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Average: 3 (2 votes)

Pollly's picture
Written on Thursday, November 9, 2017


I received a travel-version of this Primer as a gift for buying a few others products from Smashbox.

Actually I wanted to buy a full-size primer myself, but I was glad to try it out for free and decided to postpone the purchase of the big tube. Thank goodness, I didn’t waste my money on it!

What do they promise?


Mattify shine and control oil all day with the Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing. It won’t clog pores or cause breakouts, and it dramatically reduces the look of pores while smoothing your complexion and prepping skin for makeup application. The water-resistant, gel formula reduces shine and controls oil without drying, leaving a soft, even finish.


Impressive, isn’t it? Besides, the primer has good ingredients:

Cyclopentasiloxane , Dimethicone , Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer , Silica , Isononyl Isononanoate , Isododecane , Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer , Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer , Polymethyl Methacrylate , Lauroyl Lysine , Tocopheryl Acetate , Ethylhexylglycerin , Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate , Hydrolyzed Soy Protein , Methicone , Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate , Water, Coconut Acid , Phenoxyethanol , Mica , Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891) , Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499).

What it is formulated WITHOUT:- Parabens- Phthalates

It promised to be a miracle elixir.

I’m 36 years old and I don’t believe in magic anymore, that’s why I didn’t expect this primer to live up to its promises. But I hoped that it would at least hide my pores.

My skin is:

  • oily
  • ageing
  • porous
  • very sensitive
  • prone to irritation and breakouts
  • thin


The pores are really visible. Alas, that’s the feature of oily skin. I accept my flaws, and yet I want to make them less noticeable to those around me. Maybe that’s why I hoped that Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer would help me out. And what did I get?

Let’s begin with the design

The travel-version of the tube is just like the full-size one, the only difference is the volume. I own 7 ml. (which is a lot for a primer). It’s spent economically; a tiny drop is enough for the whole face. The less the better, otherwise the primer will roll off, along with your foundation.The tube is simple and compact and therefore convenient to store and carry.It comes out like toothpaste. The nozzle is narrow and doesn’t give a lot of product (no overspending).


The primer contains silicone, and I can feel it. It’s oily to the touch, but it dries on my face and gives a matte finish. It’s beige, but looks transparent on my skin. The formula seems to be lightweight, but it feels pretty heavy on my sensitive skin.

The primer has no smell, which is definitely an advantage for me.


So, how does it work on my skin?


It doesn’t. Let me back up this statement with a few photos.Attempt 1 - with the primer only

with primer
with primer

with primer
with primer

with primer
with primer

As you can see, the primer doesn’t work at all, when applied solo. Thanks to silicones, my pores seem even bigger.

before / after
before / after
But since it’s a foundation primer, let’s check out how it works with makeup.


Attempt 2- primer+ foundation

The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer works great with my foundation. It doesn’t slide off and the application is quite easy. However, I see no difference at all. Despite the promises, my pores are still there, as well as wrinkles.

primer + foundation
primer + foundation
Photos in comparison
before / primer / primer + foundation
before / primer / primer + foundation
Attempt 3- Primer + foundation + setting powder.

The mattifying powder improves the result.

primer + foundation + powder
primer + foundation + powder
Based on what I have seen I think that the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer doesn’t reduce the appearance of pores, wrinkles and other flaws. I’m glad that my skin isn’t dry, otherwise the primer would have emphasized all the flaking.

Lasting power

As we have found out, the primer doesn’t improve the look of my skin, but there is something else that was promised. The primer is supposed to prevent your skin from shining for up to eight hours. I won’t wait that long. I’ll show you what my face looks like in an hour after application.


In these photos, I’ve added blush and lipstick. I hope you can see how cakey my face looks. My skin is oily yet ageing. Usually, the face shine appears only in a couple of hours. With this primer, my face started shining after like 15 minutes and I had a feeling that my skin couldn’t breathe. By the way, the same combination of foundation and powder lasts on my face about 5 hours without any primer.

So, the primer doesn’t improve the lasting power of the makeup. Moreover, it makes my skin shine even more.


Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer was supposed to blur pores and make them less visible. In fact, it seems to emphasize all the flaws. It doesn’t fight face shine or prolong makeup.

Maybe my pores are too big for it, but I used quality foundation and yet saw no results. This product is definitely not for me.

There is one advantage, though: the primer makes my skin tone even.


Not recommended! I saw no effect and therefore I can’t recommend this primer!

There are so many great products from Smashbox, but this one was a big disappointment for me.

Thank you for reading my review!

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Pollly doesn't recommend Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer

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Type: Primer
Brand: Smashbox
Category: Make-Up
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