Monday, February 08, 2010

Kanebo Sensai Eyelid Base (Primer)

Regular readers know that I'm a big advocate of makeup primers. They make whatever color products you use last longer, look better and even apply more smoothly. It's an extra step, but a quick one that pays off hours later. Eye primers are especially great because they prevent your shadow from creasing, melting and changing color as a result of exposure to air and skin oils.

However, I understand why the cream-to-powder texture of many popular brands might feel too dry for those with super dry or mature skin. The Eyelid Base from Sensai by Kanebo is an excellent solution for this issue. This is a very creamy primer, as you can see in the picture. It has moisturizing and shielding qualities while still providing a silky canvas and anchoring your eye makeup. The flesh color you see in the jar disappears upon application, but instead there's a very subtle brightening effect. It's barely noticeable- no sheen, shimmer or frost- only a slight illumination that is always welcome around the eyes.

I've been testing the Sensai Eyelid Base with most eye shadow and eye liner brands I own and the results are always great, no matter what (or how much) eye cream I've been applying underneath. The makeup stays on looking fresh with no change to color and finish. My one and only gripe is the packaging. The primer comes in this little jar with no want or applicator. You're supposed to dip your finger and dab right on the lid. I suppose you could also use a brush (a synthetic concealer brush would work here), but I find that primers are best applied with one's pinky. The average germaphobe wouldn't be happy with this arrangement, so my suggestion is to use a clean plastic applicator (like the one that comes with many good skin care products) to spoon a tiny amount out of the jar, then use your finger from there. Clean the applicator and rinse in hot water after use and store in a little ziploc bag.

Bottom line: Other than the packaging this is quite fabulous.

Kanebo Sensai Eyelid Base ($26, 0.22 oz) is exclusive to Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. I received it as a PR freebie.

Photo by me.

Bottom line: A great product and


  1. Your review couldn't have come at a better time. I've been searching in vain for an eyelid primer that wouldn't dry my eyelids. I have dry, mature skin and have found so many of the cult brands, and even many of the upscale department store brands, to be geared more towards younger women with oily lids. So, thanks, Gaia. I'll check it out when I'm at Neiman's next week. Us oldies, but goodies need our makeup to last too :-)

  2. This is perfect timing! :) I started using a face primer some time ago (I have no idea why it took me so long to start) and now I've been wondering if there is something to help with my eye make-up. I'll try and find this here. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation Gaia. I had no idea that Kanebo made a primer. This looks great - I'm really keen to try it.

  4. Update . . . I got the eyelid primer and couldn't be happier with it. It's so light and smooth and the optical brighteners make my eyes look bright and rested. I love the way it keeps my shadows and liner true throughout the day without any drying sensation. I've been using it for a week now and have not had any eyelid flaking which has been my unfortunate experience with eyelid primers in the past. Thanks, Gaia, for the review on this excellent product.

  5. Eileen, I'm delighted to hear this. The right primer makes a huge difference in the way our makeup looks. I'm so glad I could help.

  6. Hi Gaia-
    One short note--you can now purchase the full range on and the line is ONLY available on not in their stores. Bergdorf's has the US exclusive on a store location :)


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