Turns out lash primers *are* necessary–here's the best we've tried

A lash primer is an essential step

a close up of one hazel eye and eyebrow, with a small section of brunette hair over the face
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With so many recent lash primer launches, all we want to know is if the best lash primers are necessary? There's lots to think about, is it worth another step in your makeup routine? Is it worth the ££'s? Well, the experts say that the best lash primers are definitely worth the extra step. 

You know how the best foundation doesn't work as well or stay as long without a slick of the best primer underneath? Well, you'll find that the same applies to your best mascara.

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. Keep scrolling to find out what you need to know about using a lash primer. 

Is lash primer necessary?

"Eyelash primers give your lashes a new surface to adhere to," says Nam Vo, Global Artistry Ambassador for Marc Jacobs.

"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. Plus, they seal your mascara in place. There's no flaking or smudging throughout the day, so it's worth it," Vo explains.

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.

However, it's not necessary to choose the same brand of lash primer and mascara - if the lash primer is great, it will help any mascara last longer. 

Who needs a lash primer?

"A lash primer is ideal for people who have really straight lash profiles where nothing seems to hold the curl, or those who have turned to lash services like a lash lift or extensions because they feel like they can never get a dramatic look with their natural lashes," says Elyse Reneau, Executive Director at Global Beauty Too Faced.

How to use lash primer?

"Lash primer is meant to be worn underneath mascara in order to achieve its maximum effect. Simply add a coat or two to your lashes before putting on your favorite mascara. The great thing about Better Than Sex Foreplay is that we made the formula in a pitch black shade, which avoids the traditionally white residue that other lash primers typically have. While we recommend pairing with Better Than Sex, it works under any mascara, or even on its own," explains Reneau.

"I like to apply it and let it sit while I do something else on my face and then I apply the mascara, it’s protective for your lashes because mascara is so drying and can also be left on overnight as a lash treatment," make-up artist, Demi Zissimou tells Marie Claire UK.

What to look for in a lash primer?

Do you want tinted or non tinted? 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 from Marc Jacobs Beauty. "A tiny precision tip wand is what I use for mess-free application on the lower lashes. Tapered wands are great for those hard-to-reach places, like the inner and outer lashes."

Best lash primers as tested by team Marie Claire UK 

The Marie Claire team has been busy testing. Scroll down to see the ones we really rate...

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.