Foundation Primer Reviews | Makeup Forever and Smashbox

I was lucky enough to receive two foundation primers for Christmas that had been on my wish list a long time ago – the Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer and the Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water! My very good social media pen pal read that I wanted to try these out and she very kindly sent them to me – thank you! I’ve been testing these primers since Christmas thoroughly with different foundations to make sure I have a very clear opinion on each primer’s performance. Both of these primers have had a ton of hype on YouTube so I had high hopes for the performance of both of them.

For the longest time while I was treating my skin for acne breakouts, my skin tended to stay on the dry to normal side. Then in the past six months to a year, I notice that my skin was becoming normal to oily throughout the day. I had never really experienced oily skin, though I would get sweat build-up on my forehead when I would go running after work – nothing that I couldn’t dab off. After trying out a few foundations formulated for oily skin, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and decided a primer was the next step. To be honest, I think part of the reason why my skin started to get oily, and even have a few breakouts, was because I changed some products in my skin care routine. I didn’t really have a reason for doing, only that I was becoming bored with the other products I had been using. After I finish products I have open now, I’m going to go back to my previous routine which kept my skin clear and normal.

Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer 

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I was finally convinced that the Makeup Forever primer was worth a try when Bailey B did a review of it on her channel, claiming it made it possible for her to wear foundations in her collection that she formerly not able to wear. I had seen so many YouTubers use this primer and claim that it was great, but Bailey B is one that I feel I can really trust. Like I said, I received this primer for Christmas and have been using since. Some days wearing it Smashbox Primer sprayed on my skin first, other days I wore it alone to see it’s true performance throughout the day.

I find that this primer worked best with the Revlon Colorstay Foundation, and old favorite – I have the formula made for dry to normal skin.  When I used it with my favorite Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous and Ready Set Gorgeous foundations I didn’t notice a huge difference, unless I used in conjunction with the Wayne Goss method – apply a tiny bit of loose powder all over my skin before applying foundation. For the price and hype of this primer however I expected that it performs the best alone. I do want note that I didn’t feel the need to use the Wayne Goss method with the Revlon foundation the way I did with the Cover Girl foundations, which could be a difference in the lasting power of the foundations.

Overall, I think this primer works better than any other I’ve tried, but I still feel like I need to work with it to help it perform it’s best. Given the price and the fact that I’m not really that oily compared to others, I was semi let down by this product. I think it’s good and I’ll definitely use it when I’m in need of a primer, but I think I’ll continue looking for a holy grail primer and focus on my skin care routine to correct any oiliness. The Makeup Forever Equalizer Mattifying Primer costs $35 for a full size, so if you’re just looking to test out the product maybe purchase the generous travel size which costs $16. Also, if you’re looking for an alternative use for this product, Baily B just posted a video demoing how to use this to mattify lip products.

Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water

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Of the two primers I received, this was not the one I thought I would enjoy more. I really thought the Makeup Forever Primer was going to be what blew me away. While this product is marketed as a primer, I’ve been able to use it for multiple purposes and it’s performed well in both of those areas. I can use this to prime my face before applying a base, to mist my skin after setting it with loose powder, and throughout the day to freshen up the look of my skin. It’s perfect for taking away any powdery look to the skin, which is a little more obvious this time of the year. I like using this as a primer on the weekends, when I may not be wearing my foundation as long or just on my cheeks. It’s also worked well for setting my foundation to last throughout the day. Generally I stick to using the Urban Decay All Night Setting Spray when I need my foundation locked on until the end of the night, but sometimes I feel like it makes my skin feel really tight. The Smashbox Primer Water doesn’t leave that feeling.

Overall, this has been a great product to have in my collection during these winter months and if it’s something you’ve been thinking about getting, I would recommend it. It’s a primer that I find enhances the appearance of my skin and foundation, not necessary removes oiliness or helps it last longer. A definite bummer part to this product is it runs out so quickly. I keep looking at the clear bottle this product is packaged and I see it going down more and more each day and it makes me so sad. The Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water costs $32 for a full size and $16 for a 1 ounce travel size. I’d love to try the Evian Spray which is $17 for a full size to see how it compares in terms of prepping the skin for makeup and taking away that powdery look that can sometimes happen.

My Shampoo Dilemma

I’ve been having trouble looking for a good shampoo for my hair.  My hair is very curly, and therefore dry so shampooing isn’t something I usually do to my hair on a regular basis.  When I do, though, I want it to be good for my hair just like when I condition it.

The problem with most shampoos, drugstore or salon quality, they all have sulfates and sodium in them.  Sulfates, while they do a good job at cleansing the hair and scalp, they are also very drying and stripping on the hair.

If you have oily hair, you probably hate how your hair gets after a day or two of not washing, so you shampoo and voila it’s back to being clean.  The sulfates in the shampoo take away that oil build-up in your hair.  For those with curly hair, shampooing can take away any residue build-up (like silicones), but it makes their hair very dry and in the end, frizzy.

For the past six months or so I’ve simply been using baby shampoo.  It still has sulfate in it, but the formula is very mild since it’s made for a baby’s skin.  I use this about two times a week and I don’t really see a problem with my hair after using it.  This morning, and maybe twice a month, I use Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Shampoo to clarify and really clean my hair out.  I find that it really works,  but it leaves my hair super dry.

neutrogena shampoo

In a past couple of posts about my hair, I’ve mentioned DevaCurl which is made specifically for people with curly.  My problem with that, and other products geared towards curly hair, is the price.  Many normal sized products from that line range from $18 to $25; that’s outrageous.  However, it’s starting to look like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy their No Poo cleanser.  I can’t believe I’m thinking of buying this because I won’t even buy their conditioner.  I figure though that if I only use the No Poo once or twice a week, I won’t go through the bottle very quickly unlike conditioner, which I use everyday.

Other shampoos I had looked at because they were suppose to be sulfate free.  I read a lot of reviews on Makeup Alley and Amazon and came to conclusions on the following products because of them.  I also check the brands’ websites for ingredients and claims.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
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My problem with this shampoo is that it has dimethicone in it.  I use dimethicone in some of my styling products and I need a shampoo to remove it, not add to the problem.  So Sulfate Free, yes, but kind of counteractive in my opinion.

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and Repairing Awapuhi Ginger Shampooo
I read a lot of reviews that the Organix shampoos are almost as drying as a clarifying shampoo.  I had high hopes for this brand because of the many options to chose from, but they still has forms of a sulfates in their ingredients listing.  Also the Acai shampoo has dimethicone in it.

Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo and Wash Tear Free
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This is honestly still in the playing cards with me.  I might go searching for it in stores.  A lot of reviews say the scent is quite strong, same problem with DevaCurl.  The scent is likely a “natural” scent from the ingredients that most people aren’t used to smelling in beauty products.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on a shampoo I should try!  My goal is to find one in the next week or so.