Smashbox Brand Review

Smashbox holds a special place in my heart. While I would randomly buy a product here and there from Sephora while in college, Smashbox came to my aid a recent grad starting her first real job.

After getting hired, I realized I wanted to be an adult and improve my makeup game. I went to Sephora’s website and dropped a quick couple hundred on a lot of products I can’t remember anymore, except one.

Smashbox BB Cream.

I can’t explain why I purchased BB Cream instead of foundation considering how much I love full coverage, but at the time I was just a poor lost puppy. It’s most likely because BB creams were all the rage and it had most of its stars. Either way. I ended up loving it although I never purchased another because I’m cheap.

The brand became a favorite because of their Always On liquid lipsticks and Be Legendary lipsticks. In a time before I even wore lip color everyday, these products were so incredible it made me want to paint my lips more.

Brand History

Brothers Dan and Davis Factor, grandsons of legendary makeup artist Max Factor, started Smashbox Studios in 1990. Within five years, the studio grew from its focus on the brother’s visionary work to housing the up and coming work of others and creating a space for new talent.

In 1996, the Factors launched Smashbox Cosmetics. The brothers wanted products for the models to wear that photographed well and were long lasting, creating a selling point for all purchasers. None of their products should ever have flashback, which is pretty cool.

Their most famous product, the Photo Finish Foundation Primer (a personal fave) came out in 2000 and was designed to eliminate the need for touch ups throughout the day and while at shoots. It remains a bestseller.


Products Used

The Look


So clearly this isn’t the complete face. I forgot to save one from earlier in the day and took this later at my second job. So we’ll just have to use our imaginations.

Out of all the brands I’ve done, these complexion products did the best work for my skin (so far). I looked practically flawless beneath the foundation, powder and concealer. The original Photo Finish Foundation Primer is one of my favorites, so I tried the new radiance one combined with pore-minimizing to address two of my concerns. The radiance primer did a great job of illuminating my skin so I wasn’t too matte without making me look oily, which is a real thing that happens to me if I go too crazy on the glotion.

While all the complexion products looked great, I did not like how they felt on my skin. I’m used to a lot of products, but I like to be able to touch my face and it still feel like soft skin. There was no being fooled by this combination. It was makeup all the way.

The Brow Tech To Go Shaping Powder went much better than I thought. I used the pencil to shape, but the powder to fill and I think it turned into a really natural look and it lasted all day, which is a plus because there are few things worse than losing your eyebrows in the middle of the day.

The contour kit and bronzer were simple additions and both did a nice job. Typically, if someone is new to contouring we send them to Smashbox because the kit is so simple to use. I LOVED the coral blush kit. You will learn how blush is like one of my biggest things because it takes me from looking like a corpse to a living and breathing human. The highlighting wand was ok and the Spotlight Palette was holy cow highlight. As a ghost, finding a light enough highlighter is sometimes challenging, but the Pearl version of this took it to a new level. It is opaque and almost too light for my skin. Great pigment if you’re a vampire.

Now for my eyes. Don’t look at the photo too much because it’s almost like the life left my body when I took it or something. I used the Full Exposure for the base and crease and a shimmer lid color while the smokey helped add some definition. While the shadows were pretty, the fallout was unreal. I tried to put a dark green from the Smoky under my eye and it was almost a look-ruining disaster. It also lasted maybe an hour before I saw colors begin to fade on my eye. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not as vibrant as I wanted.

Now the eyeliner. Wow. I loved it! I’m a loyal Stila user, but this makes me want to stray. It applies very easily and is super dark. Doing a wing is terrifying, especially with 45 minutes to do it, but it felt like nothing with the Limitless Liquid Liner Pen. The mascara and primer were meh.

I love the Be Legendary line of lipsticks, but I’m not sold on the liquid form. The vinyl doesn’t dry down well and while the metal is very pigmented, it feels sticky. I didn’t want to risk wearing it all day without a way to touch it up, so I swapped it out for another red when I left the store.

And finally we have the Primer Water. I use Primer Water and always feel luxurious when I use it, although I almost never use it as a way to set my makeup. It’s great for melting powder down so your skin looks like skin and not powder.

Probable Purchase

  • Limitless Liquid Liner Pen – I’m not technically in the market right now, but I definitely think I will give it a try.
  • L.A. Lights Blush – I never think about buying blush because I have a lot, but next time I need some I know where I’m going

Never Again

  • Spotlight Palette – great pigment but not great glow payoff
  • Any of the eyeshadows – I don’t need fallout in my life

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