Take your eye make-up to new heights


From finding a suitable eye cream to learning how to do our eyebrows efficiently at home (and even how to deal with insomnia), we’re always on the hunt for things to make our eyes look their best. Often, the answer is simply make-up, with under-eye concealer and mascara among our favourite products for this task.


But while we know that a bit of setting powder can make under-eye concealers look infinitely better and last longer, can we do the same for our mascara? That’s where an eyelash and mascara primer comes in. Here’s everything you need to know about it and why it’ll soon become your new make-up bag staple.


What does eyelash & mascara primer do?


So much! In a nutshell though, it makes your mascara live up to its full potential. Not only does it help it to go on with less clumps and last longer, it also conditions lashes to make them stronger so that applying your favourite formula is smoother. And, depending on the one you choose, it can help to lengthen and thicken your lashes!


Does mascara primer help with smudging?


In a word, yes, not least because of how it helps to prevent clumps. It’s also useful to note that your mascara may smudge because of your eyelids, so an eyeshadow primer could be useful here to mattify the eye area and stop things from sliding around.


While you might opt for a waterproof mascara to prevent smudging entirely, these can be drying and slightly harder to remove than a regular mascara, and your lashes could be damaged in the process. Balance this out with a conditioning mascara primer to give your lashes the nourishment they need.


How to apply primer mascara?


We suggest always starting with an eyelash curler to make the most of your natural lashes before introducing any product and, of course, they should be completely bare at this point!


After this, apply the eyelash primer as you would mascara, making sure to coat your lashes from root to tip for the perfect base.


The next step divides opinion. Some say that allowing the eyelash primer to fully dry before applying your mascara could potentially lead to clumpy lashes, which, of course, is exactly what you don’t want if you’ve gone to the effort of adding an extra step to your make-up routine in order to prevent clumps in the first place. Others say that at least 30 seconds of drying time is best to fully reap the benefits of the primer. It’s a good idea to read what the individual product you’ve chosen recommends or try both and see which one works for best for you.


What’s the best eyelash primer?


Whatever your budget or go-to mascara, here are some of our favourites for helping your lashes look their fullest and longest. Trust us, once you add one of these primers to your eye make-up routine, you won’t look back. 


Complete your eye make-up look here

The best longwear mascara primer


Try: 
DIOR Diorshow Maximizer 3D Lash Primer-Serum (£28)


• Size: 10ml


Not only does this give you thicker, curlier and longer lashes for 24 hours, it can also be used on its own as a lash conditioner to make your eyelashes look better over time, all on their own!

The best eyelash primer for a false lash effect


Try: 
Max Factor False Lash Effect Max Out Primer (£11.99)


• Size: 13.1ml


It’s the blue micro pigments in this mascara primer that we adore. They make your lashes look darker and therefore your eyes brighter. And the fact that they’re contained within a rich formula that increases lash volume, length and definition doesn’t go amiss either.

The best value mascara primer


Try: 
Collection Lash Primer Mascara - White (£2.99)


• Size: 8ml

• Vegan


If you were hesitant about purchasing mascara primer, the bargain price of this one might be the thing to sway you. That’s not the only thing that it has going for it, though. It’s also enriched with vitamin E and shea butter to care for your lashes.

The best multi-tasking eyelash primer


Try: 
No7 Lash Impact Primer (£13.95)


• Size: 7ml


Not only can this be used as an eyelash primer, it’s also an eyelash tint and a topcoat for mascara that makes it water resistant and therefore stops smudging. Glorious!

The best eyelash primer for lengthening


Try: 
NYX Professional Makeup On The Rise Lash Booster (£11)


• Size: 9.6ml


It’s hard to top the work of many mascaras, but this primer – which is enriched with castor oil to condition lashes – somehow manages to, leaving you with thicker, more lifted and longer lashes than you could ever have imagined. It’s also slightly tinted, so can be worn alone too if you’re looking for a pared-back look.

The best conditioning eyelash primer


Try: 
Clinique Lash Building Primer (£17)


• Size: 4.8ml

• Ophthalmologist tested


Want to boost the benefits of your mascara while conditioning and protecting your lashes? Look no further! This conditioning undercoat has brittleness covered.

The best eyelash primer for boosting volume


Try: 
L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara Primer (£11.99)


• Size: 7.2ml


The perfect partner will boost you but care for you too, which is precisely what this mascara primer does. Plus, the formula is enriched with an array of vitamins to make your lashes softer as well!

The best mascara primer for sensitive eyes


Try: 
Lancôme Cils Booster XL Mascara Primer (£25.50)


• Size: 15g


Sensitive eyes don’t have to shy away from mascara with this mascara primer around, which means no more smudging (and thicker, curvier, lengthier lashes in general, naturally).