Product Review: Catrice Prime & Fine Smoothing Refiner


It said “Pore Killer” on a little sticker on the lid. I had to find out what that meant…

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Did I really need another priming product? No. Did I buy it anyway? Of course, I did.

Catrice Prime and Fine Smoothing Refiner. The “Pore Killer”! I’m still wondering if I want my pores killed…

I had popped into my local Ulta one evening to see what was new, and saw they had a whole bunch of Catrice products on the shelves. Catrice is a British makeup brand that came across the pond earlier this year.

The back of the Catrice Smoothing Refiner. Even a package this small offers up big promises.

While looking at the offerings from Catrice, I saw the Prime & Fine Smoothing Refiner. It had a shiny little sticker on the lid that read “Pore Killer!” Pore Killer? What does a “pore killer” do? Do I want my pores killed? Is that a good or a bad thing? Since I have large pores on my nose that will retain foundation if they are not filled, I had to find out.

This “Pore Killer” is actually a pore filler.

So, it turns out that the Catrice Prime & Fine Smoothing Refiner is actually a pore filling primer. It comes in a glass jar with a screw-top lid. If you have long nails, or if you don’t like dipping your fingers directly into products in jars, you might find a tiny spatula useful with this product. Unfortunately, this primer does not come with a tiny spatula. The primer itself has a very pale pink color to it. It doesn’t really smell like anything.

This thin, creamy paste is supposed to fill in and refine large pores and fine lines. Looks pink in the jar, but is invisible on my fair skin.

Here’s the ingredients list:

Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isostearyl Isostearate, Talc, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isopropyl Palmitate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Lanolin, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Propylene Carbonate, Hydrated Silica, Dimethicone / Methicone Copolymer, Mica, PEG-8, Aluminum Hydroxide Tocopherol, Silica, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

While the Smoothing Refiner does fill pores, it is not similar to Benefit’s Pore-fessional or Nyx’s Pore Filler primers. Both of those come in squeeze tubes, are beige in color, and have a stiffer body and a less silicone feel to them.

How does this primer feel?

This primer has a very silicone feel. You need only a very small amount to cover your whole face. I use it mostly on areas where I have large pores, like my nose. It spreads easily over the skin and leaves a silky, almost creamy, feel.

How do you use it?

I will either use a small cosmetics spatula or my finger to get a tiny amount out of the jar, then use my fingers to pat and push the Smoothing Refiner into the pores on my nose. Once I have done that, I will lightly swipe my fingers in small circles over the areas where I put the primer to make sure all edges of my pores are filled.

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If you are someone who uses more than one primer on your face (double or triple priming, anyone?), make sure to use lighter, more liquidy formula(s) first. (For today’s wear test I used L’Oreal’s Infallible Matte-Lock primer first, then the Catrice Smoothing Refiner.)

After that, give the Smoothing Refiner a few minutes to meld with your skin before moving on to foundation and concealer. (Today’s foundation is M.A.C.’s Studio Fix Fluid in NW13. The concealers used are Mabelline’s Age Rewind Under Eye Concealer in Fair and Makeup Revolution’s Conceal & Define in C1. Powder used is Maybelline’s Fit Me Loose Powder in Fair.)

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Does it work?

For me, initially, yes. When I first apply the Smoothing Refiner, I can see a visible difference in my pores. They are definitely blurred and smoothed. One could say they are at least temporarily “killed.” Foundation seems to go on pretty well over the Smoothing Refiner. Make sure your foundation is not water-based, or it won’t play well with the Smoothing Refiner.

After two to three hours of wear, however, this “Pore Killer” betrays me. When I wear this, I get really oily and my foundation breaks up and slides around. I usually end up with the Dreaded Polka-Dot Nose before the end of my work day. (Anyone with large pores who wears makeup knows the struggle…)

I only wore this for about 7 1/2 hours, with a powder touch up around 4 hours in. I’m not sure if you can see how badly my foundation is breaking up on my nose, but my pores are back with a vengeance.

I have tried this product with a few different foundations. I have tried layering this with different primers and on it’s own. I always get the same results. I had high hopes for this primer, but alas, it keeps disappointing me.

Would you buy it again?

Definitely not.

While this particular primer starts off strong, it doesn’t control my oils, it only very temporarily fills my pores, it does not prolong my makeup’s wear, and it ends up settling into my pores along with my foundation. It is heavily silicone based and does not play well with my skin.

If you have oily skin with large pores, the Catrice Prime & Fine Smoothing Refiner may not work for you. If you have dry skin with large pores and/or fine lines, this may be alright for you. Since I have no idea what it’s like to have dry skin, you will have to tell me.

What’s your favorite pore-filling primer? Have you had a catastrophic primer fail? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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