Here is a quick comparison of a couple of high and low end eyeshadow primers to supplement my previous post on the subject. This time we have e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer, which sells for $3 for 0.15 oz., and Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, which sells for $25 for 0.26 oz. (I got a mini tube as a gift-with-purchase). The e.l.f. primer is labeled "Mineral" on the tube, but confusingly listed under "Studio Eyeshadow Primer" on their website. It's the same product. I have it in Sheer.
I swatches these two primers next to Wet N Wild Fergie Take on the Day Eyeshadow Primer in the shade that is ridiculously and unhelpfully named For My Primas. It's the sheer version with no shimmer. This is my favorite primer, so it serves as a good basis for comparison. You can see it compared to other primers in the old post.
These are the things I look for in a primer, in order of importance, since I have fairly oily eyelids: (1) prevents creasing; (2) prevents fading/prolongs wear time; and (3) intensifies the color/opacity of the eyeshadow. So these are the criteria I use to judge a primer, which you can keep in mind if some of them are of less importance to you.
Here are swatches of the same eyeshadow alone and over each of the primers. I gave away the blue Covergirl shadow that I used last time, but I still have this equally crappy one, because the gorgeous color keeps me hanging on: Covergirl Eye Enhancers in Turquoise Tempest. As you can see, it barely shows up at all without primer, so it's a serious test for a primer.
|Comparison swatches (left to right) with no primer, over Wet N Wild Fergie Take on the Day Primer, e.l.f. Mineral/Studio Eyeshadow Primer, and Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base.|
The e.l.f. primer helps with creasing a bit, but it's not great. By that I mean I can go an hour or two before creasing instead of 15 minutes without primer. It does not make eyeshadow last much longer in general - most of it has worn or faded away after a few hours. It also only slightly improves the pigmentation of eyeshadow. It isn't completely transparent, either. It has some pale pigment in it, which affects the color of the eyeshadow, making it a little lighter. It's hard to tell on my very pasty arm, but if you look at the few millimeters surrounding the swatch, you may be able to see a light halo. This could be a problem for people with darker skin than mine.
The Nars primer does prevent creasing pretty well, so that's good. It helps prolong the wear of the eyeshadow a bit, but not all day. And the intensification of the eyeshadow color is good but not great. It's completely transparent when it sets, and it does create a smooth surface for your eyeshadow, if that's something that's important to you. I don't really care about that, personally. I like that it's not sticky, but I don't particularly need smoother eyelids.
I can't really think of any good reason to spend $25 on this Nars stuff, unless you really like a completely transparent or smoothing primer and have a hard time finding one. It has a lot of positive reviews out there, so I guess it's doing something for someone. I wonder if they are from people who haven't tended to use primers in the past (since it's certainly better than nothing) or who are mega-fans of Nars.
This e.l.f. primer should be skipped entirely. If you want a super cheap primer, go for the $1 e.l.f. version (also reviewed here), which is much better If you want a very cheap primer, buy the Wet N Wild. I still haven't found anything better, especially when you take the price into account!