Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Swatch Challenge: Smashbox

I would love to round-up as many Smashbox swatches as we can all muster!  (Last weekend we did a great job with Urban Decay!)  Together, I am sure we can get a pretty comprehensive swatch gallery going — so I invite you to share yours! You can link to your swatches, or you can e-mail them to me and I’ll put them up. All credit will go to the swatcher as well :) So let’s go!

Insert your image by linking to your image: http://whereveryourimageis.com

Or e-mail your image to: [email protected]

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Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection Regal Blush

Smashbox Reign Collection: Regal Fusion Blush

Smashbox Regal Fusion Blush ($32.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a combination blush with one half with a matte finish and the other half with a shimmer finish. It’s described by Smashbox as a “peachy nude.”

When I swatched it, it looked more like a peachy orange to me, but it does work well to flush cheeks on those with warm undertones. I think there is a fair bit of warmth to this shade, so it may not be as suitable on those with cooler skin tones. Like the eyeshadow palettes, it’s difficult to keep the matte and shimmer sides from mixing, and it’s not easy to keep a matte clean of shimmer. Once shimmer crosses over the border… it is such a pain to push it back!

The palette, though, is large enough to grab the half you’d like to use, which is a huge plus. Often you’ll get multiple strips of color in products, but they’ll be so small that it’s near impossible to use them alone. You also get a lot of product for your buck. Normally, Smashbox Blushes are $24 a pop for 0.13 oz. You get nearly double the amount of product for $8 more — so it actually has good value. The Reign packaging just didn’t do it for me, but I know others liked it, so you may want to see it in person to judge for yourself.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: I liked the concept of a matte/shimmer duo blush, but it’s not as practical as I’d like it to be. The shade is flattering on warm skin tones, but those with cooler skin tones may want to see it in person first.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection: Jet Set Eyeliner Palette

Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner Palette ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

The shades you get are dark black, dark brown (neutral-cool), metallic gold, and metallic dark brown (with warm tones). I like Smashbox’s Jet Set formula overall — it’s definitely long-wearing, holds up to humidity and heat, and is pretty waterproof. However, I have found these liners to be prone to drying out if one is not careful about sealing the container after each use. With the Jet Set palette, this is a definite concern, because it’s not really air tight – the palette flap just opens and closes but never feels sealed. I do worry about how long before you start noticing these drying out.

The shades are so-so — the photos I took of the palette are of a counter’s testers (which accounts for some of the “ew” factor!), and the shades are certainly wearable, but maybe not enough variation to merit $48. I could buy two full sized shades for $22 each ($44 total). I don’t really need a dark brown and a shimmery dark brown in the same palette, you know? I don’t feel that this palette represents Jet Set liners overall, and I’d recommend checking out the real, full-size versions instead of this palette.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 6/10

Recommendation: The packaging may sway some, but be careful — it may lead to drying out of those cream liners faster than you can use them up.

Availability: Nordstrom ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

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Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection Monarch Eyeshadow Palette

Smashbox Reign Collection: Monarch Palette

Smashbox Reign Monarch Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00) is a trio of eyeshadows housed in a leather flip top palette. Each eyeshadow has a shimmery outer ring with a matte center. Majesty features a soft, pale white-gold; a frosty copper bronze; and a grayed brown.

Like the Majesty palette, the outer rings are more pigmented than the center counterparts. The centers are merely sheerer and have a matte finish. They do have a tendency to mix, so it can difficult to keep the shimmer from the mattes. Make sure you take care of your palette and clean it regularly so you can actually have two different shades rather than one big one!

This is definitely the more neutral one of the two, and you can easily wear these shades together to the office or out (just go heavier on the dark brown). This palette feels very warm-toned, whereas the the Majesty palette felt more neutral or just slightly cool-toned. The shadows do feel soft and smooth, particularly the outer rings of color, but the mattes are not chalky either. I found the Monarch palette to be much better in terms of overall quality, too — the shadows just seemed to go on smoother and more pigmented.

Again, the value is just as good on this palette as the Majesty palette (same amount, same price). These eyeshadows are about $100/oz. compared to MAC at $290/oz., Urban Decay at $320/oz., and Make Up For Ever at $240/oz. You’ll either love the packaging or it won’t make or break the purchase for you; for me, it was more the latter.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: For an affordable palette of slightly amped-up neutrals, Monarch offers an answer!

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection Majesty Eyeshadow Palette

Smashbox Reign Collection: Majesty Palette

Smashbox Reign Majesty Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00) is a trio of eyeshadows housed in a leather flip top palette. Each eyeshadow has a shimmery outer ring with a matte center. Majesty features a pale peach, a reddish copper, and a black.

I found that it was difficult to keep the matte and shimmers separated from each other, because inevitably one would mix with the other. This sort of rendered the matte center to be a little useless, just because it ended up looking much like the outer ring. I was testing a tester, so it was even worse than a palette with normal usage (e.g. the one you’d buy!), so do keep that in mind while browsing the swatches! I will caution you to dust off your palette regularly to avoid shimmer getting into your matte centers!

The first shade is a soft, shimmery peachy-gold. The middle eyeshadow is more of a burnt brown with reddish shimmer. I know Sephora describes it as a “plum burgundy,” and I didn’t see that whatsoever when I swatched it. The center of the middle eyeshadow was similar, just more of a matte finish, and it applied sheerly (as did all of the centers). The rightmost eyeshadow in the palette is a blue-shimmered black, which isn’t as smooth as I’d like — I did get a little drag when I swatched it. Again, the center is a sheerer, matte-r version of the outer ring.

I’m disappointed that the center of each eyeshadow shade didn’t swatch better, and I’m not thrilled that they go on sheerer than the outer rings either. The colors are wearable, but they don’t seem out-of-the-norm, and I’d say Smashbox single eyeshadows feel smoother, silkier, and I’d probably opt for one or two of those instead of the palette, if you already have these shades covered! These three shades work well together, and you can easily create a few smoky eyes with this one.

However, there is one big selling point to this eyeshadow palette that shouldn’t be overlooked — it’s very high in value! With 0.423 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it brings your cost down well below costs per ounce in any other high-end brand of eyeshadow. These eyeshadows are about $100/oz. compared to MAC at $290/oz., Urban Decay at $320/oz., and Make Up For Ever at $240/oz. You’ll either love the packaging or it won’t make or break the purchase for you; for me, it was more the latter.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you like products high in value, this palette is well worth the investment, particularly if you want to add more neutrals to your collection.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Stay-Put Liner: Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner

Smashbox Navy Blue Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner ($22.00) is a gel eye liner that goes on creamy and then dries after about a minute.  I like that they designed it to stay blendable (wet/creamy) for a minute before it dries to a “smudge-proof, budge-proof finish that lasts all day.”  It does, in fact, stay on all day without smudging or budging or migrating onto places it shouldn’t be.  It’s available in five shades:  Bronze, Dark Brown, Midnight Black, Midnight Purple, and Navy Blue.

I’d definitely love to see Smashbox introduce more shades into their line-up — some fun shades would be awesome to see, but it is still nice tot have five easy, wearable shades.  I’ve only tried Navy Blue myself, but I love the soft bluish silver laced in the dark navy base shade.  Looks great even with a neutral look on the upper lash line!  The pot feels extremely tiny, but I don’t see myself going through this product quickly nonetheless.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: The product itself is fantastic, and even though the container is tiny, you don’t need much for an application, so one container will last you quite awhile.  I will say that I’d prefer a little more bulk to the packaging to make it easier to hold onto, less likely to be lost (since I lose everything), and all that.  Because it stays wet for longer, you have more time to work and don’t have to worry about drag.

Availability: Smashbox.com, Beauty.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com

Have you tried any of Smashbox’s Gel Liners? What was your experience?

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