February 2, 2016

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil Review

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil ($42) is a new primer face oil that contains 15 essential plant oils. What sets Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil apart from your other facial oils is the fact it is marketed as a face primer. According to Smashbox you can prep your skin for makeup using this oil so that foundation has a smooth, soft canvas to adhere to. Apparently it also reduces the appearance of dry, fine lines and leaves skin glowing.

I admit I had my doubts about using face oil to prime my face. I like facial oils! I think they are one of the greatest skincare treats around. I have drier skin but I don’t think face oils are limited to such a skin type. I think face oils are an excellent product to add to your current nightly skincare routine. Keyword, nightly! Take a note from the guide to Korean skincare and inject as much moisture as you can into your nightly skincare routine as it’ll make your skin look fabulous. I live by this rule.

However, come the morning, I do not need nor want as much moisture. Why? Even though I have drier skin I look for a lightly hydrating lotion that retains moisture and keeps my skin soft and smooth and allows my foundation to apply easily. Extra moisture or too much moisture either makes me look shiny, greasy, oily, or it makes my makeup fade faster. So something lightly hydrating that retains moisture is a good enough pick for me.

This in fact why I was skeptical about Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil. I’ve never used facial oil in the AM personally as it’s way too rich for daily use in my experience. The idea of using one as a primer of sorts sounded like a gimmick.

Many reader’s asked me to review this formula and I honestly didn’t want to spend $42 on it when I felt like it was just another facial oil. Luck be a lady because recently I was able to score a sample of it at Sephora. It was a tiny vial but I used it for nearly two weeks, everyday, to prep my skin prior to makeup.

And sadly as I said above, this is a little bit of a gimmick. I mean with so many facial oils on the market currently you really have to stand out from the rest right? So I guess Smashbox’s stand out point was there oil would hydrate and prep your skin for makeup. According to them it also reduces the appearance of “dry, fine lines and leaves skin glowing”! I don’t have finer lines on my face but I do have drier skin. I don’t want to write this formula off completely because maybe if you have finer lines and drier skin this might prove great as a primer. Personally as a person with drier skin I would NOT recommend it as a facial oil but would recommend as a regular facial oil that might be added to your nightly routine for moisture.

This is a thicker oil with a very, very subtle fragrance! I think it smelled kinda citrus-y to my nose. It contains some really great antioxidants as well as different oils all of which are ideal for moisturizing skin. I would say it does a great job delivering extra moisture to skin and doesn’t make me greasy or shiny when I use it at night. But in the day? Mmm…it’s a little too rich for me. My foundation is already a hydrating one so I don’t need this much extra moisture from my primer. Don’t get me wrong I use a hydrating primer but not an oil.

After applying the oil I really have to wait a few extra minutes for the product to set. It’s a bit too dewy to apply foundation directly on top of in my opinion. If I apply my foundation right away I feel like I’m sheering out the coverage a little too much. If I wait, that helps considerably. It does ease the way for foundation once it sets so you’re working on a very smooth, hydrated surface. However, this does seem to make my foundation fade very quickly and it also adds a bit of shine to areas around my face like my cheeks and forehead. It also makes my makeup, not only foundation but color cosmetics wear away a lot faster as the day progresses.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil is a very nice face oil but as a primer I wouldn’t recommend it for most skin types. You really have to have some severe dry skin to appreciate this much moisture in your makeup routine.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil is available now at Sephora and Sephora.com.
Tried it?

What did you think?

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil3

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

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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  • Diana

    I got a little sample vial from Ulta.com. Now, the vial was a little difficult to work with because I couldn’t control how much came out. The first amount I dispensed didn’t cover my face, but when I poured out a bit more it was too much.

    When I applied the product, it didn’t feel any different from other facial oils. I let it sink in for a few minutes. I did not like that I had to wait much longer than with other primers, even the Smashbox primer water. Eventually I just blotted my face.

    I did not find that this product behaved differently from any other facial oils. I used it under powder foundation, and longevity was about the same as without primer.

    • Isabella Muse

      I ended up pouring it into a little dropper bottle so I could control the amount better! I didn’t like I hate to wait either. When you’re rushing around in the morning, a few extra minutes waiting for your face to “dry” is time I don’t have to spare! I wouldn’t say it extended the wear of my foundation, if anything my makeup faded faster 🙁

  • Tina

    I use a facial oil every morning (2 drops) and I don’t find it takes any extra time to dry. Actually, my spf takes longer to settle in than my facial oil. But that may be the type I use as well. I use the Jouer Daily Repair Treatment Oil and Josie Moran Pure Argan Oil. I drop two drops on my finger tips and rub it into my t-zone (my dry area). I can put on foundation immediately after if I want, but I usually add a moisturizer and/or spf first. It’s the only thing I absolutely must use in the morning before makeup. It makes any foundation I use slide on so smoothly and not cling to any dry patches. Thanks for the review of the Smashbox one. I was thinking about it, but after your review, I think I’ll pass and stick with what I already use.

    • Isabella Muse

      My pleasure Tina! Honestly, it’s just facial oil in my experience so if you have two you already like to use stick with ’em no reason to spend $42 more!

  • KarenG

    I have extremely dry skin and this really worked for me. I just let it sink in before I apply my foundation. Love it!

    • Isabella Muse

      Glad to hear it! No such luck here 🙁 As a nightly treatment great just not under my makeup!

  • Kimmwc03

    I tried the sample too since my skin has been dehydrated lately (although I have combo skin). I applied it and then waited a few minutes but it did not help my foundation apply smoothly and it made my makeup not last as long. I will use this at night, instead.

  • amy

    While I haven’t tried this exact product, I have been using oils under my foundation for *years*! Long before “facial oils” became the next big thing, I started mixing my own variations, just on a whim, not
    knowing of any commercial products on the market. Regular creams & lotions never seemed to absorb all the way, and it seemed a film always remained, so I tried oils. My skin is so dry, that it seems whenever I wear foundation, my skin sucks up any “moisture” from a product, and little “pools” of pigment are left behind. Primers help a bit, but I find oils to work much better. Having said that, I will not be paying $40+ for this, LOL!

  • Katherine T.

    Well, it sounded too good to be true 🙁 When 95% of the ingredients are oil, I can see how this would sheer down foundation and make it slide off or fade.

    • Isabella Muse

      Not this but other facial oils I have Amber, pretty much makes any foundation sheerer and more moisturizing with a certain dewiness 😀

  • Melinda

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I really appreciate having the prices on the main screen.

    • Isabella Muse

      You’re welcome? lol 🙂 I typically always list the prices (there may be one or two posts I forget though!)

  • Ann

    As much as I love the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum – I buy it in the travel size since it’s $$ – the Smashbox Primer Oil is superior. Both products need to sink into your skin a few minutes before applying makeup, but the Smashbox is lighter with a bit more slip than the Hourglass and makeup glides on even smoother.

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m glad you like it 🙂 I really like the Hourglass one to be honest!