Kaia Gerber's Makeup Artist Told Me the Secret Behind Camera-Ready Eye Makeup

Makeup primers are likely in everyone's beauty bags because they smooth the skin and, most importantly, help makeup stay put. Unfortunately, I have combination skin, and my eyelids are among the first areas of my face that become an oil slick even when I've applied a primer to my entire face. It wasn't until I tried eye makeup primer for the first time that I realized how much of an impact it can have on the longevity of my eye look. And the best part about using an eye primer for the first time was it came from my local drugstore to complete a glittery masterpiece.

If you've read any of my previous stories, you know I love department-store beauty finds. But as the beauty industry continues to grow, getting great products at your neighborhood beauty haven is easier than ever. So here, I've rounded up a few eye shadow primers that are fan favorites known to keep your latest eye look looking its best for hours. There are options from well-known brands along with items from new lines that will bring your eye looks full circle.


(Image credit: @sarennya)

Finding The Right Primer

Celebrity and editorial makeup artist Lauren O'Leary, who has worked with a star-studded list of clientele, gave me the scoop on budget-friendly eye primers. "An eye primer is a product applied to the eyelid to help smooth and even out the lid for a more even [and] long-lasting eye shadow application," begins O'Leary. "It also helps shadow and eyeliner stay on longer without creasing or moving." She recommends applying the product lightly and evenly with a brush or your finger on the eyelid and up to the brow bone. To avoid using too much primer, aim to use a small amount of product on the finger or brush for smooth application, then blend, blend, blend!

When selecting an eye primer, O'Leary prefers versatile products that work for many skin tones, are illuminating, and blend easily. "I like the Maybelline Master Prime Eyeshadow Base. It works on many skin tones because it comes in three different shades, has a bit of a brightening iridescence, and comes with a little wand in the cap to apply it with," says O'Leary. NYX's Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer is also a favorite due to its translucent finish and easy-to-use wand applicator. Because it's waterproof, the product also allows for smooth and seamless eye shadow application.

Ready to discover your new favorite drugstore eye primer? Keep reading and get your wallet ready for a major makeup kit glow-up.

Best Overall: Ulta Beauty Matte Eye Primer

1. Nyx Professional Makeup Long-Lasting Glitter Primer

2. Covergirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer

3. Juvia's Place I Prep, I Prime

4. PYT Beauty Baby Got Base Eye Primer

5. Morphe Eyelid Primer

6. Wet n Wild Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer

7. Burt's Bees Eye Shadow Primer

8. Colourpop Party Proof Eye Primer

More Eye Makeup Products to Shop

Next, 5 Eye Makeup Tricks That Will Actually Take Years Off Your Face

Freelance Contributor