First and foremost, the oily greasy feel of the primer is a HUGE turn-off. I have oily/combination skin so I'm paranoid about that as is. After a couple of hours, I had an oilslick on my face and my makeup was pretty much gone. It does NOTHING for me. :(
Naturally, this is just MY experience with this primer... but this is the worst make-up primer I have ever used and would not repurchase. It does what a primer is supposed to (primes your skin for foundation and helps it apply more smoothly), but Photo Finish irritates my skin more than other primers I have used. Most primers have similar ingredients, so I don't know why this one causes breakouts while others I have used do not. I'm glad I only purchased the sample size of this at Sephora instead of the full-sized, because throwing it out would have been a total waste. I heard good things about this primer, so it was a bit disappointing to have it not work for me. Guess I will stick with Paula Dorf's Perfect Primer in Normal/Oily, becuz that one seems to be the best I have ever used for my skin type.
I have been on a mission to find my HG primer and although I resisted this one, it has turned out to be my favorite so far. It has a nice consistency going on and is quite nicely moisturizing (not too much like some). I leave it for a couple of minutes before applying foundation and I find it has the best results by far in terms of making makeup last. I've tried lorac, stila, trish mcevoy, laura mercier, clarins, and benefit that gal. I actually like that gal for its brightening effect but it also does preserve mu too long. BE primetime is similar to smashbox but again, not as good in terms of preserving mu (and I did half face experiments for these two). I am 42, normal skin with occasional breakout, nc30 in winter and olive. I have two backups right now :).
Down sides: don't like the glass packaging because of potential breakage and find its hard to get the last dregs out of the bottle. Nothing major but thats why I lowered marks for packaging.
I like this stuff. It makes my makeup glide on so smoothly, but I have found it clogs my pores but not so badly that my skincare regimine doesn't take care of it. I am so not fond of the bottle it comes in. There is so much product that will get stuck in there, such a waste.
*UPDATE* I discovered my face looks tired by the end of the day. I was on a biz trip and forgot my primer and it looked better! This stuff seems to settle into all the fine lines and pores which of course pulls my foundation in there too.
I'd never used a primer before this one (do I don't have a lot to compare it to), but I REALLY love this. As other reviewers have stated, it really helps to smooth out the face and create a great "canvas"!
I tried a sample of this product that came free with one of my Sephora purchases. It is awesome! It goes on like a gel but ends up feeling powdery and smooth and makes a perfect base for my foundation. My makeup went on extremely evenly and the primer made my skin look way more clear than it actually was. Also, it helps fill in fine lines or uneven texture and prevents creases. It was so incredible that I wore it at my wedding. My pictures came out amazing. I would strongly recommend this to everyone.
I'll start by saying foundation primers don't convince me. However, it doesn't stop me using this product every day because I just love how it feels on the skin. Smooths large pores really well if that's something you suffer from, and foundation glides on better after using it.
I don't know whether your skin actually looks any different if you use it, but it certainly makes application nicer. Whether that makes it worth the money is up to you. To someone looking for a primer for whatever reason, this is one I'd recommend, however I wouldn't say it's exactly a must-have. More of a nice-to-have.
I have to say the one positive thing about this product is my foundation looked and went on flawlessly. But the pump blows and after a week my pores were so plugged I couldn't figure out what was going on, this stuff REALLY plugged my pores up quickly, I could never use this again :-(
Got this in the sample size/travel size section at Ulta the other day. I've used it a few times and I've had good results. It helps my liquid base (physician's formula) stay on well. I like that it leaves my skin with a soft feel. I rub my face constantly when I'm frustrated or bored, and I don't even realize I am doing it--and this product has helped my base stay on longer. As a note, I'd recommend buying the $10 sample size that comes in a plastic tube, rather than the full price, full size product. Why? My friend used to buy the full sized product, and there was always some of the photofinish stuck in the bottom of the glass container. The plastic tube is atleast something that can be cut so that the very last bit can be used (hey, i'm on a budget! a girl has got to be money wise....)
Although this is a good product, I like the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch better. If you have oilier skin than the Smashbox may be the way to go. When getting the Smashbox, go to Sephora and get the travel size. It's a better value and easier to dispense. Plus, it's good to use for travel and the plastic tube won't break.
Clarins is less greasy on me. It really does make your pores less noticable and also evens out your skin tone. My foundation just glides on. The Smashbox is very similar, but I think it has more silicone in it.