I received this from Beauty Bulletin in July as part of my second Product Review Club and few things could make me happier.
First impression: you need more than a pea-size for your whole face. Or maybe I just have a big face?
Turns out, a pea-sized amount (not mini-Astro-sized) is really ALL you need per application. But DON'T expect state-of-the-art SPF 20 sun-protection from that amount of product. Y'all know I'm the Sunscreen Drill Sergeant (SDS sounds like a disease), so do I really need to complete this sentence differently? Do I? DO I?
I used this every day for just over a week when I first received it, and (most importantly to me) I had no negative reactions. Two months down the line, still no negative reaction. I only whip it out for special occasions, though. Having a "semi-sensitive, reactive skin type" this is always my first concern.
This primer appears translucent and peachy, and I got excited that it may have a brightening effect (however slight), but it applies diaphanously. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 20 with Dermaxyl™ Complex is a semi-matte primer. It gives a very "soft" finish and is not mattifying to the point of looking dry, but not "glowy" enough to be considered "radiant". It is hydrating, but if you're specifically looking for hydration, perhaps you should try something else. Since Smashbox have a primer for everything (except your walls), you could try their Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer, or you could address your hydration needs with skin care products.
I've used this on it's own and with makeup; there isn't a noticeable difference in the appearance of my skin (in the mirror) after application, but photos say otherwise - pores and fine lines are vaguely blurred and softened. When applying makeup, I only needed about half the amount of BB cream I usually apply, for more or less the same coverage. My makeup definitely lasted longer with less touch-ups needed. It is gentle and effective around the eye area as well as on lips. I applied this before MAC Brave Red lipstick, with no other lip product, and I got at least an hour extra out of it. I'll admit to eating a bit more carefully, but that's not unusual of me - I do it whenever I wear red lipstick. You know, that all-teeth eating style? Where it looks like you're avoiding touching the fork with any part of your mouth, due to the possibility of electrocution... Because forks are evil. Common knowledge, this.
I'm enjoying this product and have added it to my every day "essentials" makeup bag, where it'll happily stay. I look forward to trying the Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control Primer - it contains salicylic acid which is one of my favourite ingredient superstars and extremely beneficial for all skin types. Avoid if you're allergic to aspirin, though.
WTF is Dermaxyl™ Complex?
**Dermaxyl™ Complex is an anti-aging complex formulated to repair damage related to skin aging. This makes sense since it's a blend of amino acids which help normalize skin cell function by stimulating cell-communication. It may repair skin damage related to aging by stimulation of collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This will also contribute to the strengthening of the skin's natural barrier function. Clinicare.com says, "Daily use of products formulated with Dermaxyl produce results similar to retinoic acid and retinol, and, very importantly, does so without the irritation these products and alpha hydroxy (fruit/glycolic) acid-based formulations often cause." You can read more about the clinical study results here.
Ingredients (as it appears on packaging):
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil
Cetyl PEG/PPG- 10/1 Dimethicone
PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol
Iron Oxides (CI 77491)
You can also check out my video review for Beauty Bulletin, if you so wish:
*prices are correct according to www.redsquare.co.za at the time of publishing