Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (review)

A makeup primer spray that hydrates and revitalizes skin.

This all-in-one Photo Finish Primer Water gives the benefits of priming, hydration, and sheer radiance. t is packed with revitalizing electrolytes that work to reawaken skin and restore moisture. This enriched water instantly absorbs into skin for lasting hydration, leaving skin looking refreshed and ultrasoft while it locks in makeup. It is the lightest, purest, and most refreshing form imaginable. From the silky-smooth texture of the original, to the super-fine mist of this new water, this primer is perfect for all skin types.

Free of silicone, alcohol, and oil

When this came in the market last year, I thought it would be just like any other makeup setting spray, that has been cleverly marketed as Primer water or Glorified water. Also it reminded me a lot of the MAC 'Mineralize' Charged Water, which is not a primer, but still can be used anytime before or after makeup. The only thing that made me actually want to try this was the fact that it was an offering from the brand that pretty much is known for their primers since ages. My first good primer was from Smashbox. 

Color: Colorless

Texture and Consistency: Light weight, non sticky water like consistency. 

Scent: It has a smell. Not bad. Not floral. Not like perfume. Ok, bad description! but I am not able to pin point on the scent. It is not overwhelming and is not detected on application.

Application: This is a multi tasking product. It can be used as a primer, setting spray and a refreshing spray as well. I have tried using this product in multiple ways. I have used it before makeup to prime the face and prepare it for makeup application, as a setting spray after makeup and also as a refreshing spray. In all these cases I kept the bottle 8 to 10 inches from the face and sprayed on, so as to distribute the mist evenly. I have used this to dampen my brush or Beauty Blender before applying concealer or foundation. Also on top of my highlighter to make it more wet looking and more glowy.

Feel and Effect on Skin: The water was absorbed almost instantly and there was no sticky or tacky feel after that. It did leave a film which was pretty sheer, almost invisible. I could not see it, but I could feel it, little difficult to explain. I personally have dry skin, so this product when used before makeup as a primer was very hydrating and comfortable. The skin felt moisturized, soft and my makeup went on easily without any patchiness. As a setting spray, it was good to get rid of extra powdery cakey'ness'. I did not enjoy this as a refreshing spray. There are other sprays that are more refreshing and fun to use. The best way I enjoyed this was dampening beauty blended or brush for concealer application. It went on super beautifully and the end result was absolutely flawless.

Longevity: My makeup went on smoothly, but I did not notice any extra longevity with this. It did hold my makeup well. It was pretty much similar to what I get from other primers. So nothing extra in comparison, but the makeup lasted long enough. 

Packaging: A huge thumbs up for the packaging. The bottle is plastic and the nozzle is excellent. The mist is super fine and it is dispensed evenly by the nozzle. Easy and convinient to travel with.

Verdict: This is a good product and my dry skin accepted it family. It is hydrating, comfortable, light weight and makes the makeup application go easy without any patchiness. It did not break down my makeup and the makeup lasted pretty well for a good duration. This is more on the lines of Hydrating primer than line filling, smoothing or pore filling primer. If you are looking for any of these qualities, something with silicones will only do the job. As a refreshing spray, I would choose other options. Products that are more cooling and calming with mints, essential oils and rose in them like the Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Mario Badescue Facial Spray or the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and MAC "Prep + Prime' Fix + Finishing mist. As a final make up setting spray I still prefer the Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting spray or the Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Spray

Next on my radar is to try the Make Up Forever Mist and Fix Setting Spray and the Josie Maran Nirvana Hydrating Mist. Now these are not primers. One is a setting spray while the Josie Maran can be used in multiple ways. 

Nice product and worth giving a try.

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SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (review)

A refreshing essence that moisturizes the skin and supports skin cell renewal.

Facial Treatment Essence is enriched with more than 90 percent Pitera—the main ingredient used to enhance the skin's renewal process—plus nourishing vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids to promote a healthy skin cell renewal cycle. With daily application, this essence moisturizes, improves texture and clarity, and contributes to a more beautiful, balanced, and glowing complexion.

Formulated WITHOUT:
- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- GMOs

I have no idea what I did wrong in using this product. It failed to even show 1% result or difference on my face. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is a product that I have been hearing and reading rave reviews since the day I started blogging which is probably million years ago. Insanely expensive for a toner, I could never bring myself to shell out so much money for 'miracle water' and I am glad I didn't.

Recently, this essence was a part of a Sephora favorites set 'Soko to Tokyo' and it was my golden chance to try this as expensive as gold miracle water.

Color: Colorless

Texture and Consistency: Thin, not sticky nor goopy. Just like water.

Scent: It has a slightly weird scent. Not an unpleasant one. The scent does fades after application. 

Application: I applied it on clean face twice a day as instructed. I took needed amount of product in the palms of my hand and pressed it all over my face till absorbed. 

Feel and Effect on Skin: This is a very thin liquid, just like water so it is a little tricky to apply it without spilling or wasting. Due to its consistency, it hardly takes anytime to get absorbed. The skin feels moist/wet, slightly tacky too for a minute or so and then the product is absorbed completely. There is no stretchy feeling or tingling or any kind of irritation what so ever. It is very gentle on the skin. This did not dry my skin or break me out.

Packaging: Mine came in a trial size plastic bottle. I purchased two sets of Sephora favorites and so I had good 60 ml of product to try on myself and review. The trial size bottle has no pump. I don't know if the full size bottle comes with a pump or not.

Verdict: I don't know if the product inside this bottle is actually the essence or just plain tap water. I purchased mine from a Sephora Store, so I assume it is the real deal. As a blogger, I try many skincare products and I understand that not every product works equally for everyone, which is acceptable. Also, I was not expecting instant result with this like the Pixi Glow Tonic, because this is not an exfoliating toner. I badly wanted to experience the amazing softness and freshness everyone talks about with regards to this product. The hype I guess. This was a little extra disappointing because a product that many people swear by all the time did ABSOLUTELY nothing for me. Even if it had showed mediocre results, it would had been like "meh, didn't work" kind of situation, but this one was just a total failure.

Currently I am testing the May Coop Raw Sauce. Another one that I like is the Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched Pixi Glow Tonic is my all time favorite. (review here)

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

The Monthly Review - Beauty/Skincare Hits & Misses (January)

The Monthly Review series will feature a mix of products ranging from Skincare, Beauty, Bath and Body, Hair, Nails etc. that I find interesting, magical, unique or just fun to use in that particular month. These products may be recent release or an old discovery. Also, in the series I will mention few products that failed to impress me or just did not work at all.

January is probably the most dullest of all the months. The Holidays are over. It is painfully cold in Chicago. There are no parties to attend. Cash is all time low, thanks to the crazy shopping during the holidays and my weighing scale just manages to show extra pounds on it. The only good thing I would add is I have tons of new products to try from the holiday gifts and shopping.

The Beauty Bits:

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit palette is a limited edition palette and it contains two Ambient Lighting Blushes in Mood Exposure and Luminous Flush, one Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze, one Ambient Strobe powder in Iridescent Strobe Light and two Ambient Powders in Dim Light and Diffused Light. I pretty much love every single color in this, but the Blush in Mood Exposure is lovely and so natural! It works wonderfully on my skin tone and I love the fact that this makes a great travel palette and it has a big mirror.

Charlotte Tilbury Powder and Sculpt brush is a perfect, small, slightly pointy brush for contouring and highlighting. It works very well for my small face and fits perfectly in the tiny pans of the Hourglass Ambient Edit palette. I use it for blush and highlighting. I don't contour often.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (quite a mouthful) is as excellent as everyone and their mother claims. It is light weight, easy to blend, covers beautifully and stay put. The only issue is getting the perfect color match.

Becca knows their highlighting and Illuminating department very well. The brand carries some of the most amazing Shimmering products. Becca Backlight Priming Filter is a face primer and it worked for me. The makeup goes on flawlessly and stays put. It is one such product that can mess up the look if not used in the right quantity. Don't over apply is the word of caution. A full review to come soon.

The Skincare Bits:

Tatcha Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil is a wonderful Cleansing oil for removing makeup and I like how it smells. This is not a comparison post. The oil on its own performs great and does its job well. It is  an expensive one and whether I buy this again or not is something I have yet to decide. I know I have cheaper options that perform pretty well too. Right now, I am enjoying using this one.

Caudalie bought new face masks in the market last year and obviously, I waited for a gift set to pop at the store. Gave two masks from the set a try and I am loving it. The Caudalie Instant Detox Mask is good and it pulls out the impurities really well. As expected from a detox mask, it is drying but not very harsh for dry skin. The other mask that I tried from the set was the Caudalie Moisturizing Mask. It performed well too. Now, I don't want to get into comparing masks here in this post.  I will do a comparison post in near future and then share my views on which one I like the most and so on.

Nude Skincare ProGenius Treatment Oil. This is a very genius oil. No literally, it is Genius! The contents of it is hydrating, nourishing and just perfect for using everyday or night. If you have dry skin, this particular one will give over night results with the most softest, smoothest and plump skin. I am short of adjectives as of now, but an in-depth review might contain better explanation.

Amore Pacific Time Response Eye Renewal Creme. This is such an expensive eye cream that I know I cannot afford to buy it on my own. But, the best part of shopping at Neiman Marcus or Barney's when they have their beauty week or promotional events, is the generous samples of high end products that they include in their goody bags or whatever they are called. This particular eye cream (I have two sample of it) is a wonderful, light weight, hydrating product that I have ever used under my eyes. It is such a delight to use. I will review it soon and the review will be a glowing one, but I won't purchase it again because it is insanely EXPENSIVE!!

Abreva Cold Sore Cream. Chicago weather. Harsh winds. Brutally cold. Sore lips. Nothing works. Abreva is the savior. Period!

These were a bunch of stand out products in the month of January 2016.

Now on to the Misses!


There were two products that didn't show their magic for me. 

Tarte Swirl Power Contour & Bronzer Brush: This Tarte brush as the name suggests is specifically designed for Contouring and Bronzing. The bristles are soft, synthetic and the shape is just perfect. I found it was way to big for my small face and even though the shape of the handle and brush made it easy to place the product, I found the handle uncomfortable to hold and in turn difficult to blend. It did not work for me. 

Fresh Soy Conditioning Eye Makeup Remover: I reviewed this one recently here. It did its job well to the perfection but it burned my eyes like hell! 'Fire in the eyes' level of burn. I am glad it was just a sample.

Disclaimer: The post contains Affiliate Links

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