Curb Cakey Concealer With Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

Published in: Eyes, Product Reviews, Smashbox

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer ($29), available now online and at counters

Sometimes when I hold this tube in my hand, I feel the need to pinch myself.

Is it real? I wonder, giddy with excitement, or is it a makeup mirage?


Perhaps that’s being overdramatic (what, me overdramatic??), but seriously, dude, it feels like I’ve been searching for this little pink tube FOREVER.

Or, you know, like two months.

It’s just that every single time I’ve looked for it at Ulta or Sephora, it’s never been in stock. The shelf where neat little boxes of Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer should have been, has always been as empty as a ghost town.

[Cue tumbleweeds rolling by]

I know I could’ve tried to order it online, but tracking it down in a store actually became a weird personal mission of mine. I wanted the instant gratification…even if it took me a year to get.

LOL! 🙂

I’ve also been wondering, though…who are these ladies (or gents) that are hoarding this sh*t so hard that I can’t ever find a tube? Is the love for this under-eye primer so intense that people have literally cleared it off every makeup store shelf within a 20-mile radius?

Well, last week my luck turned. Miracle of all makeup miracles, I finally found one lonely box when I went to Sephora, and I grabbed that last box with a quickness usually reserved for chocolate, doughnuts, and chocolate doughnuts.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

I’ve been a user now for about a week, and my, oh my — I’m on the fast-track to becoming one of those ladies who are probably responsible for this stuff never being in stock. I already want to get a backup.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer hoarding is a legit thing!

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

So, what is this stuff, and why is it (almost) better than a bag of Baked Cheetos?

Basically, it’s a brightening, moisturizing under-eye primer that you apply before concealer. Anything you layer on top of it — concealer, powder, whatever — ends up looking smoother, more natural and more like real skin.

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

And I think the difference when I use it is night and day, especially when you see it in person. Whenever I take the time to apply this first, I think my concealer looks much less obvious.

I also still get the full coverage that I like, but without my under-eye area looking cakey like cake batter (which happens sometimes with opaque concealers).

Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

I follow a multi-step process, but it works for me, so I don’t mind the extra work.

First, I prep my under-eye area with a bit of Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer, and then I mix equal parts of NARS Radiant Concealer in Ginger and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 25 Medium.

Next, I pat and blend the smallest amount under my eyes, and set it all by patting a bit of Trish McEvoy’s Liner Refiner on top with my fingers, before lightly dusting setting powder on top of that.

When I do this, my concealer lasts all day long, doesn’t settle into my fine lines, and most importantly, the results look like real skin.

I love this to bits! — although I do have a minor beef with the packaging…


The slanted applicator thingamajig does absolutely nothing for my soul. You squeeze the tube and, inevitably, too much product squirts out.

Super annoying.

A doe-foot, or perhaps a thin, fine-tipped applicator (like the kind that comes with MAC Fast Response Eye Cream) would probably be better, but that’s me being extra picky.

PRICE: $29
AVAILABILITY: Available now online and at Smashbox counters
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: A (an A+ if it had a doe-foot applicator)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. My concealer ends up looking a little obvious by the end of the day. I need this! Thanks for reviewing this Karen.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Best NYX Products + 40% Sale Alert!

  2. Fran says:

    I’ve been wondering about this product for a while. Now I’m going to have to try it! The lines under my almost 60-year-old eyes like to show no matter what concealer I try, something to smooth them out would be nice.

  3. Kim says:

    I’m not one to use concealer under my eyes (though I probably should) but I generally dab a little Pro Prime or Veil there to keep my liner from creeping. I have Photo Op Under Eye Brightener but didn’t notice any improvement when using it. That said, anything that helps keep product from looking cakey or settling into lines is a keeper! 🙂

  4. Kelly B. says:

    I’ve never given much thought to using primer under the eyes, but this is definitely something I think I will experiment with and see if it makes a difference!
    Kelly B. recently posted … Spring Break Essentials!

  5. Oh, a Miracle product! I will have to try and hunt this down.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Doesn’t do what it says on the label, but I love it! – Kiehls Overnight Biological Peel

  6. Agata says:

    Thanks for reviewing this product, who knew it’s so good. But it sounds great. Now it will be my mission to track it down, I wonder if Michigander beauty addicts hoard it as well!?
    Agata recently posted … Lorac Unzipped Gold Palette- Review and Swatches

  7. Chris25 says:

    I’m sold on this. I desperately need s product that will help my concealer apply more smoothly.
    Chris25 recently posted … Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencils in Pomegranate and Winterberry

  8. Lancy says:

    I’ve been struggling with cakey concealers lately! This sounds like a miracle product! Thanks for the review Karen 🙂
    Lancy recently posted … DIY Marigold Face Pack to Combat Dryness and Acne : Tutorial and Photos

  9. Oh this seems nice !
    Talkerblogger recently posted … Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Powder In Luminous  

  10. MonicaP says:

    Hmm, I’m down for a smoother under-eye look. I’ll add to my Sephora “loves” 🙂

    MonicaP recently posted … Simple southwest inspired look

  11. Fancie says:

    Okay this sounds like a primer I need lol. I have a pretty deep fine line under both of my eyes that just sucks up concealer and foundation. My NARS primer really helps but I’m already running a little low. I guess I’ll be trying this next!
    Fancie recently posted … MAC Coupe D’Chic Iridescent Powder Swatches & First Impressions

  12. Corinne says:

    Is this better than Mac’s Vibrancy Eye cuz I just bought that for the exact same reasons

  13. gio says:

    I had never thought of using an under eye primer before, but this sounds just what I need to make my concealer look more natural. I must hunt down a tube too.
    gio recently posted … Why You Should NOT Use Baking Soda To Exfoliate Your Skin

  14. Stephanie says:

    Ever since I bought this primer nearly two months ago, it has achieved HG status for using before my concealer. So awesome underneath my Nars concealer.

  15. Megan says:

    I received this as a gwp from Ulta and totally forgot about it. It’s a pretty generous size (0.17oz) and in a regular squeeze tube not a slanted one. Thanks for reminding me about it!

  16. Iris says:

    I received this as a sample from Sephora a while back. I really liked it.

  17. JCarbonel says:

    Do you put the primer on top of foundation or below? Or do you avoid putting any foundation directly under your eyes to avoid the extra layer? I’ve been wanting to check out this product for a while but I wasn’t sure how to add it into my routine.

  18. Natalye says:

    I’ve never tried this but I’m really loving Smashbox right now and I’ll be checking this out!

  19. Michaela says:

    Hi, Karen, finally a solution to all our bags-under-the-eye, puffiness problems. Thank you for reviewing this for us. However, is there a way you can do before and after pictures? I would love to see that miracle you have described if possible. The description that you gave about this primer is something I’ve been looking for awhile as well.

  20. Carrie says:

    I’ve been using this for several weeks. I got a deluxe sample of it, which will probably last a very long time because you don’t need much of this. I never would’ve thought to buy it, so I’m really glad I got the sample. It’s a great product.

  21. Trude says:

    Hmm…at first I scoffed, but after your review I just might try it! I use Nars’ creamy concealer too, set with Laura Mercier’s secret brightening powder (which has made ALL the difference in creasing), but it would be nice to have something that isn’t so powdery helping to make it look natural!

  22. masha russia says:

    Karen, you convinced me to try it. I always struggle with my concealer looking cakey and piled up.
    masha russia recently posted … Best foam roller exercises and stretches

  23. Kathy says:

    First time commenting. I am on my second tube of this, i never finish anything, it is a miracle product esp inm hot weather

  24. KayN says:

    Karen, according to Beautypedia this is the EXACT same product as MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye Cream. I’d been using MAC and loving it without knowing this until today! You get much more product for your money with the MAC version, AND it has a nice pump bottle, so check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge