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· Bestsellers: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

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Bestsellers: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
by The Kindly One


For some reason, it is primer, along with mascara, that proves to be among the most contentious subjects of makeup discussion. People get dogmatic over their primers: which is the best, which is most popular, and whether primer is necessary at all. The fact is, the necessity and use of primer is entirely individual. Not everyone needs a primer or benefits from its use. Additionally, there is no right primer for every person or every need. People with oily skin will by and large require a different formulation than those with skin like the Sahara; likewise, the use of more hydrating products on top of the primer will necessitate a less hydrating formula. It is all very individual and there is no right answer, which is maybe why there is all the drama surrounding primers in the first place: without a "right" answer, people just have to fight and claw their way into being king of the hill.

Of the many, many primers out there, Smashbox's Photo Finish series is a strong contender for "most popular" in terms of recognizability, units sold, and samples tried. It is a widely referenced product offered in a range of formulations, including the Original shown, as well as color-correcting formulations and Light, a lighter weight formulation marketed for oily skin. The most easily recognizable formula must be the original, being the oldest on the market and potentially the most universally friendly. Photo Finish Original is a fairly thick, silicone-based, fragrance-free formula that applies clear. As promised, I find that it lasts all day, though after 12 hours, slight oiliness appears on my forehead. Photo Finish dries within a minute and allows for an even application of foundation or concealer, without streaking or pilling. I haven't had problems with skin sensitivity, though those who cannot tolerate silicones will not be able to use this formula.

Having oily skin, I have found that I need primer if I want to wear foundation. There is no other way that my makeup will be there ten minutes later, much less in a few hours. After trying many primers, I can say this is one out of two primers that have ever really worked for me (the other being Laura Geller's Spackle). While most other primers pill instantly, pill upon makeup application, streak, cause streaks in my makeup, and cause my makeup to slide all over my face, this primer really does the job, ensuring that my makeup is even, stays on all day, and remains intact. Simply put, I do not wear foundation or even light powder without Photo Finish Original.


That said, I cannot speak so highly of some of its offshoots. I was greatly disappointed by Photo Finish Light, enough so that I returned it within a week. Despite it's claims to be formulated specially for oily skin, I found Photo Finish Light wore off quickly, streaked on application, applied in the same whitish tint you see in the bottle, and pilled upon makeup application. I tried the Light formula for about five days, hoping to see better results with time, but it just never happened.

I had better results with Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer in Green. I became curious about this formulation after reading about The Non-Blonde's success with the product. While not as outstanding as the original formula, I am still pleased with this primer's ability to knock down slight redness in the skin without turning me green. This version doesn't have quite the lasting power of the Original formula, with oiliness starting to show through after about six hours. I would also say it doesn't quite stand up to really creamy products, which apply a little greasy over this primer. Overall, this version doesn't quite offer the staying power I need, but I still like to have it around for days when I need something extra to decrease the redness.

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