12.02.2014
1697
Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
1 fl. oz. for $42
Expert Rating
Community Rating (14)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
pH:>4.00
Tested on animals:No

True to its 100% accurate name, this foundation primer is "more than primer". A large part of the "more than" is the inclusion of anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid. Present in a 2% concentration formulated at pH to ensure exfoliation occurs, this is a great way to get the benefits of BHA (salicylic acid) while prepping skin for makeup.

The lightweight, silky lotion doesn't have the familiar serum-like texture many other primers, including Smashbox's, do. It sets to a soft matte finish and, thanks to its mix of silicones, forms a nice base on which to apply foundation. In short, this fragrance-free primer is ideal for oily or combination skin prone to breakouts.

Beyond the 2% salicylic acid, this also contains antioxidant vitamin E and a couple of soothing agents. The cinnamon extract (listed by its Latin name of Cinnamomum zelanicum) is slight cause for concern due to cinnamon's irritant potential when applied to skin, but the amount is likely too low to be problematic. All told, despite the higher price, this is a nice twist on primers—and the exfoliation plus blemish-busting from the salicylic acid is a nice bonus!

Pros:
  • Preps skin for makeup as it fights breakouts and blackheads.
  • Smooth matte finish won't make oily skin feel greasy or slick.
  • Boosts skin with antioxidant vitamin E and soothing agents.
  • Fragrance-free.
Cons:
  • If you're already using a good serum and BHA exfoliant each morning, you don't need this product, too.
Community Reviews
Claims
A perfecting primer that treats breakouts, provides oil-free hydration, and keeps skin clearer over time. Photo Finish Primer contains two percent salicylic acid to combat even the toughest blemishes and keep skin looking camera-ready. The breathable formula can be layered under foundation without the worry of breakouts.
Ingredients
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
Brand Overview

Smashbox At-A-Glance

Strengths: A unique Anti-Shine product that is a must-try if you have very oily skin; mostly excellent foundations with a neutral range of shades; improved powder eyeshadows and lip color products; well-constructed makeup brushes.

Weaknesses: A few products that are better in concept than execution.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Smashbox is 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, call (888) 763-1361 or visit www.smashbox.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

See all reviews for this brand

Smashbox At-A-Glance

Strengths: A unique Anti-Shine product that is a must-try if you have very oily skin; mostly excellent foundations with a neutral range of shades; improved powder eyeshadows and lip color products; well-constructed makeup brushes.

Weaknesses: A few products that are better in concept than execution.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Smashbox is 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, call (888) 763-1361 or visit www.smashbox.com.