The (eyeshadow) base layer



Long, long ago at the age of 13, sitting in a MAC makeup chair, I was introduced to the wonders of an eyeshadow base.  It was like a light bulb went on in my head and from that moment, I haven’t been able to wear eyeshadow sans primer.  Just can’t do it.  I know lots of people that do, but the results with primer/base are just SO AMAZING that I can’t imagine living any other way.  You know?

So, I decided it was long past time to do a blog post covering some of my most-recommended, most-used eyeshadow bases and primers.  Hopefully, this will be helpful to those of you looking to expand your own collection!


From L-R: Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden, Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in Continuous Almond, Too Faced Shadow Insurance (Original), Maybelline Color Tattoo in Nude Pink/Barely Branded, MAC Paint Pot in Painterly

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden- For you matte lovers, this is a yellow-toned matte primer that will help correct eyelid redness, while also adding a ever-so-slight matte finish to any eyeshadow you apply on top.  And like Urban Decay’s Original Primer Potion (colorless), it makes eyeshadow last all day and night- at least on my normal-dry eyelids.

Jordana 12HR Made to Last Eyeshadow Pencil in Continuous Almond- I use this two ways: layered on top of a primer (like UD Primer Potion/Too Faced Shadow Insurance) if I know I need my look to last a super long time, or on its own for an 8-hour work day.  A nude-colored base like this will help brighten up your eye area when used by itself, but also adds some “oomph” to eyeshadows that don’t have a ton of pigment on their own.  I like to dab a bit of this onto my finger and apply it in my waterline for an extra “wide awake” effect.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance (Original)- If all you want from your eyeshadow primer is to extend the length of wear (and also give the pigment something to adhere to so it looks more vivid), Too Faced Shadow Insurance is a great option… if you have money to spend.  Even though this IS a fantastic primer, if you have normal-dry eyelids you can probably get away with the $1 ELF eyeshadow primer.  I might recommend a higher-end primer like Too Faced’s if you have oilier eyelids and notice a lot of eyeshadow/liner creasing.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow in Nude Pink- Sadly, I can’t this is a dupe for MAC’s Painterly Paint Pot (shown below).  The formula is pretty darn similar and also matte in finish, but the color is deeper and more mauve.  In terms of creasing, when worn on its own (no primer underneath) and with eyeshadow on top, my eye look will last through the work day- but not into the night.  I prefer to wear my Color Tattoos layered over an eyeshadow primer for ALL day wear.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Barely Branded- If you want your eyeshadows to look extra shimmery, laying down a shimmery champagne/beige base like Barely Branded will help.  My most favorite way to use this is on its own, with a medium brown color in the crease- it’s an instant eye-opener!  Like Nude Pink, this lasts me about 8 hours until I start to see minor creasing/fading, but it’s still nice for being under $10.

MAC Paint Pot in Painterly- This is the newest addition to my eyeshadow base collection, thanks to my mom!  She gave me her barely-touched Painterly when I was home a few weeks ago as she didn’t really use it.  I have to say… this IS worth the hype.  It lasts me longer than the Maybelline Color Tattoos and the color is just perfect on my fair, NW15-20 skin.  Plus, you can wear it with literally any eyeshadow look and it just WORKS.  I wish I had bought this on my own, and sooner!

So, those are my favorite eyeshadow primers/bases.  I hope you found this helpful!  I’d love to know in the comments:

What’s your favorite eyeshadow primer OR base?

Thanks so much for reading!

  • carly

    Barely branded looks gorgeous! You know I prefer the shadow insurance but I do love just using a paint pot or one of the color tattoos! I sometimes use the NYX jumbo eye pencil in milk on my lids as a base– the only thing is it’s SO dry/hard that I have to apply it on the back of my hand and warm it up and then kind of pat it on or it pulls at my lid too much :

    • inhermakeupbag

      I have Milk, too, and it can be kind of dry (though mine isn’t TOO bad, I just can’t use it if my lids are already really dry/not moisturized). I love it for colorful looks, though- good pick! :)

  • SavannahPerry

    I’m a huge fan of the UDPP. I don’t think I’ve tried anything else for the past four years or so! The NYX jumbo cream eye pencils are good to use as a base on your lower lashline if you add shadow on top of them.