* Prices may differ from that shown
I am new to the primer world. I was using Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, but found that it wasn't doing my skin any favours after a while, so I thought I would try this one by Smashbox that comes complete with rave reviews all over the internet. It seems that this is with good reason. The 30ml bottle costs twenty five pounds directly from the Smashbox website at the time of writing this review, although it is available in other places online for slightly less if you have the patience to look. I would definitely recommend the primer because I genuinely think it does an excellent job and that it is very good value for money. It may seem expensive on the face of it because it is a small bottle and it is pricey, but you only need to use a tiny amount each time because a little goes a long way. I have found that it really does make my make up stay on much longer too, which means I don't need to reapply it through the day (thus saving more money in the long term.) The cream is easy to get out of the squeezy bottle and you don't end up getting too much out at once because it is easily regulated thanks to the tiny hole in the top. The primer is not at all oily, although I would recommend giving it a quick shake before use, especially the first time when the primer seems to separate due to not being used. I think the cream works wonders as well even if you are not putting makeup over the top because it really does give you silky smooth skin, which you can feel as soon as you apply it. Also I do think it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines (only fine ones though to be fair) because it seems to fill them in straight away. Absolutely recommend as a good value beauty essential.
A primer is something which I have used for a few years now, at first I was not really sure what the point of adding an extra stage in between my moisturiser and foundation was but I would never not use a primer now. A primer smooths out your skin and gives an even surface ready for whatever make up you want to apply, even if you do not wear make up a primer will even out your skin tone. I have used a number of primers before and they all vary in texture and results.
....Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer....
Smashbox have a massive range of primers, these include:
- Photo finish foundation primer light
- Photo finish colour correcting primer
- Photo finish hydrating foundation primer
- Photo finish more than primer blemish control
So there is a primer for whatever you want, the photo finish primer is the first Smashbox one I have tried but look forward to trying others in the future, on the Smashbox website you can see a full list of their primers and what each claims to do.
....Price and availability....
You can pick this primer up at a number of places including Boots and from Smashbox direct. For 30ml it is £25 which does seem pricey but you only need a small amount to cover the whole face as it blends really well.
I use this product every morning before putting my make up on, I moisturise my skin and then leave the skin for a few moments for my moisturiser to soak in. You only need a small amount of primer as a small amount really does go a long way. Compared to some other primers which I have used this one is a lot smoother and not as thick, at first I was unsure on this but love the texture.
Once it is applied to the skin my skin feels really smooth and extra hydrated, it also gives the skin a more even look which I love.
I used to have trouble with my make up staying place for the full day but I find this primer really helps to keep my make up in place and last throughout the day.
I have personally never used a primer on an evening but I have heard that putting a primer on over your night treatment works well and locks in your treatment.
I would never not use a primer, once this primer runs out I am not sure if I would buy again, this is only because of the price, if it was a few pounds less I would not hesitate in repurchasing.
A while ago I received a free sample of photo finish luminizing foundation primer which is part of a collection of photo finish primers available from the cosmetic company Smashbox. I hadn't used a primer before so decided to give it a go. I was really impressed with the results. It made my skin feel soft and silky and helped keep my make up in place and have kept it in my beauty box ever since.
The product comes in a clear and black plastic tube with a black plastic lid. The brand logo 'Smashbox' is clearly visible in black letters on the front of the tube with the actual product name underneath it. At the bottom it tells you that it is a foundation primer. On the back it gives you some contact information for the brand and tells you that it has a shelf life of 12 months.
The product itself is a fairly dark orangey brown colour with a thick velvety consistency. I must admit at first I was unsure if I would use the product as it looked too dark to suit my skin tone but don't let that put you off, once applied it blends beautifully and gives a nice glow to the skin. To apply simply remove the plastic lid and gently squeeze the desired amount onto the hand (I use the back of my hand and only a small amount is needed as a little really does go a long way) and apply with fingers or preferred tool to the face, gently blending it in. You can then apply your usual foundation on top or it can be worn alone (which I sometimes do)
- Oil free
- Contains age fighting antioxidants such as green tea, grape seed extract and vitamins A,C and E
- Helps fill in lines and pores
- Can be worn alone or under foundation
- Creates a natural radiant glow
- Helps keep make up in place for long lasting wear
- Can be used on décolleté and shoulders for a subtle highlight.
- Leaves skin feeling silky and soft
Price and availability.
The product is available from some beauty stores including Boots and on line and usually retails at £25 for the 30ml tube and £12.50 for a travel size 12ml tube.
I love this velvety texture of this primer and the effect it has at leaving my skin feeling silky and soft. It is easy to apply and gives a lovely natural glow. I use it both under foundation and alone and it really does help my face looking fresh. It is expensive but it does last for quite a long time. A big 5 stars.
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Smashbox are a cosmetics company that originated from the studio's of LA. I only heard of this brand around a year ago and weren't really familiar with any of their products, until I read reviews on dooyoo and ciao about some of their products such as primers and foundations that they sell. Smashbox have a large cosmetics range suitable for all skin colours and types. Their products are more expensive than high street brands such as Bourjois and Maybelline, how-ever their products are very good quality and create professional results that are longer lasting than products that you may find on the high street. Although there are other brands that may be similar to this brand such as Benefit & Gosh, this brand stuck out for me so I decided that I would try one or two products in their range to see if they were as good as they claimed.
What is Primer?
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Primer helps to smooth the skin's surface and evens out skin tone. It also helps to better disguise blemishes and lets you blend your concealer and makeup in more evenly. Using a primer also helps to make makeup last a lot longer. Primer also helps to fill in lines and wrinkles and reduces shine. Primer doesn't clog pores either which is good as it means it shouldn't cause any spots or blemishes. I have used at least 2 different primers before and although they were ok I wanted to try something different that might work a bit better and help to keep my make up looking better for longer. Most make up brands do their own primer and whilst some can be reasonable cheap others can be rather pricey. I find that the more expensive ones do work much better than the cheaper one's that I was previously using. I wouldn't be wearing the primer alone, but I wanted it to create the perfect base for my foundation.
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This primer is made by smashbox and is one of 11 primers that Smashbox currently do. Each of their primers is suitable for different skin types so you can choose the right one for you. The primer I purchased was the Photo Finish foundation primer which I have read reviews about. This primer is highly rated not just by people by is also the winner of a beauty award by Handbag.com. This primer helps to create the perfect canvas for foundation and has a silky lightweight blend of vitamins A and E, grape seed extract and green tea. The primer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for flawless skin with a velvety-smooth finish. This product is oil free. The Primer comes in a black box which gives you the feel that the product is an expensive brand but also good quality. The box has a cardboard sleeve with graffiti style print all over it which says 'Love Me'. On the front of the box it states what the product is. The actual box that holds the primer is black and has a picture of the primer on the front of it. On the back of the box it gives you some information about the actual primer and how to use it. You will also find a list of ingredients on the back of the box as well. I opened the box to get the primer out. The primer comes in a plastic tube where you can clearly see the product inside. The middle of the tube is clear and the top and the bottom of the tube is black. You can see that the primer is a clear colour. The lid of the tube should be wrapped in plastic which is a seal, this comes off easily. I unscrewed the lid and this revealed the tip to the tube which is quite pointed and small so you can dispense a small amount of the product. The tip of the tube is actually protected by a seal which needs to be removed in order to use the product. This again comes off very easily and can then be thrown away.
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I purchased this from my local Boots store for £25.00 which does seem rather pricey for a primer, how-ever I had good faith in this product after reading so many good reviews about it. The tube contains 30ml of primer. You can also purchase this from the smashbox website for the same price and you can also purchase travel size tubes for £12.50 which holds 12ml of the primer.
Using the Product
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When using primer I always apply a moisturiser first and leave it to soak in for a good few minutes before applying the actual primer itself. It states that you only need to use a pea size amount for the whole face and the lady at the Smashbox counter also advised me of this as well. Simply apply the primer to clean or moisturised skin using your fingertips. You can then apply your foundation or powder if you wish. I decided I would use the primer one day with applying any foundation on to see how it looked and if it made any real difference to my face. When using the primer for the first time it was a little watery, but I presume this is because it's the first time I have used it. I squeezed the tube to ensure I got a pea size amount of primer onto my finger and then I applied it to my face using my fingertips. You really don't need any more than a pea size amount as a little goes a long way. The primer was easy to apply & felt smooth as I applied it to my face. The primer actually made my skin feel really soft and smooth. I loved the feel it gave to my skin. In terms of appearance my skin did appear to look smoother and in better condition. The feeling and look of this stayed on my face throughout the day, until the evening when I would wash my face and do my usual cleansing routine.
I have also used the primer with foundation on top. I applied the primer exactly as I had done before, using only a pea sized amount. After I had finished applying the primer I then got ready to apply the foundation. I always use a brush when applying foundation for a much better coverage. I was also using smashbox foundation as well (review to come) so the end results should be really good. After applying the foundation which was easy to apply I looked in the mirror at the results. My skin looked smooth and soft and also looked flawless; of course these were the results of the primer along with the foundation. When using primer your foundation and make up in general is meant to last longer than it would without primer. I felt as though the primer definitely made my skin flawless and smooth and I think if I hadn't of used the primer the foundation wouldn't have looked as smooth as it had done. I applied the foundation in the morning and sure enough, come evening my make up still looked great and the foundation was still flawless and still covered my face. It hadn't even started to look patchy or wear off which was brilliant. I was really impressed. I did actually use foundation without the primer and there is a definite difference in how the primer makes your skin look.
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After reading various different reviews and information about this product on the internet I had high hopes of the product. Although the primer is rather pricey and I wouldn't normally spend this much on a make up product I was really impressed with the results. I loved the fact that the primer was light and didn't feel heavy on my face and it made my skin not only feel smooth and soft buy my skin also looked smoother and flawless whether wearing foundation with it or not. You do only need a pea size amount of the primer for your face as if you squeeze out too much there is no way of getting it back into the tube. I only really use the primer along with foundation so only apply it a few times a week which means the primer will last a good amount of time before I need to buy some more. In fact I'm expecting this to last me a good 3-4 months at least. The primer doesn't clog my pores or make my skin feel oily which is good as the last thing I want is clogged pores which can lead to blemishes. I would definitely purchase this product again, when I have run out and I would also recommend it highly to others. Although my previous primer was quite good, this is much better and one that I will now continue to use.
(review may also appear on ciao)
Never one to turn down a freebie, my sister gave me a few items of make-up that didn't suit her skin and unbelievably one of them was the Smashbox Primer (although she hardly wears an ounce of make-up anyway). This is one of my products that I simply cannot live without, and in comparison to every other primer on the market that I've tried, this quite simply smashes it! It is amazing.
Prices vary for this one, so I'm going to get this bit out of the way first because it will sting. You can expect to pay anywhere between roughly £23 and £30 for it. I was given my first tube of it which lasted a good few months before I realised it was running out and I would simply die without it in my life ; )
I buy mine from Boots as its nice and easy to pick up when you are on the high street, and of course you will get your advantage points too. It's priced £28 there. Occasionally I have received a travel sized freebie which is perfect for, well travelling!
To use this product, you need the smallest amount imaginable. A little really does go a long way, and the packaging means that you won't excessively waste any of this precious product as it doesn't leak, and it won't come spilling out as soon as you so much as touch it. It glides on to the skin like silk and I love the feeling of this in a morning when I am applying my make-up. It smoothes the skin and it stays feeling like this for most of the day, with just a small touch up required later on in the afternoon if you want it to last into the evening.
Now this is where I got confused when I started wearing it, is it a primer or is it a foundation? The brand is actually called photo finish foundation primer, so it did throw me ever so slightly when I first started using it. In all honesty, it completely depends on you and your skin. It provides an amazing base for make-up and does make the skin look smoother, reducing the appearance of lines, however if like me you have awful skin then you will need to use foundation too. I would say that the majority of people, unless you are blessed with gorgeous skin, will want to use foundation too. I guess a lot of people here will be questioning why if it's so amazing, would you then cover it over with foundation. The base that it provides for your foundation means that it will give longer lasting coverage, but also that it will allow your foundation to work at its most effective and cover up any imperfections better than just using foundation on its own. Up until a few years ago I had never even heard of primer, and now looking back on close up photos of my face you can definitely tell a difference since I have started wearing it. I find it gives a lovely sheen to my make-up and makes my skin look glowing and healthy (something it most definitely is not!). Make up also seems to remove much easier on an evening, as it's not sitting on the skin but the primer which acts as a barrier. It also doesn't feel clogging on the pores.
If you chose to wear this on its own without make up (I'm hoping to be lucky enough to get away with this and this alone when I go to Vegas in May), then it will feel weightless on the skin, which is perfect for warm holidays. As the product is an almost translucent white colour, it also glides onto the skin without leaving any residue around the jawline, where your foundation hasn't been rubbed in properly.
I like to use this primer alongside the Smashbox foundation (which I can also thoroughly recommend), but as I have an unhealthy obsession with trying new products, I alternative it with the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (again, which is amazing!).
I absolutely recommend this product and although the price can be off putting, you will definitely notice a difference and it feels so luxurious on the skin that I will continue to buy this product despite the price.
My skin is oily with enlarged pores and it is prone to developing blemishes. I realise how unattractive I just made myself sound! Putting make up on top of skin like this just highlights imperfections and it won't stay put so I use a primer to keep everything looking OK. For this reason, I bought the Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox and I chose the light version.
What does the product do?
The product has been designed in order to reduce the appearance of fine line and enlarged pores so that your skin look flawless and in order for you to have a good surface on which to apply your make up... Think plastering a wall before painting it! This light version has been specifically designed for oily and spot prone skin like mine and it is suitable for use on sensitive skin.
The formula actually absorbs excess oils from the skin to leave you with a matte complexion and it contains light diffusers in order to hide imperfections. It also contains vitamin c, proteins and collagen in order to nourish and strengthen the skin. It also helps to keep your make up in place and looking perfect for longer.
There are plenty of different types to chose from. You can buy the original primer, the oil free one that I bought, an anti aging one, a skin brightening one, a hydrating one and a variety of colour correcting ones. The products come both full size and in travel sized bottles.
How do you use the product?
The product is to be applied to cleansed, dry skin which has already been moisturised. You dispense a small amount of the product from the bottle and massage it into the skin until it has disappeared. You can either wear it on your bare skin or you can then apply your make up on top of it.
Packaging and Price
The product comes contained within a plastic tube which has black edging and a black lid. The bottle of the body is white and you can see the white product inside. It has no decoration apart from Smashbox being written on the front and the lid is a screw top lid. The product doesn't come cheap and it will cost you around £25 for a full sized bottle or £12 for a little travel sized bottle. It can be bought from large stores such as Boots and also from a variety of online websites.
Application and Performance
The product is pale white in colour and looks a bit like a moisturiser. It has the consistency of a very light cream/gel and it is what you would expect from a primer. The smell of the product isn't very nice. Although it is to strong, it does smell a bit like glue and as you're applying it by the nose, you will notice it! It fades quite quickly though so you shouldn't let it put you off buying the product. Even though the product is white in colour, it goes transparent on the skin in the same way as a moisturiser would so it doesn't make you look pale or ghostly.
It feels incredibly light on the skin and it doesn't really feel like you've put anything on it. It melts into the skin quickly with minimal massaging. The product makes my skin feel really quite smooth and silky. You don't need to use much in order to get the desired results so the product should last a long time which is a good thing when you consider the price. It fills in my enlarged pores and fine lines really well and although they are still evident, they are much less so. My make up goes on top on the product nicely and my complexion looks much more even than without this.
This product does keep my make up in place for much longer and it also makes my complexion shine free for a longer period of time. I will still be a bit shiny by the time I get home but I don't think anything will stop that completely. It hasn't caused me to develop any blemishes and it hasn't caused my skin any discomfort or irritations. My skin seems to be in a better condition when the product is removed at the end of the day.
All in all, I can't fault this product. If you have oily skin with enlarged pores then this will help to make your skin look smoother, less shiny and it will keep your make up in place. The results may not last all time but they last much longer than with similar product that I've tried in the past. There should be a Photo Finish to suit everyone and even though the product is expensive, it is worth it as the results are really good.
I bought this recently on a flight as I saw it in the duty-free magazine on a really good offer. I love using different primers to see which is best and as this brand isn't widely available in high street cosmetic stories I thought I would buy it and see. The offer saved you well over the cost of the product and it came with two bottles - 30ml and 15ml tube of the photo finish primer. I liked the idea of two bottles because if I didn't like it I could always give it to someone else who might appreciate it.
The product comes in a little metalic box with an image of the tubes on the front. I would imagine this is different if you purchase just one tube rather than the set and as the in flight magazine stated there are different designs of tubes too. The tubes I received are the same as one another, frosted plastic tube with a black metal screw lid. I think the design is stylish and functional - the plastic is very lightweight and easily squeezable which is perfect for this kind of product. You can also cut the tube open when the product begins to deplete which is a definite plus point for me as I like to get my moneys worth. The primer is squeezed through a match stick sized hole in the top of the tube which is the perfect size for this kind of product. The hole stops you from squeezing too much out at any one time and also allows you to be precise about the amount you want.
The primer itself is quite thin in consistency but not at all runny or too liquid. It feels very lightweight when applied to your skin which is nice and goes on smoothly. It feels very silky and gives a clearness to your complexion which is really nice. I don't think it is as effective as other primers I have used (see my l'oreal review) and once make up is applied over the top the difference isn't really noticeable. This could be because it is too thin or light a formula and therefore it doesn't provide a solid and smooth enough base. I think the effect is better if it is just used as a base for times when you don't want to wear make up. The effect is better and more apparent than when I go on to apply make up on top. I think, therefore, that this is the perfect primer to take on holiday with you to give a clean looking complexion on those days and evenings when your face goes bare.
In terms of price I think this product is massively overpriced for what you get (even with the cheaper deal I got!). Ordinarily this would cost you roughly £20 for a 30ml bottle. I got 45ml in total for £22 which isn't a bad deal - that is roughly a saving of around £10 at the cheapest prices available (it will be more expensive in retailers than online). There are definitely cheaper primers out there which offer better results. That said, I am glad I have tried it as it does achieve a nice look when used alone. I also really like to know what is out there that I might be missing out on.
Overall, look for better products at cheaper prices.
I had never taken much notice of primers until I had my wedding makeup done a few years ago. The makeup artist assured me my makeup would stay on all day and true enough by 4am it still looked (almost) as good as 11am (17 hours later). The secret was apparently the primer which she used: Smashbox Primer. Smashbox primer is actually quite difficult to get hold of in the UK and I ended up purchasing my own version on a flight to America. They had a deal where if you bought the 30ml (for around £25 I think) you got a 15ml free. This was a very good deal as Smashbox is an expensive brand so ~£25 for 45ml was a great deal.
==How to use==
Typically, primer is used under foundation. I believe Smashbox do a range of primers to correct skin tone but this is the "photo finish" primer which gives a more even tone overall to the skin. It is a clear potion, not as 'wet' as foundation or a 'gel' and slightly stiffer when you squeeze it out of the tube - quite difficult to explain. You only need a tiny bit, like the size of a five pence piece. You can put it on with a foundation brush or rub it into your hands and pat it over your face. I do both interchangeably. You can wear it alone to improve skin tone or under foundation. 99% of the time I wear it under foundation and do find my makeup looks perfect hours later, whereas without the primer, my face makeup slides off a little more easily. The primer is non-oily and won't make your face shiny; it is suitable for all skin types.
The website states that the primer "helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for flawless skin with a velvety-smooth finish" - velvety smooth is right, your skin will feel wonderful and soft after applying the primer. I'm not certain it reduces the appearance of fine lines and pores, I haven't seen any evidence of that. I would say that makeup stays on much longer and the skin has a certain glow about it.
Whilst I do think this is a super primer (much better than MAC primer for example which felt like PVA glue!), I do notice that if I use it daily my skin has small breakouts of spots. I'm sure it is related to the primer as my foundation tends not to do that. I therefore only use this on a night out or when I want to make sure my makeup lasts all day (i.e. work meeting) so that I can give my skin a break from it.
I would buy this again but will only use it sparingly. I still really like it so will give it four stars, it has lost one star based on the breakout of spots but that may just be my own skin reacting.
I first tried this primer when I bought a selection box of 5 or 6 Smashbox products in a duty free shop. The primer was the one I was most excited about using as I have seen rave reviews of it on a lot of American beauty blogs and I had seen that beauty columnist Sali Hughes in the Guardian also recommended it. My tube was the 15 ml travel size version rather than the full size 30 ml.
=== Packaging ===
This primer comes in a plastic tube which is almost clear. It is a simple design. You can see the product inside so you can easily see how much is left. It has a screw top and it is easy to control the amount of primer you squeeze out. When it starts to run out, it is quite difficult to squeeze the last bits out but tube should be easy to cut open.
=== Product ===
I have tried a number of primers and this one is my favourite. It is a very smooth gel and you can easily rub it over your face quickly and effortlessly due its consistency and texture. A small amount, about the size of a 5p, is usually enough to cover the whole face as you only need a thin layer. It makes pores and any fine lines appear less visible, leaving a smooth surface for makeup. I wait about 10 minutes between applying this and putting on my foundation. If you don't do this, it can cause "balling" up of your foundation (as is the case with most primers).
As well as making the complexion look smoother and disguising pores or lines, Smashbox Photofinish primer is really effective at increasity the longevity of makeup. With this, my makeup stays on all day until I take it off. It also seems to help keep my skin matte as I did not get shiny when using this, even though I have oily skin.
This primer comes in a lot of different versions. There are numerous different coloured "colour correcting" versions including lavender, green and apricot. There is a hydrating version, one with SPF... and so on. With this wide range, most people should be able to find their perfect version of this excellent primer. It would be good if the normal one did include SPF, but that is only a small point as lots of people get their SPF from their foundation.
=== Availability ===
Unfortunately this is quite hard to get hold of in the UK. It is only available at Debenhams or from the TV shopping channel QVC. However, you can also find it online via Ebay etc. It costs around £29.
A few months ago I was shopping around Debenhams when I got collared by a sales assistant. I was about to rush off, or make an excuse which would help me escape from listening to a long talk about a product that I really didn't want or need. But, I was too late and the saleswomen had already started telling my all about this product and range. I was eventually convinced into trying some of the products from the Samshbox range, including this one, and was impressed enough to buy multiple products.
Smashbox is an American brand, used by many professional make-up artists. It is not so well-known in Britain, but it is sold in department stores like Debenhams, and online from various websites. Most of their products are rather expensive, but I have found most of them discounted on websites such as eBay.
For those of you who don't know, a primer works much like a moisturiser, to provide a protective layer between your foundation and your skin. They help your foundation go and stay on better, and they prevent your skin from absorbing the oil from the foundation.
This Smashbox Photofinish Primer was about £25 for a 30ml bottle. Although this may seem expensive, it's well worth the price because mine has lasted 4 months already, with daily use, and I still have half the bottle left.
Before purchasing this primer, I had only tried cheaper brands, such as MUA. All of the primers I had previously tried hadn't worked as well as I'd hoped, so this is why I'd decided to use a more expensive brand.
The primer is sold two different bottles. There is a rectangular plastic bottle, which stands on its lid, or a glass rectangle bottle with a pump dispenser. Most recently I have seen the product being sold in the plastic bottle, like I have. Both bottles are transparent, with black lids, containing 30ml of primer.
I usually use only a little bit of primer at once, as it spreads really well. I use my fingers to apply and rub in, and it works fine, ensuring the substance is equally distributed across my face. You apply the primer upon a clean face, before applying foundation or other products on top. I have used this primer underneath liquid and solid foundation types, and both work fine.
The primer is a thick gel-like substance, which easily rubs into your skin, with little effort. It fills in pores and wrinkles, making the skin appear smooth and even and once it's rubbed in, your skin feels soft. Although this primer is 'no oil' it still feels silicon like, which can sometimes feel greasy upon application. Despite this though, once it's sunk in it does not appear or feel greasy any longer.
The primer helps keep your foundation on, making it appear more natural and helping it last all day. As the day goes on, the primer does become less effective, meaning re-application could be necessary. Having said that, the primer will stay effective for around 6 hours though, so that should be enough for most people, but if you require coverage and protection for longer, then you may to re-apply.
In conclusion, even though this primer is at the higher end of the price spectrum, I find that it's worth the money. In my personal experience this primer keeps my foundation looking fresh throughout the day, is easy to apply, and makes skin appear soft and smooth. My only disadvantages are the price and that it only lasts 6 hours. Despite these disadvantages, I will definitely be repurchasing this product when necessary.
Thank you for reading, also posted on Ciao under the username Georgia713.
I have oily / combination skin so tried the Light product . Really was unsure about this as had read a few negative reviews. It does exactly what it says. Foundation goes on a dream, skin looks so smooth & a lot fresher after foundation has been applied.... the result which was most noticable was that my skin looked more even toned. It did not halt my oil production but it did definitley stop my make up from sliding off. The foundation I applied 6 hours earlier had stayed put and still looked great. Also this product is suitable for wearing on it;s own without foundation ( for those make up free days) as it generally make my skin look fresher and very smooth. All in all fantastic product, will defo carry on using everyday as part of my make up routine. If in doubt, try the trial size (15ml) I can appreciate that not alll products can work for everyone, nbut taking into consideration my skin type, my main concern was my make up sliding due to oily skin.....this really did work for me and kept my foundation looking fresh all day. One very happy girlie : ) Even a couple of my friends commented on how much better my make up looked!!!
Firstly, let me start by saying that I have absolutely NO idea how much this product cost. It was first used on me a couple of years ago by a make-up artist in America on the day that me and my husband got married (I gather Smashbox products are an American brand and used ALOT by the make-up artists over there), and the bottle I now have is what was bought for me as a gift by a friend from Duty Free on her way home from her travels as I have spent the last couple of years raving about my wedding day make-up!
The packaging is quite sleek and plain and the product comes in a pump type dispenser. The idea is to put it on before applying foundation for a heavier coverage or to use it alone to even out the skin and give it a smooth texture. I am by no means a girly girl - I have never before used foundation on a daily basis due to working in an environment with really high temperatures so make-up has always tended to slide off my face. My skin I would describe as dry/normal with the occassional spot on my chin and a few open pores on my cheeks and I have quite a 'high colour' so being able to wear light foundation on a daily basis has always been an aim in the past but is now very much achievable with Photofinish Primer.
A 5 pence piece sized amount after moisturising and before applying foundation really HAS made a huge difference to my appearance. The finish is silky soft and has made my open pores look much less visible and most importantly, has made my foundation appear much more even AND stay intact for a 12 hour shift at work! The primer does feel quite greasy which is perhaps why it balances so nicely with my skin being dry and I am sure that this is why it 'goes the distance' over the course of the day at work with the central heating turned up high. I'm not convinced it would be all that beneficial for people with greasy skin but Smashbox also make a 'light' version of this product for exactly that reason
It certainly lives up to its name - 2 years later and I still never tire of looking at my wedding photographs - my appearance really was transformed and my make-up stayed solid for 12 hours +. This product truly is one of my 'must buys'. Roll on September when I go overseas and can stock up again as its a little difficult to find where I live - Failing that, I shall order online as I think this is going to be one of those things that I *NEED* rather than *WANT*
Smashbox Photofinish Primer is one product that I would happily go without lunch for a month to purchase. It is not the cheapest primer (nor the most expensive) but after trying cheaper alternatives (Ruby and Millie, Gale Hayman, Laura Gellar 'spackle' plus one whose name I forget) I have not found one yet that comes close to this product. Although this is pricey, around the £25 mark, one 30ml bottle lasts me 6 months or more.
The founders of Smashbox Cosmetics are brothers Dean and Davis Factor, who are also great grandsons of Max Factor. Smashbox is a 'young' company starting in 1991, but officially becoming Smashbox in 1997. Although the brand is relatively new it has a great provenance via the Max Factor link. The brand was developed alongside their photographic studios with the intention of creating flawless faces that did not need airbrushing.
The primer comes in a matt clear glass rectangle with a classy 'tall' black lid, and contains 30mls of product. The lid does not have the strongest grip I have come across. So if you tend to grab your products by the top, as I do, you could end up with primer filling in the cracks of your floor rather than your face. It has an 'airless' pump to keep the contents fresh, this also means that you get maximum product out. With the previous system I would often have to resort to a mangled cotton wool bud to get to the last smears of product. The product is also available in smaller 15 ml sizes contained in a squeezable plastic tube, with a black screw on lid. This makes it easy to transport without losing the lid and getting the 'nozzle' all 'gritted' up.
I feel that this primer is most effective for people who have skin 'issues' that they want to minimize rather than as something to make foundation stay on longer. From experience I feel that this primer may even allow foundation to wipe away more easily. I would recommend this primer only If you need to even the texture of your skin. If you already have smooth skin and are just looking for something to make your foundation 'stick' better I wouldn't really recommend this one
Where the translucent silicone formula comes into its own is in filling in pores and wrinkles, and diffusing light thus making deeper wrinkles and open pores that are a little too deep to 'fill' look greatly reduced. I have always had fairly oily skin, whilst this has helped to delay the arrival of dehydration wrinkles it has left me with quite open pores on the cheeks near my nose, and forehead. I try to look after my skin so they are not as bad as perhaps they could be at my age, but they are visible and this primer really does make a massive positive difference.
The formulation includes antioxidants, vitamins A & E, grape seed extract, and green tea, and the idea is that as it sits next to your skin before any other makeup it works as a skin care product too. However it doesn't absorb into the skin so I would imagine it is either formulated to somehow release these goodies as the day goes on, or it is just a surface only protective treatment rather than deep acting.
How application can make a difference to the efficacy of this product
The primer is applied on clean bare skin, I would recommend light upward strokes and taps as this seems to fill in pores etc more effectively (the pore/folicle tends to tilt down very slightly). The amount you use depends on how deep and over what percentage of your face you have open pores/wrinkles. If a wrinkle is an 'expression' line and quite mobile the primer and foundation can become concentrated here, so you may need to tap and re-blend a little during the day. This happens with all non powder formulations so this is something you might get with any foundation or primer not just this one.
I tend to use one to two pumps concentrating on the areas with the most obvious pores, each pump produces about a cm long 'worm' of the product. Give it a minute or so to 'settle' it doesn't change consistency but foundation seems to go on slightly better if you give it this short resting time. You shouldn't apply too much in one go; just add a small amount more if needed. If you can see a translucent or milky film over your skin you've applied too much and this could affect the application of your foundation.
You then apply any other product over the top in your usual fashion; again I would recommend a light touch so that the primer is not 'rubbed' away. I assumed that you wouldn't be able to use powder over the primer because of the texture. Thinking it would form little balls and 'roll' off. However when I recently re-tried my Bare Escentuals mineral foundation it worked perfectly well over the primer, (I still hated the Bare Escentuals though). So if you prefer powders this still may be worth a try. Although I would recommend buying from a high street store so you can 'test' your powder over before buying.
Occasionally the 'invisibility cloak' effect can weaken as the day goes on. Reapplying a small amount of primer with a tap and 'roll' motion, just over the affected area, (don't rub it in or it may 'smear' your foundation) should revive the effect, which should last the rest of the day. This 'over foundation' technique works best when your foundation is the same shade as your skin. So this trick won't work well if you are wearing wash off fake tan for example. I learnt this when demonstrating this product to my niece; she was left with a 5p sized glowing white circle on her otherwise orange cheek. You can still use the product for its main function as a primer. Also Photofinish comes in a 'bronze' variety so this might work
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You can buy Smashbox Photofinish primer in several different formulations and colours, all at around the £26 mark, price does vary but only by a few pounds either way (between about £23 and £30). It includes colour correcting (Green, Apricot and Lavender) varieties, a 'light' which is water based (which I haven't tried so can't say how it compares to the silicone base). One variety contains 'Dermaxyl' which is supposed to have anti-ageing properties, and has a factor 15 sun protection (this one is on offer at Debenhams at the moment at £25.53), they are also easily available online. QVC sometimes does a 'todays special value including this. I have bought a collection of smashbox products there including a full size of this primer, plus several other full size products for less than the cost of the primer.
Colour varieties I Have Tried
The one I use most is the translucent/clear or the Dermaxyl, but I have tried the apricot and green varieties. They came as a special offer pack with both colours - I wouldn't have bought the green otherwise. The green does 'dampen' down any redness but does not kill it completely. However that would be a lot to expect from a primer alone, you need a densely pigmented concealer or foundation for areas of vivid redness. I still used every drop of the green as it still had the same texture improving effect as the standard, and the green tint wasn't visible once foundation was applied. The apricot was lovely and gave my skin a nice healthy sort of 'satin' finish, and evened out skin tone well (I have some freckles and it made them less obvious without hiding them altogether which I liked). I often wore this without foundation, as I don't like wearing a lot of make up, and this gave my skin a nice finish without being heavy.
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All varieties have the same properties (apart from the Dermaxyl with its added sunscreen and ..erm Dermaxyl) and give the same textural finish under foundations. None of the primers have any oil absorbing capacity, or are particularly mattifying, they do even everything out. So if you are oily you will look more matt, if you are dry you will look dewier.
Some people have commented that the product can cause their foundation to apply unsatisfactorily. I believe this could be down to application. For example using too much product will cause this, as will being heavy handed when applying the foundation. It makes me wince when I see people rubbing at their skin as if they're scouring a pot when putting on make up. This will only result in pushing too much product into your pores leading to a grubby look to the skin when you aren't wearing make up (unless you exfoliate like a demon), and wasting a lot of product as most of it ends up ground into your powder puff/brush/ or your fingers. A primer is a base coat, it's not meant to 'mix' thoroughly with the next layer go softly with your make up application and the results are much better.
I don't usually wear primer before but during the winter months my skin always feels dry and worn out and I felt that it needed a bit of a treat as I feel there's no point in putting on make up when your skin feels horrible in the first place!
Smashbox was first brought to my attention when I saw it on QVC, I have never seen it sold anywhere on the high street though I have heard it mentioned a few times in magazines and publications like 'The Beauty Bible.'
The Smashbox brand was created by the grandsons of Max Factor the Hollywood cosmetics great. It started off as a photo and film studio and the make up line became a spin off.
The primer claims to 'provide a smooth matte finish all day,' 'minimize the appearance of imperfections' and 'even skin tone for a flawless look.' I have quite visible pores so I was hoping that it would help reduce the appearance of these and also make my make up last longer.
Whenever I have seen pictures of this product I have seen it in a pump but mine was in a 60ml tube (I have now learnt this was a 'limited edition') I was pleased with this as this meant that I could cut the tube open at the end and get out every last drop!
The packaging is simple yet classy. The tube itself is clear with a matte finish and the lid was plain black. The text on the front simply read 'smashbox,' 'Photo Finish' and 'Foundation Primer.'
The primer itself was clear and thick, almost like a gel although it wasn't at all slimy - it didn't have a 'wet' feel to it. A top tip when applying is that you don't need very much! Obviously this is great for making it last but if you aren't aware and put on too much it sort of sits on your skin and makes your foundation go clumpy.
You just take a small bit on your fingers - a 5p sized blob - and massage it all over your face. It feels very silky on your skin and it feels quite nice to apply! After I applied it my skin felt silky and smooth though not as much as I would have desired.
I did notice a difference when applying my make up, the foundation seemed to glide on more smoothly. The primer is meant to sit in your wrinkles therefore creating a smoother finish and I did feel that it achieved this.
However I don't think it made me make up last any longer and it didn't really reduce the size of my pores.
For what it did it's probably not worth the hefty £25 price tag. I must note here that the 30ml costs £25 I am not aware what my 60ml tube cost as it was a present from my mum.
The 60ml tube did last me 3 month but if 30ml only lasted me a month and a half, I don't think I would want to pay that (plus postage) for something that just made my skin feel smooth.
My verdict? It's a good product but the price tag and the lack of availability lets it down.
I read good reviews about this primer,and bought mine off ebay for £17 but you can buy it off the QVC website (sorry not sure of the price) I bought the oil free version 'photofinish light' as I have combination skin. This was the first primer I had used and was amazed that when I put it on my skin looked smoother and just really healthy and felt so soft and smooth. The packaging is really simple black and clear bottle with a pump to get the product out, it is white but goes on clear and sinks into your skin. When i put this and my foundation on my make up stays put all night and my skin looks quite flawless so I do think this is a mixture of the two but i definatly recomend it. I tend to use 2 pumps of the bottle and apply to my face and it is lasting me well as the bottle is clear you can see how much you have left which is very usefull.
A vitamin enriched primer that smoothes out the skin before you apply your foundation /