Review // Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer

When I was in Liverpool last month, my little sister Millie was colour matched at NARS. The sales consultant asked her what primer she uses and when Millie mentioned Porefessional, was told that it was really dehydrating. Now, I know that the consultant wanted to make a sale but it made a lot of sense. My skin had become increasingly dry and I had a particularly flaky patch on my cheek which was only getting worse. I was also using Porefessional daily. As much as I absolutely love it, I figured it wouldn't do any harm to try a new primer. After researching the best primers for dry skin, I asked Twitter to vote on which one to buy. Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer (phew!) was the winner so I headed into Boots and snapped one up.
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer Review

When I started using this primer, the first thing I noticed was the colour. It is bright blue but thankfully this doesn't transfer onto the skin at all! There's also a strong chemical or alcoholic scent which isn't pleasant but it fades quickly. On application, the consistency is thin and more liquid than the likes of Porefessional or BabySkin. It's definitely more moisturising and is quickly absorbed into the skin but feels more like a moisturiser than a primer.


Having used Porefessional for years, I was used to that smooth, mattifying effect after using my primer. Since the aim of the Smashbox primer is more to hydrate, I haven't noticed any effects that are different to a standard moisturiser. Yes, my skin is much more hydrated and yes, my dry patches have disappeared (praise the Lord!) but I'd like a primer that creates more of a smooth surface. Since using the primer, my skin doesn't appear as smooth and flawless as it did with Porefessional. 

Although the hydrating element is fantastic, I'm probably not going to repurchase. If you have any suggestions of primers that have the same effect as Porefessional but without the dehydrating element, please let me know! 

Buy Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer here

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  1. I'm surprised it's oil free & moisturising! I'm also in love with the blue-ness of it tbh x

  2. The Body Shop's Instablur is pretty decent. I struggle to find primers my skin likes - it hated The Porefessional x

  3. Too Faced - Primed & Poreless is good and not drying. Also, have you considered the Illamasqua Veil primers? They seem popular! x

  4. I have only recently discovered primer, after believing that it was a bit of a swizz. Using Maybelline right now but this one sounds fab, will check it out.

  5. I've heard Too Faced Hangover is pretty good and it's supposed to be hydrating too. I'm using the Loreal Infallible Matte one right now and it seems to be working for me but my skin is a bit oily so I use a setting powder too.

    Roxie | The Beautiful Bluebird

  6. My dry patches are reaaaally bugging me i need something more hydrating like this x

    Love Vicki |

  7. I get what you mean when you missed that finished effect from your old product. I have a few primers that tend to be swallowed up by my pores and have such little impact in the end.

    Mel ♥

  8. Oooh such a pretty colour! I really like Instablur from The Body Shop and their Tea Tree primer is fab too - I've never noticed either of them being drying although I do have oily skin...

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours


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