January 7, 2015

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water Review

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water2

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($32) is a new and interesting facial mist that launched for Spring 2015. Smashbox created their primer water with a silicone, oil, and alcohol-free formula that’s apparently packed with electrolytes to restore moisture.

According to them it’s like an energy drink for your skin and provides lasting moisture.

So you know, I’m a total facial mist h0r. I love them. I use them in the Summer after my shower to refresh my face and add moisture, I use at night prior to my skincare regime, I use them in the Winter before any skincare or makeup to allow my skincare to absorb more easily…! I love them!

However, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, vastly overpriced facial mist option in my humblest.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is marketed in a unique way that’s for sure! I think it’s catchy to call it “primer water”! The idea isn’t new by any means but kinda sounds and exciting. They market it to act as a primer before makeup. So instantly you might think that using it after your skincare and prior to your makeup would be the way to go. Personally, I think that’s a terrible idea. Who wants to mist their face AFTER skincare? But…no worries because there are products out there like Etude House Lock n Summer Face Conditioning Fixer that actually work great after skincare to prep for makeup however, in my opinion, Photo Finish Primer Water isn’t one of them.

Aside from prepping this is formulated also as a setting spray or to wake your skin up during the day (again, sometime I dislike doing is misting during the day). It’s formulated with a few interesting ingredients one of which is caffeine but aside nothing in this formula really sets it apart from other facial mists. In fact, it’s missing a quite a few moisturizing ingredients other facial mists have. On the upside, the lack of alcohol is a huge plus!

I didn’t feel this formula was hydrating at all. It’s actually kinda mattifying to me as it seems to absorb access oil on my forehead and t-zone area when I mist it on. I tried it prior as a prep prior to skincare which is what I typically do with facial mists. It didn’t really ease the way for my moisturizer or aid it to absorb more easily. As I said, it seemed to actually remove a little moisture from my skin versus adding it. I also tried it after skincare as a prep for makeup but again, I felt a little disappointed. If you have oily skin you might feel like it’s an excellent prep for your makeup as it does seem to absorb excess oil and shine creating a semi-matte finish once it dries down. Finally I tried it as a setting spray and felt like it did an ok job at setting makeup and also refined the look of powder on my drier skin so it appeared more luminous with less of a drier finish. I didn’t any major extension in the wear of my makeup after setting with this.

I think the disappointment for me stems from the fact they market as a product that restores moisture and helps retain it. I didn’t feel like it was moisturizing in the least. To me it seems like a very overpriced, mediocre facial mist!

The idea behind Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is interesting and maybe even sounds fresh and unique. But in the end, it’s just another facial mist and happens to be one that’s a bit on uneventful and falls flat in its performance.

Sorry Smashbox.

I’ll skip!

Anyone try it?

Do share your thoughts!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is available now at Ulta.com and Sephora.com.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water1

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • kimkats

    Lol – from the ingredients, it looks like hard water with some fragrance and preservatives! Think this one is a big *pass*!!! 🙂 Esp for the $$!

  • Liv

    I agree with the previous comment. The mineral ingredients are probably what caused the mattifying effect. The diamond powder might add a slightly luminous look, but that isn’t from moisturizing. And fragrance, limonene, and linalool are known irritants to skin. This is a pass for me.

  • Arielaaaa

    Ah, Thanks so much for posting the ingredients! I have emailed Sephora and Smashbox and could not get an answer what the ingredients are, and i checked everywhere i could think of. I was so excited when i first saw this but it’s totally a pass for me now. I’ll have to try looking for something else.

  • Katherine T.

    Muse, thanks SO much for the review. I really need a hydrating facial mist and thought this might be the one, but sounds like it’s all marketing hype. And I emailed Sephora and Ulta about ingredients and they said Smashbox refuses to let them post the info, so I got kind of suspicious…. Now I see why! Perfume and Limonene can irritate skin, not to mention dry it out. Are there any hydrating facial mists you can recommend that don’t have any fragrance? My face is sensitive to fragrance. Thanks!

        • Shawna

          What about Clinique’s Moisture Surge Face Spray? Its hydrating and has zero fragrance, won’t clog or irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin, and is packaged in an opaque bottle so the antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients remain stable! Its funny because the only antioxidant that the Smashbox Primer Spray contains (caffeine) is actually rendered useless by the clear bottle packaging that won’t allow it to keep stable! So even if they did put better ingredients in, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway! Everything about this spray is a flop! 🙁

  • Angel

    I echo the above comments. And great review btw. This is a big pass for me. I really thought this was some revolutionary primer, and given that its silicone-free, I was anxious to try it. But it sounds like fragranced water to me too. Such a misleading name IMO.

    • Isabella Muse

      thanks Angel!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah! It sounds unique and innovative but it’s nothing special!

  • Bonnie S.

    Great review – this product looks totally unnecessary to me. Oh, and – I love the word h0r – did you make that up and I can use it? I love it! That’s what I am when it comes to lipsticks!!!!!!!!!

    PS – regarding misting during the day – I can see why you wouldn’t want to do that because as you’ve stated you have very dry skin. But trust me, if you are an oil slick like me, misting at noon is a revelation. I liberally mist Avene’s Eau Thermale, blot it dry, and reapply powder foundation and blush. It is the ultimate way to remove the morning’s oil supply, refresh my face, and prepare my skin for a much less oily afternoon 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      haha no that isn’t mine, it’s totally an internet thing 😀 hehe but feel free to use it hehe! I actually don’t mist because I feel like it screws up my makeup for some reason! I’m always tempted to do so but I end up not going there 😀

  • fancie

    I would have like the mattifying part if the ingredients weren’t so iffy. Shame

  • Angel

    I went in to the store specifically looking for something to make my powder look less powdery and more luminous. I sprayed it on and checked the mirror and it was gorgeous. Exactly what I was hoping for, so I bought it and have been using it all week.
    I havent tried it for what it was made for, but it works wonderfully as a setting spray, and my ridiculously sensitive skin didnt react to it, as it does almost everything else I use.

  • D.Chan

    Thanks for your review! Very informative… I saw this new product via Sephora and was googling review on this product. Definitely a pass for me as I have dry and sensitive skin. Great Help!!!

  • ElviaE

    Hi Muse,
    Thanks for the review. I wondered about this. I have combo but more dry skin and I was debating on this one. I also have large pores and am thinking about the pore minimizing primer they have out. Do you like it that one? Also, what misting/setting spray would you recommend that’s alcohol free but sets makeup and can be used throughout the day? I use skindinavia but it has alcohol and I’m trying to get away from using alcohol on my face. Thanks!

  • Jazmyne marquez

    I was tempted to buy it but too many mixed reviews but ill pass now but i though you would like to know they said mac charged water spray are the same thing is that true, should i just buy that instead im looking for good primer for foundation to last or even a long lasting foundation so far smashbox 15 hour foundation is my favorite for lasting power.