Sometimes an eyeshadow is only as good as the primer under it. That is why eye primers – or more precisely eyeshadow primers – are finally having their day in the sun.
Eye primers are the key to keeping eye makeup fresh and vibrant. Eye primers create a smooth canvas for the eyeshadow to look its best and prevent it from creasing and fading.
While many eye primers contain beeswax, you can also find a wide variety of vegan eye primers. We’ve curated a list of our favorite vegan eye primers for 2023.
All eye primers below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they do not include any animal ingredients and are not tested on animals.
Best Vegan Eye Primers
Here are our top 10 vegan eyeshadow primers and vegan eye bases that also work with foundations and concealers.
- Best Overall: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
- Best Organic: Ilia Natural Brightening Eye Primer
- Best Affordable: Milani Eyeshadow Primer
- Best Long-Wearing: Hourglass Veil Eye Primer
- Best Color-Correcting: Rare Beauty Weightless Eye Primer
- For Oily Lids: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer
- For Dry Lids: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eye Primer
- For Sensitive Skin: True + Luscious Angel Eyes Primer
- For Mature Skin: Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion
- For Under-Eyes: Smashbox X Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector
Best Vegan Eye Primer Overall
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion is the best vegan eye primer. It delivers on every aspect. The eyeshadow stays put all day, it doesn’t fade, clump, or crease even for hooded eyes. It’s a game-changing product for eye makeup. And it’s entirely vegan and cruelty-free.
You can choose between the original nude, shimmery, and matte finishes. Original is our favorite, yet the shimmery primer works well to maximize the impact of metallic and shimmery eyeshadows. Matte is great for controlling the shine of oily lids.
- What we like: eyeshadow looks perfect the whole day
- What we don’t like: not color-correcting
- What other reviewers say: eyeshadow stays in place and looks vibrant (even for oily lids), no creasing, creamy and blendable texture, non-drying for dry lids
Key ingredients: synthetic beeswax, talc| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, waterproof
Best Organic Vegan Eye Primer
Ilia Natural Brightening Eye Primer is our favorite organic vegan eye primer. The natural vegan eye primer has the highest content of certified organic plant oils and botanicals such as rosehip seed oil, olive oil, arnica, chamomile, jojoba esters, and rosemary leaf.
This primer does not have great staying power nor does it fully stop the eyeshadow from creasing (hence the negative reviews) but what it does is give your eyes a beautiful bright and awake look with a slight shimmer. It’s also very gentle and lightweight.
- What we like: eyes look bright, natural formula
- What we don’t like: not long-wearing, can crease
- What other reviewers say: safe, skin-friendly formula does not irritate sensitive skin, silky texture, can be worn on thanks to light shimmer, creases in a few hours
Key ingredients: organic rosehip seed oil, arnica, jojoba esters| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, organic, natural, gluten-free, paraben-free, talc-free, fragrance-free
Best Affordable Vegan Eye Primer
Milani Eyeshadow Primer is the best affordable vegan eye primer. It has excellent staying power and the eyeshadow does not smudge or crease – even for oily eyelids. It creates the smoothest eye makeup base for both natural makeup looks and bold, stand-out smokey eyes.
- What we like: best price-quality ratio, long-wearing
- What we don’t like: small tube runs out fast
- What other reviewers say: great lasting power for the price, silky texture creates an even base and fills in lines, works well for oily and mature eyelids
Key ingredients: mica, talc, synthetic beeswax| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, made in the USA
Best Long-Wearing Vegan Eye Primer
Hourglass does not brag about the staying power of their Veil Eye Primer enough. It’s definitely the best long-wearing vegan eye primer. It creates such a sturdy eye base, it rather dries out the lids instead of allowing the makeup to fade. It also brings the eyeshadow alive.
While this vegan eyeshadow primer is strong, it’s free of harsh vitamins and nourishes the skin with vitamins C and E. But if you have dry lids, Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer is also an excellent long-wearing vegan eye base – this one is more hydrating and also waterproof.
- What we like: best lasting power, eyeshadow looks more vibrant
- What we don’t like: a bit tacky texture, difficult to blend
- What other reviewers say: eyeshadow stays on for the whole day and looks very pigmented and bright, smooths and fills in crepey eyelids
Key ingredients: viamerine (moisturizing vegetable polyglcerides), vitamin E, vitamin C | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, alcohol-free, gluten-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, synthetic fragrance-free, phthalate-free
Best Color-Correcting Vegan Eye Primer
Weightless Eye Primer is the best vegan eye primer for color correcting. The tinted vegan eye primer comes in a universal peach tone that is able to neutralize redness, cover dark circles, and hide the blue color on the lids. It blends well and feels really light on the skin.
- What we like: lightweight feel, excellent color-corrector
- What we don’t like: can crease after a few hours
- What other reviewers say: covers redness and darkness, replaces a concelear, light and comfortable, hydrates dry lids, does not sit in lines, creases for oily lids
Key ingredients: vegan glycerin, talc| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, mineral oil-free, ophthamologist-tested, safe for sensitive eyes
Best Vegan Eye Primer For Oily Lids
Fenty Beauty’s Amplifying Eye Primer is the best vegan eye primer for oily lids. It makes the lids smooth and matte and the eyeshadow won’t budge for the whole day. Just wait until the primer is dry before adding makeup. You’ll be surprised how long the colors stay vibrant.
- What we like: crease-free and matte, eyeshadow stays in place
- What we don’t like: can dry out dry lids
- What other reviewers say: no creasing, smudging or sliding for oily lids, great staying power, eyeshadow stays fully put, enhances pigment
Key ingredients: mica, talc | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthtalate-free
Best Vegan Eye Primer For Dry Lids
Hydro Grip is the best vegan eye primer for dry lids. It gives the lids a smooth hydrated base with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and blue agave. It does not settle into lines and keeps the shadow looking fresh for hours. The primer is also free of drying alcohol and fragrance.
It’s difficult prime dry eyelids since even the most hydrating eye primers can end up drying out the lids even more. If this hydrating vegan eye primer should not work, try using a combination of moisturizing vegan eye cream and vegan concealer instead.
- What we like: invisible smooth eye base, fights dryness
- What we don’t like: it’s a hit or miss in terms of hydration
- What other reviewers say: locks concealer and eyeshadow in place for a full day, does not crease, fills in lines and smsooths out mature crepey lids, safe for ssensitive skin
Key ingredients: blue agave, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, paraben-free, fragrance-free, silicone-free, oil-free
Best Vegan Eye Primer For Sensitive Skin
For sensitive lids and sensitive eyes, we recommend the Angel Eyes Primer. This gentle vegan eye base is ophthalmologist-tested and free of over 1600 shady ingredients such as talc, alcohol, and fragrance. Available in 3 shades, it’s also ideal for correcting redness and discoloration.
- What we like: skin-friendly natural formula, covers discoloration
- What we don’t like: too thick for for crepey lids
- What other reviewers say: natural primer and concealer in one, flawless and smooth finish, well-pigmented, effectively holds eye makeup in place
Key ingredients: vegan glycerin, candelilla wax, rose extract| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, natural, clean paraben-free, talc-free, alchohol-free, fragrance-free, ophthtamologist-tested, safe for sensitive eyes
Best Vegan Eye Primer For Mature Skin
Urban Decay has also created the best vegan eye primer for mature skin. This primer nourishes and repairs aging skin, smooths out crepey lids, and does not settle in lines or wrinkles. The eyeshadow stays crease-free for the entire day.
- What we like: smoothest basis for crepey and aging lids
- What we don’t like: no visible anti-aging benefits (as advertised)
- What other reviewers say: shadow does not budge all day and all night, no creasing, hides fine lines and wrinkles, eyeshadow pigment looks brighter
Key ingredients: Dermaxyl (synthetic barrier-repairing ingredient), Kalpariane (anti-aging brown algae extract)| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free
Best Vegan Eye Primer For Under-Eyes
The best kind of under-eye primers either color-correct dark circles or reduce puffiness.
For dark circles, nothing beats the Smashbox X Becca Under Eye Corrector. It’s officially a color corrector but it works perfectly as a vegan under-eye primer to create a smooth base for the concealer. The tinted shimmery formula really cancels blue under-eyes.
If your concern is puffiness and eye bags, we also recommend priming the under-eyes with the Full Night’s Sleep Cooling Blurring Undereye Balm from R.e.m Beauty. The vegan under-eye balm cools the skin and fills in fine lines and wrinkles for an even and silky base.
- What we like: conceals dark circles, beautiful luminous base
- What we don’t like: too greasy for oily sksin
- What other reviewers say: neutralizes dark under-eyes, primes skin for concealer but also works without conceler, smooth and easy to blend
Key ingredients: peach and apricot pigments, vitamin E, vegan squalane| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, paraben-free, phthalate-free, mineral oil-free, gluten-free, synthetic fragrance-free
What Makes Eye Primer Vegan?
Vegan eye primer or vegan eyeshadow primer is a primer made without animal-derived ingredients, primarily beeswax. In addition, vegan eye primers cannot be tested on animals or include ingredients that have been tested on animals.
Instead of beeswax, vegan brands make eye primers using synthetic beeswax or plant-based waxes such as carnauba or candelilla wax. Many eye primers are also wax-free, especially more lightweight and liquidy eye primers.
When looking for a vegan eye primer, prefer products with a vegan marking or certified vegan label. Many ingredients in cosmetics can be both vegan and animal-derived (glycerin, stearic acid, squalane), so you need the producer’s assurance the eye primer is truly animal-free.
In addition to finding vegan-friendly primer formulas, make sure the company is cruelty-free. Often cosmetics brands claim to be cruelty-free but still test on animals in countries where it’s required by law. Prefer brands with certified cruelty-free labels from PETA and Leaping Bunny.
What To Look For In Vegan Eye Primers?
When shopping for vegan eye primers, prefer products that are as natural and chemical-free as possible, especially with sensitive skin. At the minimum, vegan eye primer should be paraben-free since it’s better not to have any potential hormone disruptors close to the eyes.
Your vegan eye primer should also match your skin type, or more precisely, eyelid type. Dry skin can have oily eyelids and vice versa. For oily lids, prefer vegan eye primers that offer a long-lasting, crease-free result. With dry lids, go for more hydrating liquid vegan eye primers.
Mature skin should prefer vegan eye primers that fill in lines and wrinkles instead of pronouncing them. If you need your vegan eyeshadow primer to correct and even your skin tone, choose tinted eye primers over transparent ones.
How We Review Vegan Eye Primers
Here are the main points we rate vegan eye primers by:
- Ingredients – We expect to see a high content of clean and natural plant-based ingredients in the eye primer. A good vegan eye primer s never fully natural but it can still avoid some harsher chemicals and synthetic additives.
- Longevity – The main function of a vegan eye primer is to keep the eyeshadow in place, that’s the main indicator of how well the eye primer performs.
- Creasing – A vegan eye primer should create a strong and smooth eye base to prevent the eyeshadow from creasing and smudging.
- Color intensity – Vegan eye primers should also enhance the color of the eyeshadow, some primers do it better than others. They should also stop the shadow from fading.
- Price – An eye primer should not cost a fortune, so we try to include vegan eye primers at every price point.
Why Trust Us
Vegan Avenue reviews vegan makeup, including vegan eye primers, independently through product trials and reading peer reviews. While our article includes affiliate links, none of our reviews have been incentivized by the brand or a retailer.
FAQ About Vegan Eye Primers
Eye primer is not necessarily vegan. Eye primers often contain beeswax and are tested on animals.
The best vegan eye primer is the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion.
You can find the best selection of vegan eye primers on Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora. Simply look for eye primers with a vegan and cruelty-free label.
No. This eye primer includes beeswax. Also, NARS is a company that uses animal testing, so none of its products can be considered vegan.
No, the primer includes beeswax and pearl powder from animals.
No. The Prime Time Eye Primer includes beeswax.
No. None of P.Louise’s products can be considered vegan as the company tests on animals.
Yes. This eyeshadow primer is vegan and cruelty-free.
Hope you found our guide with the best vegan eye primers useful. Beeswax is definitely not a must-have ingredient to make a good eye primer. Especially since beeswax has an equally good synthetic version available.
In 2023, Urban Decay offers the best vegan eyeshadow primers. We also like vegan eye primers from Hourglass, Fenty Beauty, and Rare Beauty. As we find new vegan eye primer brands, we will include them in this list.
See also: Vegan Primers