When the Boy Notices Your Skin, That’s Illuminating: New Estée Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer

Published in: Estee Lauder, Face, Makeup, Product Reviews

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Oh, El Hub… Bless his heart. As much as I love that man, it took him three days to notice that I had pink streaks in my hair.



And those streaks are not subtle.

So when he turned to me one day last weekend said, “Your skin looks really great today. Did you do something different?” I figured that the product responsible deserved a shout-out.

All hail the new Estée Lauder Illuminating Primer!

Designed for normal, combination and dry skin types, this lightweight $32 liquid primer, which I apply after moisturizer but before foundation, smoothes the skin to downplay fine lines and imperfections, imparts a soft opalescent sheen (like a mellower version of MAC Strobe Cream) and moisturizes with vitamin E and shea butter.

I like the lightweight, lotion-like texture, among other things, which reminds me of Laura Mercier’s Primer, and my nose likes the faint floral scent.

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Unblended (left) and blended (right)

To my eye, the visible difference this primer makes is unmistakable (I’ve worn it in most of my face shots this week). With it on, I think my skin looks fresher, dewier, smoother, and I swear my pores look smaller.

I’ve tried it beneath both sheer-to-medium MAC Face & Body Foundation and medium-to-full coverage MAC Studio Sculpt, and I really like the way it looks in the mirror and in pics.

The only thing I wish it had is SPF, because then it would steal the top spot in my heart from my current primer fave, Hourglass Mineral Veil (with SPF 15).

But that’s just me being knit-picky. 🙂

PRICE: $32
AVAILABILITY: Coming to Estée Lauder counters and online this March

In other news…

Cuties with oily skin, here’s another reason to keep your sensors tuned to Estée Lauder counters this March: Illuminating Perfecting Primer will be joined by a friend that may work even better for you. New Matte Perfecting Primer ($32) will have an oil-free formula designed to thwart shine, smooth skin and create a matte canvas for makeup.

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estee lauder illuminating perfecting primer (2)

Oh, you tease…

Apparently I’m not the only of us with an insatiable thirst for tea. 🙂

I had a blast hearing about some of your favorite teas yesterday (I’m thirsty for more!) and just about lost my cookies when Lauren mentioned this…

A Celestial Seasonings tea called Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride?


With a splash of milk in a hot mug? I bet that’s all kinds of yum right there.

Looks like it was a holiday thing, but there must be at least one unclaimed box of it out there somewhere…

What are you up to tonight? I just got home from yoga, where I fought the good fight against the Earth’s gravitational pull, and won! Meaning that I didn’t even fall once. Sure, it was a beginner’s beginner’s beginners class, but still.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 45 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Jessica says:

    3 days!? LOL…men.

  2. Hafsa says:

    wow I can’t wait to try this! One question for you- does this feel heavy on your skin? My oily skin hates anything on it, so I like to minimize the amount of layers of stuff on my face!

    Either way, this sounds pretty exciting, can’t wait to try!

  3. Jessica says:

    My sister randomly gave me a box of this sugar cookie tea over the holiday break! I haven’t tried it yet but it seriously smells like sugar cookies!

    And yay for keeping up with yoga!
    Jessica recently posted … Nicki Minaj skittles and the appearance of Lefty!

  4. I’m definitely looking forward to the matte version!

  5. gio says:

    Sounds very interesting, I’d love to try it.
    gio recently posted … QOTW: What’s The Worst Blush Brush?

  6. Neeraj says:

    They always had these primers in navy blue packaging. Is the formulation changed or just the packaging. I have used illuminating primer before and love it a lot.

    • Adrienne says:

      Do you live in the US? I work in Macy’s department store cosmetics, and I haven’t seen an Estée primer before, though I have only been there like a year and a half, maybe it’s a discontinued product? Though they do have a liquid illuminator that some people mix with foundation or moisturizer to illuminate

      • Karen says:

        I was gonna say, I haven’t seen it here either!

        • Neeraj says:

          No I live in India. These primers are specific for Middle east I guess as india is a part of distributorship from them. There were never discontinued and I have seen 2011 batch code on it so it was never gone. Estee do make products for different countries’ with different concerns may that’s why it wasn’t there in the US. We also get their cyberwhite bb cream and a lot of products that are specific to Asia and Middle east. Though the range here is not so profound but they have some amazing stuff here. Btw we don’t get Bronze goddess in india.

  7. Adrienne says:

    Ooh, Estée, really stepping up the game lately!!! I cant wait to play with their new stuff…Gotta do something at work to kill the boredom of the post holiday shopping (or lack thereof) season, lol!

  8. jennifer s says:

    3 days. My head would have exploded five minutes into day two. Lol

  9. That products must work miracles then. Luckily, my boyfriend notices the changed, but my dad never does, ha!
    Marina (Makeup4all) recently posted … New Foundations: Hourglass, Benefit and NARS

  10. S. says:

    This sounds really interesting! xxx

  11. Anna says:

    Ha! My dad is the same – I always ask him how he likes my haircut or color, but he never even realizes I had anything done! But then I recently got long rocker chick bangs cut and he asked, “What did you do to your hair?” before he even said hello! Needless to say, I don’t think he liked the bangs, haha!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, I think El Hub did the same thing with my bangs. He claims he’s getting tired of sharing me with Lloyd Christmas!

      How are you liking your rocker chick bangs?

  12. Nina says:

    stayed in and read. im reading haruki murakami’s IQ84. slow going LOL!

    that tea — I want it! i hope its still around.

    id just have to say one of my new years resolutions is to find more affordable alternatives for stuff ive been using. the estee lauder primer isnt necessarily cheaper, but i want the matte pirmer that is coming out soon!

    • Karen says:

      Haha, I’m slowly making my way through a book too — Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. 🙂

      I’m going to track down that tea. I hope it’s sweet and not to cinnamon-y.

      Happy Friday!

  13. wow, 3 days? hair is one thing my hubby notices and I think if he didn’t notice within an hour I would have made is very obvious to him. power to you girl!

  14. Colleen says:

    That tea is INSANELY good. Seriously, when you add milk the flavor and aroma is uncanny. Like, it kind of freaks me out just how much it will reminds me of a cookie. Word of advice, if you come across it in the store buy every box. It’s selling for over $8 on Amazon right now.

    Hmmm, I’m going to go make one right now. I have 3 boxes, but it will be a sad day when my stash runs out…

  15. KristyQ says:

    Hahaha…3 days. Not surprised 🙂 I had really long hair my whole life, and when I finally cut about 8 inches off, it took my hubby more than 4 HOURS to realize it. Ah, well. I love the streaks!! And this primer looks very promising for me…my skin is changing and I need a bit more moisture – but too much and I break out 🙁

  16. 3 days? Really?

    The primer looks cool, but I think I might need both since I have combination skin hahaha. So I’d use the matte one for my T zone and dewy one for the rest of my face!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Swatch & Review: KATE Gel Eyebrow in BR-3

  17. Christa says:

    You must get your hands on that tea! FYI you can buy it from Celestial Seasons directly, with no Amazon mark-up.


    I love Candy Cane lane too. Never tasted anything like it. Almost like a mild chai inspired baked good. I can only find these occasionally at Whole Foods during the holidays, and Sugar Cookie is always sold out so I had to start buying it directly. Not that I’m addicted or anything….

    It reminds me of my Grandma’s sugar cookies, which are the most amazing pillowy nuggets of goodness.

  18. Megan says:

    I have yet to try a luminizing primer because I keep feeling that once I put my foundation on, the “luminizing” part will be lost.
    Megan recently posted … Friday Find: Moonpig.Com Makes Greeting Cards Fun

  19. Lenita says:

    wow, your el hub had just unknowingly sold hundreds, no thousands, of those EL primers!!

  20. Kim says:

    Oh, El Hub. At least he’s not hyper sensitive to change, right? 🙂

    That tea sounds delish. I’m an apple cinnamon fan, myself, but would absolutely give Sugar Cookie a try.

    I really like the idea of using a primer, but just don’t think I’d do it. Moisturizer and a little Smooth Operator already feels like one too many steps. 🙂 Btw, are you still using CeraVe lotion. My bottle is going to last for like 5 years and I love it. That was the best skincare move I’ve made in… forever!

  21. Larie says:

    3 days…hahaha. Gotta love ’em 😉

    I’ve tried that Sugar Cookie tea, though I have to say it’s not something I could drink all the time. The primer sounds amazing!
    Larie recently posted … Foodie Friday! #6: Vegetarian Dishes

  22. So it got an A- and not an A or A+ becoz of the lack of SPF? I want my boy to notice my glowing skin too! You have oily skin too right, Karen? How does it feel on oily skin?
    Bun Bun Makeup Tips recently posted … Mitchy-Matchy: Colorful Eye Makeup To Go With A Colorful Dress

  23. Meaghan says:

    I can’t wait to try the Matte primer when it comes out. I would love to try the illuminating one but my skin gets so oily I can only imagine that would just be a recipe for disaster.

    Speaking of Estee Lauder, have you tried their new day wear bb cream? I’ve been looking all over for reviews but there aren’t many out there.

  24. Lisa says:

    Your first sentence made me chuckle. Your hub is the reason why I now tell my hub when I get my hair done. Otherwise I don’t think he’d ever notice!

    Your skin looks amazing with that primer. So much for that no-buy I was on!

    Have an amazing weekend.

  25. Vanessa says:

    How does this compare to laura mercier radiance primer?

  26. Caroline says:

    That tea is awesome. If you put a good bit of sugar and half and half in it, it tastes like dessert. But you can go lighter on the addons for a subtler taste. 😉 I’m a tea fan and particularly a Celestial Seasonings fan for range and affordability. As Christa mentioned, you can buy it from their website, along with all their other teas (some interesting ones there) or the really helpful part – input your zip code for local stores that sell it! And if it says no locations but “these stores carry our products and you can check there” definitely check there, because every tea I looked for wasn’t listed in my area but was in one of the suggested stores. Earthfare is where I got mine. I do believe the Sugar Cookie Spice was holiday special, so you may have to wait for fall! Sorry for going on and on about tea. Oops.

    On to the main subject – I have tried very little of Estée Lauder. I’m a bit skeptical of illuminating primers because it feels to me like I’m just covering it up with foundation and powder. I prefer to just lightly dust some NARS Albatross on! I did receive a deluxe sample (a whole .5 oz! I was surprised!) of the new Laura Mercier Radiance primer as a GWP on a Sephora order and it seemed nice. I’d have to do a side-by-side for comparison, though.

  27. Zoom kitty says:

    Trust Karen to always have an answer to any makeup question I type into google 🙂 yay to you. Also being one of those few makeup gurus with the same skin tone as me, so double yaay. This post has given me pause- before I run out and buy Mac Strobe cream. Though MAC strobe has raves with relates to its cell communicating ingredients as being skin are meets makeup. What do you think ? …and it’s depressing betcha hongkong won’t import this yummy celestial seasonings tea! 🙁

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