If you’ve ever sat through a makeup tutorial or two, it’s likely you’ve seen a beauty guru start an eyeshadow look with concealer or foundation in lieu of proper eyeshadow primer. The look, of course, turns out fabulous in the end, convincing all of their subscribers (and the wider internet) that primer isn’t necessary because you can use your concealer all over. Recently, while watching a tutorial (and staring in awe and pure admiration) we couldn’t help but wonder, does concealer as eyeshadow primer actually hold up throughout the day? Or does your eyeshadow end up crumbling after a few fateful hours? To quell our curiosity (and yours), we hit up Billie Gene, a celebrity makeup artist who is no stranger to stunning, longwearing makeup.
According to Gene, concealers and foundation don’t work as eyeshadow primers due to their slip and added coloring. Concealers can alter the color of the shadow forcing you to apply more product or lose the true pigment of your desired shade — which is the opposite of what you want, especially when working with a particularly unique hue (think duochromes and bright shades). Instead, Gene recommends paint pots and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer, both of which are formulated to grip your eyeshadows and offer the best pigment payoff possible.
When it comes to application, Gene recommends only using a pea size amount, so as to not overdo it. “You only need a thin coat to grip your shadow,” says Gene, who cautions against thick layers of primer which can actually lead to the appearance of texture on the eye and distorting the pigment of your eyeshadow.
So should you be using concealer on your lid? Not if you want a flawless eyeshadow look that’ll last throughout the day. Concealer works if all you need is to even out your skin tone overall — but otherwise we recommend letting eyeshadow primers do their job.