Reader question: What's the difference between eye and face primers?

Hi Liz,

I'm looking for a good primer for the oily parts of my face (I'm combination skin) - which is my T -zone AND my eyelids. I tend to get really oily lids which ruins my eyeshadow. My question is, if I plan to get a primer, do I need to get a separate one for my eyelids? Or could I just go with an all-around primer like Benefit's Porefessional or Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer? - Jin

Hi Jin! Thanks for the question. Eye primers and face primers are different from each other because the skin on those areas and the makeup you use on them require a different type of base. They're like oranges and apples!

Benefit Porefessional vs Urban Decay Primer Potion

You'd want your T-zone and cheeks to look smoother, poreless, and less oily, which is where silicone-based primers come in. The fine silicone in the product fills in the pores and lines, thus blurring them while also acting as a barrier between your skin and makeup. This makes you oil up less and helps your makeup look smoother overall.

An eye primer, on the other hand, is intended to coat your lids in a more solid manner. They are usually translucent or tinted to lighten the lids. The ingredients used in an eye primer serve as a sort of adhesive to the pigments and shimmer in your eyeshadow. They grab the color better and once it sets completely your eyeshadow shouldn't crease or move around.

Silicone face primers don't work well on the lids because the're more viscous and do not usually set; they sit on top of skin. They'll crease and slip everytime you blink your eyes. Conversely, eye primers can't be used on the face because they will block your pores due to the harder texture and different set of ingredients that aren't intended for the face. 

There are other types of face primers that are water or gel-based, however. I haven't really tried them so I can't say for sure if they can be used on the eyes.

Hope this helps Jin!