It is important to always use a base when applying eyeshadow. Prepping the eye with an eyeshadow base ensures that your eyeshadow stays in place all day and prevents creasing. It also helps eyeshadows apply more smoothly and come out truer to form.
Eyeshadow bases often come in pot cream form or in squeezy tubes. The type that you choose depends on cost, preference for container type (pot or tube) and texture (creams like Paint Pots tend to be a little thicker; fluids like Urban Decay Primer Potion are very light). Bases can be applied with your fingers or brush and some products even come with their own wands. If you use a brush, try to use one that is synthetic, rather than one made of natural hairs. Synthetic brushes help to spread cream products more evenly and smoothly, whereas natural hair brushes tend to absorb products.
You can use a skin-tone or a coloured base which complements your eyeshadow colours, depending on the look you wish to create. If you wish to keep things simple, a clear or skin-tone colour applied all over the whole lid/crease/highlight area will create a blank and neutral canvas for any colour you wish to apply. If you wish to add some subtle shimmer to your look, try a skin-tone base with shimmer.
Using a coloured base in the same or complementary tone as your chosen eyeshadow shades can really emphasise the colours and make them ‘pop’ even more. When using a coloured base, apply the base only to the lid and crease area and then apply your eyeshadow. If you wish, you can also apply a skin-tone base to the inner corner and browbone area.
Many brands now stock eyeshadow bases. Some to look out for are:
MAC Paintpots come in a wide range of skin-tone, shimmery and coloured shades. Paint Pots can be worn either on their own as cream eyeshadows or under eyeshadows as a base. Paint Pots can be applied with your fingers or with a brush for cream products. Very little product is needed for priming the eye; a light, even coat is sufficient. Paint Pots cost £15.50 and are available from MAC counters, MAC online, House of Frasers and Debenhams,.
MAC Painterly Paint Pot (see below) is a good example of a skin-tone shade. If you have darker skin, MAC Soft Ochre (which is more yellow-beige) and MAC Ground Work (which is tan) are good choices.
MAC Antique Diamond Paint Pot is a silvery-green base and perfect under gold, green and silver eyeshadows.
MAC Blackground Paint Pot is perfect for using under all sorts of eyeshadow colours to create a more smokey, smouldering look. It can also really bring out the sheen and brighter hues in paler eyeshadows like lilacs and spring greens.
Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24 Hour Cream Eyeshadows can be worn either on their own or under eyeshadows as a base. There are several colours, ranging from light silvers, pinks and golds to vivid blues, jewel purples and deep charcoals. Number 65 Pink Gold (see below) is beautiful under pink plum and burgundy eyeshadows. Colour Tattoo Cream Eyeshadows cost £4.99 and are available from Boots, Superdrug, supermarkets and various online retailers.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion is fantastic as a base for eyeshadows. Primer Potion comes in a range of shades, including Original (goes on clear), Eden (matte beige), Sin (shimmery beige) and Greed (light gold). Shades like Eden, Sin and Greed also help to even out the skin tone on the eyelid – particularly useful for days when you might not want to wear much make-up. The product is encased in a squeezy tube, rather than a pot (like the Paint Pots). Very little product is needed for priming the eye; a small pin-head amount per eye is sufficient. Primer Potion costs £16 and is available from House of Fraser, Debenhams and various online retailers.
Bare Minerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer is also a good base for eyeshadows. Prime Time Eyeshadow Primer also comes in a range of shades. The Brightening shade is perfect for adding a slight pearlescent sheen to eyeshadows applied on top of it or for days when you just want to wear a little something on your eyes. Like the Urban Decay Primer Potion, Prime Time comes in a squeezy tube. Very little product is needed for priming the eye; again, a pin-head amount per eye is sufficient. Prime Time Eyelid Primer costs £16 and is available from Bare Mineral boutiques, House of Fraser, Debenhams and various online retailers.
Other brands worth checking out include:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance (£17, available from Boots, Debenhams and various retailers)
Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Stay Put Eyeshadow Primer (£20.50, available from Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser and various online retailers)
NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (£19, available from House of Fraser, Space NK and various online retailers).