Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Review And Dupes

smashbox photo finish primer dupes
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If you have been in the beauty community for a while, you probably remember the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer craze. For a long time, it was considered one of the best primers on the market. Those who love this primer say it smooths and blurs the skin while creating a makeup look that lasts all day long. Though it is a bit outdated, many users still consider it their holy grail makeup product.

The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is forever going to be a beauty favorite – there’s no doubt about that. But, as much as we do think highly of this primer, the price point is a huge dealbreaker. So, we have found the best dupes that have almost identical results for a fraction of the price. Our favorite is the NYX Studio Perfect Primer. It provides the same long-lasting results as the Smashbox primer while reducing the appearance of fine lines and pores.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Review

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

This ultra-light, fast-absorbing facial oil also works as a face primer to prep your skin for makeup.

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Smashbox is known all over the world for being an incredible high-end makeup brand. Their Photo Finish Primer is easily one of their bestsellers.

This primer is a clear, silicone-based formula that glides easily on the skin. It creates an overall smoother look while blurring the appearance of pores and fine lines. The formula feels very lightweight on the skin, so it is comfortable to wear under foundation and other face products. Also, it includes ingredients like Vitamins A and C to protect and nourish your skin. This product is free from any parabens and phthalates. To top it all off, Smashbox is cruelty-free, and this specific product is vegan!

One of the major downfalls of this product is, obviously, the price. It is just way too expensive for a lot of buyers to justify purchasing. Also, some reviewers say that this primer made their skin feel oily.

Pros:

  • Glides and blends easily onto the skin
  • Blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores
  • Feels lightweight on the skin
  • Includes Vitamins A and C
  • Free from parabens and phthalates
  • Cruelty-free and vegan

Cons:

  • Highly-priced
  • Some reviewers say it made their skin feel oily

Where to buy it: Amazon

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Dupes

Let’s face it – most people don’t love spending a good amount of money on just one makeup product. I know I don’t! While the Smashbox Photo Finish does provide great results, there are so many great primers out there that don’t have to put a dent in your wallet. So ditch those overpriced products and try these almost identical dupes instead!

NYX Studio Perfect Primer

Our Pick

NYX Studio Perfect Primer

This silicon-based primer protects and creates a smooth, matte surface for makeup application.

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We’re not joking when we tell you that the NYX Studio Perfect Primer is pretty much identical to the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. Everything from the blurring effects down to the clear formula is so similar. It makes us wonder if they’re just the same formula in different packaging.

The NYX Studio Perfect Primer glides easily on the skin and blends out flawlessly. It creates a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup to be applied to. This formula is so lightweight that it won’t even feel like you’re wearing a primer. Just remember that a little goes a long way! Since you only need to use a small amount, one bottle should last you a few months. The formula feely silky on the skin, so it is super comfortable and not oily at all. Also, NYX Cosmetics is 100% cruelty-free!

One thing to know about this product is that, if you apply too much, it can make your makeup separate. That is why we recommend only using a small amount to prevent this from happening.

Pros:

  • Easy to apply and blend
  • Feels silky and lightweight on the skin
  • The bottle lasts a long time
  • Cruelty-free
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Can make your makeup separate if you apply too much

Where to buy it: Amazon

Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer

The Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer is extremely underrated. As it turns out, it is a spectacular dupe for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer!

If you have oily skin and have trouble with silicone-based primers, this primer is for you! It does a fantastic job of minimizing pores and fine lines. Also, it makes your makeup stay in place all day long without getting shiny or oily. Since it is sweatproof, this is also a great primer for those that have busy lives where they are always moving. This primer feels lightweight and comfortable on the face. You probably won’t even notice you’re wearing it underneath your makeup. Also, it is 100% cruelty-free.

Of course, all products have their downsides. Sadly, people with sensitive skin found that this product caused them to breakout. Also, you really cannot use a lot of this product all at once. If you apply any more than a dime-sized amount, you risk your makeup pilling or separating.

Pros:

  • Minimizes pores and fine lines
  • Great for oily skin
  • Feels lightweight on the skin
  • Cruelty-free
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not suitable for those with sensitive skin
  • Cannot use more than a dime-sized amount on the face at once

Where to buy it: Amazon

E.L.F. Mineral Infused Face Primer

e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer

This weightless silky primer formula is great for all skin types.

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E.L.F. is one of the top makeup brands at the drugstore. Specifically, their Mineral Infused Face Primer is one of their bestsellers, and it happens to be a great dupe for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer.

Like the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, the formula of this primer is silky and lightweight. This makes it super easy to blend into the skin creating a flawless base for the rest of your makeup. This primer is very hydrating, so it is great for people with dry skin. This primer is great to apply under the eyes to prevent creasing. E.L.F. is 100% cruelty-free and vegan. Also, their products are free from any sulfates. One cool thing about this product is that it was the 2017 Influenster Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner!

If you have very oily skin, this product may enhance the oils in your face. It is definitely suited more towards dry skin types.

Pros:

  • Feels silky and lightweight on the skin
  • Great for dry skin
  • Super hydrating
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not suited for oily skin

Where to buy it: Amazon

L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base

L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base Primer

This lightweight primer glides onto your skin and minimizes the look of pores and fine lines.

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L’Oreal is an extremely popular makeup brand that you can find at pretty much any drugstore. However, we feel that their Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base is so underrated!

The L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Secret No.1 Magic Perfecting Base isn’t labeled as a silicone-based product, but it feels the same as one. It does a great job of minimizing pores and fine lines. If you have undereye creasing, you’ll love this primer! It is suitable for all skin types – both oily and dry. It feels lightweight and silky on the skin. Also, this formula is dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic.

Unfortunately, L’Oreal is not a cruelty-free makeup brand. That can be a huge dealbreaker for those looking to shop for their makeup ethically. Another con that this product has is that it can cause pilling in your makeup if you apply too much.

Pros:

  • Minimizes pores and fine lines
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Feels lightweight on the skin
  • Affordable
  • Dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic

Cons:

  • Not cruelty-free or vegan
  • Can cause pilling

Where to buy it: Amazon

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Instant Pore Eraser leaves skin with a smooth matte finish and moisturizes all day.


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We all remember Maybelline’s Baby Lips makeup line, but did you also know that they have a Baby Skin line as well? The Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer is an almost identical dupe for the Smashbox Primer for a fraction of the price.

The Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer minimizes and blurs the appearance of pores and fine lines flawlessly. Since it is silicone-based, it has the same silky and lightweight feelings as the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. The formula is non-comedogenic. So, it is great for all skin types – even sensitive skin! This product has a high-end feel for a drugstore price.

You should know that Maybelline is not cruelty-free nor vegan. Also, many reviewers don’t like how small the packaging is with this primer.

Pros:

  • Minimizes pores and fine lines
  • Feels like a high-end product
  • Works for all skin types
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not cruelty-free or vegan
  • The packaging is very small

Where to buy it: Amazon

Covergirl TruBlend Base Business Primer

Covergirl TruBlend Base Business Primer

Create the perfect canvas before applying your makeup for a long-lasting, flawless end look.

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Covergirl has been a top drugstore makeup brand for so many years. If you are looking for a primer, this one is a great option. Also, it happens to be very similar to the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer.

The Covergirl TruBlend Face Primer creates an unbelievably smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup. By doing this, the primer successfully minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines. Especially in the T zone, this primer helps to keep shine under control. So, it is great for all skin types. One thing that sets this primer apart from the rest is that it works to neutralize redness in the skin. Also, Covergirl has recently made the switch to being cruelty-free.

Some reviewers complain that the scent of this primer is way too overpowering. If you are sensitive to smells, this product may not be for you. Also, some people didn’t see a huge difference in how their makeup applies with this primer.

Pros:

  • Creates a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup
  • Great for keeping shine under control in the T zone
  • Neutralizes redness
  • Cruelty-free
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Scent is overpowering
  • Some users didn’t see a difference in their makeup application

Where to buy it: Amazon

Final Thoughts

We’re not going to lie – the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is a gamechanger and has been for so many years. But, we’re not a huge fan of the price! Instead, these dupes give almost identical results for a fraction of the price. Our favorite is definitely the NYX Studio Perfect Primer. But, you really can’t go wrong with any of the other dupes on this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a primer?

Makeup primer is the first step in your makeup routine. It creates a base for the rest of your makeup. It fills in pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. Also, it makes your makeup last for much longer and stay in place all day. Some primers even neutralize redness and fix any other discoloration in your skin tone. If you’re not using a primer, you definitely should be. You’ll see a huge difference in your makeup look and longevity.

How should I apply primer?

Primer can be applied in multiple different ways. You could use a sponge or a brush, but we recommend just using your fingertips! It is super easy and it blends seamlessly this way. Just be gentle when applying it to not irritate your skin. Also, remember to always use a small amount. A little goes a long way!

What are the benefits of primer?

Makeup primers have so many awesome benefits which is why we recommend using one! Depending on which you get, the benefits will vary. All primers are meant to create a blank canvas for the rest of your makeup application. When using a good primer, you’ll notice that your pores and fine lines look blurred. Also, it helps to make your makeup stay in place all day.

Some primers help color correct areas if that is what you need. Some are meant to keep shine under control if you have oily skin. Primers that are meant for dry skin usually have hydrating qualities. Depending on which primer you choose, there are so many different benefits tailored to your skin’s needs.

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