You can swipe on the best mascara money can buy, and your lashes still might not appear as long or thick as you desire. Not to mention, your lashes are exposed to the same environmental stress as the hair on your head, and they deserve a little conditioning care, too. That's where the best eyelash primers come in. Like a face primer does for foundation and concealer, eyelash primers help boost your mascara's performance by enhancing length, volume, and its staying power.
But not all eyelash primers are created equal. Some can actually make your lashes feel crunchy or stiff, so be sure to choose a formula that contains conditioning ingredients like vitamin B5, vitamin E, or glycerin to nourish and soften your lashes. You can also look for a primer with antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea or algae extract to help protect your lashes from damaging free radicals, which can ultimately make them thicker and healthier and less prone to breakage over time.
Another factor to consider when choosing a lash primer is the tint. Many lash primers have a white color to them that disappears once mascara is applied over top. Not only does the white help ensure that you've coated every lash, but it also allows the primer to work with any color mascara you choose, including vibrant neon shades. But you can also find eyelash primers that are already tinted brown or black to blend in with dark mascaras. These can also be worn on their own to enhance the appearance of your lashes while strengthening them.
Ahead, you'll find four of the best mascara primers for lengthening, holding a curl, and conditioning your lashes no matter what mascara you choose.
1. Best Affordable Eyelash Primer
This drugstore eyelash primer is a favorite among Amazon users, with more than 1,200 five-star reviews for its lengthening and volumizing abilities. One coat of the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Base is all you need to give lashes a boost, but for even bolder lashes, the brand recommends applying a second coat before you put on your mascara. The primer even promises to nourish lashes with ingredients like jojoba oil and rose hip oil, which are both rich in fatty acids and vitamins. Fans also say it helps prevent smudges on even the hottest, most humid days, and that it helps curl lashes, too.
"This stuff is amazing," raves one Amazon reviewer. "Whenever I use it, I always get asked if I have lash extensions on." Another writes, "Doesn't make my eyelashes feel like they were dipped in cement and also does not flake. I love this stuff. My eyelashes can bend but stay plump and curled all day. And this is the easiest primer I can find to take off at night."
2. Best Tinted Eyelash Primer
If the white tint freaks you out, Benefit They're Real! tinted lash primer comes in a mink brown shade. You can use it as the first step for dramatic lashes and apply your favorite mascara on top, or, you can use it on its own for lashes that naturally appear lengthened and fanned out. The staggered bristles ensure lashes are coated from root to tip, and the top of the wand forms into a domed tip so you can reach those lashes at the inner corners of your eyes with ease. The water-resistant formula also includes vitamin B5 to condition and soften lashes.
Many Amazon fans note that they particularly like to use this primer on its own, with one writing, "For me, this is a daytime mascara. I'm blond(ish), so I find that the tint emphasizes and defines my lashes with a natural look." Another reviewer, who pairs one coat of the primer with the Benefit They're Real! mascara, writes, "Women ask me all the time where I go to get my lashes done."
3. A Natural Eyelash Primer That Doubles As A Conditioning Treatment
One coat of the Jane Iredale PureLash extender and conditioner is all you need pre-mascara application for lengthened and thickened lashes. Dermatologist- and allergy-tested, this lash primer (like all of the brand's products) is free of irritating ingredients like parabens, talc, and synthetic fragrance. Focusing on natural ingredients instead, the formula includes algae extract, wheat protein, and glycerin to condition lashes and strengthen them over time. While one coat before mascara visibly boosts lashes, it can also be applied to eyelashes and eyebrows at night to help condition and strengthen.
"I had fake eyelashes for a year, and when I stopped getting them, I was left with teeny tiny eyelashes," writes one Amazon reviewer. "I have been using this eyelash conditioner for about six months and now have beautiful, long eyelashes." Another reviewer, who uses the primer in the morning before mascara and as a treatment at night, writes, "I've literally been using this for two weeks and my lashes already are noticeably longer and fuller."
4. Best Eyelash Primer To Pair With Tubing Mascara
If you're loyal to your tubing mascara, the Blinc Nourishing Lash Primer was specifically designed to complement water-resistant tubular formulas. The primer, which comes in white or black, can be piled on before you apply mascara or used on its own as a lash or eyebrow treatment. Blinc's formula doesn't include any dyes or fragrances that commonly cause irritation to sensitive eyes, and it can be removed with warm water and gentle pressure. (If you pair it with Blinc's tubing mascara, it will slide off in tiny tubes.) The formula also helps condition lashes and protect them from damage caused by environmental stresses with ingredients like vitamin E and green tea extract.
"This product glides on, and is perfect for lengthening my lashes," writes one fan, who notes it's great for their sensitive eyes. "I use it alone in the daytime and apply it with mascara in the evening for extra pop." One reviewer describes the primer as "A very pale, off-white color [that] seems to absorb almost instantly and gives length and separation to the lashes."
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