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NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base Review, Photos, & Swatches

NARS Pro-Prime:  Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00 for 0.26 oz.) is much-needed primer addition to NARS’ core range. In addition to the eyeshadow base, NARS also launched their Pro-Prime Face Prep ($30.00) (which, at this time, I am not planning to review).

I picked up a sample tube of the primer with a recent Sephora order, and the sample tube allowed me about four or five uses. From the images I’ve seen online, the packaging is similar–just a longer tube for the full-size version. They both have a doe-foot applicator (like the kind you see in lipgloss). It has an incredibly thin, slightly creamy consistency. When applied, it looks white on the applicator, but it is virtually colorless. This colorlessness is actually my only–albeit marginal and nitpicky–complaint.

It’s so colorless, even from the get-go, that it is difficult to determine where you’ve applied the primer. This makes covering the entire lid a little more difficult than when one would use a colored, even subtly so, primer. I’ve noticed that if I’ve missed an area, that area will look duller and flake, since there is no primer there. The problem is just it’s really difficult to tell if you’ve missed an area!

Aside from that, if you’ve covered your entire lid, it works really well. It lives up to all the claims NARS makes about it: lightweight, extends the wear, smooths the surface, and maximizes color. I didn’t experience any budging, smudging, creasing, or migration when I used this as a primer underneath my eyeshadows. It is a clear, matte primer that merely smooths over the lid and acts to hold and bond all the eyeshadow together. Colors definitely didn’t look muted at all, and they held their intensity throughout the day.

NARS Smudgeproof is most comparable to Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The consistency is very similar–they are all very thin and a little creamy.  However, NARS definitely feels more velvety once it dries–which is very quickly.  They are all nearly colorless, though NARS is definitely truly colorless–UDPP has a slight nude tone to it and TFSI even less nude. I’ve always found that UDPP seemed to have a slight shimmer to it, and NARS is completely matte (which is a good thing, if you want to keep your matte eyeshadows matte!). Of course, the major difference between the two is the price — UDPP goes for $18 for 0.34 oz. while NARS is $24 for 0.26 oz and TFSI is $17 for 0.35 oz.

Between the three, I’d actually go NARS. I really didn’t think I’d like it more than the other two, but I would. One of the issues I have with TFSI is the product can separate a bit in the tube. I do really like that you can squeeze out what you need and easily apply with a brush. Both NARS and UDPP have doe-foot applicators, but NARS is a simple tube, so it’s not nearly as wasteful as UDPP is. I’ve never finished a bottle of primer in my life, so even if $24 is a higher upfront cost, I really don’t see it not being worth the investment, since a tube should last you many, many uses.

Fun Fact: Ironically, since I revisited my TFSI review, which was made back in 2008–OMG!–TFSI, at the time, was $1 more than UDPP, which was $16.  The whole point?  UDPP has raised its price $2 in two years and is now more expensive than TFSI.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a lightweight, colorless eyeshadow primer that stays on all day without budging, smudging, or fading, you may want to give NARS Smudgeproof a try.

Availability: Sephora


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livnzoe Avatar

dear christine..
thank you for all the good reviews you’e posting every day!!
you said that you’re no planning to review the Nars Pro-Prime Face Prep, but i’m looking for the best face primer since two years, and i haven’t found it yet.
you do not have a lot of reviews about face primers and i would be very thankful if you could do one about your favourite face primer, or other primers you own.
Thank you very much.. i’m addicted to your website!

Christine Avatar

Most face primers contain silicone, which breaks me out, so it is difficult to review most face primers. I’m perfectly willing to put my skin on the line to a degree, but not so much when I’m aware of sensitivity to a particular ingredient. Based on the ingredients in the NARS primer, I just don’t think it would be a good fit for my face. I use Korres Silicone-Free primer when I need one 🙂 MAC’s Prep + Prime Face I have used in the past, and I haven’t had issues with that one.

Thanks! 🙂 I hope you understand where I’m coming from!

livnzoe Avatar

Thank you for your quick answer!
I’ve always wondered why you don’t do a lot of reviews about face primers.. but now i understand!
i use a primer almost every day.. but tomorrow i’ll skip it, maybe my foundation looks better in the evening if i don’t use one.

Christine Avatar

No problem 🙂 I wish I could test more, but they have so many -cone ingredients my face runs in the other direction! I know I am not SUPERSUPERSUPER sensitive in the sense that I can wear products that have maybe one -cone ingredient, but it just can’t be near the top of the list. NARS’ ingredient list definitely looked similar to Smashbox’s, but also L’Oreal’s new one.

Karyn Avatar

My TFSI is almost finally empty (after TWO years!) so this review really interests me. I love the TFSI but haaaate the way it seperates, definitely might try this out then! Thanks for the review 😀

Christine Avatar

Yep, the separation is YUCK!

Seems like nobody can really nail the packaging! NARS comes the closest, but it’s pretty… eh. I don’t know – maybe it’s just boring, but it works better than TFSI or UDPP. I think I like my paint pots best – so classy in the glass jars.

Yvonne Avatar

I find that a quick cure for the seperation is to shake it befor squeezing out. That works really well….I do the same for my mac concealer.

Christine Avatar

Ingredient List: Isododecane · Talc · Cyclopentasiloxane · Disteardimonium Hectorite · Vp/Eicosene Copolymer · Dimethicone · Cetyl Ethylhexanoate · Cyclohexasiloxane · Sorbitan Sesquioleate · Trimethylsiloxysilicate · Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride · Propylene Carbonate · Peg-40 Stearate · Sorbitan Olivate · Tocopheryl Acetate · Cera Alba (Beeswax) · Phenoxyethanol · Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate · Oryza Sativa [Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil Extract] · Triethoxycaprylylsilane · Castor Oil Phosphate · Sea Whip Extract · Mica · Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide) · Ci 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride).

Dini Avatar

Thanks so much for the review! I was talking to the lady at the local NARS counter about how I loved some of the cream shadow colors, but they crease and fade so quickly on me, even with UDPP or TFSI. She suggested that I used the NARS primer to compliment the NARS shadows. Really, I thought she was just trying to get me to spend more money. But after reading your review, I’m inclined to give her suggestion a try!

Andie Avatar

I have been using the newer Lorac Behind the Scenes eye primer lately, and I am pretty happy with it. It prevents creasing as well as UDPP, but has much more hygienic packaging. I also had my UDPP go “off” on me after less than a year, so I will not be repurchasing any of their primers again.

Roxanne Avatar

You never run out of primer?! I’m on my third bottle of UDPP… And I depot them! I don’t use that much at all either. I do, however, use it everyday.

Roxanne Avatar

Well that would explain it 😛 I crease easily, and have found that UDPP does the trick so I’ve never strayed. Can’t afford to experiment!

Dia Avatar

I’m really happy to see a review of this so soon! I picked up a tiny, barely filled, less than 1″x1″ sample packet at Nordstrom last week, but I keep forgetting it’s in my purse so I haven’t tried it. Guess I’ll have to haul it out and try it. 🙂

For those of you with a NARS counter at Nordstrom- I had to surrender a promo I got in the mail to get my sample, but you could always ask and see if they have a packet you could try out. 🙂

kcrystal Avatar

i have UDPP, TFSI, soft ochre PP and i have the Nars base on hold .. can’t wait to see what it’ll be like in a couple hours when i get mine. TFSI creases on me and so does UDPP, however PP over UDPP works a bit better, but still creases a tiny bit, not as much as using UDPP alone.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Nars eyeshadow base will hold up. I have really oily lids, so i’ll see if the product claims to do what it will do.

Kat Avatar

Coolio, I’m going to check it out next time I’m at Sephora. I absolutely loathe UDPP, but am still using it. I hate the way it feels–slightly sticky but heavy and dry. I don’t know. I need something else, but it’s doing it for me now because even if it still fades and leaves it messy, without it, my eyeliner melts off my face. The velvety thing intrigues me.

Mindy Avatar

For your funfact, oh yeah!!! I remember telling my mom to buy UDPP but she grabbed the TFSI for convenience getting the stuff out even thought it cost a buck more. I can’t believe they jacked the price for a crap bottle!

I went to Sephora online to see the Canadian conversion, we still pay more for the TFSI 🙁 It’s $24 compared to UD @ $22. Insane! We pay $7 extra when our dollar is almost at par (or was a month ago). Ick.
Nars pops in at $29.
My wallet is crying now.

Melissa Avatar

I received a sample of this from (used up 100 points for it) and didn’t like it. The texture felt gross and I found it didn’t do anything extra for my eyeshadows. The one positive is that it didn’t irritate my super-sensitive eyelids (as opposed to both UDPP and TFSI). Until something better comes along, I’ll stick with my Paint Pots.

Tracy Avatar

I totally agree with your review! I got a sample from a Sephora order also and loved it so much that I just bought a tube today from my Nars counter. I’m so tired of my TFSI separating on me-threw it out after I tried this stuff. I think it works way better than UDPP and TFSI.

kennethalan Avatar

i’ll probably pick this up. I actually don’t have an eye primer =X.. i just use my face primer haha.
but yeah i love the simple packaging and this just seems better than others.

Cheyenne Avatar

I’m looking for one that will cover me even if I have oily eyelids. I’ve heard Urban Decay primer potion and Two faced shadow insurance are great. I’ve also heard they are a little cheaper, but UDPP packaging leaves wasted product. I’m not sure what to get. I don’t mind price, I just want the best for my oily lids. I tried using a paint pot to help, but that didn’t help, it still creased.

Kim Avatar

I just got this and i LOVE it. its the only thing thats worked to keep nars cream eyeshadows from creasing! UDPP didnt even do that. And i like that its a simple tube so there is no product wasted like with UDPP

Kiu Avatar

I’m interested in this! But I’m worried because its colorless. Do you use this before or after putting foundation on your eye? I’m liking UDPP Eden because I use in as a base and as a substitute for putting foundation on my eyelid, but this sounds so good.

Jess Avatar

Hi just wondering if this would also be good to use under the eye, before concealer as my concealer creases & also wears off throughout the day. If not, do you have any recommendations for something else that will do the job? Thanks!

Nichole Avatar

I just used my sample of Nars primer and O..M..G!!! I think I may have to stray from UDPP when I run out, which will be soon. I will try it on a full day of wear before I officially decide. With UDPP, I have to apply a paint pot on top to help with blending. I didn’t have to do that with Nars primer. I am a little worried about Nars containing Bismuth, but it’s last on the ingredient list so it shouldn’t be so bad.

Linh Pham Avatar

Hi Christine 🙂 I’ve noticed that you’re using NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base in (almost?) all of your tutorials and wonder if I should try it out… I’ve been using MAC paint pot as base but it doesn’t help with the smudging problem at all, especially whenever I’m using eyeshadows or eyeliner at the bottom. 🙁

Can you tell me what’re the differences between those two products? And with the NARS Smudge Proof, about how long can I use it before it runs out? And how long does your eyeshadows seem to hold (not staring to smudge) with it?

I do want to try the UDPP or the TSFI, but the brands aren’t available here. So if ever, do MAC or MakeUpForever have something that would help with the smudging problem?

Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks Christine! (^____^)

Christine Avatar

If you’re able to get NARS, I think you’d find it more comparable to UDPP/TFSI in formula. I imagine you could easily use it for 6+ months or more. Definitely not something you’d use up quickly. I don’t have any fading or smudging issues with it, even after 12 hours.

Krista Avatar

I used up a hundred points to get the sample from Sephora, and I am very disappointed. Not that my eyeshadows faded, creased, migrated, or smudged in any way, because they didn’t, but unlike any other product I have ever put on my eyes, this made them water like crazy and get all red. Nothing else I have ever used has done this to me, and I do not have sensitive eyes. So while the primer did everything it was supposed to do, keeping my eyeshadow beautiful for twelve hours, the red water eyes just ruin the desired effect. I really wanted this product to work for me… 🙁

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