Why You Should Never Skip Eyeshadow Primer When Doing Smoky Eyes (Quick Tip)

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

why you should never skip primer smoky eyes

Of course you can skip wearing eyeshadow primer when you’re doing smoky eyes, and if you do, the world as we know it will not fall apart.



But I do think that primer is usually a good idea, especially when doing smoky eyes, because primer makes your lids smoother, which, in turn, makes your eyeshadow less patchy. Primer also extends the wear time of your eye makeup. Both are good things!

Since smoky eyes usually involve a lot of layering and blending — you do a little layering, then a bit of blending, more layering, more blending — and they’re a big part of the fun, you don’t want to be working *too* hard, you know? And that’s another way in which wearing primer can help, because it makes your life easier. By enriching the color of the eyeshadows you apply on top of it, primer makes those shadows more vibrant and more intense, which in turn equals less layering!

So, on top of all the other good things primer does, it also makes smoky eyes, as well as many other eye looks, easier and faster. That way you get to spend less time on your makeup, and more time harassing your cat. 🙂

Nowadays, there are many different kinds of eyeshadow primers out there and different ways to use non-primer products as improv primers. Classic eye primers that are dedicated to priming your lids are available from most of the big brands, and my favorite one for the past few years has been NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof. I think it’s seriously the best one out there now, hands down, and I’ve yet to find one better, particularly for smoky eyes.


You can also use concealer as a primer, and some people even use foundation. Both will work in a pinch, but I prefer a dedicated primer like Pro-Prime. When I prime with concealer or foundation, I have to be extremely careful how much I use; otherwise, my makeup ends up looking heavy.


Cream eyeshadows are another primer option, and my favorites for this are the MAC Paint Pots. They’re amazing (try Groundwork or Soft Ochre)! MAC also makes these shadows in little tubes called MAC Paints, and I think they’re good as well (I like Bamboom).

Oh! Creamy pencils like the NYX Jumbo Pencils are another popular priming option. I know that Milk, which is the white shade, is uber popular.

So you have a lot of priming options these days, and I encourage you to try a few different ones to find one that works best for you.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 12 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. juanita says:

    my lids must be an oil fill…i still need primer under the mac paint pots. the ones that do stand the test of my oily lids are the BB cream eye shadows, the ones in pots, the sticks i still need primer.

  2. Jennifer says:

    What’s a good primer if you have ridiculously oily eyelids? I’m telling you my face and the rest of my body are as dry as the Sahara. But the eyelids are another story. So eye color tends to just slide right off.
    Jennifer recently posted … Free Photo App for Halloween

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      There are a couple I like. Urban Decay’s are really good, so is the one from Too Faced, although I think shadows look more vibrant on top of NARS Pro-Prime. That’s the best one I’ve ever used, and I think it would be good even for people with oily lids.

  3. Jane says:

    I have dry lids and would like to know what primer is good for dry lids. I also never have used a face primer because my skin is very dry.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane,

      Try NARS Pro-Prime. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but I have combination dry/oily lids, and right now mine are on the drier side, and they’re still very happy with NARS.

      Also try the MAC Paints. I like those too for dry lids. TGIF! I hope that helps.

  4. Phyrra says:

    As someone with super oily lids, the best primers I’ve found are Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof. I’ve also found that it helps if you blot your eyes to remove oils first (with a tissue or something), then apply primer. If you’re really oily, a translucent setting powder can help too.
    Phyrra recently posted … Urban Decay Spectrum Look

  5. Tatiana says:

    I didn’t even know MAC Paints were still available. My daughter used to use Stilife as her base color. Looking at their website I’m tempted to get a tube of Sublime Nature.
    I use MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and I’m tempted to get Camel Coat. I love NARS Pro Prime, I just wish it was slightly tinted to help cancel out the redness in my lids.

  6. Rachel R. says:

    My eyelids are so oily, I have to use primer all the time. I can’t live without it.

  7. jessica says:

    Primer is ESSENTIAL!!!!

    I <3 UD of course, but NYX Milk is also in my bag. Great stuff.
    jessica recently posted … Notice

  8. MonicaP says:

    Oily lid gal here so lid primers have been my savior! I’m really liking the High Voltage lid primer by Kat Von D as of late 🙂

    MonicaP recently posted … Embroidered Midi Dress from Old Navy

  9. Amber says:

    I have always used Urban decay primer potion just because it’s always done it’s job. I do wonder if there are better out there! but I do love to use NYX milk when I’m doing a bright look! it really helps the colors pop.

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