What’s the first thing you notice about a person, when you meet someone new? For me, it’s all about the eyes. They often say more than words, cluing you into things that are more than skin deep. That’s why I think we’re all searching for ways to make our eyes stand out. We shadow, line and define them. We microblade our brows, curl our lashes, and when our lashes are lacking, we resort to falsies to amp up our look. When they’re thinning, or short, we turn to eyelash growth serum in our search for those luscious lashes. (Serum seriously works, by the way.) But it seems like it should be simpler, and it can be.
If you’ve never used an eyelash primer or mascara primer, it’s much like using makeup primers. This semi-magical stuff preps your lashes so mascara glides on smoothly and smudges less. These primers are also amazing at separating and defining your lashes, as well as making them look lots fuller and way longer. Almost every primer delivers lash conditioning love, along with the instant gratification of a big lash look right now. Some primers also contain those powerful peptides used in lash growth serum, a total bonus.
Most eyelash primers are white, which seems counter-intuitive, since you’re probably trying to cover your lashes with a darker mascara. The upside is that they clearly define all of your lashes, making them much easier to see for even application. You’ll see lashes you never knew you had. There are even a couple of colored primers, like butter LONDON’s baby blue primer and RevitaLash primer in brilliant blue. They both claim to make your eyes look brighter. Not to dis that notion, but that color isn’t going to show anyway, once you’ve applied mascara. Some of the newer primers are available in black and dark brown shades. In my opinion, they’re a whole lot easier for getting good mascara coverage. As an admitted primer junkie, I have struggled a bit with the white ones, even though I use them all the time.
Have you ever curled your lashes, only to use a wetter mascara and have them fall flat? So frustrating. My absolute favorite thing about eyelash primer is that it gives you a curled look, that sets, and doesn’t wilt with mascara. Fabulous. Technique also has a lot to do with primer success. Some suggest you apply your mascara while the primer is still wet. Others suggest you let it dry, before applying your mascara. One thing they all have in common is, if you apply too many coats, you’ll end up with lashes that look more like spider legs. If you like that look, go for it, but for a more natural lash appearance, I’d recommend you use a lighter touch to keep both your primer and mascara from clumping. You really can have luscious lashes in a wink with any of these Top 10 Best Mascara Primers, so pick the one that seems right for you, and get ready to be wowed by your gorgeous eyes.
1. jane iredale PureLash Lash Extender & Conditioner
This mascara primer gives you one coat coverage that both thickens, strengthens and lengthens your lashes for a better look now, and healthier lashes in the long term. This eyelash primer preps lashes for your mascara, separating and thickening their look. It also makes for easy application of mascara, allowing it to wear longer and smudge less. While it’s not officially a lash extender, this lash primer coats each and every lash, so when you add mascara to the mix, your lashes will appear to have far more volume than when you use mascara alone. It can also be worn alone at night to condition your lashes and brows while you sleep. For a great daytime look, top with a coat of jane iredale PureLash Mascara. To keep your brows in line, and fill them out with natural looking color, jane iredale PureBrow Brow Gel is a fantastic ally to keep in your makeup kit.
- Conditions and strengthens lashes
- Makes your mascara more effective
- Volumizes the look of your lashes
- Increases the staying power of mascara
- Not as effective as eyelash growth serum for longer term results
- Thick and a bit sticky texture
- Can cause eye irritation
- Some applicator breakage reported
2. Grande Cosmetics GrandePRIMER
A single step primer, GrandePRIMER coats your lashes with flake-free, lengthening micro-fibers, and this formula features peptides to condition and pamper lashes to perform their best. This thick white mascara primer helps to make lashes look voluminous, especially after using a coat or two of GrandeMascara. This primer is bright white, so you might notice that you’ll need to pay a little extra attention to fully coating your lashes after they’ve dried, but the overall effect is definitely worth the effort. The water resistant formula helps to strengthen lashes and prevent breakage. We also love the unique applicator brush that makes it easy to get to those tiny lashes in the inner corners of your eyes, as well as lower lashes. This GrandeLash primer is great for coating, setting and curling your lashes. For the best results, follow immediately with mascara to avoid clumping.
- Curls and sets lashes well
- Micro-fibers make lashes appear longer
- Peptide formula conditions and encourages lash growth
- Applicator brush picks out and separates lashes well
- Bright white formula takes extra effort to cover fully
- Can clump a bit if you let it dry before applying mascara
- It’s heavier and a bit stickier than some
- May irritate eyes
3. blinc Lash Primer
As a regular mascara primer user, I’ve often wondered why so many lash primers come in white. They’re sometimes hard to cover and it takes extra coats of mascara to make sure your lashes don’t have white peeping though. blinc figured it out on behalf of all of us with this lash primer that comes in either black or white. The upside of white is that it’s kind of exciting when you see just how long your lashes look, but this black eyelash primer is so much less stressful. With conditioners like D-Panthenol and Tocopheral Acetate, and a lash growth promoter, Pentapeptide-17, this primer amps up your lashes, making them look thicker and longer. Add one or two coats prior to using mascara. After use, your lashes feel more supple and less dry than when using mascara alone.
- Makes lashes look longer and fuller
- Contains lash growth promoters
- Lashes feel supple, even after mascara
- Black color is much easier to cover with mascara
- Formula is a bit runny and can smear
- Tends to get clumpy with extra coats
- Tube can dry out too quickly
- Doesn’t wash off as easily as some
4. Benefit They’re Real Tinted Lash Primer
If you’re looking to define and prime your lashes with just a swipe of color, the Benefit tinted primer is a sweet way to do it. This water resistant primer separates lashes with a spikey applicator brush that has a tip that’s perfect for those hard to reach tiny lashes. It adds a touch of sable brown color to your lashes, so it’s the perfect cheater for mascara, especially if you’re headed to the beach. Did we mention water resistant? Oh yes, we did. This mascara primer is infused with Pro-Vitamin B5 to condition and moisturize your lashes. Topped with a coat of mascara, you’ll be amazed at how long and lush your lashes look. If you like to keep your lash products to a single brand, the Benefit They’re Real Mascara is one of our favorites for long wear and lack of flaking and smudging.
Price: $29 (23 percent off MSRP)
- Defines and primes
- Great applicator
- Tint makes it a great double for casual mascara days
- Water resistant, so it’s great for beach days
- Water resistant formula makes it tougher to remove
- Too many coats can get clumpy
- Can cause eye irritation
- Super spendy
5. Christian Dior Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple Volume Plumping Lash Primer
If you’re looking to pump of your lash volume, Diorshow Maximizer 3D delivers results that will impress. This primer, plus lash serum features an air-pumped texture that coats each lash with a dense, airy layer to intensify the effects of your fave mascara. This lash primer promises to deliver three times more volume and 90 percent more curl, a huge benefit for those of us with chronically straight lashes. It improves your lash appearance in the short term, but with regular use, the serum portion of this product helps you to grow longer, thicker and more beautiful lashes. You can also use it at night as a lash pampering plus to increase growth. The applicator on this eyelash primer is especially good at separating and defining each lash, which means your mascara is going to look clump free and totally fab.
Price: $21 (29 percent off MSRP)
- Seriously volumizes lashes
- Excellent applicator for defining lashes
- Formula includes lash growth serum for improved lashes long term
- Doesn’t clump and flake
- Somewhat spendy
- White color can be difficult to cover
- Improved lash growth not seen by some users
Find more Christian Dior Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple Volume Plumping Lash Primer information and reviews here.
6. Most Popular: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara Primer
If you’ve never tried eyelash primer, and you don’t want to make a major investment on something you’re not sure you’ll love, this L’Oréal lash primer is the perfect first step. It was my first primer too, and I still use it. I discovered it quite by accident because my mom’s lashes looked so lovely, I asked if she’d started curling her eyelashes. She handed me a tube to try, and wow – what a difference. My naturally straight lashes curled up and stayed that way when I put on my mascara. While it’s pretty thick in consistency, it goes on quite smoothly, and once dried you can see your lashes looking boosted significantly. It also allows you to use less mascara than you might normally, because you really need only one coat to make your lashes look amazing. While it doesn’t claim to increase lash growth, it definitely does allow you to stop using your eyelash curler so much, which can make a big difference in lash health, long term. If you want one less tube of lash product in your makeup bag, check out the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Superstar Washable Mascara. It comes in a two-part tube, with primer on one end and mascara on the other. Very handy, especially for travel. If you don’t mind two tubes, and you want full sizes of each mascara and eyelash primer, consider the L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara Set.
Price: $4.99 (17 percent off MSRP)
- Super affordable
- Makes lashes look seriously longer
- Keeps your lashes looking curled
- Helps to condition lashes
- White color can be hard to cover completely
- Can get a bit clumpy if you use more than one coat
- Needs a better applicator wand
- Thick formula can be tough to apply evenly
7. CLINIQUE Lash Building Primer
Serious lengthening and volume are the benefits of CLINIQUE Lash Building Primer. As a lover of all things CLINIQUE, I was introduced to this great primer years ago by my girlfriend who was the GM of my local Nordstrom store. It was a wake up call, when it came to longer looking, more noticeable lashes. This bright white primer separates and defines your lashes well, and keeps them looking perky and visible, even after you put on some of the wetter brands of mascara, which can be major curl killers. I’m a fan of the fact that’s it’s ophthalmologist tested, which is always reassuring for a product you’re going to get near your eyes. This non-irritating formula also features conditioners to keep your lashes softer and healthier. It’s also super easy to remove with soap and water or your favorite eye makeup remover. The CLINIQUE Lash Bash Set gives you three full-sized products at a killer price – Lash Building Primer, High Impact Mascara and Lower Lash Mascara.
Price: $24.45 (11 percent off MSRP)
- Lengthens and volumizes lashes
- Lashes stay curled, even with wetter mascaras
- Conditioning formula makes for healthier lashes
- Ophthalmologist tested
- Simply spendy
- White primer can be difficult to cover with mascara
- May clump when layered too thickly
- Works best when dry before mascara application
8. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer + Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
What’s not to love about an eyelash primer that comes with a fabulous mascara included? Just when you were thinking this primer was above your budget, they sneak in an awesome mascara surprise that gives you the chance to try two companion products at once. This lash primer from Tarte most definitely increases the look and length of your lashes, separating and then adding volume to each lash. It’s also great for giving your lashes that curled look, simply by using upward strokes of the applicator brush. I’m nuts about this primer because it works well, as long as you use a light touch. Don’t add multiple coats, because it will start looking clumpy. The other thing I appreciate about this primer is that your lashes actually look more natural, and less like you’ve piled on tons of mascara, if you apply the latter while your primer isn’t quite dry. Your lashes and the white primer will be covered more easily while in the still moist state. Natch, if you like the spider leg look for your lashes, you can do that, but I’d recommend against it for everyday wear. We love that all the cosmetics from Tarte are dermatologist tested, vegan friendly and cruelty free.
Price: From $36.20
- Definitely adds volume and length
- Companion mascara included
- Dermatologist tested
- Vegan friendly and cruelty free
- Expensive compared to some
- Can get clumpy with too many coats
- Some packaging issues reported
Find more Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer + Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara information and reviews here.
9. butter LONDON Fit Lash Primer Mascara
We’ve talked about white, brown and even black eyelash primers, but baby blue? That’s a new spin on the way to plump and prep your lashes. Infused with lash loving conditioners like Meadowfoam seed oil, (sounds so British, doesn’t it?) shea butter extract and and wheat derived amino acids, you actually get healthier lashes when you lavish on this primer. Better yet, you’ll wowed by the wicked volume and length your lashes appear to have afterward, because this primer’s loaded with tons of tiny fibers to create effect. This mascara primer is also helpful in getting your lashes to stand up and stay curled for the whole day. The light blue color makes it easy to see, and it ensures you get all your lashes coated – even those tiny babies in the corners of your eyes and on your lower lid. We love the spikey little primer brush applicator, although it would be better if it had that spikey end, and this one doesn’t. This primer maximizes the effect of your mascara, and helps to keep it from smudging during the day. But the lengthening effect means you can probably skip the falsies, except for fancy nights out.
- Pale blue color makes it easy to see tiny lashes
- Delivers length and volume because of tiny fibers in the formula
- Helps keep mascara from smudging
- Natural conditioners make your lashes more healthy
- Not as lengthening as some
- Blue color can be hard to cover with mascara
- More spendy than some
10. RevitaLash Cosmetics Volumizing Primer
We’ve gone from a baby blue primer to this brilliant and bold blue lash primer from RevitaLash, one of our favorite companies because we love their super-effective eyelash growth serum. This mascara primer has the ability to be worn alone, and if you’re looking to give your eyes a brighter and white look, blue is the go to color. But this mascara primer also preps your lashes for super smooth mascara application with the added bonus of a bit more drama and fullness. The stiff applicator brush makes it easy to separate lashes and coat them evenly, and for best effect, apply your mascara while this primer is still wet. That way it will go on more smoothly than you might be used to. It’s slick. RevitaLash primer is buildable, so you can use more coats get get your desired look. This formula has conditioning peptides, which are also in their growth serum, so healthier lashes are in the offing when you use this primer. As a side note, many of us like to spend money with companies who support the causes we care about. RevitaLash has made an ongoing commitment to breast cancer awareness and education, and that’s an initiative we can get behind.
- Makes lashes look long and full
- Buildable for more dramatic effects
- Nourishing peptides condition your lashes
- You can wear like colored mascara if you choose
- Darned expensive
- Not as volumzing as some
- Some reports of dried out product
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