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Beauty/Makeup/Face/Primers

Top 10 Illuminating Primers

The Best Illuminating Primers For Keeping Your Makeup Intact And Giving You Super Glowy Skin

Image credits: charlotte tilbury

Here’s a tip from us to you: If your makeup is prone to smudging or melting away, you need a primer. Primers prep your skin for a smooth, long-lasting makeup look by sealing up your pores, diminishing the appearance of fine lines, and slowing down the production of oil on the skin. It’s an extra step in the routine, sure—but you’ll be thankful for it when you don’t have to reapply your foundation in the middle of a long day. 

On that note, illuminating primers are a special kind of primer perfect for those with dry, maturing skin. They’re often made with ingredients that have anti-aging properties, and they also help combat dullness and hyperpigmentation with brightening agents like vitamin C and green tea extract. With warmer weather on the horizon, we thought it only fair to bring you the best illuminating primers to shop from right now. Whether you use it as a base for your foundation or you wear it alone, there’s no question that the following picks will leave your skin glowing and radiant. 

How We Found The Best Illuminating Primers

The 10 products below were chosen with the help of our data-driven ranking algorithm. This tool uses information from reviews, best-seller lists, social media, and more sources to find and rank the top products in a given category. It’s never failed us yet, so we’re confident you’ll reap the benefits of its research as well. With that, get ready to shop the 10 best illuminating primers the internet has to offer.

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February 29, 2024

Written By:Sierra Rogers

Product Expert:Georgia Jones

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Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings


10
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Rank & Style Approved

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Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Brightening Face Primer

Overall Score

4.5

10

Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Brightening Face Primer

4.69

1842 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

3

Industry Recognition

0

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

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Best Illuminating Primer For Mature Skin

WHAT TO LOVE
With a formula that features royal jelly, apple and algae extracts, jane iredale's Smooth Affair Brightening Face Primer helps contribute to a smooth and dewy complexion. Best for those with dull, mature skin, you can count on this product to provide a hit of hydration and a subtle glow.

GOOD TO KNOW
This primer works well under mineral makeup and cosmetics.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Smashbox Photo Finish Illuminate Glow Face Primer

Overall Score

4.55

09

Smashbox Photo Finish Illuminate Glow Face Primer

4.56

2036 User Reviews

3.3

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Illuminating Primer With Vitamin C

WHAT TO LOVE
Get ready for your close-up because Smashbox's Photo Finish Illuminate Glow Face Primer loves the limelight. Made with super-fine, peachy-gold pearls that visibly illuminate skin, this primer more than lives up to its name.

GOOD TO KNOW
This product also features Smashbox's Silkscreen Complex, a combination of hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins that nourish and defend skin against environmental stressors.


Rare Beauty By Selena Gomez Illuminating Primer

Overall Score

4.55

08

Rare Beauty By Selena Gomez Illuminating Primer

4.34

973 User Reviews

3

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Cooling Illuminating Primer

WHAT TO LOVE
A trio of floral ingredients (lotus, gardenia, and white waterlily) are behind Rare Beauty's Illuminating Primer. Together, these components calm stressed-out skin and contribute to a lit-from-within radiance.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHT
"This is such a beautiful base. It has a nice silky texture too. I usually use this if I’m trying to go for a dewy look."

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser

Overall Score

4.55

07

Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser

4.34

1076 User Reviews

3.1

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Illuminating Primer Moisturizer

WHAT TO LOVE
Get a glow that only superfoods can give—specifically, Elemis's Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser. This top-rated serum has a formula inspired by ancient tradition; it's rich in fermented ingredients like green tea seed oil, ginger, and kombucha.

GOOD TO KNOW
Here's a fun fact: This product doubles as a highlighter. Just dab a grain-sized amount on the high points of your face, such as the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and cupid's bow.


E.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Face Primer

Overall Score

4.6

06

E.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Face Primer

4.18

3010 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

3

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Affordable Illuminating Primer

WHAT TO LOVE
For starters, e.l.f.'s products are always affordable. The brand's Illuminating Face Primer rings up at just $8. So, if you want to look and feel like you just walked out of the spa without the bill to prove it, this is your best bet.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHT
"I got this for Christmas. It is the best primer for the price. It fills in pores and fine lines. My makeup glides on with ease now. I would recommend this product, and I will buy it again when I run out."


Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

Overall Score

4.65

05

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Face Primer

4.02

881 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Anti-Wrinkle Illuminating Primer

WHAT TO LOVE
Charlotte Tilbury is a known name in the beauty space, and the brand's Wonderglow Face Primer is a good example of why. This well-reviewed primer prepares your face for makeup application while turning back the clock thanks to the inclusion of anti-wrinkle ingredients in its formula.

MORE TO KNOW
Feeling dry and flakey? This product contains one of our favorite hydrating ingredients, hyaluronic acid. 


MAC Studio Radiance Moisturizing + Illuminating Primer

Overall Score

4.7

04

MAC Studio Radiance Moisturizing + Illuminating Primer

4.8

990 User Reviews

3

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Illuminating Primer For Dry Skin

WHAT TO LOVE
MAC's Studio Radiance Moisturizing + Illuminating Primer promises eight hours of hydrated, radiant skin. Its formula features jojoba and olive oil, so it's best for those with dry or combo skin.

GOOD TO KNOW
For the best results, use this primer after you apply moisturizer, before putting on makeup. 


Laura Mercier Illuminating Pure Canvas Face Primer

Overall Score

4.7

03

Laura Mercier Illuminating Pure Canvas Face Primer

4.17

577 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Lightweight Illuminating Primer

WHAT TO LOVE
Turn your face into the smooth, pristine canvas it was always meant to be with Laura Mercier's Illuminating Pure Canvas Face Primer. Providing long-lasting (yet lightweight) coverage, this primer uses micronized pearls to create a luminous glow.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHT
"I don’t know what it is about this stuff but it completely transforms my face. When I put it on I watch in the mirror as my skin tightens and brightens before putting on my makeup. HUGE difference!"


L'Oreal Paris Makeup True Match Lumi Glotion

Overall Score

4.75

02

L'Oreal Paris Makeup True Match Lumi Glotion

4.59

33884 User Reviews

3.3

Best Seller

5

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Drugstore Illuminating Primer

WHAT TO LOVE
Who doesn't love a product you can pick up at your local drugstore? One of L'Oreal Paris's best creations, the True Match Lumi Glotio is available in various shades from Deep to Fair. Plus, this primer is a multitasker—it works as a highlighter and a bronzer in addition to acting as a primer.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHT
"I wanted something that would give me a little bit of color without looking unnatural. This does the trick. It’s super glowy and provides just a slight bit of color. I’m very pale so the medium shade works great."

More Colors

More Colors


Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer

Overall Score

4.9

01

Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer

4.5

3088 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

5

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Illuminating Primer Overall

WHAT TO LOVE
Our algorithm's pick for the best illuminating primer is Armani's Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer. This luxurious primer blurs pores and adds a plump appearance to the complexion to create a smooth and dewy finish.

MORE TO KNOW
The formula behind the Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer features shea butter, rice bran, and glycerin. Rice bran has roots in Japanese beauty culture; when it's combined with water, it decongests pores and helps reduce hyperpigmentation. 

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