My Top Three Illuminating Primers For Dull Autumn Days

I can go for months without picking up a primer. One of those products that just isn’t a part of my every day routine. Not convinced they actually do a lot, not really, not once you’ve applied a host of other products on top, foundation and concealers and powders. That said, it does depend on what you want your primer to do. If it’s oil control I can imagine that they are an extra step that is well worth your time. Same with pore minimising. Those smoothing primers with lots of silicone definitely do add something in a pore reducing, blurring capacity. (Did you know that pores don’t actually open and close? It’s just the terminology used by the beauty industry when trying to sell you stuff to close your pores. You can’t close them. But there are products that make them look less noticeable, such as the primers referred to above.)

However, I’ve been having a little love affair of late with a category of products that might all be described as illuminating primers. If you’ve got an early start, or are knackered, or ill or any of those things that make you feel a bit ugh when you look in the bathroom mirror on a dull Autumn morning, applying an illuminating primer is rather lovely. It definitely lifts things a little. Particularly good if you don’t want to wear makeup but want to take the edge off, or worn instead of foundation with a little concealer and cream blusher on top.

Though I still stand by my earlier claim that they don’t really do a lot, in practice, as their effects are (for me at least) partly psychological. Get your psychological boosts where you can I say, placebo or not. If smearing a spenny, shiny liquid over your face improves your morning, smear away. Caveats complete, would you like to see my three favourite illuminating primers? To the reviews!

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Review Best primer 2019 uk

1. Proof that actually the shiny liquid does not need to be spenny to have the desired effect, one of my favourites is this primer from Essence. The Essence Fresh & Fit Primer will set you back less than four pounds and yet the formula is silky smooth and the peachy tint delicately brightening.

Essence Fresh & Fit Awake Primer, £3.50 at Wilko, here.

2. Another product that uses colour to brighten the complexion is the lavender toned Becca First Light Primer. Have you ever worn a purple jumper or scarf? Next time you see one, hold it up to your face. Perky, no? Purple alleviates dullness and neutralises sallow tones, a universally flattering colour that suits virtually everyone.

Becca First Light Priming Filter, from £15, here.

3. The other product I have been using and loving is the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow. Wonderglow is a pearlescent bronze coloured primer, although I wouldn’t have said that it imparts either coverage or colour. This one is particularly nice mixed into foundation to give a lighter, glowy look. It gives foundation a whipped, mousse-like texture and finish similar to a radiant tinted moisturiser.

Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow Facial Primer, from £15, here.

Primers reviews 2019

Til next time,




  1. November 1, 2019 / 9:50 am

    I can’t resist an illuminating primer! Wonder glow is one of my favourites, even tho I like Charlotte’s Hollywood Filter a little more. As for Becca, First Light is good but Backlight is even prettier, plus the beige tone helps sorrrect my redness.x

    Beatrice | Strawberry Makeup bag

    • November 1, 2019 / 10:51 am

      Yes I think Hollywood Filter is the one I’d choose next! Have had a couple of samples and really like it 👍

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