You get what you pay for with primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Vs NYC Smooth Skin

By | October 5 2012 | 28 Comments

Those of us wanting to provide a little foundation insurance for day time or evening wear will be all too aware of the primers on the market, promising to provide a perfect canvas and to blur imperfections and fine lines.

Last week we touched on the issue of Budget versus Blow Out beauty products, with a look at concealers. This time round it’s primers: will the underdog fare so well this time?

*Smashbox Photo Finish (€31.50)* has won countless awards and been lauded by make up artists, ‘slebs and plebs alike as a go to product when it comes to priming. Paraben and oil free, it’s rich velvety formulation is almost invisible on the skin and works well, regardless of your choice of foundation on top. I’ve found that you must work quickly once Photo Finish is applied to prevent it from ‘balling’ on the skin but, once in place, it works like a dream to pretty much keep everything where it needs to be for up to 10 hours.

The recent replacement of the pump bottle with a tube has gotten rid of my one bug bear with Photo Finish, it can now be used to the very last velvety drop. Photo Finish works consistently and for that I’d happily shell out again and again.

NYC Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer *(€3.49) * is a new addition to the cheap as chips budget brand collection. The first comparison I’d have to make between these two primers is the ingredients. Like Smashbox, NYC contains vitamin E but it also contains 3 different parabens. As Emma explained to us, that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is something to note, should parabens concern you. The consistency here is thin and creamy and the sparkle really can’t go unnoticed. Again, sparkle doesn’t have to be a deal breaker but, for me, I end up looking like the Tin Man once I use anything with even a hint of shimmer. Not a good look. Because of the thin consistency, there’s more product needed, ergo, more shimmer.

I didn’t notice any increase in longevity using the Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer but truth be told I could only use it for one day, having caught sight of myself in the car mirror looking like a disco ball in the sunshine. As a highlighter, this is a great little purse friendly purchase but as a primer? Not so much.

So there we have it, when it comes to primers,  it really is worth paying a little bit (ok a lot) extra.

Do you use a primer in your make up routine? Have you a favourite brand? Let us know!

Foundation, On a Budget , , , ,

28 Replies to "You get what you pay for with primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Vs NYC Smooth Skin"

  • Beth TV says:

    I did a friends make up a few months ago and for the crack I used Smashbox on one side while the other got Gosh Velvet Finish. Alone to look at both skins with the primer set there was a noticable difference in skin tone, how she felt with it on and the finish.

  • Bonnie says:

    I found out that the Smashbox primer is the exact same formula as Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel! It goes on invisible, just like Smashbox’s primer, lasts ALL DAY, keeps makeup on perfectly, and nearly water-proofs your foundation/concealer on. It costs me $6 vs. $40+ for the Smashbox product. Just thought that was worth sharing!! :)

  • Peakaboo says:

    Well NYC is a pretty cheap brand, you can get cheap primers for less that are as good. I think Smashbox are pretty useless myself.

  • witchgirl26 says:

    I haven’t used the Smashbox one but the Bourjois one is pretty good & would be slightly more budget friendly. Smells fab too which I know shouldn’t be a massive concern but when you’re putting something that near your nose, it shouldn’t stink! I’ve gotten rid of expensive creams & foundations because of it.

  • fififinx says:

    Loath, loath, loath the Smashbox primer, for exactly the reason you have mentioned. It balls. Which not only is annoying in a primer so expensive, it also wastes foundation. If I want balls in my face I know cheaper ways, TBH. L’oreal primer is half the price and does twice the job.

  • Gracie says:

    The Rimmel primer is pretty good and cheap.

  • ZsaZsa says:

    I had a trial version of the smashbox one and it broke me out and to be honest, I didn’t make that much of a diffence. I have one from The Body Shop which I purchased ages ago – It’s the mattifying one and I think it works well, and it is a fraction of the price!

  • leanor says:

    I LOVE No. 7 Shine Free primer, now re-branded as Beautifully Matte. I have combo skin and I hate when foundation is gone by the end of the day. It doesnt dry me out and keeps my makeup matte. I have used this under countless foundations and bb creams and cant live without it! In fact, I am currently loving no 7 and am using their Essentially natural foundation which I also really like for its lightness and the colour match thingy is amazing, its a perfect colour.

  • lurganista says:

    Amen!! >3
    I too thought I’d try Gosh velvet as it was substantially cheaper here in the North. Well I was disappointed, my pores weren’t disguised and my fine lines around my eyes didn’t blur either!!
    You really do get what you pay for with Smashbox!! Brow tech is the biz too (sorry for going off topic)
    Sparkle by Laura Gellar is another fab primer, although I haven’t tried it yet!! QVCUK do both these items on offer & deliver to the whole of Ireland ???

  • Shanna says:

    The Paese primer is fantastic and feels gorgeous, cloud 10 beauty sell it.

    Not a fan of Smashbox as a brand at all.

  • Emily O'Regan says:

    I adore the samshbox primer i got it last yr for christmas and i will never go bk to a cheaper one, i have fussy skin and smashbox is soo velvety i love it n so does my skin i love the nyc stuff but i couldnt touch that primer am allergic to glittery bits on my face have to be very careful

  • Leon Smyth says:

    I love the smashbox one, it goes on great and fluffs up your skin to make foundation go on more even, I also love the MAC one I am using at the moment, it’s much creamier but no shimmer and make-up stays on great :)

  • Katya says:

    I love the Smashbox primer!! The velvet finish it gives is unreal. Also a little goes a long way so it is completely worth it in my opinion.

  • Sue says:

    The Gosh primer really didn’t agree with me either, my other ‘go to’ is La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Mat, I use it to mattify skin if I’m wearing a particularly shine prone foundation (YSL for example).

    I’ll definitely check out some of these alternatives though, Thanks Ladies.

  • Carol says:

    Love Smashbox primer. I’m currently using MAC whick i also like but much prefer Smashbox will go back to it one finished with MAC one

  • Eileen says:

    Hello! Happy Friday to all! I LOVE Laura Gellar Spackle too, get it from I just use to original one but she does have ones that will add a glow to the skin and can be worn in their own or under make up

  • jenben says:

    the rimmel primer i find amazing, it feels good on my skin, swear by it now :)

  • Serialc87 says:

    I also like The Body Shops Tea Tree primer and at €12 its reasonably priced. I have the Revlon Photo Ready but dont like how it feels on my skin. The Catrice Prime and Refine primer is a good budget option

  • Rebekah says:

    I love the Primer Light for Oil control and the hydrating version. Smashbox as a brand are up there as a favourite, the blushes and eyeshadows are beautiful. The only product of theirs I actively hate is their gel eyeliner.

  • Liz says:

    I was a Twilight vampire for Halloween last year, no joke. But I used a light dusting of Illamasqua’s static pigment, haha.

    Still, an idea for anyone that wants a clever and cheap costume!

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