My problem with NARS’ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base isn't that it doesn't work but that it doesn't work well to justify me picking a $30-something tube of this product and then working it into my daily routine.
According to NARS, this primer “maximizes color intensity” and creates a “seamless canvas that keeps cream and powder color looking brilliant, fresh and just-applied all day long.” To back up these claims, NARS lists some impressive survey number: “97% (of users) felt that it extended the wear of eyeshadow” while “90% (of users) felt that it prevented creasing and smudging.”
I completely agree with the first survey statement; this product definitely extended the life of my eyeshadow. As for the second, while this product didn't completely eliminate creasing and smudging, it did reduce it.
But despite these positive results, I'm still not impressed by this product because those results just didn't last long enough. Yes, at the three-hour mark, my eyelid that had the primer on it did look fresher and brighter than the lid that just had eyeshadow on it but by the time I got home, some five hours later, the primed eye looked only marginally better.
Besides putting this product up against a bare lid, I also compared it to Revlon’s PhotoReady powdered primer, Lancome’s La Base Pro primer and Sephora’s Anti-shine Foundation primer. I was quite surprised to find that the much cheaper Revlon primer did a better job at keeping my powdered Revlon eyeshadow in place than any of the three other primers. However, when I switched eyeshadow brands, the Revlon primer performed the worst of the four.
As for the Sephora and Lancome products, their results were essentially the same as the NARS one: All three products did a great job at keeping my shadow in place for the first few hours but none of them could last until the end of the work day.
I've always been skeptical of the need for a special primer just for my eyelids and my experience using NARS’ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base makes me think that my skepticism is more than appropriate. Despite being meant especially for eye makeup, this product didn't produce results that were any better than what a regular face primer could do. I also didn't find that the NARS product maximized or really had any kind of impact on my shadow’s colour intensity.
Okay, its wand applicator and the fact that this product is ophthalmologist tested and fragrance free do make it more eye-friendly than your typical primer but… No, those features aren't enough to get me to pick this product up again.
Would I buy this product again: No. When it comes to my eyelids, they’ll be getting the same primer that the rest of my face gets unless I'm using one of Revlon’s powdered eyeshadows, then I’ll be using that brand’s eyelid primer.
Should you buy this product: No. While maybe there is an eyeshadow primer out there that’s worth its price tag, this product isn't it.