I've reduced my eye primer arsenal to exactly two products: the smooth and creamy Kanebo Sensai Eye Base and the little miracle that is Paula Dorf's Eye Primer.
Paula Dorf's primer comes in two shades, #1, which is the one you see here and the much darker Deep. I was worried at first about the texture, as it reminded me at first glance of the one from Lancome I tested a while ago and didn't like one bit. But as usual, Paula Dorf delivers and this primer is a lot more creamy than it appears. You only need a minuscule amount of product, and a pat of the brush on the pan and then on your lid is enough. The primer is easy to spread on the skin and is as cooperative as they come. It takes seconds to get both eyes primed and ready.
The Eye Primer Brush is basically a flat paddle-shaped synthetic brush. It's about twice as wide as standard cream shadow or concealer brush and the hairs are packed more densely, which I guess is the reason the brush picks exactly the right amount of primer. It's quite firm but gentle on delicate lids and I'm glad I have it as a dedicated brush for my primers, though I'd say you can probably use a good concealer brush just as well.
The smooth surface created by the primer is eye shadow-friendly. I never have any issues with blending over it. But the real magic is the way it keeps makeup in place and even more than that- the primer helps every eye shadow I've used over it maintain its finish for at least 14 or 15 hours. As long as the application is decent, my eye makeup lasts and looks just-applied fresh until I come after it with cleansers.
Bottom Line: a must-have.
Paula Dorf Eye Primer ($25) and brush ($28) are available from Henri Bendel in NYC (Pam, the resident Paula Dorf SA/MUA is not only delightful but also among the very best I've had the pleasure to meet, so I highly recommend calling the counter). Also on pauladorf.com.
Photo by me.