It's only been a week of testing, but I can already tell that the new Estee Lauder Little Black Primer ($27) will be as essential to my makeup arsenal as the LBD or the little black clutch is to my wardrobe. This black-tinted primer blends in with lashes, unlike traditional white primers. (Why didn't anyone think of this before?!) What's more, it can be used three ways: as a primer that amplifies lashes; as a lash tint; and as a topcoat that waterproofs and extends the wear of your normal mascara.
As a primer and a lash tint, the Little Black Primer is tops. The formula is smudge-proof, flake-proof, and so thin that you can apply multiple coats without a single clump. It noticeably improves the appearance of my short, straight Asian lashes, defining and fanning them out while providing length and lift and locking in curl. My lashes don't look like I'm wearing mascara: they look like my own lashes, only a dozen times better. I've been wearing LBP on its own as a mascara alternative because I like a more natural look. For girls who want more drama, that length, lift, and curl set a great foundation for one's favourite mascara.
The LBP also scores major brownie points for its brush. The curved applicator is so fine, so small, so precise that it grabs the smallest lashes in the outer corners of my eyes and makes the most of them, especially when I angle the brush differently for the inner, middle, and outer lashes. To lift and fan out my lashes even more, I'll do a couple coats with the curved brush facing upward in a "smiley mouth", wiggling the brush from root to tip. Then I'll turn the brush around so the curve forms a "sad mouth" and wiggle it into the roots before brushing straight out to the tips.
Sadly, the only area where the LBP didn't pass with flying colours was as a setting topcoat, and that's because the superfine, precise brush that makes LBP so wonderful as a primer and a lash tint doesn't work that well on lashes laden with product. After applying LBP as a priming base and a few coats of a smudge-prone drugstore mascara, the brush seemed to catch on the product-thickened lashes. While the drugstore mascara didn't smudge as much as I thought it would, I'm pretty sure the smudging that did occur was because the brush/topcoat couldn't coat everything effectively.
If you're looking for a great lash primer, or a natural-looking mascara that'll make the most of the lashes you have, Estee Lauder Little Black Primer is it.