Product Review: Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control

by Gio

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Name: Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control
Brand: Smashbox
Size: 0.50oz and 1oz
Price: $16.00 and $42.00

From Smashbox’s website:
Banish blemishes! This perfecting primer treats breakouts, provides oil-free hydration and keeps skin clearer over time. Clinical testing showed women had clearer skin in just 2 weeks. Contains 2% salicylic acid.

What I liked:
– lightweight, silky texture doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind
– matte finish
– treats breakouts
– absorbs excess oil
– hydrates skin
– provides a smooth base for makeup to adhere to, and helps it last longer

What I didn’t like:
– if you don’t like silicone based primers, this is not for you

How often can we say that a cosmetic product does exactly what it claims to do? Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control is one of those rare gems. An hybrid between a primer and a spot treatment, it promises to treat breakouts, provide oil-free hydration and keep skin clearer over time. And it keeps them all.

Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control is infused with salicylic acid, an exfoliating acid that gets rid of dead cells accumulated on the surface of the skin. But its real strength is the ability to penetrates inside the pores. Once there, it removes the excess sebum, dead cells, and all the other gunk that got trapped inside them, thus treating and preventing blackheads and breakouts.

Of course, salicylic acid doesn’t work overnight. You can’t just use this primer once a week, or less, and expect clear skin all the time. But, with daily use, blemishes will become a distant bad memory. The addition of silica, an absorbing agent, also helps keep oil production under control during the day.

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My t-zone is slightly oily and, when I wear this primer, stays shine-free for hours. I don’t need to blot out excess oil as frequently, nor worry about my makeup fading before I’m ready to head back home. If your skin is very oily, you may experience different results. Either way, it’ll help your skin stay shine free for longer and your makeup stay put better than it usually does.

As a blemish treatment, Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control is top notch. It works equally well as a primer. White in colour, it has a lightweight, silky texture that goes on smoothly, setting to a matte finish that’s ideal for oily skin.

The addition of dimethicone, a silicone that can fill in fine lines and wrinkles, also helps the signs of ageing look smaller. It also provides slip, allowing your foundation to go on more easily, and a smooth base for your makeup to adhere to, helping it last longer.

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I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of using silicones daily because they fear they won’t let skin breathe. But that’s not true. Silicones do indeed form a protective barrier on the skin (it helps bind water in), but because their molecules are so large, wide spaces are left between each molecule. These spaces allow skin to perspire freely.

Oh, and did I mention that Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control hydrates skin without adding more oil, like most moisturizers do? That’s because it uses humectants – in this case, Squalane and Glycerin – to draw water from the environment into the skin. This ensures your skin receive all the hydration it needs thourgout the day.

As amazing as Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control is for oily skin, if you are already using an exfoliant with salicylic acid daily, you won’t need this too. But if you’re looking for a multitasking product that keeps blemishes away, controls oil production, hydrates skin, and provides a nice base for your makeup, this is an excellent choice to consider.

Active: Salicylic Acid 2% Other Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Silica, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, Tocopheryl, Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Cinnamomum Zelanicum Bark Extract, Honey Extract/Mel/Extrait De Miel, Panthenol, Sarcosine, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Coco-Glucoside, Capryloyl Glycine, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-7, Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control keeps all its promises: it helps treat breakouts, hydrates skin, and creates a smooth base for makeup.

Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: a sanple of this item was in a gift set my friend Janessa sent me for Christmas. In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

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Allison May 7, 2015 - 3:22 am

Too funny, I bought Photofinish regular primer today. I returned Lancome Visionnaire 1 Minute Blur that an MUA at Sephora talked me into & it was just like L’Oreal Miracle Blur that I hated but twice as expensive. Photofinish is my favorite primer. Period.

Gio May 7, 2015 - 6:41 pm

Allison, what a waste! Glad you were able to return it. I’m jealous of how easy it is to do that in the US. Photofinish is much better, I agree. 🙂

tirurit May 7, 2015 - 11:25 am

wow it sounds really good! Though my skin is really oily so if I get the chance to try the product I will let you know what happened 😉

Gio May 7, 2015 - 6:23 pm

Tirurit, I’m sure it will help. Maybe it’ll last a bit less on you than it did on me, but the oil-absorbers and salicylic acid do help keep oil production under control. 🙂

Pia Hellgren May 3, 2019 - 5:53 am

I love Smashbox’s primers, but the purple one (poreless or something) always dries out when it’s about halfway used! So I have switched to Benefit Professional and Covergirl Base Business Pore Minimizing, the first being excellent and the second so good and inexpensive. I am still looking for an EVEN better, though! 🙂 I will definitely try the Smasbox More Than Primer Blemish Control! Thanks for the review!

Gio May 31, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Pia, my pleasure. Let me know how it goes. 🙂


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