- Lash or mascara primer is a makeup base for your mascara, typically coming in white and coating the lashes to separate, lengthen, volumize, and condition them without clumping.
- Some lash primers also double as serums or lash masks that you apply before going to bed to nourish and condition.
- You apply and remove mascara primer like your regular mascara, as it comes in the same tube and with the same brush.
Why even bother with a mascara primer when your trusty old mascara does the job? But does it really do?
There’s no denying that we expect our mascaras to deliver so much. There seems to be an infinite number of brands attempting to come up with the most revolutionary formula that will be able to provide everything we want in a tiny tube and beyond. However, let’s be real for a second – there are limits to what we can expect from a single product. This is when we opt for an eyelash primer.
In this article:
What Is a Mascara Primer and What Does It Do?
Also known as eyelash primer or mascara base, mascara primer creates a smooth base for your mascara, while also providing additional length and volume. Many primers also offer nourishing and conditioning benefits and can sometimes be worn on their own or with mascara on top. The color of lash primers is typically white, but they do come in black and even in grey and pink, too.
The main thing mascara primers do is coat your lashes with a priming formula that extends the natural length of lashes. They also thicken them up, making it possible for the mascara to really deliver that enhanced look and allowing you to truly take advantage of everything your mascara has to offer.
The best mascara primer will not clump your eyelashes and will hold the lash curl, regardless of whether it’s your natural curl or one achieved with an eyelash curler. In addition, the keratin typically used in primers will make your lashes look silky smooth and glossy. The overall result is darker, longer, and thicker lashes that are separated perfectly to create the coveted fan.
So, to answer any potential questions on whether or not mascara primers actually work – they absolutely do.
Eyelash Primer Benefits
Here are some of the benefits you can get by using an eyelash primer before layering the mascara or even on its own:
- A silky-smooth foundation for your mascara to cling to
- Longer eyelashes without packing on multiple layers of mascara
- Thicker lashes for a dramatic effect that doesn’t look fake
- Prolonged mascara wear and intense color payoff
- Nourishment and conditioning in one easy step so your lashes stay healthy.
How to Use a Mascara Primer?
Applying a mascara primer isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are four easy steps that are good to follow if you want to get the most out of it and make sure your lashes look absolutely perfect.
Step 1: The Curler Goes Before the Primer
In case you’re using an eyelash curler, make sure you use it before applying any products on your lashes. This is mostly to keep the curler clean and germ-free, which is important for anything that comes in contact with your eyes.
Step 2: Coat the Lashes with Lash Primer
Dip that wand in and coat the entire length of your lashes, making sure that you don’t forget the tiny lashes in the corners of your eyes. Remember that this base will provide a surface for your mascara to cling to, so you want every lash covered.
Step 3: Wait for Your Primer to Dry (or Don’t)
Now, you’ll probably run into some differing opinions on this particular step. Some say that the primer shouldn’t dry all the way, as it makes the mascara application harder. Others say that half a minute is a perfect time and should provide the ideal canvas for the mascara.
We think that this step will depend on the specific primer and mascara you are using, as there are many different formulas, and each will behave differently. So, play with it and see what you like best.
Step 3: Top Your Lashes with Mascara
Whether you’ve decided to let your primer dry or not, you want to aim for a maximum of two mascara coats on top of your primer. Start with one and see how you like the results. If there is no clumping, and you think that the look isn’t bold enough, go ahead and add a second one. It all depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. If things don’t work out, simply remove the products from your lashes and start over again.
Step 4: For a Dramatic Look, Coat Lower Lashes
For a simple daytime look, you’ll probably skip this step. However, if you’re after that heavy, sexy look that simply wows, you may want to add a bit of primer to your lower lashes as well (before the mascara, obviously). Those tiny lashes are really difficult to accentuate using only mascara, so this is a great way to make them stand out just the way you want it.
Photos via @k.els.e.y, @beautsoup, Instagram