A primer in the form of water isn't really as bizarre as it might initially sound. In fact, it's a concept with which we're already quite familiar, so I can't really call this a gimmick. The original Photo Finish primer was created back in 2000, and although it's still something of a cult product, it's not quite an original one these days. Competitors have caught up big time and there are dozens of primers out there.
Smasbhox Photo Finish Primer Water*, as a reworking is again, perhaps not a 100% original product when setting sprays are now so enduringly popular, but that's kind of just where the beauty market is these days. I really appreciate how Smashbox have taken their Photo Finish concept and modernised it a little. The trend for 'hyper-real' skin means that we're all obsessed with making our foundation look as natural and non-powdery as possible, and this spray totally does that job.
This can be used both before and after applying make-up; I tend to do both. You could do the same with almost any setting spray - especially the likes of MAC's Fix+. Urban Decay even do a spray specifically for underneath makeup, B6, which I blogged about here. The Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water claims to give hydration and radiance when used on bare skin - it's also free from silicones, oils and alcohol, which makes me far more willing to employ this for regular use and not just heavy-duty situations.
I don't find that spraying this before my foundation makes my face too slippy or anything. The bottle gives off a really fine mist and you don't need a lot. Similarly, it works really well at taking down that powdery look as a final step. It makes me look radiant and my foundation looks far better teamed with this. I am naturally quite oily so am always looking to balance my 'radiance' with, well, greasiness, and this stuff is actually a brilliant tool if you've a similar skin type to me. It definitely prolongs the wear time of my makeup and it doesn't oxidise when set in this manner. If you're dry or dehydrated, I think you'd also get on well with the Primer Water because of the hydrating ingredients.
A lot of you might be wondering about how this compares to the Urban Decay range of setting sprays. They're around the same price (Urban Decay is €28, this is €30). I still love my All Nighter spray but have definitely been reaching for the Smashbox more of late. This is partially just because I wanted to test it rigorously before writing this review, but I really enjoy how it hydrates and sets my make-up all at once. Overall, I'd say this is a serious competitor to the Urban Decay range and I totally recommend it, but it also won't stop me from trying more of the Urban Decay sprays in the future.