Liquid Halo HD Foundation has a sublime, fluid texture that feels almost otherworldly. The fragrance-free formula goes beyond silky to uber-silky, and is a breeze to blend, gliding over skin without being so slippery that it doesn't "grab" while blending. This sets (rather quickly) to a smooth matte finish that looks dimensional, lit-from-within, and quite skin-like. Really, it's among the most natural-looking foundations we've seen lately—and a great way to make your skin look better with minimal effort.
Smashbox states Liquid Halo provides light to medium coverage, but even when layered, the most you'll get is light coverage. We applied several coats and this maintained its somewhat see-through translucency. It's not a great foundation for those with something to hide, but if you're using foundation to highlight already great skin and want broad-spectrum sun protection, this is one to audition!
Turning to the shades, Smashbox offers a good range from light (but not very light) to dark (but not very dark), all of which are decidedly warm-toned. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but on some skin tones the golden-peach tone many of the medium to dark shades have will be a deal-breaker. This is absolutely a foundation to sample and check the results in natural light. That being said, none of the shades are a must to avoid; rather, consider potential matches carefully (the shade swatches on Smashbox's site are way off, so don't go by those).
This foundation is best for normal to oily or sensitive skin, and is suitable for breakout-prone skin, too. Its finish, while glow-y, is matte enough to exaggerate dry areas, so be sure to prep dry areas, including around the eyes, beforehand.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Sublime texture.
- Weightless, refining finish with subtle, lit-from-within glow.
- Natural-looking; your skin, but better.
- Very easy to blend.
- The shades are decidedly warm-toned, with most veering toward golden/peach.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 4.90%, Titanium Dioxide 2.90%. Inactive Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Polysilicone-11, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Quaternium-90 Bentonite, Dimethicone Silylate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Alumina, Silica, Propylene Carbonate, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, C12-16 Alcohols, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Smashbox is that its name refers to the early, accordion-style cameras and that Smashbox is first and foremost a Hollywood-based photography studio. The company's creators, Dean and Davis Factor, have their heritage in makeup—their great-grandfather was the legendary makeup artist Max Factor. However, this seems to be a case where the proverbial apple didn't fall all that close to the tree. It is apparent that Dean and Davis are better at their respective careers as CEO and photographer, respectively, than at creating a cosmetics line. The makeup, which debuted in 1996, began as a collection of trendy and fashion-forward colors coupled with a pleasingly neutral palette of foundations, concealers, and powders. Nowadays, many of the colors are too sheer to register on medium to dark skin tones, shiny products abound, and several of the complexion-enhancing products just don't look as natural on skin as they should. In fact, the foundations and concealers could use some updating; they haven't kept pace with what other makeup artistry lines are launching, and don't demonstrate much longevity under normal conditions, as in day-to-day casual makeup.
Realizing that celebrities sell products better than the product claims themselves, Smashbox steadily capitalizes on its ties to Hollywood and often mentions several famous faces who wear their products. Their counter brochures follow suit, tempting women to sit down with a Smashbox artist to get the star treatment. It's easy to get caught up in the hype, but as a comprehensive line Smashbox doesn't have what it takes to create A-list glamour, at least not if you're looking for cutting-edge textures and finishes.
For more information about Smashbox, now owned by Estee Lauder, call (888) 763-1361 or visit www.smashbox.com.