An Eye Shadow Primer Confession

Eye shadow primer, urban decay primer potion, nars, too faced shadow insurance, holy grail
In the past, my holy grail eye shadow primer has always been Urban Decay's Primer Potion. In the past I've made half hearted attempts to find something better, cheaper, with packaging that doesn't waste most of the product... (Yes, UDPP is now available in a tube. Note that tube is huge and I have 3 backup wands in my stash right now. Yes, there was a good sale on-line for $4 each, don't look at me like that.)

Anyways, recently I decided to try out a few other shadow primers. NARS and Too Faced aren't exactly mass market brands (you'll still need to travel to Sephora or ULTA to pick these up), but they are different options. While each of these products is a little bit different, I am right now fully admitting that I can not tell them apart in terms of applying eye shadow over them and the subsequent wear time and quality. I've spent about 6 weeks trying one and then the other, wearing Too Faced on my left eye for a week while NARS was on my right...

My conclusions:
• All three are easy to blend onto my eyelid
• All three make eye shadows a little easier to blend on the lid
• All three extend shadow wear, all to the same extent
• All three resulted in shadows that behaved the same throughout the day, meaning if a shadow was going to fade or crease it did so equally with each of the primers

The differences:
• Too Faced comes in a squeeze tube at the "normal" size
• Too Faced and UDPP both are usually a light "nude" color (at least for this pale white girl) and blend easily into my skin. Both come in other shades if you are interested in that.
• NARS comes only in white, though it seems to transition to clear because I can not see it on my skin.

So... I guess I now have not one but three holy grail eye shadow primers?

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Urban Decay Primer Potion

Shadow Insurance came as a sample from Sephora, I bought both the NARS and Urban Decay products.


  1. Oh I'm a HUGE fan of the Too Faced primer and I had thought of giving Urban Decay a try *just because I liked the packaging* but not that you point out the waste of space/design fault, I'll stick to what I know works for me. Thanks for the review! I have a giveaway going on at my blog, give it a shot!

  2. I have used all three at some length! But I keep coming back to UDPP (poor packaging and all). However I will say, that the Too Faced product is a very close second for me. It works about the same, but for some reason I can't describe, I still like UDPP better (maybe I like a good fight with my primer bottle?).

    The Nars, however, I liked at first and slowly stopped liking as I used it over the course of a month or so. It didn't hold up as well under heat etc, found my shadow creasing/fading from time to time.

    I definitely think Too Faced gives UDPP a run for it's money.

  3. Good post. I usually use a Mac paint pot (painterly i think) as a primer..not that it works well. I just used it for years..bad habit. Im looking to buy some actual primer, so I will try one of these!

    ~Heather @

  4. I've actually tried only one of these, but UDPP made my eyes itch and everything creased in a few hours anyway. I use one from E.L.F. now, it works AWESOME! And it is one buck, $1, so that's my kind of holy grail.

  5. I think the best primer is MAC Paint Pot Painterly. Check it out - always thought that Urban Decay dried my eyes out & since using Painterly - My eyes are fine.

  6. I have tried UDPP and didn't have good luck with it. I love TFSI and have used it for years. I got the new Candlelight version last month and love it too. So pretty under Stila Kitten.

  7. I can't seem to blend eyeshadows well over UDPP. I love TFSI the best and Candlelight is a great addition to that family. I like the Nars but not the price.

  8. I too was a Urban Decay Primer Potion junkie and I recently started using Too faced shadow insurance. I would have to agree with you. They both seem to work equally well. I haven't tried the NARS one but I think I will stick to my two.

  9. This is what happens when I'm behind in comments. I approve a ton at once, and look at how many people mentioned the Paint Pot in Painterly without knowing someone else also mentioned it! Too funny.

    Anyways, I've tried the Paint Pot trick but I personally haven't had much staying power with it. I have 2 new eye shadow primers from NYX, I'll update on how those work as well!

  10. So is the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer a good one to use for undereye concealor? I confess I'm only just now expanding my normal make up routine into something a little deeper. I love the potion primer for eyeshadow but would you recommend the face primer for eye concealor instead?

  11. Tarte and Smashbox both make primers specifically for that area, but a lot of people just use their lid primer under their eyes as well. Honestly, I think this one just depends on the person and how oily their under eye area is. I can use UDPP under my eye, but TFSI is a tad tacky and concealer doesn't smoother easily over it for me. I usually just put my face primer up there so things apply more smoothly, but it doesn't help with wear like a lid primer does.
    Hope that helps!


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