O-Glow. Remember mood rings? The jewelry that changed color after being in contact with your skin? Smashbox tries to recapture that idea with a silicone-based clear blush they refer to as “intuitive” because “this clear gel reacts with your personal skin chemistry to turn cheeks the exact color you blush, naturally in just seconds!” Sounds like the perfect “natural blush”, but the claim is bogus. Yes, this goes on clear and changes color as it blends—but it turns into the same translucent fuchsia hue on everyone. Our office staff has a good range of skin tones, from fair to dark. We asked several women to sample this blush and let us know what color it turned on their skin, and did they think it matches how they blush naturally. All of them had the same color response (fuchsia) and none of them claimed to blush this shade (no one does). We admit, it’s cool to watch a clear gel turn into a vibrant pink shade as you blend, and this has a smooth powder finish that lasts, but the color itself isn’t personalized and the strong color isn’t going to work for everyone.
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.