Empowering Your Best Self


Gorgeous & Glowing: Five Primers (And a Powder Or Two) That Illuminate Your Skin

Alene Dawson Avatar Image Alene Dawson
Gorgeous & Glowing: Five Primers (And a Powder Or Two) That Illuminate Your Skin Hero Image

How does one walk into a room and take it over with a seemingly lit-from-within glorious glow? Of course a healthy skin care regimen tailored to your skin type is your baseline, but a well-chosen primer can be the BFF of your makeup bag. Just in time for holiday photos and parties, here are primers to help you stay perfectly radiant.


A Primer on Primers

Layered underneath your makeup, primer acts as a perfecting, silky canvas that helps your makeup last longer. Primers can also color correct, minimize pores, mattify, smooth wrinkles and more. Silicone-based primers tend to be thicker than water-based primers but may aggravate acne (and oil-free primers may still contain silicone, so read the ingredients). Water-based foundations tend to work best with water-based primers. Silicone-based foundations go with silicone-based primers. Ask for a sample to try on your skin before purchasing.



Hourglass Nº 28™ Primer Serum

This brand is fantastic for a gorgeously modern, everyday look. Technologically well-formulated makeup that translates to highlighters that look glowing rather than gaudy. This primer is a serum formulated to absorb into your skin and hydrate. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is a good oil-free, mineral-based, redness-reducing primer. The Ambient Lighting Powders are the perfect, travel-friendly, filter-inducing complement to a well-primed face.



BECCA Cosmetics First Light Priming Filter

Renown for its cheek highlighters, it’s no surprise that BECCA is ace when it comes to illuminating primers as well. Don’t let the lilac color scare you off. This hydrating formula goes on sheer and awakens sallow complexions. Ingredients include ginger extract (generally soothing) and prickly pear flower, beloved for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and brightening power. Becca Backlight Priming Filter is another good option.



Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer

The original formulation was a star product that ignited the primer category and expanded into a mini-empire of primers. The Smashbox website features a “primer finder” to help you choose the best primer for your skin type. The Radiance formulation is made with moisturizing shea butter and hyaluronic acid. Amber and bronze micro-pearls deliver a golden-hour glow. It can also be used as a highlighter similar to Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer.



Colorescience Brightening Perfector Primer SPF 20

Colorescience Brush-On Sunscreen has been a staple of many a beauty aficionado for years. They recently launched a SPF 50 version. It’s terrific not just for its convenient packaging but flattering formulation. This brightening, SPF primer is also sun-friendly. It’s made with light-diffusing pigments and aloe vera to cool inflammation. It’s just one option in the family of primers and made to be worn alone or layered to extend your makeup.



MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance

This hydrating primer is made especially for combination and oily skin. Oily skin doesn’t equal hydrated skin! It’s illuminating and reflective with a boost of vitamins A and C. It comes in Radiant Yellow (recommended for deeper skin tones) and Radiant Pink.



Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur

There are also primers made with gold flakes or gold shimmer such as this one. Be results-oriented about what you want the primer to do on your skin.


Through hot toddies, tree decorating, fruitcake, Christmas caroling, champagne-imbibing, mistletoe and beauty-full merrymaking, you’re set to look “prime-time” pretty for the holidays and beyond.