Eh … What’s the Difference Between Face and Eye Primers, Then?

By | May 12 2009 | 20 Comments


Last week we gave you the lowdown on Urban Decay’s cult Primer Potion and Too Faced’s increasingly popular Shadow Insurance. Xgirl rated the latter over UDPP, and I agree – it’s absolutely my favourite eye primer. Inspired by Shu Uemura’s new painting gel eyeliners – sadly unavailable here – I’m using it a lot recently to mix up bright-BRIGHT-bright shades that I can then apply as a graphic swipe across the eyelids with a fine brush.

But at least one of you was confused. “If I use face primer on my eyes will my eye lids fall off?,” pondered reader Kitty in the City, adding “seriously, is the skin that different it needs a different primer?”

The answer is that it’s not the skin, but the product formulation that offers a difference. But if you don’t believe me, I got crack makeup artist Ken Boylan on the case. “A face primer is clear or has a tint in it, and most are made from a silicone base –  that’s why they feel smooth to the touch, and this is why they fill in the pores and little lines when you put them on,” he explains.

While a face/foundation primer – like those in Smashbox’s Photo Finish suite – is ideal for holding makeup on all day, using one on your lids isn’t a good idea. Ken agrees: “I would not put it on the eyes as shadow would slip off and crease,” he reckons.

Last words on the prime position? Mr. Boylan’s got a bit of a recession tip for us: “personally, I think a good concealer and  a dusting of powder works just as well!”

Eyes , , , ,

20 Replies to "Eh … What’s the Difference Between Face and Eye Primers, Then?"

  • Olaola says:

    I have been lusting after Shadow Insurance for some time now and am currently feeding my piggy bank with coins that should serve just this purpose! Too Faced, here I come!

    As for the concealer and a dusting of powder… I will never understand this tip. I’ve tried it at least ten times over the years, always thinking maybe I had done something wrong the last time. Well, err, no, I’m afraid it just doesn’t do it for me. However thin or thick the layer of both concealer and powder is, shadows always crease within minutes. It’s much better if I don’t put any base under them!

  • xgirl says:

    Yeah, I’m afraid the concealer and powder or foundation and powder or powder alone does nothing at all for me either.

    But now that I’ve found the Too Faced stuff, I’m happy!

  • Kirstie says:

    I think it depends on your skin. I have dry skin and for day or normal makeup, that’s what I do and shadow stays on fine. But for ‘sticking’ glitter on or making a liner, I’d always use a primer.

  • Aphrodite says:

    Sorry, just have to say – horrible eyebrows on yer wan in the pic

  • Kirstie says:

    ha ha! Yeah, they’re a bit sasquatch, alright

  • deedles says:

    I always use TFSI. I didn’t know whether to go for that or the UDPP and after reading the review yesterday I’m glad I went for the Too Faced. The packaging was the deal breaker for me. It’s great stuff though. Makes even the cheapest eye shadows wearable. And the whole concealer powder thing does not work for me. I have dry lids but they’re crepey (and I’m only 24 – boo) and the concealer just creases every which way.

  • Tiddles says:

    I have the UDPP and use it religiously. I’ve no idea if it does anything for me, haha, but it was free with a kit I got for Christmas and everybody says it’s what you should use, so I do ;) Was dying for the Sin colour one coz it looks much more up my street. But I do mix a dod of liquid liner with the UDPP sometimes for a hint of colour on the base. Rather nice :)

  • Harto says:

    Too Faced Shadow Insurance can be bought at the moment from Boots with a set of six fab eyeshodows for approx €30… that’s six shodow’s for €11…

  • Thanks so much for clearing that up! I feel a purchase coming on…

  • Harto, would that be one of the larger branches of Boots? Think I’ll be in Dundrum Town Centre on Friday.

  • BLUE_Eyes says:

    Harto thats what I got for my birthday- a book of 6 shadows and the shadow insurance – and they’re LOVELY shadows too- very nice texture and pigmented :)

  • Aoife Hen says:

    Does anyone know where I can get the new Christian Dior Radiant Base primer in beige???? It was out recently as part of their Spring range but it was Limited Edition and is sold out in BT and Debenhams in Cork. I got a sample of it and it’s unreal. Now I just won’t rest until I have it!!!

  • Harto says:

    Kitty – I got mine in Boots Liffey Valley. nNt sure if Dundrum Boots carries Too Faced but maybe try House of Fraser?

  • littlesis says:

    I juat adore my UDPP and find most of their products (glitter liners,pencil liners and eyeshdows) just great!
    I used Smashbox Photo Finish under my foundation but have no idea if it actually works!

  • Alla says:

    i use my foundation and powder. but will try too faced one when i have some spare cash.

  • dressjunkie says:

    Waaaaaah? Ken agrees: “I would not put it on the eyes as shadow would slip off and crease,” he reckons.

    Um how come my blusher doesn’t slip off and crease then? Or my bronzer?

    Anyways, I’m a UDPP gal, I think it all depends ultimately on your skin type, if you’re a bit of a greaseball on the lids (like moi) it definitely lasts longer IMO. I prefer the consistency and packaging of the Shadow Insurance but no cigar on results.

    If I use neither I am 100% guaranteed creasetastic lids about an hour after application. xo

  • Kirstie says:

    I like UDPP too, though Too Faced wins for me on all scores, but there’s no way I’d expect photofinish to keep shadow in place. For starters, eyes move so much more than cheeks and you’ve probably already got foundation and powder on top of PF as a key for blush; with shadow primer you place the shadow directly on to it for grip, with nothing in between, and that particular product has a lot of slip – PF wouldn’t do it for me, anyway.

  • makeupdolly says:

    Im a complete convert to the primer situation and have always used UDPP along with their Maui wowie shadow with a lil bit of heavy metal too! I work in a cocktail bar and with the horrible steam from glass washers melting the makeup off it requires amazing stuff to keep it in place. This is super news, TFSI is my next “budgeted for” spend! But on a foundation related topic… Im using a YSL one atm but im not convinced, so help is required, is the smashbox pf the best??

    Thanks girlies!!

  • dressjunkie says:

    LOL @Kirstie I can assure you my cheeks do a hell of a lot of moving, I never shut up :)

    Face Primer wise its Laura Mercier for me every time. I have the Photo Finish but I find things don’t look as “fresh” for as long with it.

  • Celine says:

    i love UDPP.. ilways use it and have no problems with it.. i have all my friends useing it and my mams friends too!!!! one of my friends uses too faced shawdow insurance she loves it too.. but i think ill stick with what UDPP even though the packinging is nt great!!! but still pretty!

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