DIY: Eyeshadow Primer

I have been using Urban Decay Primer Potion for years.
I love the stuff.
It is awesome.
The problem is when I go to Sephora to get it, I get lost in a sea of sparkling new glosses and shadows and treasures I NEED to try, suddenly eyeshadow primer doesn’t seem very exciting. I start trying to rationalize. “I don’t REALLY need primer right? It doesn’t help that much….20 dollars!? Is it that important?”
I am here to tell you that voice in my head has kept me from buying primer potion for months.
My sister  can’t use it because it gives her a rash on her eyelids and she doesn’t like parabens so…

Together we set out to make our own!

After much trial and error we finally found a potion that WORKS!
Get a load of the proof pudding below:

Admittedly, Urban Decay is still the best, but as you can see, the difference is minimal.
So if yer ballin’ getcha some UD Primer Potion.
If yer budgetin’ make yourself some of this stuff.

Get a clean container. I used a sample jar but you could also use an old eyeshadow pot, contacts case or even a tiny zip lock bag.

Recipe/Formula (you can double or triple this based on the size of your container)

1/2    Teaspoon All Natural Chapstick
1      Teaspoon Cornstarch
1 1/2  Teaspoon  Liquid Foundation (whatever you have on hand)

Run the chapstick under warm water for a minute before you add it so it mixes easier.
Put all the ingredients in container and MIX WELL.
It should look like this:
homemade primer potion

and you should look like this:


101 thoughts on “DIY: Eyeshadow Primer

    • OK so the chapstick really helps to make the eyeshadow go on vibrant and helps adhere the shadow to the lid. It also created a better texture and helps with absorption. I recommended natural just because it’s the best choice for any kind of skin but mine is not sensitive so I also used regular chapstick and I liked it just fine.

  1. Just wondering if Petroleum Jelly may have the same power as the chapstick does? I’m thinking it’s all about the wax, no? Since you have experimented with it I was just wondering if you tried vaseline or anything (I don’t have chapstick and don’t want to go to the store!)

    • I think petroleum jelly will work, just not as good. The wax is really important for the consistency and staying power. The petroleum jelly will help make the color vibrant still but won’t be AS good at the other. Let me know how it goes!

  2. I’m just wondering to myself how I ever got along without your amazing info! Just made this and I’m so stoked to do my make up tomorrow morning:) I did a little test run with your latest video (date night). I tried to use my finger to wipe it off and almost nothing came off. Yay!

  3. I was just wondering where you purchased the all natural chapstick and would a liquid foundation that is lighter like Garnier BB cream work do you think? thank you for all the wicked tips! :)

    • I got it at Walgreens and yes I tried a bunch of different foundations/bb creams/ tinted moisture all of it worked!

  4. just discovered another budget friendly idea- instead of eye makeup remover, just mix baby shampoo with water and save yourself some dough! :)

      • Those who have oily or combination skin, do not use vaseline or petroleum jelly. It will clog pores and we have issues eventually. :) Alcohol-free baby wipes help too.

        • petroleum jelly actually doesnt clog pores..the molecules are too large to penetrate skin. It acts as a barrier between skin and the air; thats why its a great protectant for cuts/burns, it will keep bacteria away that may cause infection. : )

      • Olive oil or almond oil are great too!!! They WON’T clog your pores and actually cleans your face!!! I’ve been using it for about a year and it’s improved my skin a lot!

        • Ladies, COCONUT OIL. I know my sister doesn’t like it so much, so I guess it’s not for everyone, but for me personally it’s been THE game changer. I use it all over, my hair, skin, etc. I could go on for days, but essentially: my skin looks more smooth and radiant than ever, my hair is manageable and glossy, and it removes makeup better than anything I’ve used since it absorbs and nourishes so well.

  5. I wonder if I can use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) instead of the chapstick because we don’t get chapstick here….? What do you think?

  6. Vaseline likely wont be as effective as it get’s melty at a lower temperature than chapstick does; thus you have a higher chance of it melting away. (PS vaseline is a petroleum product, you don’t want that on your face!)
    Also to remove waterproof eye-makeup, use Olive Oil. It’s natural, safe and moisturizes! 😉

  7. OMG. I really wasn’t a big believer in eyeshadow primer as most of it is really expensive and it just didn’t seem worth it to me. When I stumbledupon this I thought “hey, why not?”. I was not disappointed. I spent $3 making this project as I already had everything except the chapstick and it turned out wonderfully!! I tried some on my arm and the difference is amazing and it is lasting a really long time without fading. This has defiantly earned a permanent spot in my beauty routine!!

  8. LOVE this idea!I’m going to try it right away. Just a question, though. Is there anyway this can be used (Or altered) to be used as an all over facial primer?

  9. This looks amazing! I was just wondering where you found the All Natural Chapstick? I can’t seem to find the Chapstick brand version of All Natural. Thanks.

    • You really can, it just kind of depends how much you about having all natural stuff in your makeup…I don’t worry much so I have used different kinds of chapstick and had no problem.

  10. I am sorry if this is a stupid question, but could you also use this as a lip primer? Do you recommend using lip primers?

  11. Hey, that recipie for the primer is awesome! I also tried the beach Hair recipie and i totally agree it works sooo well! Thanks for all the great tips

  12. I am so excited to try this! I actually have UD potion on my to-do list for my next sephora trip, but I know I would pass on it for something more fun and sparkly! One question: does your formula prevent creasing? That’s my biggest problem. I used to use Benefit’s FYEye. But I think they stopped making it.

    • YES! It’s my biggest problem too! It was my main concern while mixing the potion, my sister has a crease problem too so we tried everything until we came up with this and we were shocked at how well it worked!

  13. For years I’ve just been using plain ol’ cornstarch –and nothing else– on top of my foundation, and it really does make a huge difference on how well my eyeshadow glides on and how long it lasts on my oily skin…

  14. does it help agains oily lids?, because i use eye primer mostly because othrvise my mascara transfers to my lids, i have hooded eyes, the chopstick sound like it would make it wosre.

    • It does help guard against creasing but I am not sure it would cut the oil as much as your need, if it doesn’t just add more cornstarch

  15. could the chopstick be replaced by bee wax? 😀 or I dont know what i am talking about, just thought that chopstick have bee wax in them!!

  16. Am I correct in assuming that the liquid foundation should be in my tone? Don’t own any so I want to make sure I buy the right one.

    Thanks for all your great tips!

  17. i just made this last night and it didn’t cost me a penny. well, at some point it did, just not last night… even had the Sephora pot! :) so i never use eye primer but tried it today and it is creasy. :( i think i need to add more liquid foundation to it bc it’s drier than your pic looks. And yes, pleasePLEASEplease dupe the Benefit Porefessional!!

  18. I just made this yesterday and it is AMAZING!!! My eye makeup was still looking great at 9:00 when my hubby got home. My one recommendation, though, is to NOT use the Burts Bees chapstick. I couldn’t find the natural stuff that you used, but I did have Burts Bees and I figured that was a pretty natural chapstick. Ummm, yeah, it has peppermint oil in it and it kind of burns, LOL. My eyes water so much that I had to go run and get a tissue. But I used it again today because it was so amazing. Plus the “tingle” really wakes me up. And I am going to keep using it until it is gone, because eventhough I didn’t spend $20 like a real primer, I still used quite a bit of my foundation and I don’t want to let it go to waste, LOL.

    • Burt’s bees makes one without peppermint–called honey–and it is perfect. It’s beeswax-based and no essential oils in it. Perfect!!

  19. OMG I ran out of my urban decay primer and was bummed I need to spend money to buy more, BUT I just found your site today Im so stoked to try this.

    FYI ladies coconut oil works wonders. I agree with others olive oil is great for eye makeup remover you can also use coconut oil.

  20. OMG!! THANK YOU!! I’ve been looking for a DIY primer forever!!! I’m going to have to try this out this weekend!!! 😀

  21. When i saw this DIY i asked my mom to buy me a chapstick.. She bought me one and it has Propolis & Shea Butter in it. Can i use it? It says natural formula though…

  22. omg….God bless u for doing this…ive bought primers/bases and returned them cuz none of them worked on my oily lids. before i make this i want to ask you a few question:
    1- does this need to be refrigerated ?
    2- how long does it normally last when you make it?
    3- would this work on oily lids ? i rly hope so

    • 1 – no just keep it with the rest of your makeup
      2 – it lasts forever! Like a few months
      3 – I think it would but I would recommend using more cornstarch and less chapstick.
      play with the recipe a bit until it fits the consistency for your skin:)

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your tips Cara :)
    I found your blog via Pinterest just today.

    I’ll be sneaking around for the next couple of hours 😉

    Greetings from Denmark.


  24. Just made this after my 16 year old daughter told me she’d like some eye shadow primer. I remembered that I bookmarked this page, and we went right to making it. Didn’t even need to leave the house to get ingredients. She tested it out on her hand and she gives it two thumbs up!

  25. Lots of positive comments here, sounds like this works fantastically. I do want to mention that corn starch, while a great absorbent ingredient, is a catalyst to bacterial and fungal growth. It’s possible there may be enough preservative in the Chapstick & foundation to control any icky buggers, but just to be safe, I’d highly suggest only making this in tiny batches (no more than a week’s worth) and refrigerating it until it’s gone. Never can be too careful, especially around the eyes!

  26. Does concealer work as a primer? I have Estee Lauder Illuminating Concealer that I use under my eye then I tend to smear the remainder on my eyelid and then set it with a neutral eyeshadow as a base.

  27. This is great! I’ve just made this as I’ve never used eyeshadow primer before because it’s so expensive; especially good brands like Urban Decay and Too Faced. I’ve also just bought MUA’s Heaven & Earth and Undress Me Too palettes as I can’t afford the Naked palettes (wish I could though!) so I’ve just tried the primer with these palettes and they make the colours so much more vivid! Thanks for saving me about £60 on UD palettes and making MUA palettes even better! <3

  28. How do you mix it all together? I just made a huge mess… I tried mixing with a butter knife but it’s still a little chunky. My suggestions?

  29. It sounds like this worked for everyone else but when I tried it, it was awful, it separated and was greasy. I followed the directions exactly :/. I even tried it twice and the same thing happened. I also mixed it really really well and still look separated and greasy. :( I really wanted it to work.

  30. Hi Cara… Just wanted to let you know I tried this recipe but tweaked it a bit. Instead of just foundation, I had some e.l.f. mineral infused face primer in Radiant I used also. I didn’t like the shimmery on my face but it works awesome in the eye primer recipe. It goes on beautifully, held my shadow like a champ and no creasing at all. Plus, I hate to admit it, but due to a sinus migraine I ended up sleeping with it on and my shadow still looked flawless in the morning! Today I used it with a $1 palette of eye shadow and it makes it look as good as my more expensive shadows! Thanks for the recipe! I love your tips! I wish I was near Las Vegas so I could enter for a makeover Monday… my brows could use your help!

  31. okay so can I ask a silly question. How do you get 1/2 teaspoon of chapstick? I don’t read anywhere that you melted it.

  32. I have been buying e.l.f. eye makeup primer for $1 and it makes all the difference! I thought I was the last person to know about this makeup application step but when I tell people about primer they just stare at me! Thank you for sharing your recipe, I LOVE your web-site and you are beautiful with and without makeup!

  33. My daughter is a competitive dancer and I was on the verge of buying a new primer but now I can buy something fun instead!!

    Could you (pretty, pretty please) do a section on stage makeup for dancers??? Tips: i.e. blush hues & application, red lip hues based on skin tone, LOOOONG lasting make up tips, defining and accentuating key features without looking harsh; dupes & steals; and DIY’s (maybe a lip and whole-face primer?).

    There’s a lot of teen and pre-teen dancers that do their own makeup (or in many cases, might be better off doing their own makeup!) that would truly benefit from good easy-to-follow tutorials! Other than competition, my 12 y.o. doesn’t wear make up at all, but I’d love for her to be able to do it herself or at least not come running from back stage looking for me to fix her dangling false lash or smeared/runny eyeliner!



  34. Love the idea of this; the only part I didn’t understand was the part about “You should look like this”. Didn’t understand the drawing. Thanks—

  35. I love it! I used Burt’s Bees mango lip balm, Physician’s formula Organic Wear tinted moisturizer, and Ben Nye face powder in lieu of cornstarch. I haven’t worn it out yet, but swatch tests turned out AMAZING! Thank you. I can’t wait to test it in the real world.

    (P.s. I found your blog via MakeupAddiction on Reddit.)

  36. Petroleum jelly does act as a barrier on the skin – which is why it ‘clogs’ pores on those of us with oily skin. It doesn’t allow the pores to ‘breathe’ so the body’s oils back up and cause problems. Any heavy oil, even natural ones like lanolin, cocoa & shea butters, etc. do the same thing. Super light natural oils are wonderful, though – hemp seed oil is my fave – I keep it in the freezer so it doesn’t go rancid.

  37. I recently just found your site and this recipe. I didn’t have the chapstick and the weather was horrendous so I wasn’t able to go out and get some. I did however have some bag balm and so I used it instead of the chapstick and I’m very happy with the results. Thank you so much for this

  38. PLEASE tell me where you find that natural chap stick. I can’t find it anywhere!!! This primer if FANTASTIC but I had to make it with the original formula of chap stick and it kind of bothers my eyes.

    • Get it at a natural foods store. Try Nanak’s Lip Smoothee in an unscented variety. You can find it online. Just do a search. Good luck!

  39. Do you HAVE to use liquid foundation? Or can the powdered work too? Or maybe just add moisturizer to the powdered foundation, to make it creamy?

  40. La deuxième partie de l’oreille est intégré dans le moteur, la fonction de vibration vibration du casque pour obtenir un casque, des écouteurs pour le grand moteur, c’est la nécessité de l’alimentation. Voici un regard sur la différence entre les deux appareils avec des écouteurs ordinaires kit oreillette si cela l’approvisionnement en électricité.

  41. Un violon à deux millions de dollars dont la voix peut avoir un bel éclat d’or, tandis qu’une cinq mille NT violon le ton pourrait aimer la peinture fanée. Bien que chaque point de vue différent de personne, cependant, nous reconnaissons les États-Unis a toujours un consensus, vous ne pouvez pas dire un nez retroussé qui est l’incarnation de la beauté; De même, vous ne pouvez pas dire d’un ton bleu froid de l’équipement est belle.

  42. Hi, per chance, do you have a recipe for under eye concealer that is tear proof? Or maybe a diy for PoreFessional face smoother? I would appreciate any ideas you may have. Thank you.

    • Mavis, Cara recommends Kat von D Lock It Tattoo Concealer for something that stays put. I’ve got it on order from Sephora, hoping it stays put with my constantly tearing eyes from allergies!

  43. I made this with the philosophy hope in a stick lip balm that come in the travel packs that United Airlines gives out and it works fine, but I do think that the waxiness of Chapstick might stick a little better. Thank you Cara, for all of these great do-it-yourself recipes!

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