Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

There are many primers out there but I separate them into two different categories. The ones that help with makeup (mattify the skin, give glow etc) and the ones that are more nutritious for the skin that help the makeup look by elevating the quality of the skin.

The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer is the type of primer that doesn’t have a high nutritional value but can help add a little glow. But does ti work properly and is it worth the cash? Let’s find out.




The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer comes in a shiny off-white tube with a gold lid. It looks simple yet elegant and expensive. The product comes out by squeezing the tube.


Colour and Texture

The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer has a shiny white cream texture that is easy to spread and is absorbed quickly.



This primer doesn’t really smell of anything.



The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer retails for £28 for a 30mL tube.



This primer gives a nice, natural-looking glow. Most of that glow goes away once you apply a makeup foundation on top, but it still helps with making the matte foundation finish more natural looking.

For example, the only drawback of the Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation is how harsh the matte finish is, which can sometimes emphasise texture.  The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer gives the foundation a more natural finish while still being matte and not dewy. It doesn’t help much with controlling oil production though and so the foundation will come off more than if you used a mattifying primer.



The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer lasts for 24M.

Here’s what the brand says about this product:

This luminous face primer hydrates, smooths and brightens skin for a dewy, healthy looking finish. Use it to prep your face for makeup, then refresh throughout the day to glow on the go.


Apply over clean, moisturized skin. Smooth evenly all over face. Wear alone, underneath makeup or to touch up and highlight as desired.





It wouldn’t be ethical if we didn’t talk about the credibility of this section. It is very hard to impossible most of the time to verify the information or credibility of the sources, so please take this section with a pinch of salt unless stated otherwise. This section is not meant to be definitive and is most likely more about reputation around those subjects than credible information. If you have additional or more correct information please email:

No brand available information.



This primer is not skincare worthy but at the same time it doesn’t contain anything that you should avoid and it is actually more nutritious than some cheaper makeup primers. So, not great but not too bad either.

To keep this article short, I am only listing the ingredients that are skin or hair nourishing or positive/negative, while ignoring the ones that only play formulation or dye purposes. For the full list of ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.


Ingredient positives:

  1. Water\Aqua\Eau based primer.
  2. PEG-8 Dimethicone – Skin conditioner.
  3. Butylene Glycol – Skin conditioner that can also prevent moisture loss from the skin. Sometimes also used as fragrance.
  4. Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) – A skin conditioner with anti-flammatory properties. It can sooth itchy, irritated and sun burnt skin. Also absorbs UV-B.
  5. Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract – Skin conditioner. 
  6. Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
  7. Isohexadecane – A skin conditioner that is too big to penetrate the skin.
  8. Coco-Glucoside – A cleansing, foaming agent and conditioner. So mild that can be used in baby products.
  9. Dimethicone – Can protect the skin and even act as a conditioner. It has a smooth and silky feeling and can even fill in fine lines and wrinkles temporarily to result in a plumper look. It forms a barrier on the skin that can lock in moisture.
  10. Caprylyl Glycol – A skin conditioner and anti-microbial agent. Also a good moisturiser.
  11. Tocopheryl Acetate – A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  12. Hexylene Glycol – Skin conditioner.
  13. Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth” molecule. Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler.


Ingredient negatives:



Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?

The following compounds present in this primer have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.


Full list of ingredients:

Water\Aqua\Eau, Peg-8 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cetearyl Alcohol, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Glycerin, Pullulan, Isohexadecane, Coco-Glucoside, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Polysorbate 80, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, [+/- Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Manganese Violet (Ci 77742), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Carmine (Ci 75470), Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499)] <ILN39803>



The Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer gives a natural glow to the skin without making it dewy. It can be a nice addition to a harsh matte foundation but bear in mind it might make the foundation stay on the skin less as it won’t fully control your oils!


I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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