If you have deep-set eyes, stay up late most nights, or are just plain blessed with dark circles under your eyes, you know how important it is to cover those dark circles up.
Whether you use foundation or concealer, the key to make your makeup go on smoothly to hide under-eye imperfections is with a good under eye makeup primer.
There’s no single primer that’s good for everyone’s under-eyes. Some people are more concerned about moisturizing their dry skin, while others just want zero creases. One way or another, the best under eye primer should be able to keep your makeup looking fresh all day long so you can look more awake and lively.
To help you choose the primer best-suited for your under-eye situation, I’ve rounded up some of the best ones in the market today. Take your pick and say “good riddance!” to those baggy, dark under-eye circles once and for all.
Table of Contents
- Best Under Eye Primer Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying Under Eye Primer
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Under Eye Primer Reviews
1. SmashBox Under Eye Primer
If you have particularly dry under-eye skin, you’ll love the hydrating and super silky consistency of this under-eye primer by SmashBox.
This moisturizing eye primer contains nourishing ingredients, such as shea butter, peptides, and algae extracts to lightly hydrate the skin and prep it for makeup. Because it moisturizes the skin, you can get away using matte foundations and concealers without them creasing.
If you struggle with under-eye puffiness when you wake up in the morning, this hydrating under eye primer is perfect for you too. It contains caffeine and chamomile, which help soothe and calm down puffiness, making your skin look smooth and relaxed.
This primer is relatively good at keeping your makeup from fading throughout the day. It even has a crease-resistant formula, so your makeup doesn’t form lines and cracks later in the day. Because it doesn’t settle in your fine lines, I would say it makes a great under eye primer for dry mature skin.
The best part is that even if you use a lot of the product, it never gets cakey—just smooth and silky to hydrate your skin.
2. e.l.f. Under Eye Primer
You don’t always need to go for an expensive, high-end brand to get great results for your under-eye makeup. Sometimes the drugstore has even better options for a fraction of the price—like this e.l.f. under eye primer.
This primer is infused with many natural, moisturizing ingredients. It contains aloe, green tea, shea butter, and the exotic ginkgo biloba. All these hydrate the skin so you’re not left with dry, flaky under-eyes. Not bad for a drugstore brand!
It also has vitamins C and E to soften and condition your skin. These vitamins also promote brighter and more elastic skin, improving your skin health overall.
This product is terrific for preparing your skin for concealer. It’s a great base that will hold your concealer properly all day long. It also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making it another contender for the best under eye primer for mature skin.
The primer has a peachy tone, which is a good color to correct any dark circles you have in under-eye area. It brightens up the under-eyes, making you look lively even if you had a long night.
3. Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer
Flash photography can catch you at your not-so-glamorous moments when your eyes are dark and baggy because of stress. Make sure to brighten and prep your under-eyes before concealer with this Revlon primer, designed so you can always be ready for a snapshot.
This fantastic under-eye primer contains photo chromatic pigments that reflect and diffuse light. It evens out your skin tone and brightens the under-eye area in order to give you a glowy look.
This brightening primer makes sure there aren’t any stark wrinkles, lines, and creases under your eye before you put your concealer or foundation on, making it a good under eye primer for fine lines. That means you can use it not just under the eyes, but on your eyelids too!
Because it comes in such a lightweight gel formula, it’s perfect for oily skin that can’t take heavyweight creams. The formula is also oil-free, so you don’t have to worry about clogging your skin or over-moisturizing it.
It also makes a terrific under eye primer for sensitive skin because it doesn’t contain potentially irritating ingredients, such as talc, fragrance, and parabens. In other words, if you are allergic to some cosmetic ingredients, this product will do you justice.
4. Elizabeth Mott Eye Shadow Base
If you want a more versatile option while getting more bang for your buck, try out this eye shadow base by Elizabeth Mott. It’s designed to prime and prevent creasing in your eyelids, but it works just as well for your under-eye area. With this product, you can prime two areas at once!
This primer’s formula contains pearl powder to help brighten underneath your eyes and make you look a bit more cheerful. It also gives you a more even tone and complexion overall. Pearl powder also combats oiliness for those with issues with greasiness under the eyes.
I love this primer because it locks in your makeup, so you know your foundation and concealer isn’t going anywhere all day long. It also prevents lines and wrinkles from showing. Your under-eye makeup won’t fade or break out into lines and creases as long as you use this.
It has a weightless and non-greasy finish, so it’s perfect for oily eyelids and skin around the eyes. It also dries quickly so that you’re able to put on your eyeshadow and under-eye concealer without waiting too long for drying.
5. Becca Under Eye Primer
Any hardworking woman knows that fatigue is the enemy of your under-eye area. Dark circles can be such a hassle to work around, but with this primer from high-end brand Becca, you can turn your look and entire day around.
This primer smooths and blurs any fine lines and wrinkles you may have under your eyes. That results in a very smooth application of makeup without anything settling in your lines. If you’re looking for the best under eye primer for wrinkles, this should be a frontrunner.
It’s infused with gorgeous botanicals like cucumber, matcha green tea, and caffeine to wake your skin up and combat puffiness. They also help soothe and brighten the skin, so don’t be afraid to give it a good massage.
Apart from these soothing ingredients, it also has essential vitamins and peptides to keep your skin healthy, bouncy, and strong. My favorite thing about this primer is that it has a unique balm-like texture that is as smooth and soft as velvet. It melts into the skin like butter, so it’s always exciting to use in the morning.
As with all Becca makeup products, the packaging is on point. It has a luxe and classy translucent packaging design.
6. Peter Thomas Roth Primer
If you have more mature under-eye skin that needs some perking up and conditioning, try out this primer by Peter Thomas Roth. It’s packed with ingredients that are good for aging skin while targeting issues with darkness and puffiness under the eyes.
This primer has vitamin K1 and a touch of Haloxyl to diminish any sort of darkness under the eyes, which can lead to baggy circles that make you look tired and weary. It also has caffeine and green coffee extract to soothe your under-eye area and eliminate puffiness to give you a more energetic look.
More mature skin tends to have a lot of wrinkles and fine lines. Luckily, this primer is infused with hydrolyzed collagen, which helps improve the condition of the skin. That means it can even help smooth out your signs of skin aging in the long run!
Another unique ingredient in this primer is diamond powder. This powder scatters light across the under-eye area to give you a smooth, soft-focus finish after you apply all your makeup.
In addition, the primer has a slight peachy beige tint that can brighten the under-eye of all skin tones. It also can blend well with any skin tone, which I find useful when I want to change my makeup style on some special occasions.
7. Catrice Under Eye Primer
Another drugstore option that doesn’t skrimp on high quality and effectiveness is this under-eye primer by Catrice. I like the clear shade best because of its fuss-free, no-brainer application.
This primer fills in your fine lines and wrinkles to make a smooth canvas for your makeup to glide on. With this, your concealer and foundation won’t settle in the crevices of your skin and form makeup lines and creases. It doesn’t emphasize any of the imperfections.
It’s liquid in texture and transparent in color, so you don’t have to worry about any beige tint clashing with your skin tone or concealer shade.
A little goes a long way with this primer. You only need to apply a very thin coat, and it magically diminishes your fine lines and smooths out your under-eye. That’s why even if it’s made to prep concealer, it’s amazing to use on its own even if you’re not planning on wearing makeup.
I also love that this primer is designed ethically with a sustainable lifestyle in mind. It’s 100% vegan and is never tested on animals, so you know you’re making a responsible purchase when you buy this.
8. Sorme Under Shadow Primer
Sorme is a brand that’s all about making you look beautiful with makeup but still treating your skin right. So if you want an eye primer that does more than one job, this might become your new favorite.
Even though this primer is designed primarily to be an eyeshadow primer, I find that it does an impeccable job as an under-eye primer too. I see it as a two-in-one product—a primer for all over and under the eye.
What makes this primer special is how powerful it is when it comes to hiding dark circles. It brightens your under-eye without making it look fake, like you caked on too much concealer. The result is an even-toned complexion.
The secret is the flesh-colored tint it has, which cancels out blue and purple hues of darkness, as well as redness from stress and puffiness. The tint isn’t opaque at all, so it won’t leave your under-eye with a white cast.
The primer is formulated with vitamins A, E, and shea butter. These help to soften and moisturize the skin, so it can be supple. It’s also infused with soothing ingredients like chamomile and cucumber, which reduce puffiness by calming the skin.
9. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye
Now, I know what you’re thinking—this under-eye product by It Cosmetics is a concealer, not a primer. But because it works so well when it comes to brightening the under-eye and smoothing out the skin with nourishing ingredients, I realize that it becomes an outstanding primer before foundation.
This full-coverage concealer is highly pigmented, so it does a spectacular job at hiding your under-eye circles and making you look less tired and dreary. It also makes sure the skin is smoothened out so that it doesn’t crease or crack within your fine lines.
I love that this concealer is made with so many hydrating ingredients to improve the skin, especially maturing skin. It has important peptides and vitamins to make your skin stronger, as well as collagen and hyaluronic acid to condition and hydrate it.
Because of all these powerhouse ingredients, it’s proven to promote a healthier skin barrier. No wonder it’s a favorite among those who love anti-aging makeup products!
This concealer is also 100% waterproof. That means you don’t have to worry about it melting off when you sweat or stand under the rain.
10. L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base
Lastly, let’s take a look at this face and under-eye primer by L’Oreal. It’s called a “perfecting base” for a reason—it smooths down your skin to minimize imperfections and lay down a good foundation for long-lasting makeup.
This is a versatile primer that is most recommended for all over the face and under the eyes. That way, you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on primers for every area of your face.
The product serves as a great primer for those with a lot of imperfections they’d like to fill in because it minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines. It smooths out your skin to prepare it for your makeup to effortlessly glide and sink into your skin with no flakiness and creases.
Plus, it improves the staying power of your foundation and concealer. The makeup is locked in so that you don’t have to worry about it melting off or fading hours after application.
The primer has a silk-touch formula that melts comfortably into the skin but dries completely matte. That makes it perfect for oily skin.
But what I love most about this primer is that you can wear it even without putting makeup over it. When you wear it under the eye without putting on concealer, it gives a fresh and flawless look—smooth, color-corrected, and without fine lines and wrinkles.
What to Look for When Buying Under Eye Primer
Makes your foundation and concealer last longer under the eyes
Primers are formulated to hold makeup pigment well so that they can stay in place all day long. The entire point of using an under-eye primer is to use it as a base for your makeup to extend its wear.
An under-eye primer should be smooth and silky, but it lays down a somewhat tacky foundation for your concealer to go on top of. When choosing a primer, make sure it will keep your makeup from melting off too fast, so that you can enjoy fresh and darkness-free under-eyes for longer.
Won’t allow makeup to crease as the day goes
If you wear concealer without under-eye primer, you’ll notice that throughout the day, your concealer will crease and create makeup lines on the skin. This is the case, especially when you don’t set your concealer with powder.
This is because over time, the makeup fades and melts, settling into those fine lines and emphasizing your wrinkles. For more, having creasy makeup just isn’t a good look on anyone. It tends to look untidy and can make you look tiresome and worn out.
Try looking for pore-minimizing and line-filling primers that can blur and smooth out imperfections and crevices makeup can settle in. That way, your makeup glides easily on the skin and doesn’t create creases and cracks throughout the day.
Helps reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes
Another key issue many women face when it comes to their under-eye area is dark circles. They show up when you’ve had a long work night with no sleep. Some ladies even have naturally dark under-eyes, which means concealer is their best friend. And when you use concealer, you always need to have a good primer.
Some primers work extra hard to make sure they also help brighten those under-eye bags. Many primers will have a subtle peachy tone. This tone corrects the color of your under-eyes by canceling out blue and purple hues that make up those dark circles.
When a primer cancels darkness under your eyes, it makes hiding eyebags a lot easier because even before you put on concealer, you’re already looking a lot more lively than before. It also helps give you an even skin tone with a bit of extra light in your eyes, which adds a soft glow to your look.
Reduces puffiness and redness under the eyes
Some women, on the other hand, are lucky enough not to go through the hassle of working around dark under-eyes, but have morning puffiness and redness, especially when waking up early. What you need for this is an under-eye primer that calms and soothes the skin to bring it back to its natural state.
You want to look for a primer with ingredients to soothe that puffiness, usually natural botanicals. Look out for green tea, caffeine, and aloe, which help wake up the skin while calming it down the same way it calms pimples and wounds.
To target redness, try going for a primer with a subtle color-correcting tint that cancels out red hues to make your under-eye skin tone closer to that of the rest of your face.
Has moisturizing benefits if you have dry skin
Dry skin can be tricky to put makeup on because it’s a lot more likely to crease makeup or create cracks throughout the day, like the land in a hot and dry desert. When concealer looks like that, it ruins your entire glam look, so it’s important to look for an under-eye prime that will hydrate your skin.
When hunting for an under-eye primer for dry skin, try looking for moisturizing ingredients to nourish the under-eyes and make it easier to apply even matte concealer and foundation. As a guide, try looking for your favorite hydrating ingredients in your skincare products.
Some of the best moisturizing ingredients for the under-eye are shea butter and essential peptides to nourish the skin and create a smooth, flake-free base for the makeup to go on. It’s also very beneficial to have a moisturizing primer if your under-eyes tend to be crusty throughout the day.
Mattifies the skin if you have oily under-eyes
Oily under-eye skin poses problems as well. It can promote more makeup creasing under the eye over time. Foundation and concealer can also build up as it mixes with oil throughout the day, making your makeup look more cakey than it was when you first put it on.
The solution to this is looking for an under-eye primer with mattifying properties and keep your sebum production at bay underneath your makeup all day long. Not only will concealer apply easier on matte skin, but it will last a lot longer as well. It also lessens blotting time throughout the day!
Doesn’t get cakey even if you pack it on in layers
Another thing I like in an under-eye primer is knowing that I can pack on a lot of it without worrying that it will look too overbearing.
Many primers only need a small amount of product to effectively create a good base on your skin. But if you struggle with getting the right amount of primer on the first try, you might be applying more than you should.
I love primers that are very forgiving and still look smooth and silky on the skin even if you accidentally pack on too much product. It makes it easier to work with, and never makes your concealer look cakey or fake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted under-eye primer brands?
The most trusted brands that come up with under-eye primers are those that are renowned for their cosmetics lines and makeup products in general.
If you’re looking at something on the more affordable end, you can go for Catrice, L’Oreal, Revlon, and e.l.f. These brands are known to come up with high-quality under-eye primers that don’t break the bank. They’re also super accessible and are easy to find in your nearest drugstore.
If you have more money to splurge and want to invest in high-end makeup, then you could check out the under-eye primers of brands like It Cosmetics, SmashBox, Becca, and Peter Thomas Roth. These brands have been known to come up with luxury primers for modern women.
What is under-eye primer? Who is this for?
An under-eye primer is a base you put on the skin under your eyes to prep it before your foundation and concealer application. It’s supposed to act as a canvas for smooth makeup application, and something like a glue that keeps your makeup on for a long time.
Under-eye primers often address other skin issues like brightening dark eyebags or reducing redness and puffiness from crying. They’re able to do these when they have a color-correcting tint that cancels out blue and red hues, giving you a more even face complexion.
Some primers can also fill in fine lines and wrinkles, so that no makeup settles in those areas and creates creases throughout the day.
These primers are for anyone who uses under-eye concealers and even foundation all over the face. It’s especially useful if you’re attending an event or gathering and need your under-eye makeup to last all night without budging.
They’re also useful for those who have naturally dark under-eyes because some primers can brighten those areas and make you look more awake. Mature women may also love under-eye primers to smooth out and diminish their wrinkles and crow’s feet, to make them look a bit younger.
What can I use if I don’t have an eye primer?
Don’t have an under-eye primer? Not to worry. There are so many alternative options you can use instead. The best part is that you probably already have them in your skincare shelf or makeup drawer.
If you’re more of a skincare junkie, you can always grab your eye cream or facial moisturizer in place of your under-eye primer. These can serve as a base that will hold your under-eye concealer for as long as it can. It may not have the same long-lasting hold as a primer, but it’s better than nothing.
You can also use any other primer you have, like a face primer or eyeshadow primer, and use it on your under-eyes. All primers basically do the same thing—they make sure your makeup stays in place and doesn’t melt off as quickly. So it makes sense to use the same primer for your under-eye too.
Does primer prevent creasing?
Yes, preventing creasing is one of the main benefits of under-eye primers. Primers tend to fill in the fine lines and wrinkles you may have under your eyes. So when you apply your concealer and foundation, none of the makeup will settle in those crevices and emphasize them, resulting in no creasing or cracking in your final look.
How do you keep foundation from creasing under your eyes?
By using a high-quality under-eye primer! If you feel like you can’t quite get the right foundation or concealer because each one keeps creasing on you, maybe it’s time you try an under-eye primer. This helps diminish those lines and creases, leaving you with taut-looking, silky smooth skin.
It’s a game-changer for those with lines and wrinkles under their eyes, and it turns back time for more mature women who want to look fresher and younger.
How do you use an under-eye primer?
Apply a small amount under your eyes and spread evenly across the skin with your fingers. You can use a makeup sponge if that’s what you prefer, but note that it may suck up some of the product. If you want to use every last drop of primer, use your fingertips instead.
Application is different depending on the format of your under-eye primer. If it has a liquid texture and comes in a tube with a doe-foot applicator, dot it across your under-eyes. If you have a balm-type primer in a tub, take some of the product with your fingers and massage gently into the skin.
Allow your primer to set for a minute or two before applying your foundation or concealer. Your makeup should look smooth, and your eyes more wide awake!
Can I use an under-eye primer even if I don’t plan on wearing makeup?
Yes! Many primers are designed to still give you a fresh and flawless look under the eye even if you don’t plan on applying makeup on top of it.
Try using primers that reduce fine lines if you just want a smooth yet natural look. You can also opt for primers that have a beige tint to cancel out any darkness or redness without the cakey look of concealer.
Primers can also be a good hydrator for those with dry skin under the eyes. They can be worn without makeup to make sure the eyes don’t feel crusty by the end of the day. On the flip side, you can also use a mattifying primer to keep under-eye oiliness at bay even without packing on concealer afterwards.
Is it absolutely necessary to wear a primer under concealer for the eyes?
If you have perfect skin that isn’t too dry or oily and has no darkness or fine lines whatsoever, then you technically can get away without using the primer. But be warned—your makeup won’t last as long when you don’t have a good base to apply it on.
I think everyone should be using an under-eye primer so that their favorite concealer and foundation won’t go to waste. What’s the point of doing an entire glam look if your makeup is just going to crease under your eyes and melt in a few hours, right?
What is better, a high-end or a drugstore under-eye primer?
Contrary to what many people assume, a high-end under-eye primer is not always better than one bought at the drugstore. The price difference usually only depends on whether the brand name carrying it is a luxury brand or how fine and unique the ingredients are.
Take a Marc Jacobs under eye primer, for example. It will always be more expensive than an economical yet top-notch Maybelline primer—not because the latter is any less effective at keeping your concealer in place or hiding your fine lines, but because Marc Jacobs is in itself a luxury designer label.
There are good high-end and drugstore primers the same way there are bad ones from both ends of the spectrum too. What’s important isn’t the price tag, but what the primers do for your skin through its innovative cosmetic technologies or nourishing botanical ingredients.
Where can I buy an under-eye primer?
You can purchase an under-eye primer from many places. If you already have a brand in mind, you can walk into their brick and mortar store to check out what under-eye primer options they have.
If you want more options, you can check out makeup stores that carry more than one brand. These include Ulta if you’re looking for a budget brand and Sephora if you’d like to invest in something more high-end. You can also check out retail stores and drugstores such as Target or CVS.
What’s great about going in-store to purchase a primer is that you can swatch their samples and see if you like the product’s tint and texture. However, it can get overwhelming quickly, and you’ll likely end up impulsively buying something you haven’t done so much research on.
So the best place to make your under-eye primer purchase is online. You can browse many brand options on online marketplaces, like Amazon. You can even read reviews to see other people’s experiences on the product, so you can be sure you’re getting something good.
While many people see under-eye primer as more of a supplemental makeup product, it’s crucial for tying your entire glam look together, so you keep looking fresh all day.
Whether you choose a high-end brand or a drugstore dupe, there’s always a primer that will fit your preference and skin issues. Hopefully, with this roundup of the best under eye primer options, you’ve finally found “the one.”
So what are you waiting for? Try out one of these amazing primers and give your eye makeup a look that extra oomph it needs to last all day and zap those dark circles away!