Vegan Primer? We’ve Got You Covered!

February 16, 2011By 16 Comments

This is a guest post by Adrienne Orpheus of

It was recently announced by Urban Decay that their Primer Potion is no longer vegan. Millions of vegans the world over lamented at this loss. Urban Decay insist that they’re going to try to reformulate it to exclude the animal-derived ingredient (lanolin), but personally don’t hold your breath on that one. It’ll be extremely surprising if they actually bother to change it, since it’s one of their most popular products, and they sell loads of it regardless of whether or not it’s vegan.

So what is a vegan make up fanatic to do? Find an alternative! There are lots of vegan eyeshadow primers out there made by ethical independent companies. Searching for the perfect one can be frustrating and painful to your wallet if you aren’t careful, since frankly there are a lot of lacklustre primers out there. But fear not, I’ve done all the work for you and found the best vegan primer on the market yet!

But wait a minute – what is a primer anyways and why do you need to use one?

For the uninitiated – eyeshadow primer is something you apply to your eyelids before putting on make up in order to make loose eyeshadow stay on your eyes, and/or to improve the performance of pressed shadows. Primer also prevents your eyeshadow from settling into the creases of your eyelids, which happens a lot to people with oily skin. All loose eyeshadows must be applied over a primer, but primers can really make your pressed shadows POP as well!

So what can I use to make my eyeshadows FIERCE?

SoBe Botanicals sells a primer called Primed & Proper that’s just as good at the Urban Decay one, if not better, and it costs half what the Primer Potion does. I say “better” because 1) its actually vegan! and 2) it comes in a practical and easy to use squeeze bottle. As much as I love the look of Urban Decay’s “genie in a bottle” primer potion, it’s such a pain to use.

You can also give your eyeshadows an even bigger boost when you combine SoBe’s Primer with Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy.

From the Fyrinnae website:

Originally developed and formulated for a friend/pro artist, this unique “glue” is designed to hold the sparkliest, most shimmery eye shadows in place, minimize “fallout”, and also to easily create a foiled look without foiling.

Pixie Epoxy, like all of Fyrinnae’s products, is 100% vegan and free of animal ingredients! Not only can Pixie Epoxy give you a foiled look, it will keep your shadows fixed all day, without any fading.

Not convinced? Want to see proof that Primed and Proper is even better than Urban Decay’s Primer Potion? Check out Grey’s comparison of the two products on Le Gothique.

It’s easy to rock glamorous looks with 100% cruelty-free products!

Have you tried any other vegan eyeshadow primers? What did you think?

Adrienne Orpheus is a vegan singer/songwriter and cruelty-free fashionista extraordinaire. You can read her blog here at or follow her on Twitter at @adorpheus.

About Sunny ()

Longtime vegan, hardcore compassionate beauty junkie, serious cake aficionado, and lover of all things floofy and sparkly! If there's something in particular you'd like me to review, drop me a line at You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Google +.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Jocelyn says:

    Also Lime Crime makes a waterproof vegan eye shadow primer.

  2. Leolin Lopez says:

    I agree about the Arbonne primer!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I just came across this post now in 2014 and wanted to bring to attention that the current urban decay website lists the primer potions as vegan! I don’t know for sure if they’re telling the truth but if it’s on the site as vegan you’d sure hope they would be! I’m going to go check the new tubes in store this week.

  4. Jenn says:

    Try the all natural face. They have vegan primer. 🙂

  5. Nikki says:

    Still looking for a vegan eyeshadow primer! Starting to get so tempted by the UD one again as I loved it and my makeup has never been the same since I stopped using it. 🙁

  6. KC Immler says:

    Hi Sunny, any new recommendations for vegan eye primers? They no longer sell this one, which is a bummer cuz I was going to go buy it!

  7. bahh says:

    Thank you so much for this review!! I’ll be getting the SoBe primer instead of the Urban Decay one! (and telling all my veggie friends 😀 ) This just saved me time and hassle so thank you.

  8. NikkiQ says:

    Well, I tried the Sobe primer and was really disappointed. I didn’t find it anywhere near as good as the Urban Decay primer (I miss it SO much)!!! The Sobe primer stung my eyes, flaked and my eyeshadow did not stick well at all. Not impressed. 🙁

    Does anybody have any other recommendations???

  9. Rachel says:

    I’m wondering if they changed their formula, because I bought the Sobe primer after reading this and I don’t think it’s good at all! It goes on more like a lotion than a primer, and it sinks into the skin and doesn’t really “prime” my lids at all. My eyeshadows don’t stick to it, either, which makes it pretty useless as a primer. I bought the Sobe mineral mousse foundation as well and was really disappointed by it, too – it’s really strongly scented and smears around on my face. It was more like a moisturizer than a foundation. I wrote to the company and got no reply. I don’t know if they changed their products or what, but I was pretty disappointed. I’m going to give the Tarte eyelid primer a shot – I love their tinted moisturizer.

  10. Cat says:

    I love the Sobe primer. OMG! When I first got it, it took me a few days to figure out much – or rather how LITTLE – to use. I still use my powdered foundation over the primer, followed by layers of eyeshadow. It holds all day and into the evening, no joke. Without primer, I’m a creasy greasy mess by 10am so this stuff makes me a happy girl – and because it takes so little, that tube is going to last me, I dunno, a year?

  11. danielle says:

    I’d love to hear an update on how you’re liking this product. I, too, purchased it after learning that UDPP isn’t vegan-friendly. I’ve used the SoBe many times and still have not quite perfected how much product to use in order to prevent creasing. So far, my makeup only goes about 4 hours without creasing. Which is certainly better than nothing, don’t get me wrong! But I’d love to hear any tips you might have and to hear a bit about how this product worked for you on your eyes. 🙂

  12. Jen says:

    I agree with the Arbonne comment. BEST PRIMER EVER!!! I started selling Arbonne products because they’re ALL animal free and I really believe in the quality of their products.

  13. Magdalena says:

    Hi, There is another fantastic vegan primer on the market made by Arbonne. It is the best primer I have ever tried. Give it a try you will not be dissapointed. Cheers.

  14. Cat says:

    Like Mary, I was *just* researching non-UD primer options and coming up kind of short. I’m SO happy to see this review and after seeing all the photos, I’m placing an order right effing now. Thanks Adrienne and Sunny!

  15. Mary says:

    I was just asking around on facebook for any suggestions for a good vegan eye primer since I had still not been able to replace my Urban Decay primer. I had “hearted” the Sobe Botanicals primer on Etsy but was unsure of whether or not to give it a try. After seeing this write up and the Gothique write up I will definitely give it a shot! Thanks!

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