Throughout the course of my career, I've tried quite a few eyelid primers, as a part of my hunt for the absolute best product to make eyeshadow bulletproof. In addition to Fashion, Editorial and Special occasion makeup, I do a TON of bridal, so of everything on the face, the eyes is usually one of the top features that brides worry about. "Will my eyeliner/mascara run if I sweat?" "Will my eyeshadow last?" "Will I be okay if I cry?" So waterproof mascara and eyeliner isn't all that is necessary when it comes to the bulletproof eye.
Here are my thoughts on various eyelid primers that I have used in the past:
My days starting out as a MAC Artist, I swore by Painterly, Groundwork and Blackground as a base to anything having to do with eyes, and while they DO serve as creating a nice base to powdered shadow, because they have a tendency to crease when using enough product to successfully hold powder shadow, I actually prefer to use them as what they actually are -- a cream shadow. Some of my favorite colors being Indianwood, Constructivist, and Vintage Selection, they are a quick way to add gorgeous color to the eye, without needing to use 4 or 5 different powdered shadows to create a beautiful shimmery or smoky eye.
Tarte Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12-hour eyelid primer:
My main attraction to this primer was the creaseless part, especially for my more mature clients, which, it does indeed deliver that, I suppose, but it's performance wasn't extraordinary enough for me to deem it worthy to stay in my kit. To me, it felt like more of an unnecessary step to the eyeshadow application process. One thing that I did think was a little nifty, was the iridescent finish of the product. Cute, yes, but it didn't seem to serve much of a purpose. The primer is colorless, which, if it really "grabbed" powder shadow, would be fantastic, because it doesn't alter the color your shadows in any way, but my overall verdict of this product is just 'meh'.
Urban Decay Primer Potion:
Ah, this cult favorite. According to Youtube, this primer is one of God's precious gifts to the makeup world. My opinion? It's...."aiight". Yes, just aiight. Sure, it's great when you're using it on a 22-year old client with smooth skin, but what about the rest of the world? Now, while it holds onto shadow nicely, it has a tendency to get grainy in texture, which is no good, especially when it comes to applying this to clients. Two words: scratched cornea. Who wants to take that gamble? It comes in two colors in addition to the colorless original, such as Eden and Minor Sin, which is nice for those of us deeper complexioned makeup wearers that don't like the slight ashy cast that the "colorless" formula leaves. I'm 60/40 on this one. It performs great, but the texture con was major for me. Major enough to get the product chucked from my kit altogether.
Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer:
This one I was actually impressed with. It is TRULY colorless, gives a satin-y finish, is crease-less, AND holds onto shadow for the dear life! Out of all of the eyeshadow primers that I have tried, THIS ONE will be the one that I reach for, without a doubt. It actually keeps PaintPots from creasing! I actually use this one on myself, on the rare occasion that I wear eyeshadow. A tiny bit goes a very long way, so don't go into product overload on this one, because you'll be massaging it in until eternity.
If there were a contest between these four, the Lorac primer would win, hands down! Now, as far as whether I think that eyelid primers are absolutely necessary, it would be a 'NO' from me. I have found that by 'priming' the eye with your (client's) highlighting concealer and setting with a light dusting of powder, you have a slightly quicker way of prepping your eye for shadow application, and it is bulletproof! No creasing, no texture issues (from the product), and one less product to worry about purchasing.