Smashbox's Full Exposure Palette can be described as a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" type of product, in that it has some aspects that are good – but others that are just plain bad!
This shadow palette contains 14 neutral shades. The top row of seven shadows includes a mix of shimmer or glitter shades, while the bottom row is all mattes. This does lend a great deal of versatility to the palette.
The matte shades are truly matte, and have a soft texture that's easy to apply and blend. The color quality is sheer, meaning you have to put on a couple of layers before it really shows up, but it is buildable and wears well.
The big problem, though, is in the glitter shades. All of them are quite sheer, and even piling them on to your lids, what comes through more is the glitter – not the color. With the darker glitter shades, there's also the issue of fallout. If you apply enough to get a full color impact, you will wind up with glitter and shadow on the top of your cheekbones, which is not where eyeshadow is intended to go!
This is certainly not the worst palette out there, but there are definitely many alternatives that feature a full range of shades that are wearable and don't have the issue with flaking this one does!
- A lot of eyeshadow for a fairly good price.
- Matte shades are truly matte and easy to blend.
- Matte shades wear well.
- Glitter shades have very little color payoff, even when piling them on.
- Glitter shades flake.
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.