Review: Rare Beauty Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer

Written by Hanna Sloan

I tested the Rare Beauty Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer

On a recent Sephora shopping spree, I couldn't resist adding the Rare Beauty Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer to my cart. I have been dying to try the water-based, lightweight primer ever since Rare Beauty launched on Sephora. With ultra-fine pearls for radiance and a blend of lotus, gardenia, and white waterlily to soothe skin, this sounded like the perfect base for the subtle glow I strive to achieve. 

I have tried it twice now - once for a full work day, and once for a short evening event. Both times, I felt like I had that glowy, lit-from-within look that we've all been trying to nail since Clean Girl beauty took over our feeds. I have combination skin with an oily T-zone as well as acne scarring on my cheeks, so I don't like to be a shiny oil slick, but I also avoid a totally matte base. I usually aim for somewhere in between: a soft, luminous finish that diffuses light and takes the focus off any blemishes or scars. The Always An Optimist Primer DID. THE. TRICK. I was a little nervous when I first pumped it out, because it looked like it would be shimmery, but I was happy to be wrong. The ultra-fine pearls added radiance without giving me a case of the dreaded glitter face. 

Both the Sephora and the Rare Beauty websites claim the primer is cooling and soothing. I didn't notice any cooling sensation, but it felt pleasant to smooth over my skin and definitely wasn't sticky or uncomfortable on my face. I am prone to sensitivity and was pleased to note that there was no irritation.

 My makeup sat beautifully and the soft glow lasted for hours, and really, what more can we ask of a primer? 

The verdict: It's a winner! I will continue to prime my skin before makeup with the Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer from Rare Beauty. 


The above is an honest review. The product reviewed was purchased, not gifted. Fashion Weekly may receive compensation from affiliate links.