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.



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

Formulated without parabens, oil, fragrance, and sulfates, this long-wear matte primer can be used with a range of eye shadow formulas, from powder to loose pigment.

Customer Review: My eyes tend to water when I wear makeup. I think it was the eye primer that I was using. When I used this primer, my eyes did not water at all, and it kept my eye shadow in place all day! [I] will keep repurchasing because I think I found my holy grail eye primer!

Pro: Long-lasting and easy to apply

Con: None

1. Nyx Professional Makeup Long-Lasting Glitter Primer

Applying glitter shadows can leave you with a messy vanity and more glitter on your face than your lids. I can vouch for this mess-free primer, as it minimizes glitter fallout and keeps your sparkly shadow in place.

Customer review: "This glitter glue is perfect for glitter, loose pigments, or shimmers from your palette. You can't beat the results and value of it. It doesn't take much, so the tube lasts you a lifetime. It really transforms any shimmer shade you use."

Pro: Affordable price point

Con: Not long-lasting when used on oily skin

2. Covergirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer

Crease-free shadow is a breeze with this quick-drying, all-day formula.

Customer review: "Holds my eye shadow in place like glue! I'm not a big makeup person, and I love finding good products that don't cost a fortune. This one is now a staple in my makeup bag!"

Pro: Crease-free formula

Con: Uneven application

3. Juvia's Place I Prep, I Prime

This formula cancels hyperpigmentation or discoloration with three creamy, long-wearing shades and creates a smooth base for your latest eye look.

Customer review: "I have tried so many different shadow primers over the years. This is by far my favorite. Easy to use, and the color added makes for a great base for high pigment shadows."

Pro: Beginner friendly

Con: Watery formula with possible product separation

4. PYT Beauty Baby Got Base Eye Primer

Have sensitive eyes? No problem. Infused with antioxidants, this hypoallergenic, sheer matte formula gets the job done while making sure your eyes aren't irritated.

Customer review: "Such an easy to use & blendable eye primer! Makes shadows appear more pigmented, vibrant, & true to color."

Pro: Ideal for sensitive skin

Con: Not for oily eyelids

5. Morphe Eyelid Primer

Morphe's waterproof primer applies smoothly, dries down sheer, and wears well for up to 12 hours.

Customer review: "I have tried several eyelid primers and have never been truly satisfied until this one. A small amount goes a long way, and [you can] apply with your finger. Nice even coverage providing the perfect base for my shadow."

Pro: Long-wearing

Con: Irritating to sensitive skin

6. Wet n Wild Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer

Add a swipe of this clear-drying formula to prep eyes before eye shadow application.

Customer review: "This primer works like a charm. I use [an] extremely small amount (1 mm bead) for each eye and smooth over. Keep the shadow in place and even keeps the brow pencil line from bleeding over. Love it!"

Pro: Clear-drying formula

Con: Creases throughout the day

7. Burt's Bees Eye Shadow Primer

Formulated with 99.7% natural ingredients, this creamy, lightweight formula complements all skin tones and works incredibly well with powder eye shadow.

Customer review: "This eye shadow primer works wonders! I have hooded eyes, which tend to make my eyelids oily. With this eye shadow primer, my eyelids do not become oily at all! It also holds the color of eye shadow well and does not crease."

Pro: Keeps eye makeup crease-free

Con: Slightly oily finish

8. Colourpop Party Proof Eye Primer

Coulourpop's caffeine-infused primer brightens and provides crease-proof results. It also comes in three hues: clear, caramel, and deep.

Customer review: "This is one of the best eye primers I've used. I love the fact that it is applied with an applicator. It stays all day and keeps eye shadow in place."

Pro: Available in three shades

Con: Product shifts throughout the day

More Eye Makeup Products to Shop

Keeping track of my eye shadow brushes isn't always the easiest thing to do. If you're like me, this six-piece travel brush set is worth the investment if you're on the run (or need a designated place for your brushes to live).

With a nearly five-star rating, this eight-piece set has everything you need.

I love having a neutral palette in my orbit at all times, and this one features bronze, copper, and gold hues in highly pigmented mattes and shimmers.

With 12 shades to choose from, this waterproof multitasker acts as an eye shadow, eyeliner, eyelid primer, and cream highlighter.

If you enjoy adding shimmer to your eyelids, this one-stop liquid eye shadow offers up to 16 hours of crease-resistant wear.

This fan-favorite clean mascara is infused with hydrating vegan collagen that instantly makes lashes appear thicker.

Creating an eye look isn't just about what you apply on your lids, especially for anyone with dark under-eye circles. Well, Live Tinted crafted a four-in-one multi-stick that can be used on the eyes, lips, and cheeks. It's made with skin-loving ingredients to color-correct before makeup application.

Having a smudge-proof, water-resistant liquid liner in your beauty bag is always a must. However, for anyone with sensitive eyes, having an irritant-free, hypoallergenic formula like this highly pigmented satin option is a big win.

These reusable eye patches make it simple to treat your under-eye area with your favorite serum while catching any fallout as you finalize your makeup look.

Cleaning up any mistakes or removing makeup is as simple as a Q-tip or cotton pad saturated with this beloved micellar cleansing water.

Cleansing your brushes might be the last thing on your mind when you're rushing to add the final touches to your makeup. But it's a must, especially for the ones that have close contact with sensitive areas like your eyes.

Dry skin sometimes means dry eyelids. But don't fret. There's a long-wear cream eye shadow in two finishes and six shades to the rescue.

Want a palette that can double as a bronzer and eye shadow? Well, look no further than this four-in-one palette featuring two matte shades and two shimmer shades.

The packaging alone is making us do a double take, but don't be fooled. For tired eyes that need a bit of brightening, apply this skin-soothing, pearl extract–infused eye base before your concealer.