Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eyeshadow bases ... the method to the madness

Hi all! I just wanted to do a quick post because I have gotten several questions lately through PM, comment and email regarding what bases I use for my eyeshadows and why I use which one. So here goes!

First of all ... if you aren't using some kind of base (I don't mean an eye primer ... I mean an eye base) then I highly recommend it. I didn't start using them until just a few months ago and now I find that I am not spending time liquifying colours to get them to show up ... and then more time blending the wet colours ... then even more time washing the brushes that had the wet colours on them, etc etc etc.

Here is my personal opinion of the difference between the eye primer (like BE Prime Time for Eyes, UDPP, Too Faced Eyeshadow Insurance, etc.) and a base (MAC shadesticks, metal-x, paintpots, etc). A primer just holds the colours to the skin and makes it go on smoother and last longer, but it dries to a smooth finish so there is nothing to enhance the colours. A base dries to a semi-tacky finish, so it grabs the colours which absorb that extra tackiness and brighten up. Make sense?

So basically ... if you want your shadows to last a while but look like they would if you just swatched them dry on the back of your hand with a brush, use a primer only and skip the bases I am going to talk about. If you want your colours to look the way they look foiled or in the jar, use a base. I use both, but mainly because I use the primer on my entire eye socket, so it not only holds my colours but also holds my concealer for the entire day around my eye.

Here are some bases that I think are all great options ...

1) MAC Shadestick in Beige-ing - this is a pale cream colour crayon that creates a great foiled effect and stays on for hours. I draw mine on with the crayon then blend them with my fingers. These are my favorites ... but beware that once you get it on and the colour over it, there is no way to tone that colour down. There are alternative crayons from Maybelline, CoverGirl etc. (and I am sure others) but they don't have the staying power or the vibrancy of the MAC ones in my experience. If you want to use a dark base to really bring out darker colours, you can use Sharkskin instead of Beige-ing ... Sharkskin is currently sold at Nordie's as part of the Gold Fever collection, and once it is gone it is gone.

2) MAC Paintpots - The colour I use the most in the paintpots is Bare Study, but I do have some of the more colourful ones from the Alexander McQueen collection. These are not nearly as easy to blend over powder makeup (like BE) as the shadesticks are and don't have the wet shadow effect, but they have some staying power that would get your eyeshadows through a nuclear holocaust. I have just recently discovered brushes that make these usuable for me, but they are not my favorites. Some people however, like people with oily lids, swear by them.

3) MAC Metal-X Cream Shadow - This has the foiled effect of the shadesticks ... and adds some sparkle factor ... but doesn't have anywhere near the staying power as the previous two items I have listed. You will see me use it alot because for me it is the fastest one to put on, and in the mornings before school with two toddlers I am almost always in a hurry. The bad thing about these is that I got it at a CCO because it is an old LE item, and now they don't have it anymore. So, when I run out that is just it ... no more. Good option for being fast and adding sparkle, but wouldn't work well for someone that has issues with shadows creasing on them.

4) NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils - These are very comparable to the shadesticks, but really really creamy and more blendable. They also add to that foiled effect, but again because of their creaminess don't have the staying power of the shadesticks. The colour selection though is great, and they are cheap! I like to use them when I want to have a gradual fade towards my brow because I can put it on up to the crease then gradually blend it upwards.

OK ... so I hope that helps explain some things! Thanks so much for reading through this novel ... and if you have any other questions please comment here about it! Thanks Ladies!


  1. Some of the Metal-X Shadows as well as a few new ones will be re-released in the Metal Urge Collection on Nov 20. (

  2. That was very helpful. Thanks. I am making a trip to the Mac counter soon, and my list is so long. I have TSS black primer on the way, and I'm curious how that will do.

  3. Lindsey ... isn't that awesome! I already know I will be getting the gold one and the blue one. Too bad they aren't bringing back Virgin Silver though ... it really is a great silvery white.

    Thanks for the link girl! You freaking out about missing out on Manish Arora like I am??? I am so afraid it is going to sell out before I can order what I want! Let the nail biting begin!

  4. tysm for posting all really can get confusing with so many ppl trying so many products and throwing them out there as "you gotta try this". i was curious about the metal-x ones bc i thought they might be more vibrant than the shadesticks. good to know the staying power is less, bc that is impt to me to. again, you rock!

  5. Erin... I am SO freaking out! And I don't know if anyone is 100% sure when it will come out! I'm hoping no earlier than 8AM CST (so I'm home from work) or later than 9AM CST (So I can get some sleep)! I hope it IS Tuesday, as well... stop putting it off!!!

    I just want 1 lipstick and 1 lipglass.... that's all, just let me have them, MAC!!! :o)

    Ugh, they had a silver? I bet that was pretty... :o(

  6. Glad this helped Shelley ... I know that with so many options it can get uber-confusing, but I do have to say that the MAC bases are the way to go.

    Glad that I could help!


Please be nice (that doesn't mean you have to like the look ... just be nice about not liking it!) ... no one likes a troll ;)