SmashboxPhoto Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing
1 fl. oz. for $39
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

Smashbox's ever-expanding lineup of Photo Finish primers now includes a pore-minimizing option making the bold claim to dramatically reduce the appearance of pores for up to eight hours. Does it work? Yes, but with some important qualifiers—the chief one being that the pore-reducing results won't last for eight hours in areas where skin is oily. Not surprisingly, oily areas tend to have the largest pores!

This fragrance-free, sheer tinted primer (the color barely shows once on) has a somewhat thick but completely silky texture that softens immediately and sets almost as quickly to a powder-like finish. The silicone-heavy texture and powdery, weightless finish are what works to slightly fill in, smooth, and temporarily blur the appearance of large pores. The effect is impressive, but works best if you apply this primer over makeup—which can be tricky because doing so can mean rubbing off just-applied makeup. However, if you gently dab and blend, the results can be good, at least initially.

We noticed that in a matter of hours the skin where this primer was applied over makeup began looking a bit dry and dehydrated, likely due to this primer's finish. Interestingly, the absorbent finish didn't hold back excess shine as long as we hoped, but it worked to some extent (just not "all day" as Smashbox claims).

This can also work if applied under makeup, but if you apply sunscreen over it, the primer's smoothing, pore-filling effect is reduced. Since skipping the sunscreen isn't a wise option, you could opt to apply a foundation with sunscreen over this, but there's a catch: You'll need to experiment to see which foundation plays well with this primer's unique finish. You will likely find some foundations are compatible while others tend to ball up and look streaky. Definitely some trial and error involved! Liquid foundations have an edge here over those with cream-to-powder or powder foundations.

Ultimately, this is a good primer whose results are bound to be a polarizing. Some may love it, others not so much. It absolutely requires experimenting with different application methods and foundations to see which combination works best for you—but this deserves consideration for its pore-smoothing effect, even though it's not as long-lasting as claimed and isn't the product to rely on if you also need shine control.

  • Silky, easy-to-blend texture.
  • Weightless, pore-filling, skin texture-smoothing finish.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Works well with most liquid foundations.
  • Doesn't work to control shine all day as claimed.
  • The pore-reducing effect doesn't hold up over oily areas for more than a couple hours.
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

Say goodbye to visible pores! Prime to perfection, plus dramatically blur and reduce the appearance of pores instantly and for up to 8 hours.


Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Silica, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isododecane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Lauroyl Lysine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Methicone, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Water\Aqua\Eau, Coconut Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

Brand Overview

Smashbox At-A-Glance

Two interesting things about Smashbox are that its name refers to the early, accordion-style cameras and that Smashbox is first and foremost a Hollywood-based photography studio. The company's creators, Dean and Davis Factor, have their heritage in makeup—their great-grandfather was the legendary makeup artist Max Factor. The makeup, which debuted in 1996, began as a collection of trendy and fashion-forward colors coupled with a pleasingly neutral palette of foundations, concealers, and powders. Nowadays, there are exceptional options to choose from, but also some color products that fall short due to too sheer formulas or other issues noted in their respective reviews.

Where Smashbox has lived up to their Hollywood makeup pedigree is with a few standout formulas, including impressive lip products as well as excellent foundations, BB and CC cream options. Of course, the brand is also well-known for their range of makeup primers—whether that’s a necessary step is up for debate—but nevertheless they do offer a few products in this category that are worth considering.

For more information about Smashbox, now owned by Estee Lauder visit www.smashbox.com.

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