Calling It: Shimmery Primers Are the Underrated Key to Dewy Baby-Angel Skin

Rachel Krause
Calling It: Shimmery Primers Are the Underrated Key to Dewy Baby-Angel Skin

A good rule of thumb is to approach shimmery makeup with utmost caution. Eye makeup? Fine, I guess. Highlighter? For sure. Lipstick? Probably not! Foundation or concealer? Firmly out of the question.

The last time I used legit shimmer on my face was maybe 10 years ago or more, when I was really into Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner (which still exists, albeit repackaged and reformulated) and thus really into looking like the “edgy” teen I was at the time. Since then, it’s only been subtle highlighters with tiny shimmer flecks that translate on the skin as a sheer glow rather than an offensive-to-the-eyes sparkle. I am not inclined to sparkle.

I’ve been playing around with makeup a lot more lately—I say lately because my skin has been freaking the fuck out with decent regularity for the past several months, which means I was keeping it (mostly) clean and avoiding adding too many new products to my routine. Once I got back in the game, though, I was all over the stuff, trying new releases left and right. And one of them happened to be the unreasonably gorgeous Guerlain Météorites Base Perfecting Pearls. It promises “radiant,” “illuminated,” and “glowing” skin, which are all generally catch-all marketing terms for sparkly.

Not so! This primer does have a pearly, slightly glossy effect, which is maybe not so flattering on its own—but once I patted on my usual lightweight foundation with a damp beautyblender, I was stunned. My skin actually looked fresh, glowy, healthy, dewy, all those questionable adjectives they put on the packaging. The coverage of the foundation let the shimmer peek through without it looking like shimmer, so I was just left with luminous skin, no shine in sight, despite my naturally shine-happy complexion.

Newly courageous, I tried Elcie Cosmetics Glow Enhancer Dry Face Oil (out soon, I promise), a blend of rich skin-friendly oils and infinite flecks of gold shimmer. “I think that might be too much glitter,” my boyfriend commented as he walked by me during the application process. He was wrong: With foundation layered on top, it was just the right amount. Not that he would know, anyway.

Shimmer, though much-maligned, should no longer conjure up a negative visceral reaction—well, shimmery primers shouldn’t, at least. The two-step process is key: primer, followed by foundation and maybe a few spritzes of a hydrating face mist to really kick things into gear.