Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer: A Winter Skin Saver for Dry Skin

By | November 28 2011 | 13 Comments

smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer

First things first: the good news is Smashbox has finally done away with those pesky pumps its excellent primer range came in (and which always seemed to fail) and they now come in much easier to use tubes, a couple of which we’ve been sent for trial.  Joining the range is Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer, €40, a different breed of prep-step that’s designed to support drier skintypes and can actually help you use up those bases that might otherwise desiccate your complexion.

I’ll have to admit to being a bit non-plussed by this at first. It doesn’t have the slip and silicone feel that you tend to associate with a primer, especially from this brand. In fact, it’s very much like a gel-cream moisturiser, it’s fresh feeling, oil-free and lighter on ‘cones than the other Smashbox offerings.

So while it doesn’t do that ‘filling in the gaps and cracks and pores’ thing the brand’s regular primers do, a pea-sized amount spread across t-zone and cheeks helps prep a dry or dehydrated complexion with a moisturising layer which helps foundation to wear better over the course of the day or evening. There are less flaky bits, dry patches and the other pesky stuff that can happen when base and a dry skin collide.

smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer  swatch

It’s kind of the opposite, in fact, of what all the other primers do. They make your foundation stick on and not slide, and this one makes your foundation stick nicer. See, if you’ve dry skin, chances are you don’t have a problem with base not staying put, but you’d like it to look a little less cling-on to the dry bits while it’s hanging on for dear life. That’s the benefit of this baby.

I’m not a daily primer user – it’s just too much load and I don’t need it, but when a foundation’s not quite right for me, it’ll adhere to all the dry bits on my face I didn’t even realise were there. That’s particularly true of higher coverage, more matte bases, a couple of which I’ve been trialling recently. What I found this particularly good for was for use under those sort of foundations as it seemed to boost moisture and add a layer for product to glide over too. Under a light-weight, dewy finish product, this isn’t going to be necessary at all.

Downsides? I do think this is expensive – €40 for 30ml is a lot to spend and the result isn’t as remarkable initially as it is with say, the original Smashbox Photo Finish, which is a bit of a game changer if you’re new to it. But, this is designed to do something different, and it does help a drier skintype (I think dehydrated oily types might benefit too) to use up products that otherwise might get neglected, or to boost moisture levels in the winter when skin can feel so dessicated.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer is available now.

Foundation, Problem skin, Skin , , , ,

13 Replies to "Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer: A Winter Skin Saver for Dry Skin"

  • Christina says:

    Wouldn’t an ordinary light moisturiser have much the same effect?

  • Maj says:

    I’m thinking the same Christina!

    I found the silicone feel of smashbox primers very cheap and annoying. I would have been interested in this if it did do the polyfilla act, which i would of thought would be the main point of a primer for dry skin!!1

  • Kirstie says:

    it does have some silicone but doesn’t have that same ‘slippy’ feel as the others at all so while it will do some line-blurring etc – it’s much more moist on the skin.

    Christina – Yes, I know what you mean about a good moisturiser. I moisturise the hell out of my skin but still can’t really wear fuller-coverage or matte bases without them making my skin look very dry and lifeless. This does seem to help alleviate that which moisturiser on its own doesn’t.

  • misscosm says:

    I’ve run out of my Laura Mercier Hydrating primer, which I rate highly, but the company annoys the bejaysus outta me….and I’ve been wondering about this Smashbox brand, it’s gotten a lot of high praise. I do prefer the sound of the Photo Finish one…anyone in a position to rate that against Laura Mercier at all? Kirstie says…primer’ll extend the effect of your moisturiser astonishingly (I find, anyway)…you’ll notice everything is as fresh at 5pm as it was when you put it on in the wee small hours.

  • Edelmc says:

    I love primers! Mac prep and prime in illuminate is my fav. I tried smashbox but found it didn’t do much. I had very flakey skin and couldn’t wear any sort of creamy/matte/ full coverage foundation without it highlighting the flakes until I started using clarins hydraquench serum under my moisturiser- no more flakes and I highly recommend it.
    You mentioned pore fillers- smashbox do one and so does benefit- I would love to request a post on them if possible! Comparing the different ones on the market

  • Ellie Balfe says:

    I think this primer is great – my favourite Smashbox one in fact. I use it on lot’s of people particularly those who are slightly de-hydrated (not with typically dry skin). It definitely makes a foundation look very nice…

  • Avicakes says:

    O man, my list to Santa is getting longer every time I visit this site! It just sounds like I really need this product! Can anyone tell me if it’s scented?

  • Catherine eile says:

    I got this following Sali Hughes’ recent rave about it. (She does a deadly beauty column in the Guardian on Saturdays, accompanied by a video – check them out! Mind you, she’s mad for the yellow foundations!)

    I never got on with the original Smashbox primer, though could see why others would. So far, I’ve only used this once since I got it – primer seems a step too fussy for everyday. Helpfully, neither can I remember if it is scented, but I don’t think it is. But, I do think it helps if you have issues with dry patches of foundation-less face and the like; wore it to a wedding and was definitely less patchy than usual at the end of the evening…

  • Kirstie says:

    Love Sali, she appeals to the me type of beauty writing.

    Yeah this just makes foundation look better for dry types.

  • Aisling Aisling says:

    This is great – had a go of Kirstie’s a couple of weeks back. It made my dessicated skin look tons better and makeup went on so easily. V good for dry skin

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