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My Big Eye Shadow Primer Comparison V2.0

This is my Second Big Eyeshadow Primer Comparison. I’ve done a newer version, the battle of the Best Eyeshadow Primers here.

This post has been a long time in the making! In the original primer comparison I did back in November 2009, I compared 7 primers. In this one, I’ve done 10. Overall, let me preface this with these are all primers I think people love to use. (If you’re looking for my Shadow Transformation Comparison, aka Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy vs. Sobe Botanicals Stick It vs. Hi-Fi High Impact vs. Medusa’s Makeup the Fix, it’s here.)

The 4 eye shadow colors chosen for this comparison are:

MAC Satellite Dreams – deep dirty plum with violet/blue reflects (veluxe pearl)
Meow Sexy Time – luscious sinful brilliant lime with teal sparkle
Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions – stunning golden pink peach
Aromaleigh Late for Work – vivid deep cornflower blue luster with sparkles of blue and green
I applied all primers with my finger.
I applied all eye shadows with ecoTools shader brushes (small brushes).

Most Intense Primers:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Sobe Botanicals, Detrivore, Concrete, UDPP Original

Least Intense Primers:
MAC Bare Study, Aromaleigh Eye & Lip. These can dull the color a bit, make them less vibrant.

Most Matte Primer:
This one can sometimes also change the color of your shadows a bit.

Most Shimmery Primer:
Surprisingly, colors are still pretty vibrant – and extra shimmery – with this one. I think it looks pretty!

Primers that dull color:
MAC Bare Study, Aromaleigh Eye & Lip

Primers that NEVER Crease on me:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Bare Study, Eye & Lip, UDPP Eden, Concrete Minerals, Sobe Botanicals. With Detrivore and Aromaleigh Light, unless I apply very carefully, they will crease a bit, but they are REALLY vibrant. I always use Aromaleigh Light for my product swatches, and I like to use Detrivore primer along my lower lash line.

Pricing and Size:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance – $17.00 for .35 oz of product
Detrivore Primer – $6.00 for 5 gm net weight (might be .17 oz)
(Aromaleigh) Light Primer – $9.50 for 5 gm net weight (maybe .17 oz)
Aromaleigh Eye & Lip Primer – $10.00 for 3 gm net wet (maybe .11 oz)
MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study – $16.50 of .17 oz of product (in 5g jar)
UDPP Original – $16.00 for .34 oz of product
UDPP Sin – $18 for .34 oz of product
UDPP Eden – $18 for .34 oz of product
Concrete Minerals – $8.99 for .35 oz of product
Sobe Botanicals Primed & Proper – $11 for .5 oz of product

A Guy’s Opinion on the swatches:
Dave’s opinion on which rows looked the best were Detrivore, Concrete Minerals, Sobe Botancials and Too Faced Shadow Insurance

My Favorites of the swatches:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Detrivore, Concrete Minerals, Sobe Botanicals, UDPP Sin

My Favorite Primer:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Since I can use it even when I’m in a rush and never worry about it creasing, and I love the packaging, this one is my personal favorite.

Best Containers:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Detrivore, Concrete Minerals, Sobe Botanicals, Bare Study, Eye & Lip, Light Primer

Worst Containers:
UDPP Original, UDPP Eden, UDPP Sin
Sorry, but I HATE the UDPP design. It sucks. I’m not looking forward to sawing any of these open.

The Primers I would recommend:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Detrivore, Concrete Minerals, Sobe Botanicals, Aromaleigh Light Primer, UDPP Eden.
Even though Eden has a crappy container, I like its mattifying action. I feel sooo bad about recommending it because of the container shape!

So tell me, what is your favorite primer? Have you tried the primers here?
Are there any primers you think I should try?

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  • i’m also months later [but i just recently got back into makeup blogging, after a several-year-long hiatus] and i have a question:

    do you use your eye primers on bare skin, or do you apply foundation before?

    the reason i ask, is because for years, i just used foundation as a primer – and only started using specific primers when i switched to mineral [i.e. powder formulation] foundation, and it doesn’t work at ALL as a primer.

    i have 2 primers – a NYX primer, and an ELF [it’s the 2-in-1 that includes eyeliner sealant]. they work ok, definitely better than no primer – but not great. i’m not sure if it’s because they just aren’t great primers, if it’s the lack of foundation, or if i’m doing something wrong… hence the asking 🙂

    also, in general – how much primer should be used? [yes, it’ll vary by type and all… but, nothing ever says how much!].

    thank you muchly!

    • Hi there!
      These are the steps I take:
      1. cleanse face and eyes
      2. moisturize face and eyes
      3. apply eye shadow primer
      4. apply eye shadow
      5. apply face primer
      6. apply foundation or powder

      I’ve never tried just applying foundation/powder and then eye shadow. However, I like eye shadow primer because it makes my shadows more vibrant.

      I use a very small amount for each eye. I think the TFSI box says the size of a rain drop.

  • Hey Phyrra! Love the blog. I realize this is an older post but thought I would give Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Re-Touch Skin Smoothing Cream.

    Napoleon is an Australian brand that is making it’s way to USA atm. Their auto-pilot range is great.

    I use that on my eyelids and under then use The Make Up Store concealer on my eyelid and under then set with nude powder. sounds like a lot but my eye shadow NEVER fades. 🙂

  • Oh my, this is what I need… I’ve tried Aromaleigh Lip & eye primer, it works nicely.
    Tried MAC Bare Study too….but only for shadow base.
    Bought UDPP, but haven’t opened it.

  • Thanks for posting all these! I currently use Too Faced Shadow Insurance and I am less than pleased with it. I usually use black eyeshadow to line my eyes and after about 3 hours, the “eyeliner” line from my shadow is in a neat black line across the top of my lid… lol 🙁

    I had been using Lorac Behind the Scenes eye primer for a while and tried Shadow Insurance when this ran out because it was a bit cheaper… now I wish I never switched.

    Thanks for these reviews, maybe I will check out something else next.

    • You’re quite welcome, Kate! I’m sorry that TFSI isn’t working for you. I had that problem with eyeliner when I used to not use eye shadow primer, so I always attributed it to my oily lids. I hope you’re able to find something that works.

  • Thanks for the post! It was deeply appreciated!! I was wondering why people like UDPP so much so I was going to buy it just to see what the hype is all about. I have the TFSI, but it smells a bit funky when applying to the eyes, no? Maybe I have a sensitive nose. But I really want to try the Sobe Botanicals now! THX AGAIN!

    • Hi Vikki,

      Hmm, my TFSI doesn’t smell funny. That’s not good! I’m glad that you’re gonna give Sobe Botanicals a try, they’re good 😉

  • Thanks a million for this. I’m just finishing up the last of my current primer and wasn’t sure what I wanted to try next. I appreciate this!

  • Really great post! I’ve been using the UDPP for the past few months and L’Oreal Decrease before that. I think I will look into the SoBe. The swatches really popped with that one.

  • This is such an insightful post. I love that you didn’t just do how much the primer helped the eyeshadow last or whether it intensified the color but EVERYTHING that primers are supposed to do. You are intense!! Have you tried the Lancome Ombre Perfecteur or the L’Oreal De-Crease primers? They’re supposed to be really good for oily lids. It would be awesome if you did another one of these posts on drugstore products or one for face primers.

    • I haven’t tried either the Lancome or the L’Oreal, but I’ll keep an eye out for deals on them.

      Glad you like the post 🙂

  • LOVE this post! It’s so amazingly helpful when you do all the work for us ladies! I’m currently using SoBe’s primer (it’s the only lid primer I’ve ever used), but even then, I have to top it with kaolin clay powder and SoBe’s mineral foundation. Ugh. SUPER oily lids. Gonna give some of your other recommended primers a try. Also, can you do a post about drugstore-brand primers (including E.L.F.)? If you find any good ones, that may save us all some money!

    • I haven’t tried any of the drugstore ones yet because of reading reviews that they crease on oily lids. I think the Detrivore primer, at $6, is probably not bad price wise? I’ll look for the e.l.f. one at Target to try it.

  • At the moment I’m using e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer and I love it! I’ve tried UDPP and have to admit it is great, but I won’t buy it because I don’t like the packaging. I’d rather buy Too Faced Shadow Insurance which I wanted to try either way. 🙂

    Thanks for this post! 🙂

  • Wow, thanks for the comprehensive post! It takes it a little farther beyond the UDPP vs TFSI debate 🙂 I really want to check out Sobe, Concrete, and Detrivore.

  • Thanks for the primer update! I might have to buy the Sobe Botanicals primer sometime, since you say it doesn’t crease on you, and I have oily lids as well. I’ve been using MAC Painterly Paintpot for the most part, because it’s really easy to use for my klutzy self, but I’m starting to get annoyed with how it dulls colors.

    • You should enter my Sobe Botanicals giveaway 🙂 And yeah it thankfully doesn’t crease on me! I’m glad that Painterly works for you, but yeah it would be nice if the paint pots didn’t dull.

  • Phyrra this is a super duper useful post. Thanks for making it, I’m sure that it was a lot of work.

    I have been using Concrete minerals EE primer and I really, really like it. It’s so affordable! Its lasting effects differs on me depending on how I prepared my eye lid’s skin. If I used a tinted moisturizer (or 1/3-1/2 foundation + face lotion) then it will start to crease a little after 4 hours. If I used a face primer, then foundation purely (Revlon Color Stay) and use the EE primer then it lasts me more than 6 hours which included some dancing in clubs.

    Sometimes I wonder if the eye primer products have such a difficult time on me is because I have hooded eye lids so they overlap (becomes a oilly and sweat mush-pit!).

    • I’m really glad you like it! This is the second one I’ve done like this, so it wasn’t quite as much work as I weeded out some from the first post. Gladto hear that Concrete Minerals’ primer works for you!

      Yeah I think my eyes are kinda hooded, plus the lids are oily. So I think I have the same sort of issues you do.

  • Thanks for the review! I’m using Concrete currently, which works well for about ~4 hours, but after that, begins to crease. UDPP Original is the ONLY thing that’s ever worked (consistently) for me, so I’ve given up the search and said screw it, I’m (reluctantly) forking out $23+13% tax for a bottle in the fall. If I’m lucky, HauteLook will feature UD again and I can snag a jumbo plus other goodies for $25 though! ^^ I’m hoping to get my hands on one of those squeeze lipbalm tubes with a doe-foot applicator for depotting, since I already have my cousin signed up to saw it open for me 🙂

    *All prices in CAD. (UDPP in a regular size is $23. It sucks!) UDPP jumbo price includes the $15 on Hautelook for the Hall of Fame, plus $10 shipping.

    *Primers tried:
    ELF Mineral, UDPP, UDPP Sin, CS Eye Epoxy, Benefit Creaseless Creme shadows, Benefit Stay Don’t Stray, BE Prime Time Eye, MAC Paint, Benefit FyEye, TFSI.

  • Thanks so much for this post! You did alot of hardwork comparing all the primers. Saved me frustration and money. Now I know what to buy.

  • Yay! Glad someone did something like this. Will help lotsa ladies out when trying to figure out which primers to buy.
    My fav primer is Detrivore on top of TFSI. I use that combo the most and have for almost 2 years. Just love it!
    So because it works so great for me, I haven’t bothered trying any other primers, but have tried other bases like Pixie Epoxy (OMG everybody should!) and NYX jumbo pencils (for the different colours).

  • I’m pretty sure that, when I first discovered your blog, you convinced me to buy TFSI, and later Pixie Epoxy. Good to know there are alternatives if the $17 price tag gets too steep! (Although I’ve had it for months and still seem pretty far from running out of the stuff!)

    • I have to take my time with Detrivore and Aromaleigh Light Primer, or they crease on me, but they don’t crease on most people. I just have super oily lids. The Detrivore primer is VERY bright/VERY true to color, so it’s great for lower lash line work.

  • Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer for president! I love that primer with all my heart, seriously. I’ve let my others (TSFI and UDPP) stand on the shelf since I got it. Luckily, a friend of mine got to adopt the UDPP, and the TSFI is used for swatches, but seriously, I just LOVE the velvety feel of the EE-primer. ^___^

  • Hi! Excellent post. I really got to buy Rapunzel had extensions lol.
    I use Art Deco eyeshadow base and it’s quite good (makes shadows more intense and lasts about 8h on my very oily lids) but I guess it’s easier to find here in Europe than in the USA. It’s also a lot cheaper than UDPP and TFSI.

  • Yay I’m SO glad you include the Concrete and Sobe ones 🙂 I read Jade’s review of the Concrete one yesterday and was really interested in getting it, but hearing that it doesnt crease on you is even better – because your lids are probably just as oily (if not more? idk) than mine.

    I shall definitely pick it up if I cant track down TFSI when I go overseas :3

  • Well … on the strength of your review, I just bought the Sobe Botanicals primer! Primers without nasty chemicals are extremely hard to find …

    Thank you for posting 🙂

      • I had issues with I-Prime creasing. I know we’re both oily-lidded so I thought I might mention that. Also, it’s another of the dry balm-type primers, which I think are a pain to apply!

        Also, it isn’t made by Meow, so I do wonder where it comes from and if you can get it cheaper elsewhere. (although $7.50 is cheap compared to TFSI and UDPP Eden I suppose!)

  • This is awesome! I will definitely keep this in mind when I go to buy; I ordered samples of TFSI & I’m glad to see it has such great recommendations here & on the forum.

    BTW, “Rapunzel Had Extensions” is by far my favourite eyeshadow name EVER. =D

    • Hi!
      Pixie Epoxy is meant to be used with a primer.
      It’s not a primer on its own.
      It’s a mixing medium.
      For a lot of people, it will work well as a primer, but since I have very oily lids, it won’t work as a primer for me.
      So I didn’t include it for just that reason.
      It’s a Holy Grail Product for me though 🙂

      • You know I’ve found that using Pixie Epoxy + TFSI helps my shadows stay even longer than just using TFSI alone! It was quite surprising to me, but actually true. I live in humid Louisiana and I applied the shadow at may be 1pm and even at 8pm and 9pm my eyeshadow looked just as vibrant! I was running around all day, walking in the sun, AND I even worked out! I also have very oily lids! It impressed me to no end! 😀

        • Yes! I’ve found this to be true, too! I think you and I have similar weather, between humid Louisiana and humid Florida 😉

            • Yep, I use Pixie Epoxy on top of a primer, since Pixie Epoxy is a fantastic Mixing Medium. It’s not meant to be used on its own.

    • As I understand, Pixie Epoxy isn’t actually a primer. It’s a sealant, meant to be used on top of a primer. So it would be kind of an apples-to-oranges thing to have PE in a primer comparison.

  • I started out using Fyrinnae’s primer. It still creased on me, so I was never terribly attached to it. I want to try TFSI SOOO BAD, but haven’t really had $20 around I could toss on a primer lately.

    I’d suggest checking out L’Oreal’s new primer. I wanted to find out if any drugstore brands did primers, so I wouldn’t have to buy online and deal with shipping and everything. Turns out Sally Hansen does (though it doesn’t seem to be carried anywhere in stores) and so does L’Oreal. I grabbed a tube of the L’Oreal to try – at $8, easier to justify than TFSI. It’s in a container that’s similar to UDPP, doefoot wand and all, but it’s at least clear so you can see how much is left. And shocker of shocks, it *doesn’t crease* on me. Even with my super-oily skin. Well, it kinda starts to after about 8 hrs or so, but that’s way better than I was getting with Fyrinnae’s. I also use a mattifying powder underneath (currently Stardust’s oil-absorbing primer), which helps.

    • I’ll check out L’Oreal’s if I can grab it on sale. I’ve never tried Fyrinnae’s primer. Just about everything likes to crease on my oily lids >.<

  • I had been using Detrivore until recently. I have switched to High Voltage. I don’t have a good review of it at this time, but it seems less ‘greasy’ than the Detrivore primer. However, I think they are both good primers!

    • I keep meaning to grab HV’s, bet it’s good! Jasmine makes some great products. Her solid perfumes are lovely too.

  • I’ve got the lighter shade of Fyrinnae’s primer, and I think it works just fine, but I can’t tell if I’m being thrown off by my love of the $5 price tag. It’s the only *real* primer I’ve ever used, so I can’t really compare… before I got it, I used Ben Nye stage make-up. Have you ever tried it?

      • Oops, I meant, “Have you tried Fyrinnae’s primer?”

        The Ben Nye stuff I have is just stage foundation, but I’m never gonna use it for its real purpose again, and I can’t bear to throw anything out, so voila! Shadow primer! Actually, it turned out to be great for blending out mattes, but I tend to wear shimmer/sparkle more often.

  • I’m definitely going to try Sobe’s, I love UDPP original but I won’t risk an infection attempting to cut it open, turning it upside down has helped a lot.
    I’ve heard great things about elf’s mineral primer so will be ordering that when it’s back in stock.
    Curious if anyone has had any experience with High Voltages cosmetics eye shadow base.
    Thanks for the comparison 🙂

    • I’ve heard you can put a container with water in the microwave, heat up the water, then put the UDPP tube in it for a bit, and then you can open it up and slide the primer out. I just don’t know how that would affect the primer.

      Glad you like!

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