Edward Bess Illuminating Eyeshadow Base

May 15, 2012

I’ve been eagerly waiting for the official release of Edward Bess’s Illuminating Eyeshadow Base for over a year now. I was able to test a prototype at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and was particularly impressed how it helped my eyeshadow last. As reviewed and mentioned by The Non-Blonde, the formula has probably changed, as well as the packaging, but the final product is just as amazing. Cafe Makeup showed us a preview of his eye base in action at Liz’s makeover at Bergdorf Goodman. Best Things in Beauty also featured a review for Cashmere. 
Edward Bess’s Illuminating Eyeshadow Base ($30 for .12 fl oz/3.5 ml) comes in three shades. I purchased the darker two in Dune, a cream medium flesh beige and Suede, a darker tan with a luminous sheen. These come in a twist tube with a built in brush applicator. Both shades work well with my medium olive toned skin (Chanel B30).

Dune has more of a matte/satin coverage while Suede is a perfect contour with shimmer. Both work equally well for me just think of Suede as a few shades deeper and more contrasted for my skintone. What these give is perfect natural coverage to the eye. While Dune seems more matte, there is an illuminating quality about it that gives my lids a flawless even glow. I’ve tried a number of other eye bases and have never found my perfect base. I have normal lids (neither dry or oily). I feel like most other eye primers I’ve tried are focused on oil control and the ones I’ve tried end up drying up my lids creating creases and lines even though I have no visible crease. Note I distinguish Eye Bases/Primers from Cream Eyeshadows. Primers/Eye Bases I’ve tried and did not love include ones from Trish McEvoy, Laura Mercier, Chanel’s Concealers (which are almost always used as a base in makeovers), NARS, Urban Decay’s Original Primer Potion (I do love the ones with shimmer/color for my skintype), Too Faced and probably several others that either irritated my skin or dried it out.
Back to the Edward Bess. This applies smoothly and evenly and dries at a slower rate than others which means I have more time to blend and smooth on the eye. I’m personally not a fan of twist-up brush-tipped applicators. I find they get dirty easily and I’d much rather apply with a full sized flat cream brush or my fingers. Still, the actual product is still amazing enough and the brush is fully functional for application so I can’t complain. Both shades indeed are brightening/illuminating. I agree with Best Things in Beauty that these offer amazing coverage and last all day into the night without creasing or creeping. This somehow helps the eyeshadow stay fresh-looking like you just applied it hours later. Both of the ones I purchased are winners and absolute must-haves
Below, more product shots and swatches applied with different intensities:

Available now at Neiman Marcus.

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  • PerilouslyPale May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I can't wait to try this! I can't decide whether to just start with the lightest shade or order the two lightest. I never would have thought to order more than one before The Non-Blonde and your reviews.

  • Lori J May 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I've been reading all the wonderful reviews about this product – ordering now! I've had quite a hard time finding a good base…my eyes are super sensitive and Urban Decay, Too Faced, and Nars all left my eye area red and irritated. Really hoping this product works for me after reading all the good reviews.

  • Sexy Sadie May 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I liked Dune. Thank you for the swatches.

  • Flyavsted May 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Gorgeous! I thinl I nerd Themsen both

  • Naomi May 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you for the great swatches…Hmm, do you think he might be changing the packaging soon or is the pic of this product on Neiman Marcus site the prototype you saw last year? It appears to be a wand type applicator (like Nars eye primer) which I prefer than this click pen applicator. I find the click pen type waste a lot of product 🙁

    • Sabrina May 16, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Naomi – good question! I'm not sure if Neimans has a different package but the one on the web right now was the same as the prototype I saw last year. I've sent an email to ask. I'll update you as soon as I find out.

    • Naomi May 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

      Thank you 😉 I see now they have updated the pic on their site with the click pen applicator as you have featured in your post…Darn! Wish it was exactly like the prototype you first saw, really dislike that type of click pen 🙁

  • Walls May 16, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Great review, Sabrina! I will definitely pick up this product in Cashmere or Dune when I am next on the market for a shadow primer. Love your posts!

  • [email protected] Fashion Blog Seattle May 16, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Thanks for the review. The colors are nice. HOwever, I'm so reluctant to use a pen on my eyes.

  • milktea May 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Both shades look great! Is this product supposed to be used the same way as UDPP or TFSI eye primers?

  • Isla May 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I'd try these except I'm not a fan of those brushes–they get all crusty and dirty; and half the time they don't seem to apply things very evenly. I guess I could wash them regularly like other brushes but then it's just extra work.

  • Linda May 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    This product is getting such good reviews from everyone it didn't work for me. My shadow creased after a few hours which I never get with nars or tfsi. Maybe it's not for those with oily lids

  • Beauty Box May 18, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Suede is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Anonymous May 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Such a great recommendation– I wore dune under my eyeshadow yesterday at a huge, all-day event, and the make up remained perfection 12+ hours later! i received compliments all day. my old primer was the nars one, and this is by far superior. i also picked up suede, which i feel will be a great everyday tool during the summer months. however, every time i go to the edward bess counter at bergdorf's, NO ONE IS EVER THERE! i always end up getting one of the perfume guys in the "stall next door" to ring me up!

  • Rola May 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Like you, I have tried many primers that did not work for me. I currently love Benefit Stay Don't Stray and Nars, great for my lids that tend to get oily. I would love to try the Edward Bess ones in the lighter shades. Thanks:)

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