurance 24+ Hour Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer

Too Faced was founded in 1998 by two gentlemen whose goal was to celebrate glamor and femininity. This boutique brand has since inspired a cult following with their iconic products. Their Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer is one example. Enriched with vitamin E, this primer nurtures your skin with anti-aging compounds. It holds color for up to 24 hours so that you can transition seamlessly from workdays to party nights.

6. Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer

Wet n Wild is a time-tested drugstore brand that has a wide range of products. To complement their Color Icon eyeshadows and Mega Volume mascaras, they’ve come up with Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer. It’s a fast-drying cream that leaves a hint of sheen to brighten your eye makeup’s pigments. The consistency is thicker than you might expect, so just a tiny amount goes a long way.

7. Covergirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer

Quality and affordability are two things that Covergirl is known for, and the Lid Lockup Eyeshadow Primer definitely ticks both boxes. This neutral-tone primer dries clear and leaves a slightly tacky base that grips your eye makeup for hours.  A versatile product, it can be used for either a metallic glitter or a soft blended look. Most importantly, it’s made with premium ingredients that won’t irritate skin that’s prone to redness and inflammation.

8. Maybelline Master Prime Long-Lasting Eye Shadow Base

Maybelline Master Prime Long-Lasting Eyeshadow Base is offered in three finishes: Prime + Smooth, Prime + Matte, and Prime + Illuminate. Each can be used under eyeshadow, or on its own for days when you want to go au-naturel. To brighten up your eye area, use Prime + Smooth (frosty beige) or Prime + Illuminate (metallic rose gold). Prime + Matte, on the other hand, is sheer and more neutral. All of them come with a built-in sponge wand to facilitate easy application.

9. Physicians Formula Eye Primer Duo

Can’t decide if you should go for matte or shimmer? Why not get both? With Physicians Formula Eye Primer Duo two-for-one pack, you can! Both variants are designed with the brand’s exclusive LockedIn Technology. They’re long-wearing, smudge-resistant, and won’t crease your eyeshadow. Furthermore, they’re crafted with the help of dermatologists and allergy specialists, so you can feel safe even if you have sensitive skin.

Take Your Eyeshadow to the Next Level

To preserve your eye makeup look after working so hard on it, prep your lids with a primer first. These creamy blends will make your shadow adhere longer, eliminating the need to retouch throughout the day. Invest in one now, and keep the windows to your soul looking their best.