Beauty Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer

January 9, 2012 · 14 comments

in Style & Beauty

Over the past two months I’ve been trying out Smashbox‘s latest in their line of celebrated Photo Finish primers: this one is Hydrating. I’ve used the original Photo Finish before, but only briefly with a trial-size sample, so I was excited to have the chance to try out the Hydrating formula in its full size when Klout sent it to me as part of their Klout Perks program. (This means it’s thanks to you that I got to try it, since you’ve all been so kind to give me +K in Beauty on Klout; the primers were sent to all top influencers on the topic. So…thank you, thank you!)

What it is and why it’s important: Photo Finish is a foundation primer, something a lot of us neglect because they can be so expensive*. But they’re absolutely worth it; primers even out the blank canvas of your face and create a smooth finish from underneath.

How it works: Apply a pea-size drop all over your face prior to foundation.. It delivers moisture all day and keeps your make-up looking fabulously fresh.

The consensus is: Hydrating is brilliant! I love it. And while it’s best recommended for dry skin, it works wonderfully on my combination skin. It seems to have a way of keeping moisture right where it needs to be. I’ve even noticed a difference in my complexion since using it, a consistent smoothness and healthy look. Plus, the formula is so light it goes on weightlessly. And my make-up stays put all day!

Buy it: $42,

*While the price seems rather high – aside from palettes and box sets it’s the most expensive thing in my cosmetics box right now – I can say that while I’ve been using it daily for the last two months I’ve used less than half of the product. If you’re on a budget, though, Smashbox does have a collection of travel size Photo Finish primers that are $16-$17 each; unfortunately Hydrating isn’t available in travel size yet, but you might find another formula that suits your needs!


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirstin Marie January 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I have to say I love this product too. Though my skin is oily, it really helps in the drier areas on my face, as well as when it’s chilly out! Great review, Casee. I love the photo of you – you are so beautiful!


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thanks so much, Kirstin! (And you’re too sweet, by the way.) When I saw that it was hydrating I really expected it to add to the oily areas of my face, but I feel like it evens out my skin in a way. Definitely a fan! And for the oily spots throughout the day I absolutely love these. They remove the oil without taking your make-up off, which is very helpful.


kimmiepooh January 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I absolutely LOVE this primer! I received it through Klout as well and it stays in my makeup bag. I’ve tried other primers at various price points (Urban Decay, NARS, Rimmel) and this by far has been the best. I love the way it makes my skin feel, especially if I haven’t applied enough moisturizer. My makeup stays put, and while my skin is combination, it keeps oil at bay.


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Isn’t it marvelous? It’s exactly the same for me, I can really feel the difference with it. Certainly my new go-to. ;)


Jenmarie January 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I’m SO glad you reviewed this one. I ran out of the original a while ago and haven’t bought one yet but now I’m glad I didn’t because I’d like to try this one! It’s too bad there isn’t a travel size yet. Maybe they’ll make it soon.


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I’d love to know how this one works for you! I remember using a MAC primer in the past that I also liked, but it was a little heavier. This one really works well with my skin. I’m hoping they’ll make it in a travel size soon so people can try it without spending so much on the full-size. We’ll see!


Kathryn January 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

Great review! I’m in the market for a new primer :)

XX Kathryn


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Thanks so much, I’m glad it was helpful! The Photo Finish line is definitely one to consider. (:


Cam January 10, 2012 at 7:34 am

sounds interesting as i have very dry skin, have to look into it! thanks sweets! x


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I hope it works for you, sweets! It’s a marvelous product!


Alexis Grace January 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

I don’t use foundation— would primer be useful to me? (I can always use a little bit of a hydrating…)


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Wow, I’ll admit I’m a little envious – your skin looks gorgeous without foundation! I won’t let myself be seen without it because my complexion is so uneven, etc. I don’t know if the primer would be very useful without foundation – you could likely use it as a moisturizer but it may not have all the right nutrients for that purpose, you know? Smashbox does make a Hydrating Face Powder you might like, though! I haven’t tried that yet – and they make it in a bronzer, too. (:


THE-LOUDMOUTH January 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Um, I actually don’t use a primer… is that embarrassing? Whatever, I’m not ashamed! However, I may have to start after your review!!!


Casee Marie January 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

No it’s not embarrassing, I didn’t use one either until I got this. Now I honestly don’t know how I lived without it. I used one by MAC years and years ago but never bought it again after I ran out, I guess I just didn’t notice a difference with it. But back then I was using pressed powder foundations too, and now I use liquid. I think it all depends on your type of skin and the make-up you use. Everybody’s a little different, you know?


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