I've said it once, and I'll say it again: If you're after flake-free, compliment-worthy lashes, you need to be using an eyelash primer. Seriously, mascara without primer is like peanut butter without jelly—it's perfectly fine on its own, but when you combine the two, you get an absolute delight. Not only do primers make applying mascara way easier (they basically turn your lashes into a smooth, fanned-out canvas), but they also prevent the smudging, smearing, and flaking that even waterproof formulas can't avoid.
If raccoon eyes aren't on your summer mood board, the time to invest in a primer is right now. Ahead, the 9 best eyelash primers of all time, including a tinted formula that moonlights as a sheer mascara, and a Dhs40 primer that leaves you with ridiculous, born-with-it volume.
1. CoverGirl Lash Blast Amplify Eyelash Primer
best conditioning eyelash primer
You know how first applying a layer of lip balm makes your lipstick look a thousand times better? This creamy eyelash primer basically does the same thing, thanks to a blend of argan, jojoba, and coconut oils that moisturise your lashes with each swipe.
2. Benefit They're Real Tinted Lash Primer
best tinted eyelash primer
There's a reason this eyelash primer has earned cult-favourite status: The tinted formula leaves your lashes with natural-looking volume and definition that doesn't even require a top coat of mascara. Think of this primer as the lightweight, summer edition of your fave mascara.
3. Pür Fully Charged Mascara Primer
best volumising eyelash primer
If your Friday night plans require a lil' extra something in the make-up department, make sure you have this mascara primer on hand. The formula uses sunflower seed oil to butter up your lashes (those eight-plus coats of mascara need a smooth base, after all), and carnuba wax to build genuine volume around each lash before you even get started.
4. Jane Iredale PureLash Lash Extender & Conditioner
best multi-use eyelash primer
This formula—which is spiked with lash-conditioning algae extract—feels incredibly lightweight under your mascara. Oh, and while you're prepping your lashes, you can also groom your brows, 'cause this primer is a multi-tasking kween.
5. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer
best easy-to-apply eyelash primer
The thick bristles on this eyelash primer make it ridiculously easy to coat each and every lash (yup, even those hard-to-reach spots your mascara can't touch). Just keep in mind this formula goes on white, so you'll definitely want to follow up with either a black, brown, or colored mascara to avoid looking, uh, ghostly.
6. L'Oréal Paris X Fiber Mascara
best mascara and eyelash primer duo
If I could write a love letter to this primer-and-mascara hybrid, I totally would (seriously, people comment on my eyelashes every time I wear it). When I'm feeling more low-key, I swipe on the black primer, which is basically a sheer, volumising mascara. But when I really want definition, I layer on the mascara, which is filled with tiny fibers that stick to your lashes to bulk them up like you just got extensions.
7. LashFood Conditioning Collagen Lash Primer
best strengthening eyelash primer
The hero ingredient in this eyelash primer is collagen—the anti-aging superhero you'll find in skin-plumping moisturisers or ultra-firming serums. What does that mean for your lashes? Well, when combined with a blend of biotin and peptides, the formula works to strengthen and thicken your eyelashes over time. So, no, it won't exactly give you hefty lashes the moment you wriggle it on, but in the long run? You won't even need it.
8. Grande Cosmetics GrandePrimer
best flake-free eyelash primer
If your mascara starts to flake or crumble halfway through the day, this eyelash primer is about to make your life a whole heck of a lot easier. As you prime, a blend of peptides and mini fibers coats each of your lashes, so when you layer your mascara, it actually stays put.
9. MAC Cosmetics False Lashes Maximizer
best lifting eyelash primer
This lightweight eyelash primer goes on white, but it dries down to a semi-sheer base, so don't worry about finishing up with your darkest, inkiest mascara. This pick is especially great for lifting those inner-corner lashes that wiggle out of your curler.