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Tuesday Reviewsday: Smashbox Best of Sephora Beauty Kit

September 16, 2008

Hello, lovelies! I know, I know, I’ve been negligent, and so early in the life of the blog, but listen: I had a lot to do, and it was one of those fatiguey times of the month. Blah blah excuses, but here I am again, and ready to go. Vroooooom! I’ve got lots and lots of stuff I want to talk about, so I may be changing up the weekly schedule a bit as I go, but whatever. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, as they say.

So, as I believe I have noted previously, I am a sucker for the whole Gift With Purchase (GWP) thing. For some reason I apparently love the idea of someone else choosing a whole slew of products FOR me and then sticking them together in a box with lots of tissue paper. Part of this is because it’s like getting a PRESENT and part of it is because I am the sort of person who usually spends three hours deciding what the hell she should eat for lunch. Anyway, I have this habit of perusing beauty sites for sets, and I ran across the Smashbox Best of Sephora Beauty Kit, and naturally I promptly ordered it. I have to say, I’m very pleased with my purchase; overall, the products have been great. Let’s break it down like MC Hammer:

Photo Finish Foundation Primer

OK, so I haven’t quite figured out how exactly this makes my life better JUST yet, but it really makes me feel Important to put it on. Plus it’s really slippery and fun, like, I don’t know… some types of lubricants! The idea of this product is that it somehow evens your complexion and prepares your face for the barrage of makeup that is to come, but frankly I uh, haven’t noticed a difference? Since I am a makeup nub I assume this is more likely a shortcoming on my end, because everyone else raves about this stuff. I still use it, though, on the assumption that maybe the checkout girl at Country Market will perceive that I have used the Photo Finish and think “My what a stylish person this is, purchasing three double-chocolate cakes which SURELY such a stylish person would not be purchasing so they could go home and EAT THEM ALL without even the benefit of CUTLERY.” Oh yeah, and it’s the clear one. Can you say Emperor’s New Clothes? Good!

Soft Lights in Tint

I likes. I slap some of this on with a cute brush from Sephora (no I don’t know what it’s called, it’s like the poufy kind for face powder, but smaller, so for blush I think) and I feel it gives me a Lovely Glow. It doesn’t go on very dark, so sometimes I go a bit overboard in my application and end up looking like Blayne from Project Runway but other than that, it’s great. I am Paley McPalerson and not in a cute way, more in a sickly way, and this kind of remedies that.


Ooh, naughty naughty! It’s like they’re playing on the success of Nars’ Orgasm blush which fuck me I’m tired of hearing about, maybe I should just buy some and try it, huh? Anyway, this is the full name of this product, per Smashbox:”O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color with Goji Berry-C Complex” — if that’s not a line of bullshit, I don’t know what is. Oh wait, maybe this: “Experience instant chemistry as you watch your complexion go from so-so to oh-so-glowing! This intuitive cheek color reacts with your personal skin chemistry to transform from a silky clear gel into the shade you blush naturally.” Unless your “personal skin chemistry” consists solely of “has moisture,” it’s sort of stupid to buy that line. But it does make you feel Special and like you are using some Expensive Custom Formula, right? All in all, though, I actually do like it; I have never been a huge believer in blush or rouge (LF1M rouge for Ramps then GTG ha ha ha ha oh I’m funny) but between this and the Soft Lights I really do look… nicer. It’s not obvious makeup, but it’s cute. Still? Total BS. Get over yourselves with the marketing there, Smashbox.

Cream Eye Liner Duo in Caviar and Midnight Brown

Midnight Brown? Huh? What the hell? Maybe Smashbox needs to move to a less smoggy city, is what I’m thinking. That said: I am IN LOVE with this eyeliner. LOVE. I have always lusted after the 40s-style liquid eyeliner look and have bought many, many eyeliners which promise Easy Application and So Perfect and Easy Even an Idiot Such as Yourself Can Do It, all to no avail. Because inevitably I look like someone with shaky hands got hold of a broken pen and sort of waved it at my eyelids. But oh! behold! This stuff! with a liner brush! Seriously, I am going to elope with Smashbox Cream Eye Liner. Mrs. Cream Eye Liner. Mrs. Jennifer C. E. Liner. Mrs. Liner.

Wait, huh? What were we talking about? Oh yeah. It also does really well for a more natural look and is super-easy to work into the roots of the eyelashes, which I guess is what you’re supposed to do with eyeliner in general. I worried about it sliding off my belotioned eyelids, but so far so good for 8 hours at a time.

Eye Shadow Trio in Headshot

So am I the only person who yells “BOOM HEADSHOT! PWNED!” every time they use this product? I might be. Seriously, Smashbox, your naming schemes are… odd. Bad name aside, this is a pretty cool trio; it’s not super-flashy but the colors are great for daytime or any sort of more natural look. Keep in mind that generally when I have worn eyeshadow in the past it’s been MAC Trax up to my browbone and all the way over to the hairline, so. Sometimes when I put on subtle colors I’m like “yeah and what did I just waste that three minutes for, you can’t even tell that’s there,” but these actually do seem to make me look just a wee bit nicer. I use the standard Even Idiots Know This form of eyeshadow application, which is: lightest color all over lid and up to brow bone; medium color all over eyelid; dark color in crease and halfway along lashes on top. It makes my eyes stand out a bit, and since I like my eyes, I like this product.

Brow Tech Trio in Brunette and Taupe

REALLY? People use STYLING PRODUCTS on their eyebrows? Are you fucking kidding me? This cannot possibly be true. Anyway, I have full and lush and possibly slightly nutso eyebrows that do not need to be enhanced with color, and I barely know how to use HAIR styling wax, let alone on my EYEBROWS. Shiiiiit. I did try it and I felt like I had sticky wax on my eyebrows, but could not ascertain any visible difference. Now perhaps if I ever get around to plucking and or/waxing my brows I will revisit this and see how I feel.


This review perhaps makes it sound like I don’t like the stuff, but really, I do. The blush and eyeshadow/liner are some of the nicest I’ve ever used, and I am a diehard MAC eyeshadow girl for some reason. Probably all the crazy-ass colors they make. If you feel like getting a treat, I say sign up for the Sephora Beauty Insider whatever junk (it’s free) and pick this up for $45. Most all the products are full-sized, so if you like even two of them it’s a good deal.

All that said, I have been browsing Etsy like a fiend (seriously, I need a new hobby) and found several handmade, more natural makeup and skincare options, so there’s a good chance I’ll be switching. I ordered some sample sizes of a few things and hopefully will continue to do that, so my inner hippie will feel so Pleased with Itself. I’ll certainly post my thoughts here; so far one of the best parts has been the ability to converse with the shop owners, a.k.a. the people who MAKE the stuff, to get their recommendations. Handmade is pretty sweet, yo.

Oh, and I got some camis I’d ordered from Old Navy today, and what the hell, they’re too big. Why are people’s size charts so ludicrously WRONG WRONG WRONGITY-WRONG-O? I have the same issue with my pants from Avenue, which I’m going to have tailored anyway so whatever, but I am so not taking a $4 camisole to the tailor. Instead I will attempt to alter it myself. Prepare to be amused ha ha.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Christie permalink
    September 16, 2008 8:26 pm

    wow. that stuff sounds cool. all of it.

    i used to be a make-up junkie when i lived in chi, mainly because there was an elite makeup store on every block, but now that i’m back in po-dunk-ville, i buy nothing because all we have is walmart and walgreens for makeup and HELLO(?!?!) i can’t be bothered with any makeup that costs less than a 20 spot.

    i need to get me some sephora shit.

    and dude. you should posts pics. that eyeliner sounds awesome for work, because even though i can apply makeup like i have my PhD in it, a girl simply doesn’t have time to prep for a headshot at 5:15 in the morning. i need some easy-apply stuff so that i can be out the door.

    i also need new hair that does something cool by doing nothing to it. ideas? ….. bueller? bueller?

  2. September 17, 2008 9:15 am

    Pics, eh? I shall endeavor to take some today that don’t make me look like a heroin addict only with a Krispy Kreme addiction to boot.

    Sephora is a place of wonder, but man, I gotta say… do some Etsy searches for makeup and have a gander. I can’t wait until the stuff I ordered gets here so I can take pictures and show you guys.

  3. Erin (anonyma) permalink
    September 17, 2008 2:02 pm

    I can’t apply makeup to save my life. Thankfully, it’s never come to that. In general, I suck pretty hard at what the po-mo theory folks call the performance of femininity. And yet, part of me really wants to know how to put on some kickass, Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face eyeliner. Is it too late for me?

  4. jolie permalink
    September 18, 2008 6:05 pm

    i’m definitely going to have to try out your recipe for applying eyeshadow. i’ve always known i do it all wrong, and anytime i’ve looked at how you’re supposed to do it, they make it seem very confusing with all kinds of blending and 17 different colors and it always comes out looking way to impressive for me to even consider trying. i generally fall back on 1 color on my lids, because the only other eyeshadow i’ve ever done is uber scary big black goth makeup.

    i agree with the more pictures comment. you need to do some before and after photos so we can see just how awesome these things can look for some schmo like us who are makeuply challenged.

    i’d also be curious to see what you’d have to say about some of the home waxing products. i use gigi’s microwave wax something-or-other to wax my own eyebrows, and i love the stuff.

  5. September 18, 2008 6:25 pm

    Erin, I feel you. Sometimes I think wanting to look good is just stupid and shallow and reinforcing ideas I don’t want to reinforce, and then sometimes I just want to look SO CUTE, you know?

    Jolie, perhaps I shall do a photo tutorial of the eyeshadow application technique (so that other people who know what they are doing can LAUGH THEMSELVES SILLY). Having appropriate brushes is what makes it possible, otherwise you’re kinda screwed. Also, I LIKE the scary Goth eye makeup. Sometimes I wish it were possible to parade around with purple eyeshadow covering half of my forehead, and yes I know you should do what you want but frankly I do not have the cojones to pull that off.

    I wanted to pick up some gigi’s microwave wax or whatever… honey wax, I think? at Sally when I was there a couple of weeks ago. Alas, it was on sale and therefore completely out of stock. I’m doing a swap on a forum this month, though, and one of the crafters is offering some home waxing sugar wax business, so I may give that a shot. Stupid eyebrows.

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