Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer Review, Photos, Swatches

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish — Maybe for Face, Not for Eyes

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer ($20.00 for 0.08 oz.) is a shimmering peach-gold colored eyeshadow primer. Smashbox says you can use this alone as a wash, lid corrector, or as a base underneath your eyeshadows.

This is a product that looks pretty when swatched, but it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do at all.  Despite being on the drying side, it creases within a few hours.  Whether worn alone or as an eyeshadow base, this primer left my makeup in ruins by the third hour.  The darker color of this particular shade makes it better as an all-over wash than an eyeshadow base, because it tends to eat color and be fussy when it comes to blending shadows on top of it.

I tried it three times, and I just gave up on it–I couldn’t get it to stay put whatsoever!  I liked how opaque it was, and I could see that it would be useful in camouflaging imperfections on the lid, but it’s such a shame that you’ll have raisin-like lids before the end of the day.  The best use from this, after all that, is as a brow highlighter–incredibly sheered out, but even that is a stretch if you don’t have a medium skin tone with warmer undertones.

I’m also disappointed in the amount you get.  Most primers are around 0.30 oz., but Smashbox is two-thirds less and just as expensive.  I feel like Smashbox really phoned it in with this one!  But keep in mind that like any review, it’s based on my experience–which involves my skin, my face, etc., so if this is a product that worked for you, I’m more than happy it did.  I’d always rather a product work amazing for you than anything else.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For a brand that has such a popular face primer, it’s disappointing that their lid primer completely misses the mark.


Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer
Smashbox Golden Nude Photo Finish Lid Primer

About the Reviewer


Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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So that’s what it was! Ugh, creasing, you’d think by now makeup brands KNOW about this well enough to find a way around it! It’s a pretty color though, too bad it doesn’t work :/

I’m always surprised when people seem to want to see them? I find it all quite depressing – I guess I’d rather see good products than bad ones 🙂

Oh no! disaster! i actually like coloured primers sometimes because they give depth to even sheer brights but will be avoiding this!

Too bad it didn’t work out because it really is such a pretty colour! : ( Christine, do you know if their original photofinish lid primer is just as bad?

I haven’t tried it, but a reader here stated she used it and had no problems with it! 🙂

It has a lot of reviews on Sephora, and it seems like most say it’s crease-resistant (not necessarily the most accurate place, but when they have 600+ reviews, it can be a nice overview!).

I have the regular one and I can’t say that I’m very happy with it. It does not last nearly as much and well as the UDPP lasted on me and my eyeshadows definatly looked better with the UDPP. Its not terrible if I hadn’t had such success with the UDPP I wouldn’t have idsliked it as much as I do (I hated the UDPP packaging so I wanted to try something different). Eventually I’ll either go back to UDPP or try Nars but either way the moment that I’m done with the Smashbox one I’m not going back to it, I just hate wasting a product that I spent 20 dollars on haha.

The UDPP lasted a full school day and then some (it would probably last longer except I swim everday so everything comes off anyways) so around 8 hours in the Florida heat of perfect eye makeup. And I find the Smashbox primer to only last maybe 2 to 3 hours of perfect eye makeup, and then it begins to go downhill. It’s a decent primer don’t get me wrong, just not one that I’d be repurchasing or suggesting to my friends personally haha.

O_O Smashbox? F? What? I couldn’t believe it when I first saw this on the front page!

=( It’s unfortunate that Smashbox came out with something like this that defeats the purpose of what the product is actually going to do! Especially when it’s so pricey as well…

Maybe they’ll change the formulation? I must say though, this piece reminds me of UDPP in Sin…O_o

I have a pretty good idea of what works/doesn’t work (at least in terms of complete failures!), so I don’t waste my time on poor products – I’d rather find great products from good ones!

I can’t believe this primer acts so badly! I have the regular nude colored one, and I haven’t experienced any creasing at all! But it’s true, these are very drying!

Years ago, when Smashbox first came to Canada, I ordered a kit from the shopping channel.

One of the things in the kit was their dual ended lip/lid primer. They were both stick form. They were both horrible!!! My eyelids were greasier than they would have been with no primer. My lips would end up with sticky white gunk on them within an hour or two. I’m convinced both ends of the thing were just concealer sticks.. I’ve never had any interest in a Smashbox eye primer since then.

To be fair though, I loved the Photo Finish Primer and Brow Tech! The eyeshadows and lipgloss that were in the kit were just okay. Maybe they’d have been better with decent primer underneath them 😉

Wow, another F! That’s so sad – this looked absolutely gorgeous. You’d think that since Smashbox nailed the face primer, they’d be able to have a decent eye primer too.
Oh, well. Thanks for putting it to the test, Christine!

Whoa — we don’t see many F ratings around here! 😮 Thanks for letting us know, Christine. Saves me the hassle from going to Sephora, picking it up… and then having to go back and exchange it. I was actually really hoping that I’d be able to use this as a non-creasing wash of colour, but I guess not.

Shame on you, Smashbox! *shakes finger*

Does UDPP work for you? Sin is pretty similar and you get like 3x the amount. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when I found out how little was in it, too!

You should try cream shadows, like benefit creaseless cream shadow/liner! They don’t crease on me at all, and are quite pigmented for an all-over wash. Plus, they didn’t crease on my oily lids. I think Christine posted a review as well.

Wow….well it looks like it would be better as a lipgloss anyway. Have you tried or done a review on the LORAC primer. I’m pretty interested in trying that one.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream would be an excellent substitute for this. I’ve tried several cream shadows and the MUFE one is perfect with or without primer. I have lids that get pretty oily by the end of the day and it stays put perfectly. I’ve also used it as a base and it actually worked a lot better than UDPP in Sin.

You know, this is exactly how Urban Decay’s Primer Potion in Sin acts on me. The original is awesome and I use it everyday with a paint pot but Sin doesn’t work for me at all.

I started laughing when I saw the F – I don’t know why – I guess because they are rare on your blog. Thank you for your honesty. That is why I love everything about your site.

It doesn’t surprise me that the regular formula is probably better. I tried the Sin Urban Decay primer and was not pleased at all. It must be something about the shimmer.

Christine- i have 3 Q? for you not involving this review but um… UDPP for some un lucky reason did NOT work for me at all- it creased on me within 10 minutes! (i had to give it away) on the other hand shadow insurance lasts about 3-4 hrs…. anywayz im so frusterated i have such oily lids that nothing seems to work all day on me…do u think i should give nars lid primer a try? (is the formulation like UDPP-so i can stay away?) & which works better for u of all the lid primers uve tried?

UDPP (original) creases on me, but UDPP Sin and Eden are just fine. I prefer NARS primer over all else at this time – it’s what I always reach for 🙂

Hey Christine! I have an idea for a post based on this…maybe you can list some major “don’ts” in terms of makeup. I always read about eye shadows creasing, but I have no idea what that means!

I’ve never had the problem, I think, because I always use a MAC paint pot or the NARS stuff based on your recommendations 😉

Thanks for the post idea, Katie! 🙂

Creasing is when your eyeshadow melts into the wrinkles on your eye lid – you know where your crease is? and how there’s a little “wrinkle” or when you open your eye, how there’s kind of an indentation there? without a good base, then the eyeshadow will melt and migrate there and you’ll notice it more there than elsewhere!

Question: I’ve used ArtDecò (an European brand) eyeshadow base for a while and actually I am trying with Too Faced one (UD is almost impossible to find here). In one of your several posts, can you do a sort of comparison among e/s bases? I think it could be useful…

the original Smashbox Lid primer didn’t work for me…creased within a few hours….only get about 5-6hrs and crease..defn didn’t last the day…so will not bother with this one.

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