The Case of Shadow Insurance vs. Smudge Proof Shadow Base

Unless I’m doing a photoshoot or film that requires an eyeshadow change, my first step in the makeup application process is eye primer. A quality eye primer will create a base, help eyeshadow stay on longer, prevent creasing and intensify color. Eye primer is one of my favorite “inventions” of the last ten years. I find the iPhone to be considerably less impressive.

My go-to eye primer for the last few years has been the defendant, Shadow Insurance by Too Faced (the original formula in the blue tube). It’s a creamy product, and it currently comes in one color. I’m not going to say flesh-toned, because that presumes we all have the same color skin, so I will say it is a color comparable to a light skintone. However, it blends into all skintones without a problem. You only need, as Too Faced says, a “raindrop-sized” amount of product to cover the entire lid. It comes in a squeeze tube (great for makeup artists, and for keeping your product sanitized) and has no discernible scent. It absorbs easily, doesn’t feel heavy or sticky, and does all the things a quality primer should do.

As much as I love Shadow Insurance–and this is probably why I wouldn’t make a good girlfriend–I have to see what else is out there. What if there’s something better? As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a makeup artist if I only used certain products and never tried anything new. So when I had the chance to try the Smudge Proof Shadow Base by NARS (one of my favorite companies), I went for it.

The Smudge Proof Shadow Base comes in a chic black and white tube. It has a doe foot applicator (the classic lipgloss type applicator), which I don’t love. As a makeup artist, I find it much easier to squeeze product out of a tube than grab a minute amount with a doe foot applicator, swipe on my palette and repeat several times. The product itself is white and I did notice that when first applied, it paled out the skin a tiny bit. It has a very faint plastic scent, but nothing I found off-putting. It absorbs quickly and feels very lightweight and there is no stickyness factor.

Now, how do the two compare? On a few different days, I wore one primer on each eye, then did my eye makeup as usual. I put each primer on my right eye one day, my left the next, and used the same eyeshadows to be as fair as possible. And the verdict is–Shadow Insurance is the bomb. Order in the court! The shadow intensity levels were close, although there was only slightly less fading with the Shadow Insurance. What did it for me was the creasing. The Smudge Proof Shadow Base definitely didn’t do as good of a job preventing creasing. There was no creasing with the Shadow Insurance, but I can’t say the same for the Smudge Proof Shadow Base.

I love NARS, but this is not a product I can recommend. But I am happy to tell you that the Shadow Insurance is cheaper ($19) than the Smudge Proof Shadow Base ($24). So I’ll pretend I’m doing some kind of public service here…

You can get Too Faced products at Sephora or

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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