The best illuminating primers for glowy skin

Get ready to blind your foes ✨

best illuminating primers 2022

by Aimee Jakes |
Updated on

We can't get enough of the glowy, I've-just-downed-a-kale-smoothie RADIANCE that's quite frankly littering our Insta feeds.

Remember the era of Dream Matte Mouse? As Arianna Grande would say, 'Thank u, next.'

Cue: an illuminating primer which is an all-important step in achieving The Glow.

So buckle in, here's everything you need to know...

What is an illuminating primer?

An illuminating primer preps your skin with soft, golden luminescence. They're designed to be the final stage of your AM skincare routine and work as a great base for make-up.

They are great for a natural-looking finish, especially when hankering for that sheeny, gleamy finish.

Illuminating primers often have a slight tint to them, so it's important to factor that in when choosing a product.

If the primer has a pinky tone, these often work better for pale skin tones while golden hues work better for tanned, olive or darker skin colours.


SHOP: The best illuminating primers 2023

Revlon Photoready Rose Glow Hydrating and Illuminating Primer1 of 9
CREDIT: Feel Unique

Revlon Photoready Rose Glow Hydrating and Illuminating Primer

A dreamy water-based primer infused with pearlescent, quartz and hydrating oil beads. Your face looks instantly refreshed, ultra-smooth and radiant. Review: "I love this product. Gives a beautiful glow whether you wear it alone or under make up. Easy to apply and really good value for money."

Wonderglow Face Primer2 of 9

Wonderglow Face Primer

Our girl Charlotte Tilbury has gone and done it again with the superb Wonderglow primer. Apply this before your foundation and harness the glow of a Greek goddess. We're not joking.Review: "I use this primer on its own in the summer when my skin is at its most tanned. It's soft on the skin and looks great on its own. Leaves a healthy glow to the skin- I've just bought the bigger bottle."

L'Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Primer3 of 9
CREDIT: Amazon

L'Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Primer

This purse-friendly primer has fine pearl pigments which enhance the complexion for a super-luminous, glowing look. It also helps blur pores and lines for a flawless finish. Review: "Amazing product, especially for mature skin. I'm very pleasantly surprised. Blurs lines well, takes years off with my illuminating foundation on top. I'm definitely a regular buyer from now on."

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer4 of 9
CREDIT: Look Fantastic

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer

This power-watt formula is blended with light-reflecting micronised pearls and porcelain flower extract to illuminate the complexion. It's glowy enough to be worn as an illuminator. Review: "AMAZING!!!! This primer has to be one of the best illuminating primers. I love this primer when I'm trying to go for that glow from within look, especially on a no makeup, makeup kind of day."

YSL Beauty Touche u00c9clat Blur Primer5 of 9

YSL Beauty Touche Éclat Blur Primer

Ah. We like to call this the YSL miracle primer because the results are truly, well, miraculous. The Touche Éclat primer contains optimal light diffusion technology to help boost the radiance of your foundation and even out your skin tone. It's a little on the spennier side, but it's 10000 per cent worth it. Trust us on this one. Review: "This product is amazing. Feels so luxurious on my face and neck. My tinted moisturiser or foundation glided on afterwards and my skin looks really smooth. It helps to blur my wrinkles and at 73 that's quite amazing."

NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer6 of 9
CREDIT: Amazon

NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer

This is brimming with gold flecks (boujee!) and honey, which nourishes the skin and neutralises the appearance of discolouration and redness. Despite a small-looking bottle, it will last you ages. Review: "This is definitely one of the best primers I've used. I have dry skin with a lot of texture. This smooths out my skin and hydrates it. My foundation looks amazing over this! I always keep coming back to it."

Max Factor Miracle Prep Illuminating & Hydrating Primer7 of 9
CREDIT: Amazon

Max Factor Miracle Prep Illuminating & Hydrating Primer

Ideal for oily skin, this stops skin looking too shiny, whilst adding radiance. It contains Niacinamide and Vitamin E which both help with congestion and hydration for skin that improves over time. Review: "This make up Primer is amazing - Just a few drops blended into skin before applying make-up leaves my skin feeling super soft. I even use it on 'Stay at home - make up free days'...Lovely light scent, blends easily into skin. What's not to like. Would definitely recommend."

Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Highlighter8 of 9
CREDIT: Beauty Bay

Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Highlighter

For insane levels of radiance, Kevyn Aucoin's Glass Glow Primer has got yo' back. The glow is subtle but poppin' and shines relentlessly through any foundation. We love. Review: "I absolutely love this and the glow it gives. I mix in a half a pump of this with my Kevyn Aucoin skin tint and the results are fabulous! I then go in a dab the tiniest amount of this on the high points of my face, for extra glassiness. A little really goes a long way!"

WUNDER2 Screen Time Primer9 of 9

WUNDER2 Screen Time Primer

A blue light primer? That's right. Wunder2's primer protects, primes and perfects skin with its active Jasminum Sambac and Mangosteen ingredients, leaving you feeling silky smooth as ever.Review: "Great texture and provides nice moisturizing base to any….or NO makeup. I ordered more."

Tips to get your glow ON...

Exfoliate: remove all the dead skin cells, dirt and grimes effectively by using either a physical or chemical exfoliator. Check out our guide to the best skincare acids.

Sleep: getting eight-hours of shut eye has been touted as a saviour for pretty much everything, but spoiler alert, it's pretty essential for the glow, too.

Hyaluronic acid the show-off ingredient holds up to 1000 times its weight in water and keeps that on your skin. Hydrated skin glows.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us