Splurge vs. Steal: Glowy primers

I was going to do two separate reviews on these products but I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between them, and because the price points are so different I thought I would do a combined review and comparison of the L’Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer and the Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base.


Both of these primers claim to deliver a radiant glow and prime skin for makeup. Side by side the white liquids look nearly identical. You can use both as a primer to add luminosity to your skin or mix with foundation to add a bit of a glow and even lighten the colour of a foundation which is perhaps a shade too dark come winter. The packaging is pretty in both products, but obviously the luxurious frosted glass bottle of the Chanel is in keeping with its price tag, while the L’Oreal version is plastic packaging. It must be said right upfront that L’Oreal got it right here by adding the pump dispenser. Chanel focussed on the aesthetics and then totally forgot to make the primer easily accessible by adding no pump. What the hell are you meant to do when you get to the bottom of the glass jar?


Anyway, luckily I don’t judge a book by its cover, because it is what’s inside that counts. The difference between the two products becomes apparent when you blend it into the skin.

L’Oreal Lumi Magique is quite pearlescent and although it doesn’t look white when blended in (thank goodness, can you imagine?) it does leave a noticeable pearly shine on the skin which very obviously needs to be covered up by makeup. On the plus side, it can therefore also be used as a highlighter on top of foundation along the cheekbones or down the bridge of the nose, and it looks subtle but definitely light-reflecting. If your t-zone gets oily or your makeup melts a bit during the day then I would stay away from this as an all-over primer as it exacerbates shininess. At R179 it is good value for money and quite versatile, so if you’re normal to dry skin and looking for an affordable glow-enhancing primer or liquid highlighter then this is a nice option.

Chanel le Blanc blends into the skin and disappears. This effect can hopefully be seen in the swatches below. When I bought this primer it sent the Lumi Magique to the back of a drawer, because this one just came out tops. It contains no obvious pearlescence or shimmer at all, yet somehow manages to even out the skin and provide luminosity. It is lightening and brightening and smooths over pores, and also does a good job of keeping my makeup intact for longer – which is the whole point of a primer really, isn’t it? You can also mix it with foundation to lighten the shade slightly or add a bit of glow. It will never make you look shiny though. It does seem to help reduce the oiliness I get around my nose, but it is very comfortable to wear and feels hydrating on the skin. It isn’t necessarily designed to be a mattifying primer. At R480 it is a lot more expensive, and the lack of a pump is a bit daft, but I feel it is worth it. I don’t think it would work as a liquid highlighter over makeup due to it’s mysterious disappearing quality, but I’ve got actual highlighters for that purpose so I don’t mind that it isn’t as multi-purpose.

Primer swatches


5 thoughts on “Splurge vs. Steal: Glowy primers

    • Mother City Mom says:

      I just found the other one shines through and makes you look a bit too shiny if your foundation is quite dewy and ‘melts’ a bit in the day. It works better as a liquid highlighter than an all over primer

  1. Hildegerd says:

    I solved the no pump situation with the le blanc by buyint the makeup pump from Mac. It fits the double wear bottle from estee lauder as well.

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