By Amalah

I have a question about the Smashbox Primer (because I know you haven’t talked about the stuff enough.)
Anyway, I don’t have the one with the special anti-aging (ageing?? whatever.) chemical…you know, the one that is kind of rosy colored. Mine is just the plain old clear-ish photo finish one. I really wanted to like it, but even if I let my moisturizer dry (like for 30 minutes even) it STILL beads up and gets all gunky. What am I doing wrong
here? I admit to using a foundation sponge and tonight just for shits and giggles I tried it with the foundation brush. It was much better, but I suspect that this is because it is 10 pm and I haven’t moisturized since this morning. Also maybe because I’m drinking wine and that always makes my skin suck up whatever is moist and anywhere within reach.

primer.jpgQuite honestly? It sounds like you have a bum bottle. In fact, I’m pretty sure of that, because what you’re decribing — beading up, gunky, not vanishing into your face — has happened to me. But ONLY when I’m using a really, really old bottle of the stuff.
The Smashbox Primer ain’t cheap, so I like to make sure I’ve exhausted EVERY. LAST. DROP. from my existing bottle before plunking down money for a replacement. After the pump stops working I unscrew the whole thing and scrape primer off of that for awhile. Sometimes I turn the bottle upside down and whack my palm a few dozen times to see if I can’t coax some out that way.
However, after doing this for awhile, the consistency of the primer changes. Too much air getting to it, maybe. Or it’s just too damn old. I don’t know, but like a lot of cosmetics, you have to know when to chuck it.
New primer has absolutely no bumps or texture. It’s like velvet. A distinctly silicone-y smoothness. I apply it with my hands (no brush or sponge) and it slides over my skin really easily, and basically my face feels the same as the primer: smooth and protected. (I also don’t wait until my moisturizer dries — I apply it almost instantly after using moisturizer — but I don’t think that should make the kind of difference you’re describing.) (Oh, and I don’t use very much — about half the amount of my moisturizer and foundation.)
Old primer gets these little bead-type things in it and goes on your face kind of slick and goopy. So my guess would be that the store you bought it from left a few bottles on the shelf too long, or perhaps the pump is faulty and is letting too much air into the bottle. (I recently bought a new bottle at Ulta and when I got home I discovered the bottle had been smashed to smithereens inside the box. So stuff happens, which is why God created exchange policies.)
If you bought it recently and saved your receipt, I would really encourage you to try and exchange it. Of course, there’s ALWAYS the chance (like there is with ANY cosmetic or product I recommend here), that the Smashbox just isn’t going to work for you. Maybe your skin doesn’t like a particular ingredient or something. I get a lot of good feedback about the Smashbox Primer from readers, so it DOES seem like it works for a lot of people, but hey, that certainly doesn’t mean we’re all going to love the same thing.
clarinsprimer.jpgYou could consider trying Sheryl‘s suggestion of the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer instead. She’s used both and says the Clarins gives a smoother finish and covers lines better. I haven’t had the chance to try it out myself yet, but I know Sheryl wouldn’t lead us astray about such an important issue.

Published May 21, 2007. Last updated May 21, 2007.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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