Saturday, May 06, 2006

Product Review: Smashbox Blend Foundation Primer

Why on earth would someone use a $40 primer under an $8 drugstore foundation?

That's a good question. It's the same question I asked myself when I walked into Sephora the other day to re-purchase this primer.*

A lot of people might think that a primer is a useless product that just tacks extra minutes on your make-up routine and extra debt on your credit cards. These people, from my point of view, are mostly right. Sure, I don't need a primer. But I don't need nice-smelling conditioners, or perfumes, or a quadrillion different lip glosses either. And yet here I am!

Smashbox's clear Photo Finish Foundation Primer has been around forever, and people generally love it. It fills in fine lines, makes pores look smaller, and makes skin smooth, prepping it for foundation. The "Blend" version is part of their Color Correcting line, which promises to do everything the original does, and then some. This line comes in "Adjust", a green primer that supposedly counteracts redness; "Balance", a purple primer that claims to brighten sallow or yellow skintones; and "Blend", the apricot coloured one that I use.

Blend is for those of us who want to even out skin tone and minimize the appearance of veins, spots, or dark circles. The orangey gook looks kind of oompa-loompa scary in the bottle, but it goes on clear. It feels satiny smooth, but it's less slick than the original clear primer, and a bit less thick as well. It is mildly scented (vaguely citrusy?) and I find the smell quite pleasant. As for the minimizing spots and dark circles... it does seem to sort of "diffuse" the imperfections a bit, but you still need concealer. (Well, I still need concealer.)

But the best thing about the primer has got to be the way it makes my foundation look. I've taken to using a foundation brush, which, combined with the primer, makes the foundation go on soooo smoothly! Makeup just kind of glides on when I use the primer, and I find that I need less product to cover my face. My pores also look diminished, although I wasn't really too worried about that to begin with. If you have very dry or flakey skin though, you'll still need to use a good moisturizer underneath. The primer makes skin smooth, but won't add extra moisture or oil.

Make up seems to stay in place better & longer as well, and under-eye concealer goes on much much nicer. But, while Blend is a great primer and I like using it for special occasions, or for those days when I want to look really really great (um... so, everyday?), it's not like it'll make or break my look. So if the budgetary situation becomes such that I can no longer afford to buy my monthly stash of beef jerky and Red Rain (my appalling dietary habits are fodder for an entirely different post), I will absolutely stop buying and using Blend. It's a super product, but I don't need it.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure if Blend really does everything I just said it does, or if know if this is just some kinda psycho-placebo-effect . I might just really want it to work to justify my spending for it. Oh! I know! I'll go put the primer on half my face, put foundation on, and then see which side looks better at the end of the day! I'm going out drinking tonight, so the alcohol will help me be all unbiased and impartial about it. People generally have excellent judgment and are unbiased and impartial when they're in a drunken haze.


[EDIT: For my review update and the results of the Great Half-Faced-Primer Test, go here!]

* To be fair, I bought the trial size bottle**, which is only about $20. It's lasted a couple months so far.

** Actually, you should REALLY get the trial size instead of the full size. The full size one comes in those glass pump bottles as depicted above. They're awful... you can't reach the bottom third of the stuff, and the pump spout gets all gunky. Plus the bottle is heavy and awkward for travel. Ounce per ounce, the trial and full sizes cost exactly the same. Trial size for the win!!



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