Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil – Second Impressions

When you have dry skin, applying make-up (particularly base products) becomes a bit of a battle.  For the last few months my skin has been drier than a cracker.  We’re talking dry patches, tightness and scales.  It’s been real ugly.  My usual favourite primer (Too Faced Hangover, if you’re interested) has not been cutting it.

 

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When I saw the new Photo Finish Primer Oil from Smashbox, I was very intrigued.  Initially I wondered how an oil could possibly be a good idea.  Surely it would be too heavy and disgusting to wear under make-up? (I use Almond oil sometimes as part of my skincare routine, but only at night, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to get away with wearing it under make-up).  I couldn’t leave it alone though, and had to have a little play when I was in Boots.  And then… I bought it.

 

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Surprisingly, this Primer Oil is not heavy or disgusting.  It’s much lighter than a normal oil, and it sinks into the skin like magic.  In fact, this is what made me part with 28 squid in the end. I put a generous amount on my hand when shopping, and by the time I had finished talking myself out of buying all the Smashbox it has disappeared. It had soaked in, with barely a trace.  Now, £28 won’t be a lot to some, but to me it kind of is a lot for one product. Especially when I really didn’t know anything about it.

 

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One drop of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil when first applied. It’s runny and has a thin consistency.

 

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This is the Primer Oil when rubbed in lightly

 

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This is the Primer Oil a minute or two after rubbing in.

 

Smashbox actually suggest that the Photo Finish Primer Oil should be used as part of your skincare routine, both morning and night.  I have simply used it as an extra step before applying make-up, because that’s when I need it most.  And I have to say, after using it a couple of times,  I am most impressed.  I apply it after cleansing, serum-ing and moisturising, and give it a couple of minutes to soak in.  That’s all it takes for the magic to happen. I should probably point out here that I like a dewy finish; matte is not my friend.

What I find I am left with, after using the oil, is a smooth, hydrated base for my foundation.  Dry patches be gone!  After such a long time of hating the way my skin looks with make-up on, it is so nice to not to cringe when I look in the mirror anymore.  Despite liking a dewy finish, I really don’t like a sticky, tacky feeling (who does though?).  When using the Smashbox oil, I find that it is the perfect amount of hydration.  Dew without the shine, if you will.

 

Of course, this is only my second impression, so I am hoping that there won’t be any nasty effects. My pores have a habit of becoming clogged when I overdo the moisturising products, so fingers crossed that this won’t happen with the Smashbox Primer Oil.  I’ll let you know how I get on after a few more uses – be sure to check back for updates.

 

 

 

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Easy Squeezy Make-Up When Time is Short

Usually I am an all or nothing make-up wearer.  Because I don’t have the time for make-up every day, I like to do it properly when I do do it (doodoo. *chuckle*).  Sometimes though, for whatever reason, things just go awry.  Do you ever have days where you have approximately 20 seconds to get ready and out the door? I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Sunday was one of these days for me, and I thought I would share my tried and tested favourites for an easy make-up look.

 

 

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I don’t know about you, but when I have limited time, the last thing I want to be doing is fiddling around with new products that I have never tried before.  Routine and consistency is key in these emergency situations! These are my top picks for a quick and natural look, when I have under ten minutes to get my ready-to-be-seen-in-public face on.

I always start with a moisturising primer, like the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer.  While this primer doesn’t increase the lasting power of my base, it does add a much-needed hydrating layer to my dry skin.  It’s not the cheapest, but I would repurchase this over and over again.  I just love it, and a little goes a long way.  £27 – here. 

 

Despite having the largest concealer collection in the history of the world, I can count on one hand the few that I actually rate.  In times of need, my top pick is the Maybelline Fit Me concealer (I use no. 15, and I also have no. 10, which is actually darker than 15,weirdly).  It is an easy to use, affordable concealer.  It doesn’t cake, or settle into fine line, and it does an admirable job of covering dark circles and blemishes.  Not bad for £5.99 – here.

 

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I don’t bother setting with powder when I’m in a rush, because I can’t stand the disappointment quite frankly.  I always think it will be a good idea, then feel frustrated when it ages me by 30 years. Bronzer, highlighter and blusher go on to mostly naked skin.  I don’t know what it is about using a palette, rather than individual pans, it just feels as though it is saving time.  I’m pretty sure it makes no difference whatsoever, but whatever.  Recently, I have been loving this W7 Bronze and Glow duo.  The highlighter in particular is gorgeous.  The bronzer is very subtle (not a bad thing) and looks a little shimmery in the pan, but it isn’t glittery on the skin.  The best part? It is only £2.98 – here.

 

For blusher, I gravitate towards the Clinique Cheek Pop in Melon Pop, when I am rushing. The colour is absolutely gorgeous (read about my love affair with peach blushers here) and because it is very subtle, it is perfect for a quick sweep on the cheeks. Any more colour, and it would be too scary to use in a hurry.

 

 

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My favourite palette of all time is the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.  It was my first high-end palette, so it has a special place in my collection anyway, but it’s not just that.  The colours are perfect for both natural, and more intense looks.  There is a good mix of matte and shimmer, and cool and warm toned shades.  The chocolate smell is divine, and makes it a pleasure to use.  When I am rushing, I definitely don’t overdo the eyeshadow, and I tend to stick to the warm browns in the Chocolate Bar, with a shimmer on the brow bone if I’m feeling fancy. If you don’t have one yet (er, why not?) get it here.

The Maybelline Big Eyes mascara is a well-loved member of my hoard.  It has two wands; a normal one, and a tiny one for the bottom lashes.  The formula is easy to work with, which makes it one of my favourites for slicking on in a rush.

 

Finally, lips.  I have a bit of a thing for tinted lip balms at the moment.  I love the ease of them, and the moisturising properties, when my lips are dry and cracked.  The Physicians Formula Super BB All-In-One Cheek and Lip Beauty Balm in Berry Pink is my current fave.  It is a pretty, pale pink and it is easy to pop on as I run out the door. No mirror required.  Physicians Formula is not easily available in the UK; I purchased this from Amazon (here).

 

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I can slap all this on in around ten minutes, maybe even less if I am not interrupted (which is rare). It is quick, fresh and perfect make-up for busy mums, or just busy anyones.

 

What do you think? If you’re rushing, do you have favourites that you come back to?

 

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Getting my Glow on: How I Achieve Dewy Skin

Regardless of the latest trends in make-up, I will always favour a dewy finish to my skin.  A few years ago I decided to renounce all powder products.  I stopped powdering after concealing, and with the exception of eyeshadow would not let anything other than a cream or liquid within 5 metres of my face.  Over time, however, I have reluctantly reintroduced a setting powder.  Glowing skin is still my goal though, and there are several products that I consistently reach for to give me more glow than a sweaty, oiled-up mackerel.

 

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Call me boring, but I have blogged about several of these products before, there are a couple of newbies too, though.

 

Firstly, after moisturising, I will slather plenty of MAC Strobe CreamThis thick pearly white luminiser is super moisturising, and leaves a pretty sheen to the skin.  An alternative to the Strobe Cream is the L’Oréal Lumi Magique Primer, which gives a similar effect, but is much thinner in consistency.   Next up is my favourite BB cream of all time; Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, I have been using this since last spring, and my love for it is still going strong.  It offers the perfect amount of coverage for a normal day, as well as being hydrating.  Next up I use the Stila Perfecting Concealer. Apparently I was a panda in another life, and my dark circles  seem to get darker by the day.  I also have the driest undereyes EVER, and struggle with concealers caking and looking generally disgusting.  This Stila concealer is one of the better ones I’ve tried, and is high coverage, without being drying.

 

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I will skip a setting powder, but will sweep a generous amount of the Revlon Highlighting Palette.  This rose coloured powder has a hint of shimmer, and gives a healthy glow without being glittery.  The pinks in this little palette are also perfect for a bit of subtle colour on the eyelids, when I don’t want to go full-on smoky.

I have a few cream/liquid blushers, but my favourites are this H&M Cream Blusher, and the Bourjois Aqua Blush. I almost prefer cream blushers over powder blushers, and when I’m going for a glowing finish, then I will usually reach for one of these lovely pinky creams.

 

laura geller gellar highlighter gilded honey

 

To really get that glow going, my first choice of highlighter is – of course – the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Highlighter in Gilded Honey.  When I finally got my hands on this highlighter I was beyond excited.  My feelings haven’t waned, and if I could only keep one highlighter from my collection Gilded Honey would be the one.

As if all that glow wasn’t enough, I will finish with the Pixi Glow Mist.  This spray looks pretty unappealing – it’s quite oily – but to give a dewy finish it really can’t be beaten.  For me it’s an essential step, except for on the hottest summer day, when it can be a little too much – even for my parched skin.

 

After all that, my skin will be left looking luminous, dewy and healthy.  Despite the number of products used, it is actually a fairly quick process too, and I can slap all that on and be ready to go in ten minutes.  Assuming I have somewhere to go that is….

 

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Having a L’Oréal Moment

 

Believe it or not, these are the only L’Oréal make-up items that I own.  Just three. I’m not sure why, L’Oréal have never done anything to offend me, I just never think to check their products when I’m in the mood for some spending.

 

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I had been eyeing up the L’Oréal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer (£7.93 here) for a while before I purchased it in the summer.  As a brightening primer, this one is the best I have ever tried.  I would compare it to the Mac Strobe Cream, but it is less heavy and thick.  When first applied, it is a little scary, as it leaves a white shiny cast across the skin.  Give it a minute though, and it settles and gives just enough glow.  It can be used alone, but I prefer it under make-up to leave my skin glowing and fabulous.

I am a serial mascara and concealer purchaser.  It simply isn’t a shopping trip unless I buy one or the other, sometimes both.  The L’Oréal True Match Concealer (£4.80 here,  or £6.99 here) is just lovely.  It offers good coverage, but isn’t in the least bit drying.   It is the perfect balance of wet, but not runny, and blending it out is ridiculously easy.  My only little grumble would be the colour selection.  I usually go for the lightest shade in a concealer (or second lightest, occasionally) and this one only has five to choose from.  Vanilla is the lightest (the one I have) and it could do with being a little paler, in my opinion.  This can be solved by adding a brightening concealer over the top, but not everyone is going to want to fiddle about doing that every day, I’m sure.

As mascaras go, the L’Oréal False Lash Architect Mascara is up there with the best in my collection.  When it comes to mascara, I am supremely fussy (I really should have named this blog The Mascara Diaries, it would be more fitting), but I actually really like the False Lash Architect (£10.99 here).  It’s not clumpy, and it adds a decent amount of length, without weighing down the lashes too much.

Now that I have dipped my toe into the L’Oréal pond, I may well be making some more purchases.  Next on my list? The L’Oréal Color Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colours – £8.99 look gorgeous; these Infallible Eye Shadows – £6.99; and despite the mixed reviews, I am intrigued by the Color Riche La Palette Nude Eyeshadow Palette Rose – £14.99.  FYI Boots have 3 for 2 on selected items at the moment, so it would be rude not to get all three.

What are your top L’Oréal purchases, if you have any?

 

**This post is NOT sponsored by L’Oréal, or Boots. Sadly.**

 

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Primers – My Choices for Fabulous Skin

A couple of years ago I had never even heard of makeup primers, and now they are everywhere.  Primers are exactly what they say; products to prime the skin before applying makeup.  I can’t pretend I have tried them all, but I have sampled a fair few.  Here are my favourites.

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Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water:  I was full of disdain for this primer when I first tried it.  I had heard good things so I thought I would give it a go.   To begin with I was very disappointed; it doesn’t behave as I thought a primer should.  It doesn’t conceal pores, or even out skin tone.  What it does do is act as a refresher.  I like to use it after moisturiser, and before my other primers of choice, (keep reading for those…) for a blast of hydration.  It is also lovely as a little pick-me-up during the day.

 

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I always follow this with Too Faced Hangover Primer.  This primer feels very much like a moisturiser, it’s a light, non-silicone-y lotion.  It contains all sorts of wonderful ingredients like coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers, which apparently work together to boost hydration and smooth the skin.  It might sound a bit too good to be true, but this primer is just lush.  It is also vegan and paraben free.  I love it so much that I am feeling a bit nervous about coming to the end of my current tube.  It isn’t readily available in the UK (I bought mine on Amazon from a US Based seller) and although Too Faced do ship here, it would cost £22 for the primer, and almost another £20 for shipping.  A little bit steep for this Hangover fan.

 

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On days when my pores are looking a little obvious, or when I want a really long lasting flawless finish, I will use the L’Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream This is a tinted silicone type primer that ‘blurs’ the pores on my nose and leaves me with smoother looking skin. It doesn’t ‘roll up’ like some products can, it just leaves the best possible base for foundation or BB cream.

Using three products may seem like a lot of fiddling around, but the whole routine only takes a couple of minutes, and it is definitely worth it for longer lasting makeup and (almost!) flawless skin.

 

What is your primer of choice?  Do you have more than one?

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