The Only Foundation Primer You’ll Ever Need

smashbox photo finish foundation primer


I’m on a bit of a beauty kick at the moment.

I go through these phases every so often: I’ll go months without buying anything at all (or just re-purchasing the same old products when they run out), and then all of a sudden I want to buy ALL THE THINGS, and am once again calculating what I could buy at Sephora to qualify for that low-cost international shipping. (Answer: not much, really, but when you add on the tax and take into account all of the brand exclusions that apply to the UK, well… that’s another subject altogether).

Anyway, I’m currently waiting for some new products to be delivered, so today I thought I’d talk about an old favourite, instead: namely Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

I’ve been buying this product for years now, and until I discovered it, I didn’t actually use primer at all: I thought it was a waste of time, really – just one of those products brands try to convince you you NEED, purely in order to separate you from your hard-earned cash. Now, as it happens, this one will cost quite a bit of that hard-earned cash, which makes it all the more remarkable that I’ve re-purchased it now more times than I can count. (And, as you can probably see from the photo, I’m going to have to re-purchase it again pretty soon!) As soon as I swatched it on the back of my hand, though, I was sold (or IT was, rather): the gel formula goes on like any regular gel, but the second it makes contact with your skin, it assumes a silky-dry touch feel – the only way I can describe it to those of you who haven’t tried it is that it feels like you’re gently rubbing a piece of silk over your skin. Er, that makes it sound a bit strange, actually, but I promise, it’s not…

Once it’s on, it leaves the skin smooth, matte and ready for foundation: and yes, it DOES make a difference to your foundation. I was pretty sceptical at first, but now? Now I’m a complete convert.

The big downside (and, in fact, the ONLY downside) of course, is the price. A tube of Photo Finish Primer will typically run you around £25, and although it IS one of those “a little goes a long way” kind of products, you’re still going to go through it pretty fast, especially if, like me, you wear foundation every day. For this reason, I tend to ration it out: I don’t save it for special occasions, per se, but I don’t wear it every single day, either, because I figure that if I’m just going to be working all day, I’m not going to waste my precious primer.

If you are looking for a lower-priced dupe, meanwhile, the best one I’ve found is GOSH Velvet Touch Foundation Primer. As dupes go, this is actually a pretty decent one: it’s clear they’ve modelled it on the Smashbox primer, and it has the same silk-touch application, although I find it a little greasier, and not quite as nice to use. It costs around £12.99, so it’s not the cheapest primer you’ll find, but it is a good alternative to Smashbox, and will save you a bit of cash, too.


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