Battle of the Bases

By Amalah

Oh please oh please, help! I am FED UP with my eyeshadow. It creases and streaks and clumps — all by lunchtime! My eyelids look greasy and my lovely shading job goes all to hell.
I admit I use fairly cheap stuff most of the time, but I am ready to change! (It’s either that or wear no shadow at all, because of the aforementioned FED UPNESS.) So please, what eyeshadows REALLY stay put, oh great product guru?

Okay, so here’s the secret: ALL eyeshadows crease up, eventually. I’ve never used a shadow that didn’t. But! Lunchtime is too early. We CAN do better for you than lunchtime, I am sure. We can also solve that oily-eyelid problem. But not with a simple eyeshadow brand recommendation. Because we enjoy making things as complicated as possible.
I use shadows by Stila, Lorac, NARS and Hourglass, all of which are darn fine shadows. Darn fine! But I STILL always use an eyeshadow base first.
“MOTHER OF GOD,” a dozen readers just wailed. “SHE’S TALKING ABOUT PRIMER AGAIN.”
Yep. If you’ve got problems with your eye makeup not staying put or greasy lids or wonky extra creases that eat up your shadow, you’ve gotta use a primer first. Something to absorb the natural oils and give your shadow something to really stick to.
Now, I’ve always used (for years and year) an herbal eye base cream thing from Tony & Tina. But talk about discontinued: that entire line of cosmetics doesn’t even EXIST anymore. Luckily, I managed to snap up a couple compacts of it when Sephora put the brand on firesale a couple years ago.
But now? Well, those compacts are bordering on empty and definitely super old. So I recently went out in search of a new eyeshadow base.
I picked up two contenders for a Smackdown battle: F.Y.Eye by Benefit and the Lip & Lid Primer by Smashbox.
This isn’t really technically a true Price Tag Cage Match, since neither product is a a drugstore brand and are actually priced pretty much the same. ($20 for the Benefit, $24 for the double-duty Smashbox.) And you can call me a snob but honestly, I just didn’t feel like wasting my time (and yours! it is all about you!) with something cheap. (Or even FINDING something cheap, since I’m not really sure any of the major drugstore brands offer something comparable.)
sbliplid.jpgAnd actually? These two products work about the same. Both feel light and silky on my lids, do an excellent job fighting shine and greasiness, and extended the life of my shadow by several hours. (Nothing more, though. Shadow applied in the morning still needed to be retouched before going out at night, and I noticed a TINY amount of build-up in my eyelid crease by lunchtime, but it was totally only noticeable to me, since I was obsessively checking my lids up close in the mirror every hour or so.) My eyeliner looked good too, which is saying something, since it is HUMID AS ALL HELL around here these days and I’ve just stopped wearing eyeliner all together. With either of these bases I’d feel confident enough to line my upper lid. (My racoonish-looking bottom lid is dead to me right now, and will be until probably October.)
fyeye.jpgBut! If I had to pick a favorite, I think I like the Benefit a little better. Mostly because I disliked applying the crayon-style Smashbox. Coloring on my eyelid was uncomfortable and it was hard to tell if I’d applied it evenly. The Benefit stuff goes on with a single swoop of your fingertip and felt like it provided more substantial coverage.
Of course, the Smashbox also features a lipstick base. But I don’t really wear lipstick. It doesn’t work with most sheer lipglosses (it completely neutralizes the color of your lips), and the one time I used it with an actual bona-fide lipstick I didn’t really notice it lasting any longer than usual. (I ate, I drank, I had no lipstick left.)
If the lipstick thing interests you — and you’ve got a local place that carries the Smashbox line — I’d go test it out and see if it works for you. Otherwise, ignore the cheesy pun of a name and get yo’self some Benefit F.Y.Eye.
Other tips for eyeshadow wearing: metallic and shimmery shades crease and glomp up worse than matte shades. Try using only matte colors for awhile (or only use shimmery shadows sparingly as highlights) and see if that makes a difference. Wash your shadow brushes regularly — dirty brushes put old shadow and oil back on your lid. To smooth out mid-day clumps, use one end of a dry Q-tip to wipe the crease, and then reapply your shadow as needed with the other end.

Published May 30, 2007. Last updated May 30, 2007.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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