July 30, 2018

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer A Little Lighter Than Smashbox Photo Finish and A Lot Less Itchier

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.
4 stars out of 5

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer ($9.99) is a new silicone primer that blurs the appearances of pores and imperfections while leaving skin smooth and matte for foundation.

A long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the makeup counters there weren’t a lot of facial primers to choose from and one of the more popular ones around that was hailed far and wide was Smashbox Photo Finish. At the time I was a little less experienced with makeup (not that I’m all that experienced now) and didn’t understand that the Photo Finish formula wasn’t for my skin type at all! I was too busy listening to the raving reviews about how great this stuff was for extending the wear of foundation. After trying it, it was an instant hate. It not only pilled horribly on my skin but it made me so damn itchy! Like a thousand tiny ants were running under my skin!

Needless to say I’ve learned a lot about which facial primers actually work for me and most important of all which to avoid.

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer is probably something I’d typically avoid but since Summer is here and my skin is a bit oily I decided I’d give it a try.

Here’s how things went.

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer is a little lighter than Smashbox Photo Finish and a hell of a lot less itchier. In fact, it isn’t itchy at all thankfully. So, if you like Photo Finish but you feel like it’s a bit heavier or perhaps itchy on your skin you might want to check out Maybelline’s formula as it has the superior texture not to mention it’s way cheaper.

This is a water-soluble formula that has the same thick gel like texture as Photo Finish. It does contains silicones but it absorbs very easily into skin and does so without pilling. It really does a very nice job of smoothing skin and giving a softened look. I typically test silicone primers on the palm of my hand to see how well they blur the appearance of my the natural lines in my hands. This did a rather nice job smoothing those lines. It wore very well under foundation and gave it a solid, smooth canvas to adhere to without any excess oiliness or shine. During application the gel formula dissolves into a lightly powder feel on skin which in turns curbs some shine and excess oil. I would say since this lays between my face and my foundation it does extend the wear of my base makeup by an hour extra or two.

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer is actually a very nice facial primer for those with mild oiliness and shine or those who really enjoy the Photo Finish formula and want something a little cheaper.

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer is a light gel consistency that absorbs easily into skin with a powdery finish that curbs some shine and oil while blurring imperfections and pores. The formula extended by foundation by an extra hour or two and got rid of the mild oiliness I experience on my forehead, chin, and cheeks. It wore well under my makeup without pilling and didn’t cause dryness nor did it get oily as the day progressed.

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Crosspolymer


  • Anyone who dislikes silicone primers! This is a nice quick absorbing formula that doesn’t feel as heavy as some silicone primers.
  • Anyone who likes Smashbox Photo Finish but would like something a bit lighter.
  • Anyone looking to extend their foundation wear and keep it wearing a little longer.


  • Contains silicone.
  • Not ideal for very oily skin as it only curbs some shine and oil.


This is a nice pick up if you have mild oiliness at the moment due to the warm weather. Those who dislike Photo Finish’s formula will get on rather well with this since it’s lighter and doesn’t pill as easily plus it’s a hell of a lot cheaper!

Where to buy

Ulta Amazon Target

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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  • Lauren

    Hi! I have mature skin with big pores on my nose and cheeks. Can you recommend a primer that fills in the pores? No matter what primer and/or foundation I use, the foundation does not go on smoothly and I have polka-dot cheeks.


    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Lauren! You might want to try Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. it’s a thicker primer that will fill in larger pores for a smoother appearance!

  • Melanie Suzanne

    Oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get a good finish with Smashbox’s Photo Finish. It pilled something AWFUL on my combination skin and now I use it only when I apply body paint for cosplaying. I’ll have to give the Maybelline primer a test run.

    • Isabella Muse

      tell me all about your cosplaying forget the primer ;-D! No but seriously, I HATE photo finish! It pills awful and just makes me itchy AF!