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BEAUTY CLINIC: What’s the best illuminating primer?

 Jo and Sarah answer real questions from readers: to put your query, go to

Q I’m looking for an illuminating primer to apply before foundation to brighten my skin. Which do you recommend?

A These are brilliant for a dull skin day (or any day really). If you can afford to splurge – and it does seem to last forever – then we suggest you make straight for the Guerlain counter and invest in Guerlain L’Or Make-up Primer, currently £39.95/30 ml at John Lewis.

With gleaming glints suspended in the gel primer, this will make you look as if you’re lit from within. Gorgeous. 

Also pretty brilliant is Hocus Focus from Soap & Glory, a budget buy at £11/30ml. The long name is Instant Visual Flaw-Softening Illuminator and since it was developed under the eagle eye of our friend Marcia Kilgore, it’s a small work of staggering genius.

Not only will Hocus Focus diffuse the appearance of large pores, wrinkles and uneven pigmentation (as they say in the blurb), as one reviewer says ‘this pinkish pearly golden lotion brings such a natural true glow to the skin’. Add it to your moisturiser or foundation for a sheeny glow. 

Do also have a look at the ‘Make-up Primer’ category in our latest Beauty Bible Award Winners. We didn’t specifically trial illuminating primers but testers found that a couple of the winners gave the radiance you’re looking for, as well as blurring blemishes and persuading foundation to last really well. 

Bramley Bath, Body and Shower Oils, £20

Beauty Bible loves… Bramley Bath, Body and Shower Oils, £20. It’s not often that you find an oil that really and truly does quadruple duty as a bath oil, a shower oil, a body oil and a massage oil, in one – delivering on all four promises beautifully. But Bramley’s oils – from a new-ish brand Beauty Bible’s love, love, loving – do exactly that, leaving skin silky but not greasy. And wonderfully fragrant, with it.

You’ve two mood-shifting options: Uplifting – which refreshes with spearmint, lemongrass and coriander – and Soothing, blending geranium, lavender and chamomile. At some point in the upcoming season, you’ll probably need both.

For showering, smooth into skin and then rinse. For bathing, slosh under running water. And for bodycare, simply use more generously as a massage oil, or more lightly to quench skin on a daily/nightly basis.

100% natural. And 100% fab.