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.