'I'm a beauty writer in my 50s and this $18 makeup product has been a game-changer.'

As we age and enter peri, then settle into menopause, our skin can change. It can become dull and ashen, we end up with more texture and our pores become more noticeable - which is PERFECTLY NORMAL. However, it can make us look older and more tired. 

Obviously, beauty is subjective and very much a 'you do you' space, but if this is something that concerns you, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: illuminating primers.

These beauties will help to not only create the appearance of smoother skin but will give you a brighter, radiant complexion and can easily make you look like a healthier version of yourself (note: because honestly, we all just want to look fabulous for our age!).

Watch: Mamamia's beauty contributor Teresa McNamara shares her thoughts on the popular Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Complexion Drops. Here are her honest thoughts. Post continues below.

Video via Teresa McNamara

So, what is so great about illuminating primers? And why is it the one makeup product I refuse to give up and will never be without?

Let me explain.

The benefits of illuminating primer for over 50 skin.

I have a whole range of them (including an affordable one that is BETTER than the cult Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter - but more about that later!) - and for good reason 


As someone who has just turned 53, I have your expectedly normal skin for someone in their 50s. I have pigmentation. I have lines. I have a little rosacea and weird little spider veins going across my nose. Other than that, my skin is currently great. 

Here's my skin sans makeup:

Image: Supplied.


It's hydrated and well looked after, but add an illuminating primer into the equation and it's my skin but better.

Illuminating primers do so much of the hard work for you and can be used on their own or under foundation. They often contain light reflecting particles which impart a natural glow and essentially bounces light off your face diffusing fine lines and wrinkles. Think of it as a softbox light in a bottle. 

The other benefits of these are that they are generally hydrating and can increase the longevity of your makeup. 

I don’t always want to wear a full face of makeup. On my 'no makeup' makeup days, I will reach for one of these babies to really juice up my skin and just even everything out with that gorgeous golden glow. Add a little cream blush, a lip gloss and a little mascara and I am out the door (and receiving compliments!).

My 'clean' makeup look. Image: Supplied.


Now, if you really want to elevate your makeup and add a little bit of magic to your skin (I swear I am not exaggerating here), then using an illuminating primer under your foundation is where something great happens. 

While you would think that adding product over the top of a product like this would cancel out the benefits - you'll be pleasantly surprised. Do what I am about to tell you and thank me later.

Apply the illuminating primer of your choice, add foundation, set it with a little powder and then give yourself a REALLY good soaking of setting spray. What this does is make it all melt together making you really look like you have amazing, lit-from-within skin. I’m talking ethereal.  

Here's me with my 'full glam' makeup look. Image: Supplied.


What’s that noise? It's the angels choir rejoicing at your glow. Can you tell I'd be more likely to break up with my husband than my illuminator? I kid, I kid. Maybe.

The best illuminating primers for over 50.

Now let’s take a look at what's out there and what might the right primer for you. As you can see, I have quite a few - ranging from luxury to affordable options - and they all have their place. 

My collection of illuminating primers. Image: Supplied.


Let me take you through some of my favourites.

The 'original' illuminating primer product and what we measure all that have followed by is the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, $70. Inspired by Hollywood lighting and 'backed' by celebrities and makeup artists everywhere, this multitasker has consistently out-performed all that have tried to duplicate it. 

But there are two that are considered the closest dupes - starting with E.l.f Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter, $35.


This is probably the closest direct dupe ingredient-wise in that they both contain a blend of porcelain blend flower extract, finely milled powder and squalene. The e.l.f formula also contains hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin. 

While many people claim the shades are the same, however, they're actually quite different - especially when it comes to the undertones. The main difference is that the e.l.f halo glow has more coverage and is a slightly thicker product. It feels heavier on your skin, which is not necessarily what people want to feel under their foundation (read: you can tell you have a couple of layers of makeup on). So, I prefer how it looks but not how it feels.

Next up is MCoBeauty Flawless Glow, $35. I have very strong feelings on how close this packaging is but I am going to discuss what's inside the doppelganger bottle. Again, the formula is thicker than the original Charlotte Tilbury product and it has a different shade range. However, the finished look is close and a great alternative if you're looking for a savey option.

McoBeauty Flawless Glow Luminous Skin Filter Light, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Filter, elf Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid Filter. Image: Supplied.


Now, let's look at a couple of products that stand on their own two feet.  

It would be remiss of me not to mention the Holme Beauty Base Primer, $65. It is skincare, love and light in a tube. Containing niacinamide, kakadu plum, hemp and jojoba oils and vitamin E, this product really improves your skin whilst creating a glorious diffused glow. 

In fact, it actually won the 2023 You Beauty Awards 'best primer' - and for a reason. This is super lightweight and sheer. I love to use a darker shade as my bronzer as well. This is an Aussie female-owned brand that well and truly leads the way against luxury brands from around the world.


Holme Beauty Primer. Image: Supplied.

Next up is a new player on the field that's not only won my heart but is available in your local chemist at a fraction of the price of luxury brands (and it outperforms them!). 

If I had to choose between a lifetime supply of free Hollywood Flawless Filter or paying full price for this particular product, it’s an easy decision for me. It just *works* for my over 50s skin like one other.


It's called Rimmel Multi Tasker Better Than Filters Primer, $17.99.

I literally walked into my local Chemist Warehouse a couple of weeks ago as they were putting this on the shelf. There was no price, and it was not listed on their website, so I had to get them to price it specifically so I could buy it. I could tell just by looking at the bottle that I was going to love this product. Little did I know just how much I would love it. 

When you look at the bottle you can see it has a glowy pigment with a pearlescent glow to it. Enriched with natural bio-peptides, it floods the skin with hydration, alongside vitamins C and E, to reveal a brightened, conditioned finish. It is thin and lightweight whilst giving you great breathable coverage. 

The super flexible doe foot applicator is comfortable on the face and disperses evenly. You can wear it on its own for a stunning, skin-enhancing glow. You can mix it with your foundation or layer foundation over it or use it as a highlighter.

I cannot put this product down - and honestly, this under the Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Skin Tint, $37.99, has my face base looking better than it ever has before. It’s a flawless combo that not only infuses your makeup with skincare but gives you a finish that out performs high end and luxury brands.  

Maybelline Superstay 24 Hour Skin Tint and Rimmel Multi Tasker Better Than Filters. Image: Supplied.


Give your skin a glow up and give yourself a confidence boost by adding an illuminating primer to your routine and thank me later. 

Want to hear more from Teresa? Follow her on Instagram.

Have you tried an illuminating primer before? Share your favourites with us in the comment section below.


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