I recently tried out a sample of Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer I picked up from those kind ladies at Sephora.
I'd never used a foundation primer before, so I was quite impressed with the way it felt gliding on. It is a silicone-based product...clear, slippery, and a bit like hair gel without the sticky. It's supposed to make makeup easier to glide on. It did seem to do this task with ease.
I smoothed it over my face, paying special attention around my forehead, eyes, cheeks & nose. These are areas where I have more wrinkles, crepiness, and larger pores...all things that a primer is supposed to help camouflage. It seemed to help with the crepiness a little, the pores a bit more, but not so much the deep wrinkles in my forehead (sigh).
Primer is also supposed to make your makeup last longer. It really didn't seem to...but then my makeup tends to last pretty well anyway. Maybe I'm just expecting too much for it to last any longer or better than it already does?
I saw some improvement, but honestly, it didn't seem to be enough improvement to pay the big bucks they want for Smashbox Photo Finish Primer ($36 for 1 fl oz).
So, I shopped around a bit, and saw a big "Ulta Brand" buy 2 get 2 free sale. I investigated their line & discovered that Ulta has a Fabulous Face Foundation Primer.
I grabbed the tester from the shelf & tried some on my hand. This stuff felt & looked EXACTLY like Smashbox! I grabbed 2 of them along with 2 Ulta lip stains and checked out. I couldn't wait to try out the Ulta primer to see how it performed.
I'm happy to report that it did just as well as the Smashbox, for nearly a third of the cost! The regular cost for 1 fl oz is only $12.50, coming in just a scant 50 cents over a third of the cost of Smashbox. Wait for a great sale like I did and you can make it a fourth of the cost of Smashbox!
I decided to put the primer on only one side of my face (right side) so I could look for a difference. I then applied the same amounts of concealer under my eyes, and foundation all over my face, followed by some loose powder. Then I took a few pics to show you my results.
Here are some pics showing the larger pores on my cheeks.
(Note the captions in all these pics describing which is the one with primer vs the one without.)
|Right side (with primer) shows less obvious pores just beside my nose|
|Left side (no primer) has noticeably larger pores beside my nose|
Checkout my forehead wrinkles...no discernible difference, sadly.
|Right side (with primer) no difference in wrinkle appearance|
Look at my eye area in the top two photos. It's subtle, but you can see a slight difference in the crepiness.
A few things that bear telling:
1.) Smashbox offers tinted primers in flesh tones, as well as in corrective tones like green, purple, etc. To my knowledge, Ulta has only clear. If you want the tones, you must pay for them.
2.) I have pretty normal skin (not oily, not dry) during these cooler months.
3.) It is winter. I have no idea what kind of results I might get during the hotter, more humid, sweaty summer months here in the Deep South.
**You may get different results if you have a different skin type or a different climate.**
If you are young, you probably can skip primer altogether, honestly.
If you have skin aging issues, though, you might like to try out a primer to see if it helps hide them.
The difference, in my opinion, is not huge. I could probably go either way and feel just as confident.
Since I scored mine on sale for only $6.25 per tube, I'll gladly use them on days that I head out the door.
As always, this is my opinion, based on my own, real-life results.
I feel like they do accurately reflect a "typical" result.
Please feel free to comment with your experience with primers.