Smashbox Primers- are you Primed and Ready?

The full dissection of these primers.

Hey peeps welcome back to Thrifty Tuesdays!

Since my ‘holy grail skincare’ post generated a lot of interest, many of you have been asking if there were any primers that I used on my skin to help the makeup last longer. The answer is YES! Smashbox primers!. Let me share these beauties that I have been using for the past year!

I am a makeup hoarder and will try anything once but before I do purchase anything, I always trawl the net, magazines or social media for reviews on products.

Now I have to admit that when I looked on the net ( is my fave!) there were not many positive reviews on Smashbox primers. However, one day whilst I was out shopping in Highcross Shopping Centre, I saw a beautifully boxed trio of mini Smashbox primers (I am a sucker for packaging!👎). It was retailing at £20 which to me was a bargain! And of course I decided to purchase it. The trios were a luminizing primer, hydrating and the original one. I used up the mini trios quite quickly so off I went to my local Smashbox counter.

As I got to the counter, I did not realise that Smashbox did a staggering 11, yes 11! Different primers! (One being the primer water) The sales lady was extremely helpful and advised me on all the different ones and the benefits. I chose the original, light and hydrating primers and also picked up a free sample of the pore minimsing one to see if it would help reduce the appearance of my pores. Let’s do a breakdown of the ones I used and my thoughts on them. Primers at the ready then! 😉


Before applying any of my primers I cleanse, tone and moisturise with my fave Dermalogica products. I let the moisturiser sink in for roughly five minutes. Then I apply my choice of primer and this really depends on what foundation I am going to wear.

Photo Finish Original Primer

This primer is colourless and completely clear. The consistency is a little gel like, not too thick and not too thin. It has no smell (yaay because I am not a massive fan of strong ‘skin products smells’). I apply a pea sized amount and use clean fingers to dot the product on face, then lightly going in upwards strokes to smooth product out on my face.

This primer I use with any of my bases regardless if the foundation is semi matte, dewy or matte.

This primer claims to ‘reduce fine lines and pores’. It contains ‘Vitamins A and E’. It also contains ‘Grape seed extract and Green tea’. Like all of the Smashbox primers you can wear with a base or alone.

I do love this primer but use it mainly in the winter as I feel it makes my face a little greasy in the warmer weather. I have worn this primer with my Mac Studio Fix Fluid and Bobbi Brown Long wear foundation. Did it reduce fine lines and pores? Yes, it did and it did improve the longevity of my foundations. Apologies I don’t have a pic or a swatch of this product as I did repurchase a few months back and the product is now finished and I have not re purchased but you will see why;)

This primer retails at £25.50

Photo Finish Light Primer


I bought this primer to mainly use in the summer as in the warm weather my face ends up quite oily, thus causing makeup meltdown! (Yuck!).

This primer is white, creamy coloured and has a slightly thicker feel than the original. This is marketed as ‘oil free and 60% water based’, which is fab for oily, acne prone and sensitive skin (just like mine!). The water based formula means that it will be non-irratating and will be hydrating without making you look like an oil slick! The primer also contains ‘Vitamin C and Collagen’ to even out the skin tone. The ‘oil absorbers’ help create a matte finish, whilst the ‘light diffusers’ help to minimise imperfections (wow they crammed loads into this beauty!)


However I do like this one and it does exactly what it says on the tube but when I apply my Mac Studio Fix Fluid, the primer does not seem to let me blend the foundation evenly and the finish is super powdery and tacky which I do not like :?. So when I use this primer, I only apply it in my most oily areas which are my T-zone, cheeks and a little on my chin. On the rest of my areas, I apply the hydrating one. This gives me control over my oily bits and a slight dewiness in the other areas.

This primer retails at £25.50

Photo Finish Hydrating Primer


Now out of the primer I have tried, I absolutely love this one! I love it so much that this must now be my second purchase!

Smashbox says this primer promotes ‘healthy, younger’  looking skin. It ‘quenches’ the skin and ‘seals’ in moisture for hours! It also contains ‘hydraplex’, an extract derived from desert plants. This primer also fills in ‘lines’ and ‘pores’. (No wonder I love this bad boy! Ker-ching😂)


As you can see this primer is like a baby blue colour but please note it does not transfer onto the skin like that! (No papa smurf here! Phew) It goes on quite light, almost wet but feels very cooling and calming.

I wear this primer with nearly all of my foundations be it Mac, Loreal or Bare Minerals complexion rescue. It does not make me ‘extra oily’ and keeps my makeup looking nice and healthy. However in the summer I do like to mix this one with my Light primer, to balance the oiliness in my T-zone area.

This primer retails at £28 (defo dearest of them all but worth it, in my opinion)

Photo Finish Luminizing Primer

This primer is probably the one I use the least. As you can tell from my pictures, I still have it from my trio collection.


The reason for this is because I only apply this primer on areas that I want a bit of a glow (just like a highlighter really). I usually apply this primer on the high points of my cheeks, bridge of my nose and my cupids bow. So when I apply my makeup or a highlighter in those areas, it just gives a little more dimension.


This primer is meant to be ‘velvety’, ‘luminous’ and ‘oil free’. It also has ‘age fighting antioxidants’ such as ‘green tea’, ‘grape seed extract’, ‘vitamins A’, ‘C ‘and ‘E’.

I can say it defo fits the bill and the consistency does feel velvety. You can see small amounts of shimmer in the primer but it is not ‘disco balley’ (so no need to break into a dance;)) Will I repurchase if it finishes? Maybe not as I am pretty sure this one is going to last a while!

This primer retails at £25

Pore Minimizing Primer

This is my free sample that I chose to pick up with my full purchases. As you can see it was quite a generous sample!


Smashbox markets this primer as ‘humidity resistant’, ‘non drying’, ‘absorbs oil’ and is ‘sweat proof’. It is also meant to reduce and ‘blur’ pores.


It’s consistency is very similar to Benefits Pore Professional. I usually just dab a small amount onto my pores, which are usually visible on my cheeks, in between my eyebrows and my chin area.

Now I will admit this is not my fave primer. I don’t really find that it blurs my pores or reduces them, however it does not make me oily. But I will not repurchase this product.

This primer retails at £28

Final thoughts

I did not think I would love this brand but I do! It shows that every skin type is different, so always try and get samples or mini sizes if possible.

You can mix and match the primers on your face (like I have done below on my pic) and the makeup will still look flawless. Mixing and matching works especially well if you have combo skin or other problematic areas.

In my pic I have used the light primer on my T-zone, cheeks and my chin area. I applied the hydrating one lightly all over my face. Then the luminizing one on the high points of my cheeks, bridge of my nose and cupids bow. I usually wait around 2 mins between each application of primer, only because I choose to do so and I prefer it.


All of the primers are oil free but I would not say silicone free. However that did not irritate my skin further or cause me any more break outs.

I will admit they are not cheap but again if they had caused me any problems, I would not have repurchased. I defo think they are worth the price tag and each full size can last me a good three/four months.

In my post I have put lots of scientific terms such as peptides, vitamins, hydraplex blah blah blah! Which all sound amazing and I have tried to explain some terms but I’m only a junior science geek! Haha. So if you would like further definition please ask these gorgeous scientists at these girls are awesome! (check out their Instagram page as well Beauty by the Geeks. They have also done a full ingredients review on the Smashbox primer against a drugstore one and the Smashbox one was rated as very impressive!)

So that’s it really for today’s Thrifty Tuesdays! Have you tried these primers before? If yes please do let me know, I would love to hear from you. Or if you have a favourite that is your holy grail primer, pop it down below and tell me why☺

Happy Reading X

12 thoughts on “Smashbox Primers- are you Primed and Ready?

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