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I recently got to try the infamous Smashbox Photo Finish primer after a friend of mine recommended me to try it. I even got more curious when I discovered that it Sephora named it as the Best Primer in their Best of Sephora Awards and Marie Claire listed it as among the 25 Products that will Change Your Life. With so much positive reviews about this makeup primer, I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.
A primer on makeup primers
Before I share with you my personal experience with the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, I want to talk a bit about why it’s essential to use a makeup primer.
I’m a staunch advocate of using a makeup primer before applying foundation or any kind of makeup product on your face. It’s one of those essential makeup products no makeup bag should be without.
So, what exactly is a makeup primer?
A makeup primer is basically a base that makes applying your foundation and other face makeup product more manageable and helps your makeup behave and stay put.
Makeup primers usually come in gel, cream or oil form. Most primers you can buy are designed to apply all over your face. You can also find primers that are exclusive for just one area like your eyelids or lips. They also perform specific roles like blurring out fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing pores, evening out your skin tone, and even hydrate dry skin.
My experience with the Smashbox Photo Finish primer
According to the Smashbox website, the Smashbox Photo Finish primer is “a transparent primer gel that helps smoothes skin and blur flaws,” transforming your face into a perfect canvas for your makeup products. It also promises to leave your skin smooth, help your makeup last longer, and reduce oiliness.
Since I wanted just to try out the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, I decided to get the smaller travel-size version because it was cheaper than the standard size.
I knew that it was going to be small, but I admit that I was taken aback by how tiny the tube was, especially since I paid $16 plus taxes for it. Seeing the size made my expectations get even higher.
Using the Smashbox Photo Finish primer
I was quite pleased when I applied the Smashbox Photo Finish primer on my face. It was effortless to apply, and I didn’t experience that momentary sticky feeling I usually get when using gel primers. I also liked the fact that it was very light on the face. It really delivered as far as being lightweight goes.
But the best part of the initial application was how fast it dries. Usually, I had to wait a few minutes for the primer to dry completely before I can apply my foundation. This primer only took seconds to set, making this very convenient if you’re rushing in the morning to get ready.
I also did notice that my skin felt softer and smoother after the primer set. I can’t really comment on the fine lines and wrinkles since I don’t have any yet (or at least any that are noticeable). What I did notice was that my face looked a little too matte than what I’m used to. This wasn’t too much for an issue for me, however, judging from the mattifying effect I got after applying it, this might be a bit problematic for people with dry or combination skin.
Applying my foundation was very easy. I didn’t have to use a lot of foundation to get an even covering on my face. It also took me a lot less time to do, which is another huge plus for me since I tend to rush a bit in the morning.
Wearing the primer
I did notice that by early afternoon, my T-zone was starting to shine a bit. I quickly remedied it with some blotting paper and loose powder. That’s not that much of a difference to the primer I regularly use. But, I did notice that there was less foundation that transferred onto the blotting paper, which means that it does an excellent job keeping my foundation in place. In fact, I only did some minimal touchups throughout the day.
The only thing that I didn’t like was the prickly and itchy sensation I was getting from the sides of my nose. It only stopped a few minutes after I washed my face. I’m guessing that it might be because of the silica that they used here.
My final verdict
While I was somewhat satisfied with the Smashbox Photo Finish primer, there are lots of things about it that makes me apprehensive to recommend this, especially if you got dry or combination skin. I would suggest that you give it a shot and see how it works for you. If you’re not keen on forking out $16 + taxes for the travel size, try to get a sample and give it a try.
When you do, share your experience down in the comments below.