|Elf: $1, Lorac: $21, Nars: $25|
|Left to Right: No primer, Elf Eyelid Primer, Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base|
Before testing the lasting power of each, I wanted to first see how well each base intensified shadows. For each of the above swatches and for the actual applications, I used MAC eyeshadow in Woodwinked. As you can see, all of the primers definitely made a difference in the color payoff of the shadow. However, it seems as though the Elf and Lorac primers did almost the same job. While the Lorac seems to be ever-so-slightly better, I wouldn't say it did $20 better (since that's the price difference between the two). NARS is easily the standout performer here though. I think it really made Woodwinked appear its finest with bold, metallic color.
Now let's talk wear-time. I tested each of these on a different day right after washing my face, but before getting to the primers, I wanted to see just how long eyeshadow could cling on to my bare lids. Without any primer, after one hour, I noticed some color-fading on my inner crease, and after 2.5 hours, Woodwinked had noticeably creased.
With the Elf primer, I noticed color-fading both in my crease and generally over my whole lid after only 1.5 hours. While I would consider this effect to render my eye-makeup in need of a change, since I was testing for actual creasing, I continued to wear this combo, and found that noticeable creasing happened after 3.5 hours.
With the Lorac primer, I noticed some color-fading in the crease after 2 hours, but after this initial fading, the color stayed the same until it finally noticeably creased 8 hours after application.
And finally, the well-known Nars primer: With this, my shadow stayed basically perfect until the 6-hour mark when I noticed some slight creasing and fading on the inner half of my lids. This noticeably creased after about 8.5 hours.
I know that some people have found success with Elf primer, but boy was it a disappointment for me. It only kept the creasing at bay for an extra hour but somehow managed to make my shadow fade faster. For oily lids, I think this primer is a fail. Lorac and NARS on the other hand, are fair options. Although they both held on to shadows for about the same amount of time, it seems as though NARS is the winner of this round as it outperforms in its ability to intensify the look of shadows in addition to helping them stay put. However, controlling this test with the same eyeshadow was interesting for me, because I had always thought Lorac kept shadows in their place longer than NARS did. So if the intensity difference isn't that noticeable to you, Lorac would still be a good primer option for oily lids, especially if you want to save a few bucks.
While I'm satisfied with both the Lorac and NARS primers, I want to be truly impressed by a primer. I've used Tarte's primer in the past, and I remember that holding on to my shadows for quite some time, so I'll be looking to get that one back for round two of this battle. If you have any suggestions of primers that I should try, please let me know in the comments below!