Let's see how they both compare!
Since it's the Monistat that I have the full-sized product of, we'll go into detail about it first. The gel to powder formula is to be applied on the skin prior to applying foundation to create a smooth canvas and blot off excess shine while keeping the skin feeling matte. I was honestly concerned about the whole matte thing since matte stuff dries up my skin like crazy but after reading tons of reviews stating how it doesn't dry out the skin, I took the risk. It doesn't seem like much difference in the before and after pictures but you can clearly see that the shine on the cheek is gone and the pores look less visible.
Now, comes the part that amazed me. You see, I have a pretty bad case of fine lines on my forehead due to my eczema. The Monistat gel smoothens out the lines significantly, preventing foundation from caking up at the forehead.
As a foundation primer, this is definitely one of the best that I've ever tried. It works with liquid foundation and powder foundation, making them glide on effortlessly. Very little oxidation towards the end of the day. The product also helps to control some shine without drying out my skin. I know it doesn't look cool to whip out chafing gel to put on your face but I think the colors are pretty neat and the squeeze tube packaging is definitely practical. Since this is a chafing gel, it works to calm down sensitive areas like my eczema patches so that's a huge plus for me.
The Smashbox Photo Finish Primer that I got was just a sample packet but there was a substantial amount for a comparison review. Packaging aside, an obvious difference between the two is the color of the gel. Smashbox is clear while Monistat is cloudy but applied on the skin, there's no difference in coloration. The Smashbox is also slightly more fluid and feels greasy. I could feel as if I have a layer of oil on my skin and the remaining primer will be stuck on my fingers, making them feel greasy too. I didn't get a matte feeling at all although it looked matte. Monistat feels a lot more lightweight and comfortable on the skin. Monistat is also fragrance free while Smashbox smells like cockroach.
With Smashbox, the pores did look smaller and forehead lines were smoothen out but the results were not as good as Monistat's. I've even put both products to the test with one side Monistat and another with Smashbox. After a very hot evening and a steamboat dinner, I asked the boyfriend which side of my face looked oilier, he pointed at the Smashbox's side. It would have been exciting enough if Monistat performed just as well as Smashbox but looks like Monistat is doing even better! You definitely can't beat the price either. Monistat's $7.99USD (1.5 oz) from Drugstore.com and Smashbox is a whopping $36USD (1 oz) from Sephora.com.
Need I say who's the winner?
Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isopropylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Carthamus Tinctorium (Safflower) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cola Acuminata Seed Extract, Propylene Glycol, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Water.