Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water and Primer Oil review

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water and Primer Oil review

You know what they say, oil and water just don’t mix. BUT in the case of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil and Primer Water, that isn’t exactly the case. These two rockstar products work together so well, you’ll wonder what you ever did without them.

Smashbox Primer Water Primer oil review 2

The newest additions to the iconic Photo Finish Primer line both serve different purposes, one helping prepare skin for what comes next and one to help set and protect your makeup throughout the day.

Smashbox Primer Oil

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil ($49 CAD)
Now you’ve probably used face oil before to help hydrate and balance your skin, and I generally use it at night because let’s be real… sometimes oil before foundation just ends up looking messy. But the Smashbox oil addresses that! It smoothes the texture of the skin to create a flawless canvas for foundation and it absorbs quickly so you aren’t left over with a greasy film on the skin.

You’ll notice the look of fine lines and dry or crepe-y skin is diminished and your skin will just glow! The formula includes lots of lightweight oils like jojoba, arabica, and argan oils as well as chamomile and lavender oils to help soothe the skin. This is the perfect first step of makeup application in colder months; I noticed my makeup goes on flawless with no dry, flaky patches.

Smashbox Primer Water

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water ($37 CAD)
This lightweight primer is oil-free and silicone-free and can be used a lot like MAC’s Fix+ spray. It’s got lots of electrolytes to help keep skin hydrated and makeup fresh throughout the day without making your skin feel dry or stiff. You can use this as your “prime” primer if you have really hydrated skin, just spray all over and then apply foundation. But if you have combo or dry skin like I do, this is a great interim step throughout the day to set makeup or freshen it up.

Smashbox Primer Water Primer oil demo

For the look above, I started with Smashbox Primer Oil then continued with my foundation application (wearing Diorskin Forever Perfect Makeup Fluid Foundation). The oil gives the matte foundation a bit of a dewy glow to it. I then finished up my makeup (wearing Zoeva Cocoa Blend shadow palette!) and sprayed Smashbox Primer Water to set! My foundation (and brows) stayed all day without fading or becoming streaky.


Smashbox Primer Water Primer oil review 3
Smashbox’s Primer Oil and Primer Water are amazing alternatives to regular cream or gel primers, and both can be worked into your existing routine easily! Try the Primer Oil on split-ends, cuticles, elbows and clavicle for a more dewy look.



*Press sample



  • I have to try these, I never tried liquid primers!

    xx, A Little Dose of Makeup

    • I love the Primer Oil for my dry(ish) and more mature skin. I used the Primer Water on its own during the warmer months and it kept my skin SO SOFT!

  • I have a sample of the water but I’ve yet to try! I’ve heard the ingredients are near identical to MAC Charged Water

  • A primer oil sounds so cool!! I imagine this working really well with more matte foundations, but how about dewy ones?

    • I tried it with MUFE Ultra HD, which is a bit dewy, and it just made it easier to apply (I have dry skin). I wouldn’t suggest the Primer Oil + dewy foundation for anyone with oily skin though, just the Primer Water.

  • reneeclementine

    oooh I just got both of these and am excited to try them!!

  • These sound really interesting! I’m not sure the primer oil would work well with my combo/oily skin, but the primer water does.

  • I used the Primer Water and love it! I’ll def have to try the primer oil since I notice regular primer doesn’t help with the slightly dry patches that I have

  • Deidre C

    Do you apply the primer oil with a moisturizer?