Fancy vs Frugal Fridays: Eyeshadow Primers

So I was running late last week, and rushed out the door with mascara on and zero product on my eyelids. Meaning no primer, no shadow, nothing. Halfway through the day I realized how scary my lids can look when they aren’t concealed. I am a serious road map of veins when I have no color on my skin. I thought this would be an awesome competition because these two products boast very similar benefits. For the fancy crowd, we have Benefit’s Stay don’t Stray. This is a 10ml product that retails for $30.00 CAD. It comes in two shades, Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. And for the frugal ladies amongst us, we have Essence I ❤ Stage Eyeshadow Base, retailing at $3.49 CAD for a 4ml tube. Let's have a look at the two products …

Very similar applicators, and both have a concealing benefit as well. Meaning, if you are in a rush and just need something to conceal your lids instead of priming them, they both can do double duty. So using these products (one on each eye) I have some serious issues … First of all, the Essence is way too dark. It looked more like I used an orange cream shadow than a concealer on my lids, and It was not pretty. The Benefit went on so well, and I ended up using this as an undereye concealer as well. The color is perfect for a light/medium skintone! Almira actually uses this product as a primer on her cheeks to keep her blush lasting all day! Now, the color issue may have been something that I could have gotten past. But then, I did my eye makeup. The Essence primer was so orange-y on my fair skintone, that it actually changed the color of the eyeshadow I was applying. In order to avoid my awkward pictures trying to get a shot of me with my eyes closed, I swatched all of this on my hands so you guys could see. Take a look at this!

Essence swatched on top, Benefit on bottom!

Essence swatched on top, Benefit on bottom!

Essence on left, Benefit on right.

Essence on left, Benefit on right.

Those are the two primers swatched out, and the SAME shadow on top! I couldn’t believe how much the color of the primer changed the color of the shadow. It is very true to color on top of the Benefit swatch, but the Essence completely darkened my shadow by at least two shades. And for a gal who loves her light, neutral shades … that just ain’t gonna work for me.

As long as wear goes, the Benefit killed it. My shadow never moves or changes color with this stuff, and the Essence primer did result in a few minor creases at the end of the day.

For the color catastrophe alone, I am going with fancy this week. I don’t have the time or the bravery to play around with magical eyeshadow color changing primers. If I am putting an eyeshadow on, it’s because I like the color … and why would I want to change it!? Also – I love that it comes in two shades for different skin tones.

What are your favorite eye primers!? Stay don’t Stray is by far my favorite that I have used!




  1. Hi Sara! Would you choose the Benefit eye primer over the Urban Decay? I use the UD anti-aging primer, but I always like to try new products, especially when I can get my optimum points with purchase 🙂

    1. I have used all of the urban decay primers, and I’m happy with them too! I’m so glad they changed the packaging of them, because the old packaging was awful! But- the benefit is so great, I stick with that. I find it covers my veins and redness better than the UD. (And because I get my optimum points!!) thanks for reading 🙂

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