Goes on smoothly. When used under mascara, it plumps, lengthens, and enhances even thin, sparse lashes. Also resists clumping, keeps mascara in place, and defines lashes. Many dedicated customers rave it's the best they've used.
One of the most expensive lash primers on the market; the upside is that it delivers impressive results for most users.
Earns praise for reducing the number of coats of mascara needed after using. Conditions lashes while defining and separating them. Lengthens and "pumps up" lashes. Non-clumping. Often used on professional photo shoots.
The plastic brush is awkward to use and has pointy bristles.
Holds onto mascara to prevent flaking throughout the day. Formula includes cellulose for thickening and carnauba wax as an emollient for smooth application. Free of parabens, phthalates, triclosans, and gluten. One of the more affordable options from a high-end brand.
Has a bit of a learning curve, but overall it's fairly easy to use.
Keeps lashes soft and hydrated to prevent breakage. Adds thickness and volume. Mascara can be applied right after primer — no waiting needed. Often worn alone for a natural, lighter look. Works well with waterproof mascara.
Doesn't do much in the way of holding onto eyelash curls.
Gentle, water-based formula with carnauba wax for an effortless application. Maximizes results of volumizing and lengthening mascaras. Formula is free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten, and sulfates. A little goes a long way.
Not recommended for use with certain Clinique mascaras.
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Mascara is an easy, effective way to draw attention to your eyes. But if your mascara just doesn’t make your lashes look as long or as thick as you’d like, it may be time to add a new product to your makeup routine. With an eyelash primer, you can get full, fluttery lashes every time, no matter what mascara you use.
But if you want your lashes to look as good as they can, choosing the right eyelash primer is key. You have to know what ingredients to look for and the tint, brush, and other features that will leave you with envy-worthy lashes. With so many eyelash primers on the market, though, sorting through all the options can get a little confusing.
BestReviews is here to help. We conduct comprehensive product research, so you can find the best items for your home. If you’re looking for an outstanding eyelash primer, keep reading our shopping guide. It’s full of helpful advice for finding the ideal formula for your lashes.
An eyelash primer is a product that usually serves as a base for mascara. You apply it to your lashes before your usual mascara, and it not only helps condition your lashes but forms a coating around them to increase both length and volume. A primer usually has a slightly sticky texture, which helps mascara cling to it effectively.
Depending on the formula you choose, though, you don’t necessarily have to wear an eyelash primer under mascara. You can apply it to bare lashes, and use it on its own as a conditioning treatment on light or no-makeup days.
There are several benefits to using an eyelash primer with or without mascara.
Because an eyelash primer forms a sticky base around your lashes, it makes it easier to coat your lashes with mascara, so you can apply it more quickly. The sticky base also means that mascara stays put on your lashes all day. That means you don’t have to worry about flaking or smudging.
An eyelash primer can also make your lashes appear longer and thicker, which often means you don’t have to spend time applying false eyelashes when you want a more dramatic look for your eyes. If you have stick-straight eyelashes that don’t hold a curl well, an eyelash primer can help keep your lashes lifted after you use an eyelash curler.
Eyelash primers contain moisturizing ingredients that help condition and strengthen your lashes to keep them as healthy as possible. Some eyelash primers actually contain ingredients that stimulate lash growth so you can enjoy longer, thicker lashes over time.
For an eyelash primer to enhance your mascara and condition your lashes, it must contain the right active ingredients to get results. The best primer formulas usually contain more than one active ingredient.
Vitamin E has a wide array of benefits for the hair and skin because it’s an antioxidant that can help provide protection from free-radical damage. In lash primer formulas, it helps to moisturize and soften your lashes to keep them from becoming dry and brittle. Vitamin E has also been known to help promote lash growth.
Vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin, can help moisturize and strengthen your lashes, as well as help promote lash growth.
Vitamin B5, which is also known as pantothenic acid or panthenol, helps build up the hair follicles along your lash line to make your lashes as long and thick as possible. It also helps to moisturize and condition the lashes.
Microfibers are small threads that cling to your lashes to help them appear longer and thicker for more dramatic-looking lashes after you apply your mascara.
Peptides are a chain of amino acids that help strengthen and condition your eyelashes. They’re often found in lash growth serums, so an eyelash primer that contains peptides usually has long-term benefits for your lashes.
Most eyelash primers are white in color. When you apply the primer to your lashes and allow it to dry, though, it essentially becomes clear. You can apply mascara over a white or clear primer to darken your lashes, or you can wear the primer by itself for a natural look that still conditions and moisturizes your lashes.
Other lash primers are tinted to help darken your lashes for a more intense look. Black and brown are the most common colors for tinted lash primers, and these primers can be layered under a mascara in the matching shade to really make your lashes stand out. Lash primers that have a black or brown tint can also be worn on their own.
There are also a few eyelash primers that are available with a blue tint. Blue shades like cobalt and navy can make your eyes appear brighter, so a blue-tinted primer can help your eyes pop. However, if you layer a traditional black mascara over a blue primer, you likely won’t get much effect from the blue shade because it won’t be visible beneath the black. For a brightening effect, blue-tinted lash primers should either be worn on their own or under a corresponding blue mascara.
Like mascara, eyelash primer comes in a tube with a wand-style applicator that has a brush at the end. While most primer brushes allow for fairly easy application, it’s important to consider the design of the brush when you’re choosing a primer.
For an eyelash primer, a brush that separates the lashes to make sure that each and every one is coated with the product is your best bet. Look for a narrow, short-bristled brush or a comb-like brush to make sure that you distribute the primer evenly through your lashes.
Eyelash primers vary in price based mainly on how many active ingredients are in the formula. Most primers range from $3 to $45.
Eyelash primers that contain only one active ingredient, meant mainly to condition the lashes, typically cost between $3 and $15.
Eyelash primers that contain two active ingredients that are meant to condition the lashes and help them appear longer and thicker usually cost between $15 and $30.
Eyelash primers that contain three or more active ingredients and are meant to condition the lashes, help them appear longer and thicker, and encourage lash growth generally run from $30 to $45.
Always apply eyelash primer to clean, makeup-free eyelashes.
If you plan to curl your eyelashes, use your curler before you apply your lash primer. You may wind up pulling out some lashes during curling if they’re already coated with primer.
Allow the eyelash primer to set on your lashes for about 30 seconds before applying mascara. The primer should still be slightly tacky but not wet when you apply your mascara.
If your lashes aren’t as long and thick as you’d like after applying eyelash primer and mascara, add a second coat of mascara for added drama.
Q. Is it safe to use eyelash primer every day?
A. Because eyelash primers contain ingredients meant to moisturize, condition, and strengthen the lashes, you’ll usually achieve better-looking lashes if you apply the primer regularly. However, if you have sensitive eyes, make sure to choose a lash primer that’s ophthalmologist-tested. These formulas are less likely to irritate the eyes.
Q. Can I use eyelash primer on my bottom lashes?
A. If you like your bottom lashes to look more defined, feel free to apply a coat of primer before you add your bottom-lash mascara. Eyelash primer works just as well for your lower lashes as it does for your upper, so you’ll see the same lengthening and volumizing action.
Q. How do I remove eyelash primer?
A. Whether you’re wearing an eyelash primer on its own or under mascara, the removal process is the same. Use an eye makeup remover like micellar water to gently remove the primer and other makeup from your eyes with a cotton pad before following up with your usual facial cleanser. If you use a waterproof mascara over the primer, make sure to choose a makeup remover that can handle waterproof products.