Wet N Wild repackaged and reformulated a few of their products recently when they discontinued their Fergie line. I compared the new and old Pearlescent Pink blushes not long ago (not the same!), and I bought a tube of the new eyeshadow primer at the same time to do a similar comparison.
The Fergie primer was my favorite for years. I compared it to a a bunch of other primers (here and here), and for the price, it really couldn't be beat. So I was horrified to hear that it had been discontinued and disappointed when I read comments from some people who said that its replacement, PhotoFocus Eyeshadow Primer, wasn't quite the same. I was curious to find out for myself, especially since the ingredients list for the Fergie primer and the new PhotoFocus primer are identical. (You can see the new ingredients here and the old ones here.) How could it be different, then? In fact, Wet N Wild says "new look" on the product page for this primer--not "new product."
But I can confirm that the new and old primers do not seem to be the same. I don't know what that means. Different suppliers for the ingredients? Different factory/manufacturing process? Who knows!
The new primer has a decidedly thicker and firmer texture and it doesn't intensify eyeshadow quite as well as the old primer. Take a look:
I used a mediocre CoverGirl eyeshadow single to test the primer. On the far left is no primer, then PhotoFocus, then Fergie, and finally Black Radiance (reviewed here) for good measure, since it's made by the same company. It was harder to build up the intensity of the eyeshadow over the PhotoFocus primer--better than no primer at all, but not nearly as effective as the other two. The new primer also seemed to be slightly different in color/opacity from the Fergie stuff, in addition to being much thicker. You can see the difference faintly at the bottom of each of the swatches above, but I swatched all three on white paper to show it more clearly.
Again, PhotoFocus on the left, Fergie in the middle, and Black Radiance on the right. It's not the easiest photo to interpret, so let me help. The Fergie primer is the most opaque of the three and also the most yellow-toned. The PhotoFocus primer is sheerer, but not as sheer as the Black Radiance primer. None of these three products is identical.
Of course, I've also used the new primer on my actual eyelids. In the test pictured here, I used PhotoFocus on one eye and Fergie on the other, under Burberry Rosewood. I find Rosewood (swatched here) to be quite powdery and sheer, so it benefits from a good primer.
PhotoFocus, immediately after application:
I didn't see much difference, other than that my right eyelid is apparently more wrinkly. (I think it's mainly the raking angle of the light.)
And then I took photos again at the end of a very sweaty day, after about 8 hours of wear. You'll have to excuse the poorer lighting, since it was night and I had to take the after photos indoors.
PhotoFocus after 8 hours:
Some definite fading, but no creasing.
Fergie after 8 hours:
No creasing here either, but it has faded less.
Conclusions? I don't know exactly what the fuck Wet N Wild is doing with these replacements for products that were formerly well-loved and highly rated, which are ostensibly the same thing, but clearly aren't really. If your primary reason for using an eyeshadow primer is to prevent creasing, you should be fine using the new PhotoFocus primer (I have extremely oily eyelids, so I've put them to a rigorous test). If, however, you mainly want to intensify the pigmentation or opacity of your eyeshadow or to prevent fading, I would opt for something else, like the Black Radiance primer. Though it looks and feels more like the PhotoFocus primer than the Fergie one, the Black Radiance primer performs better. And it's cheap, too. Or you can stock up on leftover tubes of Fergie primer while you still can.