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A Comparison of the Best Foundation Primers

I admit and have admitted before that I don’t have a lot of experience with makeup because I didn’t have a lot of exposure to it growing up. I really didn’t start getting serious about makeup until my late college years (kinda sad I know). Before then I had dabbled some using drugstore foundations and wearing eye shadow or mascara every once in awhile. Once I got more serious about makeup I wasn’t making the connection between skin prep and makeup application. So face primers were something I never used much less heard about.

(This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure.) 

I added face primers to my makeup routine after a trip to Sephora several years ago on a foundation search. The salesperson went over the importance of creating a smooth base for your makeup. Some of the benefits include
  • Making pores look smaller
  • Helping to smooth out skin tone
  • Reducing shininess and oil
  • Giving your makeup a smooth base
  • Helping your makeup stay on longer even during warm weather

The first face primer I ever used was Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. You can get this primer for about $36 + tax. When I originally bought it, it was about $28 before tax.

What Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer claims

  • Blurs imperfections by diffusing the light that hits the skin
  • “Helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores”
  • Makes your “makeup look better and last longer”
  • Has a “silky, lightweight blend of vitamins A&E, grape seed extract and green tea”

What I like about Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

  • It doesn’t make my face feel oily
  • My makeup goes on smoothly
  • I can see how much product I have left in the tube
  • Despite being a one-ounce tube, the product lasts a while if you don’t overdo the application
  • The primer has no parabens, fragrances or sulfates
  • It can be worn without foundation and it made my skin look more even
  • It doesn’t cause my skin to breakout

What I don’t like about Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

The price. It’s gone up since I last purchased it and I couldn’t justify spending $36 on a small tube
It didn’t provide any mattifying powers. So my skin would start looking shiny at the end of the day

I stopped using the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer basically because the last time I went to Ulta I saw the price had increased several dollars from what I’d last paid. So I started looking at other primers in the store to see if I could find a primer just as good, but a little bit cheaper. What I found and decided to try was Laura Geller Spackle Mattifying Under Make-up Primer.

See the benefits of using a foundation primer and which two are the best. | arelaxedgal.com

What Laura Geller Spackle Mattifying Under Make-up Primer claims
  • “Minimizes the look of pores”
  • “Controls oil breakthrough”
  • Protects against environmental factors with vitamins A & E
  • Mattifies the skin

What I like about Laura Geller Spackle Mattifying Under Make-up Primer
  • My makeup goes on smoothly
  • It doesn’t feel oily or greasy
  • The tinted color doesn’t show on my skin
  • It’s a bit cheaper than Smashbox at $32 before tax and you get more for your money – two ounces versus one ounce
  • It doesn’t irritate or breakout my skin

What I don’t like about
Laura Geller Spackle Mattifying Under Make-up Primer
The tube isn’t see-through like Smashbox so I won’t be able to see how much is left in the tube

So which one is the best? For me Laura Geller slightly edges out Smashbox. I feel that the Laura Geller Spackle Mattifying Under Make-up Primer performs just as well for less money.

What foundation primer brand do you use?

P.S. You try out these two primers for yourself by using these links Laura Geller Primer, Smashbox Primer.


  1. I use the smash box primer as well, i love how smooth it makes my face feel.

    1. Nice. Do you use the photo finish primer or another one?

      Thanks for reading Tomes!


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