Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primers - Which one is right for you?

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A look at three different Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primers


You will notice right away that this one is more creamy looking and thick in texture. It looks more like a moisturizer than a primer, which usually is a bit more tacky and waxy. This is their “light” version and it is oil free. On the skin it gives a small amount shine and feels a bit wet. This is not going to feel tight or dry on the skin and is good for those of you who have a bit of dry patches on the skin and want a nice, soft finish before applying foundation.


This primer is oil-free, 60% water based primer is ideal for oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin. This silky blend of vitamins and antioxidants can be worn alone or under foundation to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin. The revolutionary formula has oil absorbers for a smooth matte finish all day, light diffusers to minimize the appearance of imperfections, and vitamin C and peptides to help even skin tone and promote collagen production for a flawless future.


As it is labeled this one is a hydrating primer, so if you have pretty moisturized skin or oily skin this might not be the best one for you. If you have flaky or dry skin that craves moisture before you put on foundation this would work for you. It feels very wet on the skin but once you work it in it will seem to dry. I wouldn’t recommend if you prefer a matte finish to your makeup. The color doesn’t do anything to your skin tone.


The key to healthier, younger-looking skin? Hydration, as any studio artist will tell you. The latest addition to our legendary primer family immediately quenches skin and seals in moisture for hours after, thanks to Hydraplex, an extract derived from desert plants.
• Oil-free and lightweight
• Helps fill in fine lines and pores


This is the very first Smashbox primer I ever bought and it is their best seller. It is a clear color and the texture looks very matte and almost like a silicon. A little of this goes a long way and it feels very dry on the skin and makes your face very matte. It’s similar to the Benefit Porefessional feeling and just blurs the pores and makes for a nice base for foundation. This is great for all skin types and this one is the one I prefer for my skin type (oily to normal). I have some dry areas and some oily areas so this one seems to handle both.


Martha Stewart Weddings Big-Day Beauty Awards Winner 2013
Create a perfect canvas for foundation application with this silky, lightweight blend of vitamins A & E, grape seed extract and green tea. Worn alone or under foundation, our best-selling, oil-free primer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for flawless skin with a velvety-smooth finish.

Winner of Best of Sephora Award for Best Primer, one of Marie Claire’s “25 Products That Will Change Your Life”, & an InStyle Best Beauty Buy.


After having used all three, the one that works best for me is the original formula. Since I do tend to get oily by the end of a long day I try to avoid any makeup or primers that already look a little wet or greasy. I prefer more of a matte finish on my face so the clear texture works best for me. The next one I would use would be the “light” photo finish because it is sometimes necessary for a bit of moisture, especially in the winter time or perhaps after a few days out in the sun when you begin to peel. I personally don’t think my skin would ever work with the blue one, which was way too hydrating and wet looking. I would suggest trying all 3 of these (though they have tons of other variations as well in Sephora) and see which one works best on your skin. Smashbox is also cruelty free – so if that’s important to you to support then this is a win-win! :)

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