Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Review

Tests have shown that Smashbox Photo Finish Primer can help makeup stay on longer. It also helps blur flaws, smooth skin, and make skin look more radiant.

The mercury is rising and you’re quickly discovering that some of the beauty products you’ve bought since last summer definitely aren’t sweat-proof. You may not care about waterproof formulas that will stay in place even if you dive in a pool but you want your makeup to last when you’re on land and not have it melt off your face before lunch.

Primers are meant to be a girl’s best friend when it comes to prolonging the wear of your makeup but do they work when the temperatures rise and the sun is blazing? I tested the cult favorite Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, to see if it made my makeup last longer on hot, muggy days.

What It Claims

The Smashbox website describes the primer as “the original blur.” It is meant to create a perfect canvas for makeup and make your foundation last longer:

“The first step to any great close-up is great skin – skin that’s free of fine lines and pores. That’s one of the reasons why primer was the first product created at Smashbox Studios. We developed a formula that diffuses the light-hitting skin to blur out imperfections for an even, soft-focus look. It also makes makeup look better and last longer. Think of our primer as the original blur – and the best way to start your makeup every day.”

It comes in numerous versions including a green primer for correcting redness, one for acne-prone skin, and a brightening one. I tested the original, oil-free formula.


I tested the primer on two hot days. I wore the same foundation (Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15) and powder (Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder) to get accurate results. My foundation is fairly long-lasting, otherwise, I would have obviously stopped using it awhile ago. However, in the hot weather, my combination skin becomes more oily and my makeup can start to melt off my forehead by the end of the day. The powder helps but there is always room for improvement.

Here’s the before and after of what my makeup looks like at the start of the day and at the end, without using the primer and not doing any touch-ups:

And here’s a comparison of my freshly-applied makeup versus end-of-day makeup using the Smashbox primer:

You can’t really tell that much of a difference when you compare the photos but it was evident when I looked closely in the mirror. My makeup didn’t migrate around and I didn’t get any awkward sunglasses lines in my foundation when I used the primer. My forehead did get a bit shiny but my foundation stayed in place and a quick swipe of a blotting sheet would fix it.

In addition to doing a decent job at keeping my makeup in place, the primer also did make it easier to apply. The primer is expensive but you only need a little drop to cover your entire face. The gel formula is great and it really does give your skin the “velvety-smooth” finish they describe. Try to avoid touching your face to feel how soft it is because that won’t help your makeup stay put.

Overall, I think it is a great primer and it definitely does live up to the hype. It is a good first step and is something I’ll be using way past August. If you want to test it out, it does come in a travel-size option for $16.

Leave A Reply