13 Best Illuminating Primers Of 2020 With Buying Guide

by Sneha Manandhar

You may be an expert at applying makeup and experimenting with different looks, but without a primer, all your hard work will fall flat. Ever wondered why a primer is such a necessary product when it comes to applying makeup? Think of it as your face’s wingman. It preps your skin by smoothing it out, concealing your pores, and reducing the appearance of dark spots for your makeup to go on seamlessly and evenly. However, you can go one step further and try an illuminating primer.

An illuminating primer brings out the radiance hidden within your skin. If your skin has been looking lifeless for a while, an illuminating primer can add dewy radiance to your skin without looking oily or overly shiny. It also helps even out skin tone and makes your makeup last longer, if not for the entire day. Remember that your primer needs to go on after you apply moisturizer and before your foundation. We’ve compiled a list of the 13 best illuminating primers of 2020 here. Why don’t you take a quick look?

Products
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NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer
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L’oreal Pari Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer
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Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating Primer
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Jane Iredale Facial Primer & Brightener
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Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pearl Primer
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Dr. Brandt Skin-Changing Science No More Pores Luminizer Primer
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Juice Beauty The Organic Solution Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer
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Seraphina Botanicals Camelina + Strobe Luminizing Primer
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Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer Makeup
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Catrice Cosmetics Prime And Fine Dewy Glow Finishing Spray
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Top 13 Illuminating Primers For Glowing And Radiant Skin

1. NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer

Achieve luminescence like never before with this nourishing glow primer. A little product goes a long way and helps keep your makeup intact throughout the day. With ingredients like rose, lavender, and jasmine extracts, this primer offers soothing qualities. It is infused with honeydew, which acts as a natural antiseptic, making it a great choice for people with sensitive skin too. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which keeps the skin hydrated at all times. The most unique aspect of this illuminating primer is that it comes with light-reflective gold specks that provide incredible radiance.

Pros

  • Anti-aging properties
  • Contains light-reflective gold specks
  • Soothing and hydrating ingredients
  • Contains skin-strengthening collagen
  • Antiseptic properties
  • Long-lasting wear
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some may find the syrupy consistency too runny and oily.

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2. L’oreal Pari Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer

The first step to ensure that your makeup stays on throughout the day and looks as flawless as possible is to find a primer that’s best for you. You can trust this illuminating face primer to do the job. It brightens your complexion and evens out your skin tone while minimizing the appearance of large pores, blemishes, dark spots, and other such skin anomalies. A liquid formula that blends into the skin seamlessly, it flatters all skin tones and is suitable for all skin types. You can use this blend in 3 ways — as a basic primer under your foundation, a highlighter to enhance your features, or on its own for a dewy, fresh look.

Pros

  • Can be used as a highlighter
  • Lightweight formula
  • Liquid blend
  • Minimizes pores
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Suitable for all skin tones and types

Cons

  • It contains parabens and sulfates.

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3. Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating Primer

A pastel-peach shade that’s bound to get you hooked, this dewy illuminating primer is the only friend your makeup products need. It’s also a primer you’ll want to befriend for life as it comes with 5 unique filtering pearls that provide an enviable glow and improve your skin tone. It also contains antioxidants, which help your skin to heal on its own because who wouldn’t want youthful-looking skin forever? Additionally, it comes with Optical Blurring Agents that reduce the appearance of pores and spots to reveal a smooth surface. It’s a safe choice for people with sensitive skin as it is clinically tested and approved by a dermatologist.

Pros

  • Color correction
  • Age-defying properties
  • Comes with 5 unique filtering pearls
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • The smell may be overwhelming for some.
  • It may not feel as lightweight as expected.

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4. Jane Iredale Facial Primer & Brightener

They say that we should never judge a book by its cover, but perhaps this one time, we ought to do so. This facial primer is as effective and wonderful on the inside as it is elegant on the outside. What makes it stand apart is that it helps your skin retain its natural moisture. With a handful of natural ingredients like apple, white tea leaf, grapefruit, and radish root extracts, it comes as no surprise that it is a nourishing primer! Once applied evenly all over the face, it helps makeup settle better for long periods. It also minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and pores while illuminating your face.

Pros

  • Filled with nourishing natural ingredients
  • Helps skin hold on to moisture
  • Hides pores and wrinkles
  • Can be used as an eyelid primer
  • Wheat-free

Cons

  • It is expensive.
  • It may not be a vegan product.

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5. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pearl Primer

A compact illuminating primer that can fit into even the tiniest makeup pouches, this primer is an excellent choice for those looking for a subtle and natural-looking radiance. It conceals large and clogged up pores to make your skin look smooth and even, and helps makeup stay on longer. It’s a creamy and velvety-smooth formula that blends flawlessly, revealing unblemished and immaculately smooth and clear skin. As it is an oil-free formula, it will never feel greasy and offers a matte finish with a dash of pearly pink radiance.

Pros

  • Non-greasy
  • Lightweight formula
  • Compact packaging
  • Matte finish
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • It may appear cakey after too many layers of incorrect application.

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6. Dr. Brandt Skin-Changing Science No More Pores Luminizer Primer

We’ve often heard about how lentils are good for our health as they are an excellent source of protein, they’re rich in iron and folates, and low on calories, haven’t we? However, did you know that lentil seed extracts help in refining pores? This Luminizer Primer by Dr. Brandt is infused with lentil seeds extracts that reduce the visibility of large pores and white tea tree oil present in it cleanses your skin deeply. It is also formulated with a Soft-Focus technology, which uses optical diffusers to blur pores and blemishes. It’s a luxuriously creamy blend that sets on your skin without feeling heavy and leaves your skin polished and glassy.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Creamy formula
  • Formulated with Soft-Focus Technology
  • Fragrance-free
  • Hides pores and skin imperfections

Cons

  • It may feel greasy for people with oily skin.

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7. Juice Beauty The Organic Solution Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer

If you are making a conscious effort to choose eco-friendly products and organic ingredients for your skin (because your skin does deserve the best), your best bet would be to try this primer out. It’s a lightweight primer that glides on your skin like butter and is formulated with a host of natural ingredients. Its key ingredients include aloe leaf juice, coconut alkanes, grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, witch hazel extract, and many more. Are you convinced yet? Once you try it, you will immediately realize that it’s the perfect base for your foundation and you’ll be happy to note that it blurs fine lines and wrinkles.

Pros

  • Suitable for all ages
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Antioxidant protection
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • No parabens and sulfates

Cons

  • It may not conceal pores properly.

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8. Seraphina Botanicals Camelina + Strobe Luminizing Primer

As the name suggests, you can strobe like a rockstar and stand out in any crowd with a little help from luminizing primer. Ideal for everyday wear and all occasions, this primer instantly brings dull skin back to life. It creates a perfect base for foundation and can also be applied on top of foundation for a more intensified look. Yes, it allows you to break tried and tested makeup rules to maximize luminescence. It contains rose hydrosol and camelina seed oil, which makes it a silky smooth formula and blends well.

Pros

  • Nutrient-rich formula
  • Vegan
  • No parabens
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Non-oily
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • The scent may be too strong for some.

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9. Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer Makeup

A lightweight, non-oily base is all we really need to prep our skin the correct way, isn’t it? This primer does exactly that and a whole lot more. It’s a weightless, water-based formula that provides that right amount of dewy glow without going over-the-top or feeling greasy. The active ingredients in this primer blurs our pores, fine lines and wrinkles, spots, and blemishes straight away to create a perfect canvas for makeup application. It minimizes the appearance of pores and doesn’t leave it clogged.

Pros

  • Water-based formula
  • Non-oily
  • Blurs skin imperfections
  • Doesn’t clog pores

Cons

  • The smell may be disagreeable to some.
  • It may not be suitable for those with extremely sensitive skin.

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10. Catrice Cosmetics Prime And Fine Dewy Glow Finishing Spray

We love to spend hours binge-watching makeup tutorials, don’t we? The most satisfying bit is when the makeup artist sets his or her face with a setting spray, isn’t it? If you too would like your makeup to look as flawless as theirs, why don’t try this setting spray? This spray isn’t just a finishing spray, you can also use it to prime your skin or fix any mistakes that you may have made. Although the spray is transparent it leaves a dewy glow and dries instantly. Don’t forget to give it a good shake before using it.

Pros

  • Primer, fixer, and setting spray
  • Fast-drying spray
  • Alcohol-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • The fragrance may be intense for some.

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11. E.L.F Illuminating Face Primer

All leading makeup artists will remind you time and again to invest in a primer as it helps your makeup stay on for extended periods without feeling heavy or wearing off. You can go the extra mile and get yourself an illuminating face primer like this one as it transforms your face from a dull, lackluster tone to glowing canvas for applying makeup. The silky texture of the primer spreads evenly and conceals wrinkles, blemishes, and large pores. Even a little amount of the product goes a long way in offering a healthy glow to your face.

Pros

  • Long-lasting wear
  • Brightens skin complexion
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some may find it extremely glittery.
  • It may not flatter duskier skin tones.

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12. Mineral Fusion Minerals On A Mission Illuminating Primer

This illuminating primer adds an exquisite touch of radiance and glow to your face. It is infused with shimmering gold flecks that offer a subtle but discernible illumination. Ideal for day or night wear, and for all skin types and tones, the creamy texture of this formula conceals wrinkles, lines, pores, and dark spots to even out your skin tone and make it appear brighter. It also contains nourishing ingredients like vitamin C and orange fruit oil, aloe leaf oil, and shea butter, which improves skin health significantly. As it is a hypoallergenic primer, it is suitable for sensitive skin as well.

Pros

  • Contains gold flecks
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Intense shimmer radiance
  • Contains vitamin C
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • No parabens or phthalates

Cons

  • It may take a long time to dry.

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13. Skinlab by BSL Lift & Firm Instant Radiance Booster

Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a primer that also firms your skin? This primer does that for you. It contains hydrolyzed elastin and collagen amino acids that firm up your skin and improve skin tone. The sodium hyaluronate keeps your skin hydrated and soft while a generous dose of vitamin C and E offer anti-aging properties. This illuminator is a buildable formula that can be worn under foundation or on its own for a healthy and natural glow that lasts throughout the day.

Pros

  • Hydrating qualities
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Skin-firming properties
  • Anti-aging
  • Cruelty-free
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Some may find it slightly oily.

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While each and every illuminating primer comes with its own set of qualities, finding one that’s best-suited for you may be a little tricky. Take a look at these pointers that may help you settle on one.

How To Buy An Illuminating Primer

What Does An Illuminating Face Primer Do?

An illuminating primer works much like a primer does, but also comes with one added advantage. Like regular primers, illuminating primers conceal pores, blemishes, dark spots, fills out fine lines and wrinkles, evens out your skin tone, and makes it smooth and supple for makeup application. Illuminating primers are also formulated with light-reflecting ingredients that add a radiance and glow to your skin.

How To Choose An Illuminating Primer

  • Texture

Illuminated primers act as a base for foundation and make it look like your face is glowing from within. This is why it is important to choose a formula that glides effortlessly without hindering the foundation application.

  • Lightweight

Choose a lightweight illuminating primer that settles on your skin instantly. You should apply it after a moisturizer and before your foundation. If it feels heavy on your skin, there is no doubt it will look heavy and cakey as well.

  • Drying Time

A good illuminating primer dries quickly and instantly adds a radiant luminescence to your face. If it takes too much time to dry, your foundation may not settle as well as would have liked it to. Most illuminating primers can also be worn on its own, and as it acts as the only barrier between your skin and environmental pollutants, you should look for one that dries quickly. A slow drying primer may also make your face look oily.

How To Apply An Illuminating Primer

Step 1: Apply a moisturizing lotion all over your face.
Step 2: Once it dries, take a pea sized amount of primer and apply it as dots all over your face.
Step 3: You can apply extra product to certain areas you want to highlight such as your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose.
Step 4: Spread it out evenly all over your face.
Step 5: Wait for it to dry.
Step 6: Apply your foundation or concealer for it to set it.

Once you start using a primer before you apply foundation, you’ll be asking yourself why you never bothered with this step before. It sets the perfect base for foundation by concealing wrinkles, lines, spots, pores, and evens out skin tone as well. With an illuminating highlighter, it’s a whole different ball game altogether. It makes your skin glow from within! Did any of these illuminating primers impress you? Let us know in the comments.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What is the best dewy primer for oily skin?

The Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer Makeup and Catrice Cosmetics Prime And Fine Dewy Glow Finishing Spray are considered some of the best dewy primers for oily skin.

What is the best illuminating primer for dry skin?

The L’oreal Paris Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer and Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Pearl Primer are good for dry skin.

What is the best illuminating primer for mature skin?

Juice Beauty The Organic Solution Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer is a good primer for all ages.

What is the best primer for a dewy look?

The NYX Professional Makeup Honey Dew Me Up Primer is the best-selling primer on Amazon for a dewy look.

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Sneha Manandhar

Sneha Manandhar holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Pune. She has previously worked with media and publication houses in varied capacities as a lifestyle writer, an editor, a copywriter, and a translator. She reviews beauty, skin care, and wellness products from specialized curated lists. She believes that SEO-driven content is the present and the future and keeps herself busy by dabbling in SEO-related tools and honing her editing skills.
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