Essential Eyelid Primer

by e.l.f. Cosmetics   Essential
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Makeup > Sensitive Skin Products > Eyeshadow > Eyeshadow Primers
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This eyelid primer has a lightweight, liquid texture that sets to a matte finish. We did a split face test and noticed that shadow held up slightly better throughout the day (in terms of being more resistant to creasing and smudging) on the eye that had the primer, though the results weren’t all that dramatic. A good, matte-finish concealer plus pressed powder can provide the same results (if not better), but if you still want to give this a go, at this price you don’t have much to lose.

There are a few different shades but they go on so sheer there is only a slight hint of color left behind. We recommend sticking with the peachy color (labeled “Sheer”) over the others (some of which have a glittery finish).

  • Lightweight, liquid texture sets to a matte finish that helps eyeshadow stay put.
  • Results weren’t dramatic (you still get creasing by the end of the day).
  • The glittery shades aren’t as flattering.

From a line of cosmetics whose claim to fame is its rock-bottom prices we weren't expecting much. With almost every individual item selling for just $1, could there be any outstanding finds to rival the best options from drugstores and department stores? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Yet although that's good news, the entire picture isn't so rosy, and many of the products from e.l.f. (which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) are as basic as can be, while a few are resounding disappointments we wouldn't even give away.

e.l.f. was founded by Scott Vincent Borba—the same businessman responsible for the Borba "beauty waters" being sold at Sephora boutiques—and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in an unnamed "dollar store" (where everything sells for a dollar) and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. enjoyed sales last year of $5 million.

As you might expect, not everything in the e.l.f. line is great. When you're offering almost every product for $1, they're not going to be nearly as luxurious or innovative as the company proclaims (the ingredient lists couldn't be more basic and the packaging is sometimes slipshod). Many e.l.f. items have packaging that, while functional, can only be described as cheap. In terms of value, yes, almost everything is inexpensive, but in most cases the container sizes are much smaller than the norm. Still, if you're considering spending a few dollars on fun, occasional-use colors, size becomes much less of an issue.

In addition to being found at some dollar stores, e.l.f. has expanded its distribution to selected Target stores and regional drugstores. However, the best place to experience the collection is online (none of the stores provide testers). The cheaper elements are a given based on the price point e.l.f. has established, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains that raise the bar—at least to a height that's taller than your average elf!

For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
Page of 1
  1. Sonya H
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    • Results
      3 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Great product, Great price
    • I really like this primer. I must have oily eyelids or something, because my eye-shadow always ends up in a line in my eyelid crease-yuck. Even with concealer and powder it creases. This actually keeps it from creasing at all. I tried the NYX HD primer that Paula recommends, and that actually creases for me. You can't beat this deal!

  2. Lauren F.
    Reviewed on Friday, November 08, 2013
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Works great.
    • I actually really dig this product. I have deep set eyes so rarely wear eyeshadow or liner as what's on my lid inevitably transfers to the brow bone above the crease of my lid. But when I do glam it up with a smoky eye or liner I want to stay put, a bit of this over my lid is a no brainer. It's so cheap and works so well for me, I refuse to buy something more expensive on principle. Great little tool.

  3. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 06, 2013
    • Recommend
      3 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Results
      3 / 4
    Eyelid Primer
    • I like to use the e.l.f. eyelid primer when I am traveling because it is pretty small and can fit easily into my carry on plastic bag. It is decent at what it does. For me it neutralizes my eyelid otherwise certain "natural" matte eyeshadows look weird on my skin tone. For $1.00 it gets the job done. I prefer to use the primer that comes with the UD Naked palate but I feel like this is good enough for every day causal makeup.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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