Review | Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Lid Primer & Hydrating Under Eye Primer

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie.

Let’s talk primers today. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: good preparation is already half the work, and that goes for make-up as well. Preparing your skin with a primer really affects the end result of your make-up. Today I am testing and reviewing four primers for you, all from Smashbox.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Light

Many of you may already know the (can I say legendary?) Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, but for this review I tested the Light version and the Hydrating version. The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Light consists of 60% water and is basically the light version of the original. I guess you could compare it to light cheese: you get all the good from the original, but without the fat. Only here you replace the word fat with shine. I compared the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Light to a few samples I had of the original Photo Finish Foundation Primer, and indeed, the formula feels lighter and keeps my skin more matte. So this primer is perfect for oily skin.

Review (Smashbox primers) (5)

Click to enlarge | Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light (left) and Hydrating (right)

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Hydrating

The Hydrating version is basically the opposite of the Light version. The cream cheese of the Smashbox foundation primers, you could say. Or Roquefort maybe, because this primer is blue instead of white. The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Hydrating is oil-free, like all Smashbox primers, but provides the skin with extra moisture to keep it intensely hydrated. This makes it ideal for dry skin. My skin is on the oily side, so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try this foundation on my whole face. I do have some dry patches and flakey bits around my nostrils and on the sides of my face, so I decided to locally apply the primer there. And indeed, with the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Hydrating under my foundation I don’t have any dry patches or flakey skin anymore. Just like the Light version, this primer helps me to apply my foundation a lot more easily and it makes it look nice and even.

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Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light (top) and Hydrating (bottom)

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer

There are also an eye lid primer and an under eye primer in Smashbox’s primer range. The Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer is intended to be used under your eyeshadow, and believe me when I say that using this eye lid primer makes a world of difference. With or without eye lid primer, it really matters. I am sure you’ll be fine without, but the result with the eye lid primer is just so much better. So that makes the choice very simple. Why would you go for a simple cheese platter if you can have a big one with a glass of red wine and grapes as well? (God, I really need to eat something, I am going way overboard with these cheese analogies…) The cheese, eh excuse me, the Lid Primer is quite thick and is skin-colored. So it’s an eyeshadow base but also a concealer, because it camouflages for example the little red veins you sometimes see on your eye lid. The primer also boosts the color intensity of your eshadow and helps it to stay put all day without creasing or fading. I also notice that the primer changes the color of your eyeshadow a bit. I haven’t decided yet whether I like or dislike that little side effect…

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Click to enlarge | eyeshadow swatch without Lid Primer (left) and with Lid Primer (right)

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

The Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer, finally, is a primer for the area under your eyes. The skin there is thinner and more sensitive and needs some extra care. And it gets that from Smashbox’s Under Eye Primer. The primer is white, lightweight and silky-soft. I sometimes find it difficult to make my under eye concealer look flawless, but with Smashbox’s Under Eye Primer as a basis my concealer just glides on and looks perfectly smooth and even. Hey, no cheese analogy in this paragraph, look at that!

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Click to enlarge

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Click to enlarge | Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer (left) and Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer (right)


Even before trying these primers I was convinced of the benefits of using make-up primers, and these four Smashbox primers confirm that I was right. The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Light makes me skin nice and smooth and helps me to apply my foundation a lot quicker and more even, for a nicer and more flawless result. The Hydrating version does the same thing, but is more suitable for dry skin. A nice little plus: unlike the original Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, both these primers don’t contain any silicones.

Smashbox’s Lid Primer and Hydrating Under Eye Primer make applying my eyeshadow and under eye concealer so much easier. While the Lid Primer performs very well, it doesn’t manage to beat my all-time favorite, the Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer. Then again, no other eye lid primer has managed to win that battle so far. So let me put it this way: the Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer is fantastic, and the Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer is very good. The Hydrating Under Eye Primer, finally, didn’t have any stiff competition to beat and managed to conquer a spot on my list of current favorites straight away.

The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Light, the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – Hydrating, and the Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer are all available at Marionnaud for respectively 44 CHF, 48 CHF and 26 CHF. The Hydrating Under Eye Primer is part of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer Set that costs 30 CHF.

Do you also believe in the benefits of using make-up primers? What is your favorite primer?

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116 thoughts on “Review | Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Lid Primer & Hydrating Under Eye Primer

  1. This review was great :) thanx for sharing!
    Unfortunately I dont use primers much. I am using an Avon eyeshadow primer but concerning foundation I am still looking for something not too pricy that still does a good job for my combination skin :/

  2. Fijne review! Ze zien er goed uit vooral de light versie :) Ik gebruik altijd een primer van Bare Minerals, hij is heel fijn maar ruikt wel sterk naar siliconen dat is jammer..

  3. Fijne review, je omschrijft alles altijd zo duidelijk!
    Ik ben echt een nerd met primers en heb er een van Essence, die ik af en toe gebruik (als ik het niet vergeet ;-) )

  4. hi dear really complete review…I don’t know this brand..
    what do you think to follow each other? I’ll wait for you on my blog
    happy week end

    NEW POST!!!

  5. elke avond kijk ik in de spiegel en denk ik, waarom heb je primers in je la liggen…
    Zou het echt standaard moeten gebruiken, helemaaaal als het warm is… ben soms net een panda aan het eind van de dag, zo jammer..

  6. Ik hoor altijd zoveel goeds over de smashbox primers! Ik gebruik alleen primers bij speciale gelegenheden zoals bruiloften, feesten etc.. maar eigenlijk is het ook ideaal voor elke dag!

  7. Zelf gebruik ik geen foundation, ook nog nooit gebruikt, dus zou heel erg moeilijk het verschil kunnen bepalen, aangezien in niet echt ‘ervaring’ heb met foundation en dan al helemaal niet met een primer. Het lijkt me, naar aanleiding van hoe je het hebt geschreven en wat je er over hebt verteld, wel heel fijn :)

  8. All the cheese talk makes me hungry too! I use an eye primer systematically, because otherwise there is no way for anything to stay put on my lids! For my face, I do use one too if I want it to last longer, and if I want the foundation to go on more easily! I need to check Smashbox out when I’m back in Taipei this summer after reading about it so many times here!

  9. Hello, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and saying hello!
    I heard so much good stuff about the smashbox primer!

    Have a great day,

  10. great review babe!! i loveeee my smashbox light primer!!! i use to use the regular version and it made me breakout :p so i was so happy when they greated the light.. i’ll have to try out the eyelid primer it’s been so dry lately!!

  11. En laat ik nu net eens op zoek zijn naar een nieuwe ooglidprimer! Ik ben er nog niet uit welke ik meeneem uit Amerika maar deze gaat op het lijstje, bij Nars, Too Faced en Urban Decay. Voor het gezicht gebruik ik altijd MAC Prep + Prime maar wie weet is het eens tijd voor verandering :-)
    Van de Zwitserse prijzen heb ik geen kaas gegeten maar thx voor het uitgebreide artikel!


  12. Zo jammer dat Smash Box hier niet meer te verkrijgen is! Ziet er weer goed uit!
    Ik gebruik de welbekende Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion en een primer van MAC, vaak eentje met een matte finish.

  13. Hello hun, I think primer makes makeup a lot better and long lasting, though I don’t apply it regularly because I think it doesn’t let the skin “breathe”. My fave is Clarins!
    Please don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin!

  14. I am still a make-up n00b and use the tinted moisturizer from MAC. I still feel so weird wearing something like it though – it does even out my skin a little bit but applying foundation is still foreign to me. I never go to a party without my raccoon eyeliner though, haha!

  15. Girl…..just wanted to wish you a very happy 26th birthday:)))! I was reading your post and I completely understand what you’re going through. I’m turning 26 soon too (boo) and it scares the living crap out of me. Every birthday I cry….I just don’t like getting older….and I’m always reminded of all the things I wanted to accomplish by a certain age….but haven’t yet. Anyways, we need to start changing things and embracing our age:))! Wishing you all the best girl! May you reach all your dreams and goals! P.S. Thank you so much for the kind words on my video:))!

  16. I’ve never just primers before, maybe I should give them a chance :)
    Thank you so much for always reading and commenting my blog, dear! ♡

  17. die hydrating primer klinkt als iets voor mij :D ik heb echt al zoveel gehoord over de smashbox primers maar nog nooit echt mijn portemonnee bovengehaald om ze ook daadwerkelijk zelf te testen, blij dat jij dat voor mij doet :p

  18. Omg, there’s a special primer for the under eye area even?! I’m so far behind as far as make-up goes.:D I use an eyelid primer, but that’s it, I’m “afraid” of face primers, I think they’d clog my pores. Which foundation does anyway if you don’t wash your face at night so I don’t know why I’m fussing about that.:) Unlike yours, my skin is dry (and flaky) all over and maybe a hydrating primer’s the answer. I have to put it to the test myself.:)

  19. Ik wil al zo lang de foundation primer in light proberen voor m’n oily skin! Volgende week schaf ik me toch een kleine tube aan hoor ;) thx voor de review!

  20. I wonder if I would like Too Faced. I don’t use primer, just foundation, because the big deal – Urban Decay’s, does not work for me at all. Too tight and crinkly – too much. Too serious, like concrete. :)

  21. Love that you compared primers with cheese! This is AWESOME! I love your creativity! And that eyeshadow color! What is that gorgeous shade?! Thanks for the primer review – I like the sound of the light primer (cheese lite, if you will) for me because I have oilier skin as well. Annoying as it is, it keeps the wrinkles away, right?! So yay on that! :)

    • It’s an old Essence mono, so really nothing special! But yes, it’s a goooorgeous golden shade, and I bet no one could tell it’s just a cheap little drugstore eyeshadow. I don’t think the shade is available anymore though, and the back of it is so worn out that I can’t read the name anymore… :-)

  22. I love how in depth your reviews are! I’ve never tried any Smashbox products but they’ve recently started selling them in my local drugstore so i’m thinking I should.

  23. I’ve heard so many good things about their primers. I’ve never used anything actually by smashbox, but I know it is supposed to be top notch. I might have to treat myself this weekend :) x

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