I really am all about the base, especially when it comes to choosing the right foundation and primer. A good foundation is just like good underwear (you know what I mean); it creates the base for everything else you’re putting on that day. It should fit well, it should make you feel good, and other people shouldn’t be able to see it. Unless you want them to, that is.
Anyway, this is how I approach my search for the perfect primer and foundation, and this is where Smashbox comes in. I found myself in a little bit of a makeup rut recently, and decided there was no sense in buying the same old products over and over again if I just wasn’t happy with the results.
I turned to my good friend Google and came across Smashbox’s vast array of primers. The most popular primer they do is this one, the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. At £25.50, it’s really not cheap at all, but the fact it was recommended by beauty bloggers and others who have oily/combination skin like I do was enough to persuade me to give it a try.
I headed down to Boots on Guildford High Street and spoke to the lovely lady at the Smashbox counter (whose makeup was beautifully done, by the way), and she raved about this primer as all beauty brand representatives usually do. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. It glides on like silk and creates the most gorgeous base over which to apply foundation. It really does have the smoothest, velvety texture on the skin and feels completely weightless.
It helps, of course, that the primer is clear so it can be used all year round by ladies and gents alike with skin tones across the spectrum. In fact, if you’re feeling confident in the warmer months and only want to banish a little bit of shine, then this could easily be worn on its own just to give a smoother finish to your skin.
The real test is, of course, whether or not this primer actually holds the foundation on your skin. Well, the answer is yes, yes it does! I was really chuffed to see that when I went to remove my makeup at the end of the day, my foundation was mostly still in place.
But of course, primer can only work its magic if the foundations it’s paired with is up to scratch, too. I had been using a lovely Bobbi Brown one, but it just wasn’t matte enough for my skin, so when it ran out I did a bit more online research to see what was recommended for oily skin. Having loved my new primer, I decided to have a look at Smashbox’s Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation.
I headed back to Boots and spoke to the same lovely lady, who popped this on me in store. I really loved the feeling of it, and so decided to take the plunge again, despite the £29 price tag. Well, once again I’m not disappointed!
There’s a definite tightening feeling after applying this, as if it’s lifting my skin a little. I’m not sure if it stays on for a whole 15 hours, but it certainly has much more staying power than many other foundations I’ve tried. The coverage is buildable, but I found that a really smooth finish can be achieved by using a makeup sponge rather than a foundation brush.
If I had any criticisms, then it would be that it does stick to drier areas of skin a little, and as I’m prone to some dry patches, it can emphasize these rather than mask them.
The other issue I found is that it just isn’t quite light enough. I am very fair skinned and I always have been, but as you can see above and below, the lightest shade for this foundation, 1.1, is a little too yellow toned for me. This is such a shame as I love most other things about this product, even down to the packaging, but I really want a seamless appearance when it comes to my foundation; I don’t want my neck or chest to be a different colour to my face.
You can see in these two photos that it does blend in to be a bit lighter than you may imagine at first, but it still isn’t quite my colour. Please come out with a 1.0 shade, Smashbox! Fortunately I have a lighter foundation which I can blend with this one to make it a touch lighter, but it’s still not quite the same as having a foundation which looks like your own skin.
All in all I am really impressed with my first foray into the world of Smashbox, which I had only heard of before thanks to the fabulous makeup tutorials by Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo. The brand prides itself on all its products being ‘photo ready’ and tested by being photographed to make sure there’s minimal flashback, and so far I agree that Smashbox makeup photographs beautifully.
However, I’m after makeup which looks good in person and in photographs. If only the foundation were a little lighter, I think Smashbox would have ticked all the boxes.
Have you ever tried Smashbox? I’d love to hear your experiences and/or recommendations for oily skin!