Project Focus 10: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Happy Leap Year Day! πŸ˜€
Last year the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water seem to take the makeup world by storm. Everywhere I turned, I saw people posting rave reviews about it. I love facial mists so I was intrigued by one that claims to provide hydration and acts as a primer.
So in November, I redeemed some Optimum Points for it:
It normally costs $37 for 116ml bottle.

When I first started using this as part of Project Focus 10, I kept forgetting to use this before I applied my makeup! I ended up using it as a finishing spray for a few weeks until I finally placed it right in front of my foundation so that I couldn’t ignore it.
Smashbox claims this spray will:
β€’ Prime skin
β€’ Deliver hydration
β€’ Provide sheer radiance
β€’ Packed with electrolytes to wake up skin
β€’ Refresh skin
I tested this primer water in a multitude of different ways:
1. As my skin prep first step, before my serum and moisturizer
2. As a primer, after moisturizer and before foundation
3. As the “wetter” for my makeup sponge to apply my foundation (sorry I couldn’t think of another term for it)
4. As a finishing spray, after foundation
I tried it with various foundations and BB creams. Honestly, I didn’t notice any significant difference when I used this spray versus not using it. Maybe it’s slightly smoother looking? I’m not sure? Β The spray nozzle is really nice – provides a fine, even mist.

So what’s in this?

Water\Aqua\Eau, Butylene Glycol, Caffeine, Magnesium Chloride, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Nitrate , Potassium Phosphate, Polysorbate 80, Diamond Powder, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Linalool, Citral , Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate.

Caffeine is an antioxidant and it’s also supposed to help with depuffing… there’s a bunch of slip agents, minerals, and thickening ingredients… and OMG it contains DIAMOND POWDER! You guys, no wonder this water is so pricey! I’m going to boil away the water and collect the diamond powder, y’all. πŸ˜‰ Sorry for the snark but I was thoroughly disappointed by this product. I was really hoping it would be a wonder product, a secret weapon, an ace in the hole – but unfortunately, it wasn’t. Also, it smells like Play-doh that’s gone bad.
It’s made in Canada – woot.

I understand why Smashbox would release this primer water, it’s to parlay their huge success with their original foundation primer; product line extension and whatnot. I just find it funny that one of the claims about this product is that it’s silicone-free – basically slamming their own primers which are loaded with silicones (and silicones aren’t necessarily bad – just some people are sensitive to them, that’s all).
I had actually originally scheduled to do this review two weeks ago, but I postponed it so that I could give this product a more thorough trial… but ultimately, I still did not get this product to work for me as it has for others! I’d recommend MAC Fix+Β ($26 for 100ml) in place of this – it also contains caffeine and minerals but with the added benefit of glycerin. Β One key ingredient missing for me in the Smashbox Primer Water is glycerin – to me, glycerin is what primes and hydrates the skin and helps makeup adhere better (hence, all the raves about the Nivea Aftershave Balm as a primer).
This is how much I used up in the past 6 weeks – since this is mostly water, I’ll just use this bottle up as a facial mist before my serum. I would not repurchase. 😦

β€’ Alcohol, silicone, oil- free
β€’ Fine mist nozzle

β€’ Doesn’t make a difference for me
β€’ Doesn’t prime or hydrate as claimed
β€’ Smells bad
β€’ Pricey for what it is

Stash worthiness:Β 3/10 (sorry Ingrid!)

Other Project Focus 10 item updates:
β€’ I’m still using the NarsΒ Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder to set my foundation and concealer daily – lately I’ve been seeing the shimmer in this more noticeably on my face for some reason
β€’Β Shu Uemura brow:sword is still my daily speedy brow product – yesterday I did a 1 minute face and the brows was literally 10 seconds!
β€’Β Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is my go-to moisturizer every day. I’ve made a huge dent in it – I’m thinking I might finish it in March!

Please go check out my collab posse for their Project Focus 10 posts:
♦ Ingrid of Curly.Spring.Blossom
♦ Jodi of A Brash Attitude
♦ Joy of Styled With Joy

64 thoughts on “Project Focus 10: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

  1. i used to Think i love this
    because of THE DIAMOND stuff
    i honestly don’t even know where it went
    diamonds on my face – the lady said it was cool
    i was mistaken and totally WOOOOED by the word – DIAMOND XO X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! I was scratching my head when I was using it for a couple of weeks and not seeing ANY difference. Then I read the ingredients more carefully and was like oooh yeah, no glycerin, duh. I wonder if I just pour some of my glycerin in the bottle if that would help?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a shame that this didn’t do anything for you, so many people liked this facial mist! Good thing you used points to get it πŸ™‚ Did it pretty much perform the same as water when you used it to dampen your sponge?

    My eyebrows raised when I saw ‘diamond powder’ in the ingredient list. You go collect that powder, girl! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking something was WRONG with me for not loving this product! People have this listed on their 2015 favourites! It’s definitely one of my “YouTube / Bloggers made me buy this” item… and a regret! πŸ˜› Yes, it performed the same as water when I used it to dampen my sponge. So silly. And when I compare the price $37 for Smashbox vs $26 for MAC… I don’t get the hype. I used this today in honour of this review and my face isn’t shining like diamonds lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I happen to enjoy the snark πŸ™‚ Sorry you wasted your points on this, but I’m glad you did the review cause everyone else literally is raving about it. A good mist can be refreshing though (but not if it’s stinky) 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So weird this smells like lipstick that`s gone back even though in the ingredient list, it shows added fragrance. Makes me want to go to the store to smell their tester to see perhaps I got a bad one?


  4. Sorry girlfriend !!! I love it first and foremost because it doesn’t break me out … On me, I can see a difference in the longevity of my overall makeup when used before & after.
    We will probably learn one day that it was just tap water and I will be a laughing stock πŸ˜›
    Don’t worry I’m better with my eyeshadow palettes recommendations Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw it’s not your fault. I heard SO many rave reviews on this product, I would have been curious even without your glowing review. I guess the not breaking you out is a huge concern for you – I was more concerned about it actually providing priming function. πŸ˜› Did MAC Fix+ break you out? I’m guessing you’re sensitive to the Castor Oil, which is in MAC Fix+ ingredients.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s only the Coconut Fix + that makes my skin break out ! It’s true that any product that doesn’t give me a face full of pimples is at least a B+ (even if it’s crapy) πŸ˜›


  5. J got a travel size of this to try out and I liked it. I used it mainly as a primer before foundation. I like it has caffeine in it. But to be honest, it didn’t work any different from my MAC Fix+, which is actually less expensive (in the States, the Smashbox is I think $32 & Fix+ is $20).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. I’m almost out of my 2nd bottle of Fix+. I gotta go to the mall after work so I may stop by the MAC counter at Dillard’s while I’m there.


  6. Glycerin. Now I will check my primer water (Skindinavia) if it has that! Lol I barely use it though. Didn’t think this primer water would be special since it’s too hyped and it’s just a primer! Maybe if I had dry skin I would like them more esp to set my powder makeup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, I think drier skin types would benefit from this. I’ve been making it a habit to spritz my face with hydrating toner before applying my serums, it helps my serums to work better and creates a nice plumping action. But I honestly can spray just water for that purpose!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have combination skin – oilier t-zone (but not super oily) and drier cheeks. I’m just puzzled why so many people seem to love this – I didn’t see any noticeable difference – good or bad.


  7. Too bad this isn’t great. Too be honest, I have always had issues imagining a fine mist can do the same job a proper cream primer can. At least it has diamond powder πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OH what!!! I actually love this lol!! I do find it makes a difference when applying makeup. I’ve only ever used it as a primer. I’ve been wanting to use it as a setting spray but I’m afraid it will ruin it or alter my makeup and … after all that hard work I just don’t wanna risk it πŸ˜› But as a primer it works wonders. I find it really does help smooth out my skin and provides a nice silky canvas. it helps my foundation glide on nicely onto the skin! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, I know I’m in the minority! I see SO many rave reviews for this so I’m scratching my head. When you say you use it as a primer, what order do you use this? Do you moisturize first? Then spray this? Then foundation? I tried so many combinations and none of them wow’d me. Don’t bother using it as a setting spray, I liked that method of using it the least, it does disturb the makeup and kind of breaks it down a bit. :/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow thanks for telling me!! Now I know not to use it as a setting spray !! Yes that’s how I use it I moisturize, then spray this then apply foundation πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve seen this raved about so many times but I just can seem to believe the hype. I haven’t tried it but your review really sums up how I feel just looking at it! I can’t wrap my head around how it would make a difference. Maybe for dry skin to moisten the face first but I can’t see it making a difference on my skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I think if your skin is REALLY dry this could help. But so would just plain ol’ WATER! πŸ˜‰ It’s nothing special and I don’t know why people love it – maybe they feel like they have to justify their expensive purchase? πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

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