5 Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Dupes For A Flawless Base

Many of us reach for our foundation and concealer right after moisturizing, but if you're not priming your face, you're skipping an important step. If you're wondering whether or not you need a makeup primer, beauty experts swear by it. "Primer creates a smooth canvas for your makeup. It also keeps your makeup in place, keeps it from moving, [and] can keep it matte or luminous," makeup artist Jamie Greenberg shared with Good Housekeeping.


One of the most popular primers is the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, which retails for $42 at Sephora or $37.13 on Amazon. Used by makeup lovers and celebrity makeup artists everywhere, it not only promises to smooth your skin but also nourishes it with vitamins A and E. If you're unable to get your hands on the Photo Finish Primer or if the $40 range is a bit too expensive for you at the moment, there are other brands you can try. Fortunately, there's no shortage of primers on the market, and there are a few alternatives to try that are just as good as Smashbox's beloved version.

1. NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer

For those looking for a budget-friendly primer very similar to Smashbox's, the NYX Studio Perfect Photo-Loving Primer comes very close. It's also silicone-based, and you have the option of buying the clear formula or the green and lavender shades to color-correct the skin. It's only $14 on the NYX website and just under $10 on Amazon for the clear and lavender, while the green shade is $11.95.


One verified buyer on Amazon wrote, "It's not Smashbox but it's damn friggin close." Another reviewer shared, "I have used Smashbox FOREVER and I love it but it is expensive. I saw reviews for this primer and thought that I would just try it out (the price is better)." YouTuber Amea May tried both at the same time and shared that Smashbox Photo Finish Primer felt thicker and looked more matte, but when applied to the face, they looked the same. Both primers are 1 oz, so you're definitely getting the most bang for your buck with NYX's version.

2. Wet n Wild Photofocus Matte Face Primer

Wet n Wild has been a fan-fave budget-friendly makeup company for decades and it continues to churn out products similar to more expensive brands. Its Photofocus Face Primer in a matte formula is no different. While it's super cheap at under $5.50 on Amazon and Target, this primer has a particularly luxe ingredient. According to the product description, the formula contains white sapphire so you can feel like a high-roller without spending all the dough. It's made of both water and silicone so you can use any foundation with either ingredient.


Many reviewers on Target shared that the Wet n Wild Photofocus Face Primer is indeed matte, which is ideal for oily skin. "Love the matte. I think it works great with my skin. I don't see a lot of foundation/powder while wearing this. It lays beautifully," one user wrote. Some complained about the packaging and stated that a lot of product spilled out, but for such a great price we think it's worth a try.

3. Maybelline Facestudio Master Prime

Maybe she's born with poreless skin, maybe it's Maybelline. This dupe is so similar to Smashbox's primer that even the packaging looks nearly identical. However, the price point difference is huge with Maybelline's going for $11.99 on Maybelline.com and $9.99 at Target. The primer comes in five options, with the Blur + Smooth version being the most similar to Smashbox Photo Finish Primer.


According to Musings of a Muse, who tried the Blur + Pore Minimize tube, the primer is lighter than Photo Finish. The formula, which is water-based and contains silicone, helped blur fine lines and did a good job smoothing out the skin for foundation application. It has a clear, gel-like texture, which glides easily on the skin. While many gave the primer rave reviews on Maybelline's website, some complained that it didn't do anything for their skin, while others said their foundation looked patchy. As a drugstore product, we don't expect miracles but many thought it was a decent product for the price.

4. e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer

There's a reason e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer won Glam's 2023 Best Budget Buys. At just $10 at Ulta and Walmart, it's brilliant for any babe on a budget. Sure, the packaging is small at 0.811 fl oz, but a little goes a long way. Like the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, e.l.f.'s formula has no color, which makes it ideal for all skin tones. A bonus ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which is great for hydrating and restoring your skin. According to e.l.f., for best results, apply their primer with your fingertips to let your natural body warmth melt the product onto your skin and wait 30 seconds before applying makeup.


Health and Beauty Girl used e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer for a week and was pleased with the results. "Even when I wear some of my inexpensive cream makeup products that usually wear off my face quite quickly, [they] last all day when I use Elf's Power Grip Primer," the blogger wrote. "This primer did wonders for my makeup. I love how there's no residue from the product and [it] dries right away," a reviewer wrote on the company's website. Others noted the primer's sticky texture but claimed that was what kept their makeup fresh all day.

5. Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Mattifying Face Primer

Elizabeth Mott's Thank Me Later Mattifying Face Primer is the priciest option on our list at $15.49 on the brand's website, but it promises to be waterproof and sweatproof, which is a leg up from the other primers. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer claims to be only water-resistant, so if you need that extra barrier from water or sweat, Elizabeth Mott's primer is it. The silicone-based primer is lightweight and gives a matte finish to the skin. If you're oily, this one is for you as it contains a powder that fights shine.


Unlike Smashbox's formula, Elizabeth Mott's primer has a creamy texture and comes out of the tube white. However, there's no color deposited on the skin once applied. YouTube user Shana J Ray tested it out and did see a difference in her skin's texture. "It makes my skin feel really soft and smooth," she stated, adding that it didn't feel "cakey or clumpy." Many buyers gave the product 5 stars on the company's site so we think this is one promising primer.