Does eye primer really work?

I was running late the other day and had about 10 minutes to put on my makeup and get out the door. I just needed to look decent and not as if I had just woken up from bed. I quickly smothered on sunblock, dabbed on a little Clinique Even Better Foundation, Benetint on my cheeks and lips then lastly did my eye makeup and brows.

A bit flustered but nonetheless very proud of what I managed to achieve in 10 minutes, I ran out the door and I went about the rest of my morning without even a second thought to how my makeup looked. It was a hot summer day and when I finally got a chance to catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror at midday, my eyeliner and mascara had run and I looked like I'd been crying. The rest of the day was spent wiping under my eyes every so often to avoid looking like a panda.

On the drive home, it finally dawned on me why my makeup was being so fussy... I'd forgotten to use primer on my eyelids! This had to be the only reason because I hadn't changed mascara or eyeliner, nor did I rim under my eyes any differently from any other day. So to be sure it was the primer and not the hot weather or any other factor, I decided to test it out on another hot day.

The Experiment

I primed my left eye and kept my right eye bare. Did my makeup as usual which involves:

  • Sunblock all over the face, eyes and neck (I’m currently testing out Shiseido Urban Defense SPF 42+++)

  • Clinique Even Better Foundation smothered all over my face

  • Benefit’s Benetint on the cheeks and lips

  • MAC Eye Brows in Stud

  • On my right eye (which is the left eye in the photo), I put on Urban Decay’s Eye Potion Primer all over the lid up to the brows and a little underneath the eye. The other eye was left bare.

  • I rimmed the bottom eyes with Urban Decay 247 Glide Eyeliner in Bourbon, used MAC Teddy to rim the upper and outer corners of my eyes, smudged in the Urban Decay’s Naked 1 Palette Colours Toasted (all over the lid) and Sin just in the centre of the eyelid. Lined my top lid with Urban Decay Black 247 Glide all the way to the outer corners of my eyes.

  • I finished with a coat of L’oreal Telescopic Mascara.

Eye Primer Experiment Before After Photo 1

I took this photo in daylight, before starting my day. Left: Primed eye. Right: Un-primed eye.


By midday, I started to notice the oil creases in the right eyelid. The left eye looked just as it had this morning. Note, the photo was taken under office lighting so the eye shadow colour look less intense.

Eye Primer Experiment Before After Photo 3

With my eyes open, I saw the smudging and smearing under my right eye. My left eye had very slight smudging.

So my last words: eye primer makes a HUGE difference! Though I couldn't capture it well in the photo's, by the end of the day the unprimed eye looked horribly greasy whereas the eye shadow on the primed eye stayed intact all day and well into the evening. Lesson learnt - don't skip the eye primer when you're in a rush. Chances are, you'll be spending more time trying fix your eye makeup throughout the day!