The Distinction Between Eyeshadow Base And Eye Primer Explained

When it comes to playing with makeup, you can exercise your creativity the most with eyeshadows. With seemingly countless colors and finishes, you'll never run out of looks to experiment with. The only challenge is making sure that it stays on your lids as long as it can without creasing, lest your effort go to waste.

If you often wear eyeshadow, there was probably one point in your life when your eye makeup went awry. Instead of looking vibrant and fresh, it ended up looking like a page out of a 3-year-old's coloring book at the end of a night out. Now it could be because you have oily eyelids or excessive sweating — or because you failed to wear a base or primer. 

Savannah St. Jean, makeup artist and the founder of Savannah Rae Beauty, shared with Byrdie that eyeshadow primers and bases are "pretty necessary if you are looking for your eye makeup to last more than a mere few hours." She explained: "It extends the life of your hard work so you can take your look from morning to night, and not have to worry about faded eyeliner flicks or eyeshadow creasing."

Now the question is: Are eyeshadow primers and bases the same thing? And are they supposed to be applied on the lids together?

All about eyeshadow primers and bases

You can always apply eyeshadow on dry lids, but don't expect the color payoff to be as vibrant without an eyeshadow base or primer. If you're unfamiliar with these products, they basically work to smooth the canvas that is your lids and help the pigment last for hours.

Some people use concealer for prepping, but primers and bases are specifically formulated to cater to the thin and sensitive skin on your lids. "Eyeshadow primer is formulated to extend the life of your eye makeup while enhancing the colors applied on top," Savannah St. Jean told Byrdie. "It's an incredibly necessary product, but is often one of the most overlooked items to add to your makeup routine. It's best to apply after your skincare, but before your eye makeup."

On the other hand, eyeshadow bases have a slightly different formula than eyeshadow primers. They're thicker and creamier, and they primarily work to make the colors of your eyeshadow look more intense when applied. They also ensure that the shadow sticks to your lids instead of falling off as it tends to do.

Eyeshadow primers v bases

Is an eyeshadow primer better than an eyeshadow base or vice versa? Well, not exactly. While the two beauty essentials function similarly, they have different purposes. An eyeshadow base makes your eyeshadow look more vibrant, but it can't do much in terms of preventing oil buildup, smudging, and creasing.

Meanwhile, the eyeshadow base's strength lies in its ability to boost the longevity of your eye makeup as well as evening the skin tone. While it also helps in increasing the intensity of shadows, its main function is to avoid panda eyes. It prevents the product from smudging and creasing, thereby extending its wear throughout the day or night. Some formulas even improve eyeshadows' blendability, which is great if you're applying different colors.

Now, when it comes to using the primers and bases together, L'Oreal notes that it all boils down to preference. You have the option to use them separately or together, but, if you're going with the latter, just make sure to apply primer before the base. Another tip is to use your fingers during the application as this helps ensure that you're spreading the products out gently and evenly.