MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base Review & Swatches

Please tell me I’m not the only one who loves discovering new eyeshadow primers! :D In fact, I like trying out new primers as much as I like experimenting with new colors and texture. The latest one to entice me is the Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base from MAC that has just recently been released. MAC has one of the largest selections of eyeshadow in the market and it’s quite hard to believe that this is the first-ever actual eyelid primer they’ve ever made. I suppose better late than never right? I have a full review for you today as well as a quick comparison swatch with other popular eyelid primers from NARS, Too Faced, and Urban Decay at the end of the post. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base

MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base comes in a standard squeeze tube similar to most eyelid primers. Quick, easy to use, and convenient but if there’s one thing I wish they could have done differently, it’s the size of the opening. I find it a little too wide and dispenses a little too much product considering that you only need just a touch for each use.

However, a possible reason for the wide opening is perhaps due to the thick texture of the primer. It is much, much thicker than all the other primers I’ve tried. It is also very balmy and very, very silicone-y. The texture reminds me quite a bit of the Benefit Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer Stick (review) but is much more emollient. It is super easy to spread to a thin layer, though, provided you only use just a dab each time. It comes out of the tube pink beige in color but turns invisible once blended on the lids.

MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base

Despite the thicker texture, I don’t find it to be heavy or thick on the lids at all. It feels virtually weightless and comfortable once it sets. Like most eyelid primers, it leaves a slightly tacky feel so that your eyeshadow has something to grab onto. What it differs from most primers, though, is the fact that it seems to “plump up” the skin on my eyelid making it look smoother, fuller, and less textured. At first I thought it was my imagination so I tried it on one eye and applied another primer from a different brand on the other and I could see clearly that the MAC one did in fact plump up the skin and make the texture of my eyelids smoother and more even. This is a major plus in my book and I can see it being a great option for those who have thin or mature eyelid skin.

(Note: The other primers that I tested side-by-side with were the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Different one on different day.)

MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base unblended (L) and blended (R)
MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base unblended (L) and blended (R)

Performance-wise, it really does keep my shadows looking fresh and vibrant throughout the day as promised! Humidity- and sweat-resistant, I did not notice any creasing or fading of my shadows at all and I have oily lids! At the end of the day, I checked my eye makeup in the mirror and saw that it still looked just like when it was first applied in the morning. So, another major plus for a long-lasting performance!

But does it amp up the shadow vibrancy as well as the other popular primers on the market, though? Check out my comparison swatch below.

L-R: (1) No primer, (2) NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, (3) Too Faced Shadow Insurance (original), (4) Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (original), (5) MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base
L-R: (1) No primer,
(2) NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base,
(3) Too Faced Shadow Insurance (original),
(4) Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (original),
(5) MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base

As you can see, the MAC primer significantly increases the vibrancy of the shadow compared to the “no primer” control (1) on the first lane. Although it doesn’t amplify the hue as well as the NARS (2) or the Too Faced one (3), it still does considerably better than the Urban Decay one (4).

(For each lane, the eyeshadow was applied with a fingertip in 3 layers over its corresponding base or without base. I tried to control the pressure during application as best as I could. Results may vary based on individual factors such as skin condition and/or tools used to apply the shadow.)

Overall, if you don’t mind the silicone-y texture, I think you will really love the MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extended Eye Base. It may not perform best in terms of dialing up the shadow intensity compared to the other primers but I still consider it to have the best texture all around. It never leaves my eyelid looking and feeling dry but more importantly, I just love the way it preps my skin to create such a soft and smooth canvas so that my eyeshadow applies better and more evenly.

Do you also like experimenting with eyeshadow primers? What are some of the best (or worse) ones you’ve tried?


US$22 at Nordstrom

At MAC counters

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  1. says: Sunny

    Hey Jaa, thanks so much for the review! I haven’t given this one a go yet, but it seems like a good option! I’ve tried a few primers. For the moment I’m sticking to UDPP, because the formula works well for my oily lids. The Dior one is great, too, but it also has a texture that takes getting used to! I liked NARS but really really hope they’ll repackage. I’d be so much happier if it came in a squeezable tube.

    1. says: Jaa

      I remember trying the Dior one and it was a complete fail. I just couldn’t for the life of me spread it to a smooth finish! I remember it being thick and cakey but my eyes were also a bit drier back then, too. Yeah, hope NARS repackages their primer soon!

  2. says: Agata

    Hi Jaa, what a fantastic review! Thank you for the swatches on the other primers, that helps a lot. Nars Smudgeproof is definitely my favorite eye primer. I actually ran out of it so for the time being I am using Lorac Behind The Scenes primer that came with my Pro2 palette. I think I might give this Mac one a try!

  3. says: Alice

    This sounds very interesting. I’m currently using the one from Nars but I very much dislike the packaging. Looks like a good alternative?

    X Alice

    1. says: Jaa

      The NARS packaging doesn’t really bother me but yeah, it would be nice it it was packaged in a simple squeeze tube instead! :)

  4. says: Victoria

    Ooooh. This looks like a great eye primer! The only MAC eye primer that I tried sucked and this certainly seems like a good one. Thanks for reviewing! :)

  5. says: Lena L

    It is surprising that this is the first eyeshadow primer from MAC! Maybe because they have been boasting about the vibrancy and longevity of their own eyeshadows? (like “we don’t need no primer” LOL)
    I don’t mind silicon-y feeling at all. On the contrary, I often wonder what this makeup world would have become if it wasn’t for silicones.
    Anyway, I’d love to try this one once I run out my current favorite – LORAC Behind the Scenes. ;)

    1. says: Jaa

      LOL! You’re probably right?! They have those paint pots, though, which technically are an eye primer in a way but I haven’t tried any of them yet. I do love silicones in certain products such as eye primer of course and also in pore-mimizing primer. ;D

  6. After years of UDPP, I tried NARS SPEB and haven’t looked back. I just love how much it boosts shadow vibrancy and one little tube lasts me a year, give or take, with daily use. I will say that the plumping effect of this MAC option sounds really unique and cool! Definitely something worth trying! Great review and comparisons!

    1. says: Jaa

      NARS SPEB! LOL! Why does it sound funny to me I’m not sure! :D :D :D NARS SPEB NARS SPEB NARS SPEB say it fast three times! NARS SUH PEB! Hehe Anyway, yes it lasts a loooong time! I think I’ve had this tube for 3 years now? Ooopss!

  7. says: Lily

    I think one of the worst I tried was by Benefit. Didn’t really work and the texture separated after a year. I thought the UDPP one was good until I tried NARS. Clinique isn’t too bad either. But if I had to choose just one, NARS would be it.

    1. says: Jaa

      I actually like the Benefit one! It’s a bit thicker than most eye primers but it covers the redness on my eyes really well! :D

  8. Nope, I don’t mind silicones, so gimme that sh*t! :-) Seriously, sounds and looks pretty great, I might give it a try once I need a new primer. Oh and also, your close-ups look AMAZING again, Jaa, you put the rest of us (or most of us at least) to shame!

    1. says: Jaa

      Thanks, Melissa! It’s always nice to hear compliments on my photos! :) I hope you get one to review soon. I seriously think you’ll love it!

  9. says: Liz

    Yes, I was waiting for this review! I think that I’ll get this eventually. Or test it out, whichever comes first, lol. The amount that’s dispensed seems like a horrible waste but I guess it makes for a speedier trip for B2MAC. ;O

    1. says: Jaa

      True! Eye primer is probably the longest-wearing product of all the makeup! I wouldn’t be surprised if the design was intentional so that you replace it sooner. Hehe.

  10. says: Sylirael

    This is such a good comparison! It looks like it has about the same effect on the shadow intensity as the UD one – the NARS is impressive! I do like the sound of the whole eyelid plumping/smoothing business though – it’s an interesting aspect I hadn’t expected from a shadow primer – spackle for line-filling your lids! Hah! :-D

    1. says: Jaa

      The effect is subtle but definitely noticeable! The only problem is I always seem to dispense it too much each time! That’s how they get you to finish the tube sooner I guess! It’s hard to beat the NARS primer when it comes to dialing up the shadow intensity!

  11. Hi! I live your review. The only thing I think you missed is that MAC did have an Eye Primer. I worked for them 6 years. They had and probably still have their original primer if it isn’t phased out. It is called “Eye Paint” and came in a squeeze tube unlike the “Paint Pot”. Because it wasn’t labeled “eye primer,” many people had no idea what it was for. Regardless, this new primer is phenomenal because of how it smooths the lid. Great review!

    1. says: Jaa

      Oh thank you so much for the clarification, Liz! I remember seeing those but never thought they were eye primer! They come in colors, too, if I’m not mistaken! :D Have you tried them? Are they any good?

  12. The primers were great at keeping the eye shadow on all day. Just like any other primer, you had to use a minimal amount. When I had a client with dry skin or wrinkles, I would mix it with an emollient concealer So that it would grab the colors well. Also, most of the colors have been phased out. They have the basic colors available.

    1. says: Jaa

      Never thought of mixing eye primer with an emollient concealer! Thanks for the tip, Liz! My skin gets dry sometimes and this tip will come in handy! :) Some of my eye primers have really dry consistency as well so I’ll try mixing them to see if it helps!

  13. says: saleena

    Hiya Jaa. That was a gr8 review. Have you tried wearing this eye base on the undereye zone? The MUA did suggest it would stop the concealer from creasing. Just wondering.

    Waiting to get my hands on the product :)

    1. says: Jaa

      Hey Saleena! I haven’t had a chance to use it under eye yet! Great idea! I’ll give it a try and let you know. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  14. says: Saleena

    Hi Jaa. Thanks for the reply. Do lemme know how the concealer comes along with the eye base under the eye. Cheers :)

  15. says: Judi

    Did the MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base replace the MAC Prep + Prime Eye 5g/0.17 us oz? I’ve been using MAC Prep + Prime Eye 5g/0.17 throughout my time as a TV News Reporter (10 plus years) and now it has vanished from my Mac Favorites and my past orders and the MAC and Mac Pro website.

    1. says: Jaa

      I think it’s very likely, Judi! I have never tried the old formula so I don’t know if and how they are different. Sorry! I love this new version very much, though. So easy to use and works like a charm performance-wise.

      A TV News Reporter? Wow! Can you share some tips on how to wear makeup for TVs? My imagination is that you kind of have to put on heavier makeup than usual because studio lighting has to wash out the colors a little bit.

  16. says: Signe

    How do you like this one compared to the NARS one in terms of lasting-power? I’m having problems with the Urban Decay primer creasing like no tomorrow on me, and I’m not sure which one I’ll try next. And I saw that you wrote you have oily lids too, so I’d really appreciate it if you could point me in either direction! Great blog!

    1. says: Jaa

      Hi Signe!

      I don’t find the longevity different between the two products so you can’t go wrong with either one. However, I’d like to add that the NARS one has a much thinner texture, and spreads much better on the skin, but it doesn’t cover much of redness or skin’s texture.

      The MAC one, on the other hand, is thicker and more balmy (but still spreads easily). It also brightens and covers up redness well. It seems to plump up the skin on the eyelid a tiny bit, too, so that the skin appears less textured.

      Hope this helps! And thanks for visiting! ❤

  17. says: sally

    Great Review! I’m thinking of getting a new eye primer but I’m having a bit of trouble choosing which one :S

    I’ve tried the Too Face shadow insurance, Urban Decay Primer Potion, Smashbox 24hr primer (which sounds similar to the new Mac one). Both Too Faced and Urban Decay crease on me badly and the Smashbox one seems to do a better job but it does still crease with certain shadows.

    I was looking at the Nars one, Mac Prep and Primer 24hr or the Mac Paint pot (open to any suggestions!) – do you have a recommendation?

    1. says: Jaa

      I highly recommend the NARS or MAC Prep + Prime one. These two never fail me. :) I’ve never tried MAC Paint Pot so I have no comments on it. :)

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