We’re here to tell you that eyelash primers work on every front.
‘Eyelash primers give your lashes a new surface to adhere to,’ says Nam Vo, Global Artistry Ambassador for Marc Jacobs and instagram’s new favourite make-up artist (according to her 262K followers).
‘Yes, it’s another step in your beauty regime, but eyelash primers ensure that when you layer mascara on top, it goes on clump free,’ she says. ‘Plus, they seal your mascara in place. There’s no flaking or smudging throughout the day, so it’s worth it.’
Cocktailed with your mascara, eyelash primers also boost the volume of spindly hairs and extend their length for a false lash effect.
Not to mention, some formulas are tinted.
This beefs up all lashes, making them look instantly denser even if you choose not to wear mascara on top. But it’s especially beneficial for those with fair lashes as the overall pigment is richer and longer lasting.
Many eyelash primers nourish and condition, too.
‘Coating lashes with a formula rich in glycerin and jojoba oil before putting on your mascara will save you from weak and brittle lashes and can promote natural growth,’ says Vo.
One more thing to consider when picking an eyelash primer: the shape of the wand.
‘A curved wand with thick bristles is great for creating major volume and drama in one swipe,’ says Vo. ‘A tiny precision tip wand is what I use for mess-free application on the lower lashes and tapered wands are great for those hard-to-reach places, like the inner and outer lashes.’
Finally, do you need to use the same brand of mascara to get the best results? ‘Not necessarily but eyelash primers and mascaras by the same brand normally pair well together as they share similar ingredients and technology,’ says Vo.
7 of the best eyelash primers
The Marie Claire team has been busy testing so you can lash out this party season. Scroll down to see the ones we really rate…
Tested by Jenny Proudfoot, features editor: 'I have always struggled with post-mascara clumps and eye make-up that looks very done, rather than naturally feathery lashes. But that all changed when I applied this primer. It elongated my lashes and most importantly for me, separated them, making them look soft and fluffy. I ended up preferring this tinted eyelash primer to my regular mascara so for the past few days I have just been using it as a substitute. I’m a convert.'
Tested by Fiona Embleton, senior beauty editor: 'I'm actually a big fan of eyelash primers having seen make-up artists cross their fingers and apply them to models with barely-there lashes after wearing too many falsies during Fashion Week. Every time the results were astonishing - and the same is true when I used this one on my own lashes. Sky-high length? Check. More definition? Check. And it also breathed life into the last dregs of my current mascara. Suddenly there was no more clumpy or patchy application, just a quick, smooth swipe through. Brilliant.'
Tested by Lucy Abbersteen, beauty writer: 'First of all, I like that this primer is black, because it makes sense to match it to the colour of your mascara. I also like how skinny the brush is, as you can get right into the root of your lashes. It gave me seriously long, lifted lashes when paired with a
volumising mascara, and you could probably wear it on its own for a more natural look, too.'
Tested by Lisa Oxenham, beauty & style director: 'I'm not really into eyelash primers as I always think they make my lashes look too thick – my face is quite small with delicate features and I like my lashes to softly frame it. But I was really surprised to see that this wasn’t the case. This primer, which is packed with clean ingredients, doesn't mess with your mascara formula, it just turbo-charges its effects.'
Tested by Andrea Thompson, editor-in-chief: 'My make-up routine is pretty minimal so I’ve never considered using an eyelash primer before. First impressions were: is the white formula going to make my mascara look grey? Actually, I think I’ve been missing a trick. This primer gripped my lashes so they looked super long and gave my mascara's jet black hue extra sheen. It really opened my eyes, too. I’d definitely use it again.'
Tested by Sarah Barnes, junior beauty writer: ‘My lashes are long but weak so I try not to overload them with product. Any fears about adding an extra coat under my mascara were unfounded as this formula is incredibly light and silky thanks to the conditioning jojoba oil. Another bonus: the jojoba oil makes eye make-up removal a doddle as there’s no unnecessary rubbing or lash fall out and the hairs still feel soft. My top tip? Wait a minute before applying mascara so the primer has time to set.'
Tested by Penny Goldstone, fashion editor: 'Don't let the
creamy consistency of this primer put you off - it brushes on smoothly and evenly and builds volume around the lashes before they've seen a single coat of mascara. Even then, they still looked like my natural lashes, just more dramatic. I loved the results so much, I found myself forgoing my usual flick of eyeliner. Win-win.'