Smashbox primers and I haven’t ever really gotten along. My skin and Photo Finish were never friends, despite my numerous attempts to fall in love with the iconic primer. I’m not sure what it was—I’ve used other silicone-based primers without any problem—but there was something about this line that would leave me with breakouts and patchy redness every time I used it.
I passed on all of the the new Photo Finish formulas, colors and textures—but the new Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($32) was just too captivating to skip. Was it just like any other setting spray? Was there something magical about it? Especially with Smashbox calling it their “lightest, purest and most refreshing form [of the original primer] imaginable,” I had to give it a try.
It’s designed to be used before makeup to prep skin and hydrate, or it can be used after makeup to set and throughout the day to refresh. Sounds quite a bit like any other setting spray (if you’re wondering, Urban Decay and L’Oreal both have great ones). The spray bottle had the lightest, finest mist I’ve ever found that wasn’t an aerosol can. It didn’t feel like a squirt bottle like some other ones do.
It’s oil-free, silicone-free and alcohol-free, but not fragrance-free. If they were getting rid of all of the things we don’t want in our cosmetics, it would have been nice to leave out the fragrance too. However, as someone who detests fragrance in cosmetics or skincare, it’s not overly offensive and wouldn’t stop me from using it.
I sprayed it all over my face before applying my foundation and it really helped. The matte foundation I was testing out had applied quite patchy when I used it without a primer, so I noticed a huge difference after priming my skin with a few sprays. I also lightly misted it all over my skin when my makeup was finished, which left me with a dewy glow. I also used it throughout the day to freshen up my makeup and give me a little mid-day pick-up.
The best part for me? No breakouts. Score.
It really did all that it said it would do—so I’m happy. It’s pretty comparable to any other setting spray, however I’d say its one of the better formulas out there (especially for dry skin). It’s super convenient, but if you’re looking to smooth out fine lines and hide pores, this isn’t the type of texture that is going to do that. Fortunately, I don’t have large pores or visible lines to hide yet, so this primer has been working great for me. If you’re looking for a quick fix that will hydrate, prep your skin for all-day makeup wear and can be used to refresh your makeup for date night or long hours at work, this water might just be your new best friend too.shop this story