Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot – Which one is best?

For a long time when I was younger I avoided using eyeshadows because they always creased on my hooded eyes. That might have been due to the cheaper eyeshadow products I was using back then but also due to the fact that I wasn’t using an eyeshadow primer.

Eyeshadow primers are one of those cosmetic items that I’m sure many think that they are unnecessary or too much and I get you, I thought so too. Totally wrong though! Not only do they stop your eyeshadow from creasing but they also keep the pigmentation going all day long.

For years now I’ve been testing the two most popular eyeshadow primers, the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot, and trying to figure out which one is best. Both of them work very well but one of them is better for other reasons! Let’s look into the details.

 

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot 6

Here’s a summary, green background = positivered = negative, grey = equal/neutral. For all the details keep reading or jump to the category you are interested in.

Note that the table contains some information from different categories together in one, in order to keep it short. For detailed information on each see each category section below.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot

 

Packaging

The Urban Decay Primer Potion Original comes in a mettalic blue, cardboard outer packaging with the typical Urban Decay brand design. The MAC Paint Pot also comes in cardboard packaging which, looks very simple, is black and has the brands minimalistic design. The Urban Decay pacakging looks much nicer but it doesn’t really matter.

The Urban Decay Primer itself comes in a purple tube with a want applicator. It can feel a little strange to have a wand applicator inside a tube but it’s very easy to get used to. Plus, you don’t have to use the applicator at all, you can easily get the product out by squeezing the tube. In fact, that is a much better way to use the product in order to keep it sanitary for longer.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot

The MAC Paint Pot comes in a simple glass jar with a black lid that twists open. It doesn’t look particularly beautiful but neither ugly, just minimilistic. The jar packaging though means that it’s less sanitary if you dip you hands in it everytime you use it (use a clean brush instead and for extra cleanliness do not dip the used brush back in – get a fresh one for each eye). It’s also not very easy to dip your fingers in if you have long nails!

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot 2

Winner: Overall, the Urban Decay packaging is more beautiful and can also be more sanitary.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 1 vs MAC Paint Pot 0

 

Coverage and Finish

The Urban Decay Primer Potion Original gives a more sheer coverage than the MAC Paint Pot. However, this doesn’t make a difference in how much pigmentation either of the primers holds. Both of them hold eyeshadows and pigmentation well, without getting oily or creasing throughout the day.

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 1 vs MAC Paint Pot 0

 

Product Texture

The Urban Decay Primer Potion Original has a light creamy with some oily hints texture which spreads easil. The vis slightly thicker and creamier.

Winner: The MAC Paint Pot texture is slightly better simply because the slightly oily hint of the Urban Decay one can initially feel strange.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 1 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Cost

The Urban Decay primer costs £17.50 for 10mL of product. The brand also sells a package deal with two of them inside for £26. This brings the cost down to £1.3 per 1g of product.

The MAC paint pot costs £17.50 for 5g of product. This brings the cost down to £3.50 per 1g of product.

Winner: The Urban Decay primer is much, much cheaper per 1g of product, 3.7 times less!

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 2 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Colour/product type availability

The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer exists in 6 versions which not only have different colours but also ingredients. This post covers the Urban Decay Primer Potion Original.

The MAC Paint Pot also exists in 6 versions which have different colours and finished but the overall formulatio and ingredient list (except for the colour dyes obviously) appears to be the same. The one I’ve used for this post is “Bare Study” which is a light skin tone colour with a rose-gold shine to it. It’s worth noting though that it doesn’t change the finishes or colours of the eyeshadows.

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 2 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Longevity

Both primers last all day without creasing and loosing too much colour intensity. I felt that the Urban Decay lost a tiny bit less intensity but honestly the difference was so small it might just have been the light or my fantasy. In terms of longevity, both primers are pretty good!

TIP: If you want to capture as much colour intensity for as long as possible, use the primers without setting them!

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 2 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Transfer proof tests

Neither primer transfers the eyeshadow if you simply touch it. If you rub though, the eyeshadow will transfer no matter which primer you use. Patting is your friend!

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 2 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot 4

 

Practicality of use – user experience

The Urban Decay Primer is slightly easier to use, in terms of getting it out of the packaging and onto the eyes but the difference is minimal. Both are great and easy to use.

You can use both of them without setting them with a powder or neutral eyeshadow first. Both allow eyeshadows to blend easily (if the eyeshadow doesn’t blend it’s probably the eyeshadow or you got too much product on the brush – remember to tap away the excess!). In fact I actually find that they are both better without being set, especially the Urban Decay one, which can become a little textured if set heavily. Plus, the colour intensity of the eyeshadows will be captured better and they can also last longer if you do not set the primer!

Winner: The Urban Decay Primer is slightly easier to use, especially if you have longer nails.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 3 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Smell

The Urban Decay Primer has a light cremy scent that is neither pleasant or unpleasant. The MAC paint pot has a very similar scent too but much lighter. You will likely not smell either of them though unless you put the products close to your nose.

Neither product contains fragrance.

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 3 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Results

Both primers are very good, last all day, do not crease, do not oil and keep the pigmentation high. I’ve done quite a few looks with one eye this primer one eye the other primer and I still cannot really tell a significant difference.

Both are pretty good!

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 3 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot 5

 

Other

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original lasts for 6M whereas the MAC Paint Pot doesn’t have a last for xM value.

Here’s what Urban Decay says about the Primer Potion Original:

The number-one primer* for indestructible, all-day eyeshadow, our legendary Eyeshadow Primer Potion delivers everything you could possibly want in an eye primer: No creasing. More vibrant color. Smoother application.

Eyeshadow Primer Potion features space-age polymer technology that fills in any imperfections on the skin’s surface, prepping your lids for ALL-day shadow. Of course, every shade is paraben-free.

Now we’ve got more finishes than ever before! Caffeine (rich warm brown matte) works great for deeper skin tones and can also be used to intensify brown shadows. Use Freebase (opaque white matte) to brighten and intensify any shadow. Due to huge demand, we’re also bringing back Sin (pink-champagne shimmer).

Our gorgeous packaging features ombré artwork and a faceted, jewel-like cap. Squeeze the Potion directly from the tube or use our flocked wand applicator. Either way, you get precise, controlled application every time.

*Based on NPD data (U.S. Prestige Beauty market October year to date 2016).

Shades:
– Original: nude (dries down invisibly)
– Anti-aging: nude (color-correcting + optical blurring)
– Freebase: opaque white matte
– Eden: nude matte (full coverage, hides ALL redness)
– Fix: beige matte 
– Minor Sin: champagne shimmer 
– Sin: pink-champagne shimmer
– Caffeine: rich warm brown matte

 

Here’s what MAC says about the Paint Pot:

FULL DESCRIPTION

A highly pigmented, long-wearing eye shadow that goes on creamy and dries to an intense, vibrant finish. The innovative second skin-like formula blends smoothly over lids and creates seamless, buildable coverage without looking heavy or cakey. Its superior colour purity stays true and will not streak or crease. Pro Longwear Paint Pot can be mixed with other products like M·A·C shadows and liners.

KEY CLAIMS AND BENEFITS

  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-caking
  • Non-flaking
  • Crease-proof
  • Long-wearing
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Water-resistant
  • Stay-true colour
  • Provides flexible coverage

USAGE

  • Smooth over eye area with finger or brush.

 

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 3 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Ethics

It wouldn’t be ethical if we didn’t talk about the credibility of this section. It is very hard to impossible most of the time to verify the information or credibility of the sources, so please take this section with a pinch of salt unless stated otherwise. This section is not meant to be definitive and is most likely more about reputation around those subjects than credible information. If you have additional or more correct information please email: bondsofbeautymail@gmail.com

Both brands are cruelty free.

Winner: Equal.

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 3 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

 

Ingredients

These two products are not skincare worthy but they are not supposed to be anyways. The Urban Decay primer actually contained more ingredients that will help the eyeshadows stick to the skin, plus the MAC paint pot contains more potential negatives.

Winner: The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original has more ingredients that will help keep the eyeshadows and pigmentation on for longer without creasing.

Note: The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original must have changed formulation at some point as I found two different ingredient lists for this product. One of the lists appears on websites, including the Urban Decay website, and the other on the actual product that I’ve bought many times. The two ingredient lists are almost identical with the only difference being that one contains Talc whereas the other doesn’t. It is not clear whether the formulation changed in any other way (quantities of the same ingredients) or if it changed at all, perhaps missing out Talc was a typo?

Urban Decay Primer Potion Original 4 vs MAC Paint Pot 1

To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients (or in this case ones that make the foundation function better in some way) and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.

 

Ingredient positives for the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original:

  1. Isododecane – A humectant that makes products more easily spreadable.
  2. Cyclopentasiloxane – A hair and skin conditioner. Temporarily fills in wrinkles or crease lines to give a more “plump” look. It enhances fluidity, making the formulation more silky spreadable and it can also “lock in” water by forming a “protective barrier” on the skin (=humectant).
  3. Trimethylsiloxysilicate – A mild adhesive that makes things stick to the skin. A humectant that can enhance the product’s spreadability and give some shine to the skin.
  4. Trihydroxystearin– A skin conditioner and replenisher.
  5. Triethylhexanoin – Frangrance, hair and skin conditioner.
  6. Sorbitan Sesquioleate – A skin soother and humectant (=locks water in).
  7. Hydroxystearic/Linolenic/Oleic Polyglycerides – Skin conditioner and binder.
  8. VP/Eicosene Copolymer – Film former and binder.
  9. Dimethicone – Can protect the skin and even act as a conditioner. It has a smooth and silky feeling and can even fill in fine lines and wrinkles temporarily to result in a plumper look. It forms a barrier on the skin that can lock in moisture.

 

Ingredient positives for MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot:

  1. Isododecane – A humectant that makes products more easily spreadable.
  2. Dimethicone – Can protect the skin and even act as a conditioner. It has a smooth and silky feeling and can even fill in fine lines and wrinkles temporarily to result in a plumper look. It forms a barrier on the skin that can lock in moisture.
  3. Tocopheryl Acetate – A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  4. Lecithin– A lipid that improves skin equilibrium.
  5. Trihydroxystearin– A skin conditioner and replenisher.
  6. Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax\Cera Carnauba\Cire De Carnauba – A skin conditioner.

 

Ingredient negatives for the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original:

  1. Polyethylene – Although most polyethylene molecules might be too big to enter the skin, they will easily enter our body when found in lipsticks by simple ingestion. This molecule is a potential carcinogen at moderate doses but more studies are needed to confirm or dispute these claims.

 

Ingredient negatives for MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot:

  1. Polyethylene – Although most polyethylene molecules might be too big to enter the skin, they will easily enter our body when found in lipsticks by simple ingestion. This molecule is a potential carcinogen at moderate doses but more studies are needed to confirm or dispute these claims.
  2. Lecithin – Generally considered safe but some suspect this to be a carcinogen. However, there is no proof.
  3. Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate – Potentially persistent and bioaccumulative in wildlife.

 

Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?

The following compounds present in the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Polyethylene, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Phenoxyethanol.

The following compounds present in the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Polyethylene, Octyldodecanol, Tocopheryl Acetate.

 

Full list of ingredients for the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original – Website List:

Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Trihydroxystearin, Polyethylene, Triethylhexanoin, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Hydroxystearic/Linolenic/Oleic Polyglycerides, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Dimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Synthetic Beeswax, Propylene Carbonate. [+/- (May Contain/Peut contenir): Mica, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides].

 

Full list of ingredients for the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Original – Product Packaging List:

Isododecane, Talc, Cyclopentasiloxane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Trihydroxystearin, Polyethylene, Triethylhexanoin, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Hydroxystearic/Linolenic/Oleic Polyglycerides, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Dimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Synthetic Beeswax, Propylene Carbonate. [+/- (May Contain/Peut contenir): Mica, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides].

 

Full list of ingredients for the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot:

Isododecane, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Dimethicone, Polyethylene, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Quaternium-90 Bentonite, Dimethicone Silylate, Silica, Octyldodecanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Trihydroxystearin, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax\Cera Carnauba\Cire De Carnauba, Propylene Carbonate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Tin Oxide, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, [+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Aluminum Powder (Ci 77000), Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Bronze Powder (Ci 77400), Carmine (Ci 75470), Chromium Hydroxide Green (Ci 77289), Chromium Oxide Greens (Ci 77288), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (Ci 77510), Ferric Ferrocyanide (Ci 77510), Manganese Violet (Ci 77742), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140)]

 

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot 3

 

Verdict 

If you use both the Urban Decay Primer Potion Original and the MAC Paint Pot you will struggle to find a significant difference in their performance. Both work very well, both avoid creasing, both last all day, both hold pigmentation well and allow blending well etc etc. They are very equal performance-wise.

However, when you look into the details like price, hygiene and ingredients it is clear that the Urban Decay Primer Potion Original is superior.

 

I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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5 responses to Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion vs MAC Paint Pot – Which one is best?

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