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Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Editors Reviews



Re Buy

rating seal

First Impressions

Oh Smashbox, I can never resist your siren call. Whether it’s rainbow highlighters, creamy blushes, or BB creams, whatever you’re releasing, I want it.

There’s been so much hype surrounding this primer water that I made the fatal mistake and jacked up my expectations until they were sky high. After reading this… “Get the benefits of priming, hydration, and sheer radiance with this all-in-one primer. Revitalizing electrolytes work to reawaken skin and restore moisture. This enriched water instantly absorbs into skin for lasting hydration, leaving skin looking refreshed and ultra-soft while it locks in makeup,” how could I not?

This was going to be THE ONE! It would make my makeup last for hours! Keep me shine free for the whole day! Maybe even make my coffee for me in the morning! Unfortunately, none of these came true.

I sprayed this ultrafine sheer mist on before applying my usual makeup, carried on as usual, and noticed….not much.

Did it maybe make my makeup last a little longer and go on smoother? Perhaps, but any perceived increase in makeup wear time I chalk up to the placebo effect. I had to touch up the same amount as I usually do, so no ground-breaking makeup hack there. It did nothing to kill the midday shine (it doesn’t technically claim to, but come on, it’s a primer).

Undeterred, I tried it as a setting spray per Smashbox’s suggestion and still didn’t see much of a difference. Maybe on drier skin types this would work better, it just didn’t mesh well with my combo skin. Shine city. As always, A+ for marketing and hype; the packaging basically tells everyone that this is straight up WATER and people are still fiending to get their hands on it. Well done.

Sorry Smashbox. At least we’ll always have Softlights.

What We Love

  • Superfine mist gives even coverage
  • Silicone, alcohol and oil free
  • Works for all skin types
  • Easy to apply

Not So Much

  • Not super effective
  • Doesn't kill shine


A super-light priming liquid that goes on easily but didn’t make much of a difference in makeup application or wear time.

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