This Winter Foundation Hack Gave Me Skin Like a Glow Worm—Here's How

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish

Summer just agrees with me. My hair is bouncier, mood is chirpier, and eyes are clearer. Not to mention my skin. Summer brings about a clear, glowy, honeyed complexion that I just can't seem to carry into the cooler months. That is, until now. I've finally found it—the unicorn product I've been searching for that gives me a glow not even central heating can zap—the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. Surprisingly, it's not skincare, but rather a primer/illuminator hybrid that imparts the kind of dewy radiance even Gywneth Paltrow would be envious of. 

Dying of curiosity yet? Keep scrolling. 

Pros + Cons


  • Blurs imperfections and discoloration
  • Works as highlighter and foundation booster
  • Dewy, skin-like finish
  • Wears well under makeup


  • Sponge-tip applicator can be difficult to use

The Bottom Line

The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is an amazing multi-use makeup product that gives your skin an otherworldly glow. I've firmly deemed it as a staple in my routine.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

Best for: Skin complexion booster

Star Rating: 5/5

Active ingredients: Mica, squalane

Clean?: No, contains PEGs

Potential allergens: None

Price: $44

Shade Range: Available in 12 shades from 1 Fair to 8 Deep

What's Included: Product only

About the brand: Charlotte Tilbury is one of the beauty world's most sought after makeup artists. Her eponymous makeup brand was launched in 2013 in the U.K.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter $44

How To Apply

The Hollywood Flawless Filter comes with a doe-shaped sponge-tipped wand. To use as a primer before your foundation, you can apply the wand directly to your skin and gently blend in with Charlotte Tilbury's Complexion Brush ($40), or a damp Beautyblender. If you want to fix it with your foundation to give it a little boost of glow, apply a touch of the Hollywood Flawless Filter on the back of your hand and mix with a pump or two of your favorite foundation. Mix them together with your finger and then apply to your skin, again either with a brush or damp sponge. To use as an all-over complexion enhancer (basically a tinted moisturizer), apply on its own without a foundation and even out your complexion with a concealer.

Or, if you want to use it as a highlighter (told you this was truly a multi-use product), take the applicator tip and dot along the tops of your cheekbones, underneath your brow bone, and down the center of your nose. You can use your fingertips or damp sponge to blend.

The Results

So, Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter is, IMHO, the I was a little confused when I first received it (is it highlighter, do you mix with foundation, or use it as a primer?), but, partial to a good multi-purpose product, I tried it each way, and this is what I came up with: As a primer, I found it just a tad too shimmery (others might love this though). But, when I mixed a small amount with my regular foundation—the It Cosmetics CC Cream—and tapped extra onto the high points of my face, I was floored. My skin looked ethereal, but not in an I-just-bathed-in-molten-glitter kind of way. It was subdued, not to sparkly, and more a dewy, lit-from-within kinda' finish.

My skin looked ethereal, but not in an I-just-bathed-in-molten-glitter kind of way.

As for longevity? I looked like a baby cherub all day long. I even wore it on an interstate flight—still glowing when I landed. I even posted a photo below, so you can get the glow-vibe I'm trying to describe here. 

Courtesy of Emily Algar

Here, I'm using shade medium, but there's 12 shades in total, meaning lots of skin tones can get in on it. No longer does winter mean crepey, flaky, slightly gray-ish skin for me (or you, if you take my advice). I suggest you add one to your makeup kit, stat. 

The Value

The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter rings in at $44, which is slightly above the standard price for a highlighter-adjacent product, but a pretty good bargain considering you can use it as a primer, tinted moisturizer, foundation booster, and highlight. The main question is: Would you buy this again? And to that I say, "Most definitely."

Similar Products: You have options

Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter: This is another highlighter-ish product that can be used as a primer, foundation glow-giver and a way to bling out your cheekbones. At $45, it's formulated with coconut water, milk, and alkanes that not only give your skin a super glow, but also hydrate and provide long-lasting wear.

Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter: If you're looking for a clean version of the Hollywood Flawless Filter (you know, without the PEGs), then this one from Ilia, priced at $42, is the perfect replacement. It uses a blend of marine actives and hydrolyzed algae that work to balance oil production while firming and protecting your skin.

Our Verdict

If you want to glow like J.Lo, you have to add the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Filter to your cart ASAP. It's truly an iconic one-and-done product that lives up to it's name—it really is a Hollywood filter in a bottle.

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