Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Title image with a photo of the Smashbox Photo Finish primer water bottle in front of a yellow curtain backgroundSmashbox was one of the companies that I had on my to try list for this year. It may be near the end of 2018 but I recently got a set on offer in Boots so I’ve been trying the products that came in it, including this Travel Size Photo Finish Primer Water. This is a 30ml spray bottle that costs £12, though there is a larger 116ml version you can buy for £22 so it’s cheaper per ml but I do love these travel size bottles as they’re great to throw into a bag, plus it’s a great way to try a product if you’re not sure if you’ll like it.

Seeing that it said it’s a primer water I was expecting it to be one of those spray on primers but it’s actually also a setting spray or recommended for use as a bit of a pick my up in the middle of the day to refresh you and your makeup.

I’ve tried all three methods and have to say that I actually found the primer method was the least effective for me, which did surprise me. I found that, although it does feel nice when sprayed on my skin it wasn’t anywhere near as effective for my skin type as a primer compared to more standard serum or moisturiser style primers. It sort of sat on my skin for a bit, then sank in and didn’t leave any lasting finish for my makeup to stick to. Maybe I was using it wrong but it didn’t add any longevity when just used like this compared to no primer. My skin is dry though, so maybe it just sucked it all in and it would work better for less dry skin types.

Close up of the spray top for the Smashbox Photo Finish primer waterAs a setting spray I really liked it, the fine mist meant it covered my face with only a couple of sprays and it seemed to dry and sink into any product on my face really fast. Most of my makeup is normally ok but I do find that areas like my nose and chin lose makeup a lot throughout the day and I did notice a difference in these areas when I used it for setting.

Having said that, I think my favourite way to use it was the pick me up. It was so refreshing and I found that if I sprayed a fair amount it on my face and then used a sponge to buff and move any of my foundation and concealer it really helped to even out many areas where it had started to fade throughout the day. The fact it’s a nice fine mist and can be applied any time with makeup makes it a great refresher just to wake you up because of the coolness of getting sprayed in the face but not having to worry about it messing up your makeup.

Photo of the whole bottle of Smashbox Primer Water on its side with the lid offThe bottle itself is nice, it’s fairly plain looking and I do love plain black with a clear bottle for these kinds of things. The size and shape makes it easy to use and the spray is one of those where it creates a fine mist that covers a large area. It’s definitely a bottle I’ll be keeping when it’s empty, even if it’s just for water in the summer. The lid that clicks on to protect it also stays really well so no need to worry about throwing it into your bag and any unexpected spraying or leaking.

I’ve tried to find a scent, I’ve been spraying this and sniffing the air and I just can’t smell anything. I’m not sure if it’s just me but it doesn’t seem to be perfumed at all and also doesn’t have the slightly alcoholic scent some setting sprays have. I also love how it doesn’t leave a tacky feeling, though this would make it work better as a primer for me it makes it perfect for a setting spray or pick me up, it’s really like spraying water on your face.

Overall I am very impressed with this Primer Water. I went into it expecting it to be my least favourite in the set but it was a nice surprise to see how well it worked as a setting spray. I’ve not bought from Smashbox before as it’s often outside of my budget for beauty, or at the high end of it, but this is one that I can see myself repurchasing. It works well for what I want it to do, though I would t recommend it for a primer the other two uses definitely impressed me.

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