Does this cheap drugstore eyeshadow primer deliver?

Eyeshadow primer isn't exactly sexy or exciting, but it's a basic necessity for any makeup junkie worth her salt. It's meant to make pigments brighter and hold down the color so that it doesn't come off with with the slightest beginnings of sweat and oil. I put it on automatically every time I plan to wear eyeshadows, or sometimes even just eyeliner if I know the formula isn't that long wearing.

That being said, I'm specific about how I want my eye primer to perform, and I have no patience for anything less. I just realized that I've mostly been using expensive eyeshadow primers: I've tried the cult Urban Decay Primer Potion, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, LORAC Behind The Scenes Primer, NARS Pro Prime, and currently, the MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base. The cheapest eye primer I've ever used would be the Artdeco Eyeshadow Base at 450 bucks.

Even cheaper is the Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base (P249). I didn't expect much from it considering its price tag but damn, it's good. It's a translucent eyeshadow primer that is easy to smooth all over the lids with zero streaking, and dries down with a pleasant surface that's easy to blend eyeshadow on. It has a fluid texture so make sure to dot only a small amount (maybe two dots) per lid.

I love how it makes my lids smooth and ready for color - unlike some primers I've tried, it doesn't "eat" the product, thereby making application patchy. Colors go on it with no fuss! As it promises on the label, it makes shadows more intense and vibrant, showing off the pigments' true powers.

If I were to compare it with anything, it's most similar to the NARS Pro Prime, which was my HG for a while. I only stopped using it because it was so expensive for a primer, and when I ran out I had the MAC on hand anyway. The Essence primer has the same doe foot applicator, texture, feel, and finish as the Pro Prime, though it has a sliiiightly cooler pink tint. The tint doesn't show much though.

I am not disappointed with the staying power of the Essence Eyeshadow Base. I wore it at 2pm and by 11pm, after running around Manila for work and dinner with friends, it kept my eyeshadow and eyeliner intact. It started to crease and fade around five hours from application but it was a slow descent - not like everything just fell off immediately. My eye makeup still looked dignified if not worn by the end of my day. Do note I that I have normal lids though and I keep my eye area dry at all times; if you don't blot or have particularly oily lids, you may get a different result.

The NARS Pro Prime has way better staying power, but well, it's P1,350 per tube. At P249, the Essence Eyeshadow Base is far from shabby!

Overall, I highly recommend the Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base to anybody who wants a good primer for not a lot of money. Its staying power won't beat the expensive alternatives, but it works well enough that you can get good wear out of it and make your eyeshadows stay pretty for longer. ^_^ I *think* the one I have is a new addition to the line, since all the reviews I've seen of it so far only feature the one that looks like concealer. I went to the Essence counter recently and only spotted the first/old version, so I'll update you if (or when) this translucent one is out!

Update: it's already available in stores! But it's often sold out according to the distributors. 

Would love to know your feedback too! Have you tried this eyeshadow primer? Did you like it? Sound off in the comments!

Essence cosmetics is available in SM Beauty Stores and select Watsons outlets.