Monday 11 March 2013

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer review

The Smashbox primer was something I was a little reluctant to buy at first, mainly because of its price. Since I have never used the product before and only have internet reviews to go off of I was a bit particular about investing £13 in a primer that was only 12ml or 0.4 fluid ounces or even more of an investment around £20 pound for 1 fluid ounce worth of product. Since I'd never used it and was unsure of how it would agree with my skin I decided to go for the smaller size. Luckily I got this primer free really with my saved up boots points but with £13 value I was still reluctant to use them, however for a while now I've been wanting to try the smashbox primers as they are often reviewed to be very high quality.

I'd just like to take a little time to rant about the cost to product amount ratio. Below you will see a picture of the box for the primer and the primer itself alongside a bobbypin for a size comparison. Now for such a tiny product I'd like to outline what I was hoping the product would do for me. I was hoping that for the cost I was expecting nothing less than a high quality product that would elongate the length and wear of my makeup and that may even help with the overall look of my make-up.

Above: A picture of the Smashbox box, the actual primer and a bobby pin for size comparison

On to the actual review of the product... I have used it for around about a week in place of my usual L'oreal primer which I have been using for around a year in order to see if it was an improvement on what I was already using as a primer. Since this primer is only intended to prime the face area however I continued to use a little bit of my L'oreal primer around the eyes to prime my eyeliner and eye make-up. The first thing I should say about the Smashbox photo finish primer is that a little of this product does goes a long way, a pea sized amount much like other primers is enough to make the face feel smoother and ready to apply product on. This does somehow make me feel a little better about the price however I also used around about the same amount of my L'oreal primer on my face. The product dries very quickly which can be both a positive and negative at times, when trying to apply make-up quickly it is a major benefit however I have sometimes found myself applying dots of the primer around my face to indicate where I need to apply it, then checking my phone then it drying in thin layers around the face. I would say it is best to well apply the primer and blend into the skin before leaving it to dry or leaving it on the face. When I began to apply my make-up on top of this primer I did feel that the primer itself helped me to apply foundation and concealer evenly around the face; with no product collecting around the face. The Smashbox primer allowed for my brush to easily glide over my face.

As for the actual affect of the primer after applying my make-up, my face and make-up did feel mattified and the oil-free formula also made me confident that it would not encourage my make-up to go oily during the day, particularly in the T zone. In my opinion the actual longevity of the make-up did seem to be elongated. Products such as blusher, bronzer and highlighting and contouring powder that I often find can easily come off pretty early into wear (within two hours) actually lasted longer (around three to four hours). 

However this left me comparing my Smashbox primer to my current primer, L'oreal Studio Secrets  anti-shine mattifying primer. Although this primer was always good with priming my face, in particular around the eye area, it did not help with shine control as much as I feel the Smashbox primer did. I also felt that the smashbox primer was slightly better with mattifying the skin and having this mattifying effect for longer than my previous L'oreal primer. My L'oreal primer when I purchased it was around £10 so for the little price difference of £3 I would probably sway more towards using the Smashbox primer, however if you are looking for a lower priced product then I would suggest that the L'oreal primer is a good primer and as my first primer I feel that is a good product to begin to learn how to apply and use primer with without breaking the bank. 

Above: L'oreal Studio Secrets anti shine Mattifying primer

After looking into primers I realised that the £13 price tag attached to the primer is actually around about the average for primers; however more product tends to come under that price tag (around 20ml total product). Therefore I would outline that as a negative of the product, however for the quality of the product it arguably is worth the cost for the amount.

Now to outline the positives and negatives of this Smashbox primer;

  • The product it oil free, no extra oil is added to the skin and is ideal for those with naturally oily skin
  • The primer helps to mattify the skin and reduce shine in all areas of the skin
  • After being applied to the skin the  primer helps the skin feel much smoother and much more even to apply make-up on
  • There is no scent to the product
  • Only a pea sized amount is needed
  • Primer elongates makeup length by a few hours
  • The product amount in relation to its price may be a bit steep for some
  • The primer is only intended for the face and not the eyes (another primer will be needed)
  • Only slightly higher quality than the cheaper products available 


  1. I've heard so many good things about their primers. I've never used anything actually by smashbox, but I know it is supposed to be top notch. I might have to treat myself this weekend :) x
    Heroine In Heels

    1. I've been using it since this review and its still going! Its my favorite primer!



  2. so I've been wondering, what is the "slightly cheaper product" you try to mention? :) since the smashbox is very pricey

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