Are All Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primers Equally Crappy?

My eyeshadow primer mega-comparison showed that Urban Decay Primer Potion doesn’t live up to the hype. I speculated that its cult following stems more from its accessibility and Urban Decay’s intelligently-done promotion of the product than from its raw priming power.

However, my mega-comparison method included only the original formula of the primer. Urban Decay also makes a shimmery champagne color called Sin, a matte beige-y yellow called Eden, and shimmery pale gold called Greed.

The original eyeshadow primer is solidly mediocre. But what about the other ones? I decided to test them.

Swatches of the primer by itself: Original is 1, Sin is 2, Eden is 3, and Greed is 4.
Please forgive the artificial lighting.

I used Urban Decay’s Half Baked as my eyeshadow for this test. When I originally swatched over the primers, it was clear that all four of them signification intensified the shadow in comparison to the control.

However (and this is probably un-shocking to you), the color of the shadow definitely changed based on the color of the primer. Sin was significantly cooler than its counterparts, and both Eden and Greed were more yellow. Sin and Greed played up the shimmer shadow even more.

This is important because it means that, even if one of these primers works dramatically better than the original primer, it still may not be a good fit for you based on the eyeshadow look you are trying to accomplish.

From left to right: Control (no primer), Original, Sin, Eden, Greed

As before, I waited four hours before checking on the status of my swatches.

Four hours later…
From left to right: Control, Original, Sin, Eden, Greed

As expected, the control swatch faded significantly more than the primed swatches. However, it seemed that Eden did even worse than the Original Formulation. Greed performed comparably to the Original formula and its shimmery nature resulted in more shimmer, even though the color intensity was no better.

Sin, though… Sin was a different story. It performed dramatically better than all of the other Urban Decay primers. In the original mega-comarison, it would have qualified as a “high performer”.

If you don’t mind the color change and the shimmer, and if you’re looking for an Urban Decay primer in particular, Sin is definitely the way to go. Indeed, if you’re looking for a primer specifically to intensify your shimmery shadow, it might even be, dare I say it, a really good choice.

All four primers retail for $20 for 0.37oz ($54.05 per ounce).


1. It’s so interesting to see these comparisons! I find that UD Original is the one primer (have also tried Lorac Behind the Scenes, NARS Smudgeproof, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance) that does not crease on me at all. I’m kind of annoyed to like it so much, actually, what with it being so hyped and my not being a particular fan of UD in general. What is it about my lids that turns such an objectively mediocre primer into something super? WEIRD. Now I want to try Sin and see if it’s somehow even better…

2. Let me know what you think! It’s possible that for some reason your other primers aren’t performing appropriately, since that makes a little more sense than UD magically being the best.

3. the only problem with Sin is that if you have *any* crepeyness at all, it highlights it and makes it look 100x worse.


4. I can see how that would be the case. Shimmer isn’t always the most flattering.

5. It’s interesting that it preforms so badly for you. I prefer it to any other primer I have tried. It regularly lasts me 12+ hours with 0 sign of fading. I even swim in it, (leisurely not laps) and after an hour being splashed by my nephew my eye shadow looks the same. I did notice that my older one is a bit thicker, and seems to grab onto the pigment better initially. They both hold up the same though.

6. I don’t know anything about any formula changes that they may have made…

7. No, they are the same formula, I just have had one longer so it’s not as wet as my newer one. I keep the old one in my emergency kit. lol

8. I find the original formula so high-performing (wearing all day then sleeping in it and it looks the same in the morning w/very little fading) that I haven’t even looked at other eye primers. The sin formula however, creases on me like a mother. I don’t always sleep in my makeup, but when I do, I’m very dehydrated the next day.

9. Hm. Well if you do try something else, let me know. I used UD until I did my eyeshadow primer comparison and now I’m very glad that I have switched!

10. Do you think the original color of Sin being similar to the eyeshadow color you placed on top had an effect on the end result color being so much better for Sin than the others? The primer and shadow color seemed similar to me in the photos; though I recognize the lighting I’m seeing them in may not perfectly reflect what you were able to see for final intensity.

11. Not gonna lie….I’ve pretty much stalked you all day today! Great stuff!! I am definitely a follower now 🙂

I used MAC paint pot in base study as my eye shadow primer. I adore it. I does have a shimmer too it though, but works great as long as that’s your thing!