Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Venice Beach Bronze Borrows a Thing or Two From the NARS Multiples

Published in: Face, Makeup, Product Reviews, Smashbox

smashbox la lights

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Venice Beach Bronze ($29)

Cream products.

Have you ever noticed how popular they get around this time of year? Especially cream highlighters and blushes? The one pictured here is the new $29 Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colors in Venice Beach Bronze.


It’s gotta have something to do with summer…because with summer makeup, trends always come and go, but one trend that never completely disappears is the whole minimalist makeup angle. Cream blushes and highlighter sort of evoke that idea of casual, minimal makeup. Just swipe a little on bare skin, or in this case, maybe even on top of tinted moisturizer, and bam! — you’re ready to go hunting for surfer dudes on the boardwalk.

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colors: What are they, exactly?

These $29 cream blushes from Smashbox — technically, they’re combination cheek colors/lip products — are multitaskers in the vein of the NARS Multiples. This one, shimmery bronze Venice Beach Bronze, is one of five, and it’s made to cast a warm sunset-like glow on skin like it’s “The Magic Hour” (the brief windows of time just before sunrise and sunset).

The other shades are Hollywood & Highlight (a sheer pinkish pearl), Beverly Hills Blush (a peachy pink with golden shimmer), Silver Lake Sunset (a warm coral) and Malibu Berry (a rich berry).

smashbox la lights

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Venice Beach Bronze

I mentioned the NARS Multiples. Well, these L.A. Lights are like them in quite a few ways. They have a similarly thick formula, fine shimmer and a respectable amount of pigment. You could probably wear either one and not be able to tell the difference.

But there is a difference in terms of price. With a NARS Multiple, you get a 0.50-oz. stick for $39 (works out to $78/ounce), versus a 0.17-oz. stick for $29 ($171/ounce) with one of the Smashbox L.A. Lights, so even though you pay more for a NARS Multiple, you get a lot more product.

Not to say that you shouldn’t at least consider these. True, you get more product with NARS, but with the L.A. Lights, you also get a blending sponge (it’s right there on the opposite end of the stick), and it’s nice that the stripe on the outside of the tubes matches the color of the cream inside. It makes them easy to identify.

Plus, the L.A. Lights are overall less expensive, even if they are more expensive per ounce.

About that sponge, though… I was super stoked about it at first, but after using it a few times, I could live without it. It mostly just scoots the blush around when I use it on my cheeks and disrupts whatever foundation or tinted moisturizer I’m also wearing.

It’s easier to blend out the edges with a synthetic buffing brush like the Real Techniques Multi-Task brush. It works like a charm.

smashbox la lights

Wearing Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Venice Beach Bronze

Is it any good?

For the most part, I wear Venice Beach Bronze, the shade I’m wearing here, as a blush or highlighter. When the light hits my cheeks just right, the fine, dreamy shimmer looks almost ethereal…like I’m a character in a beach scene in an artsy French movie.

I think it’s just as lovely as a lipstick, too, but my lips are like, “Haaaay, ma! You need something way more mositurizing.”

Yes, my lips give me attitude sometimes. Just like my cat. 🙂

Anyway, yeah, I can’t really use this as a lip color, but you might be able to if your lips aren’t as dry as mine.

At around four hours, the wear time on my combination dry/oily cheeks seems pretty typical of cream products, but I just reapply at lunch, then go doop-da-doo along my merry way. If you’re not about that life, though, you’ll want to set this with a powder blush or a transparent face powder to increase the staying power.


What’s the final verdict?

Absolutely gorgeous as a blush/highlighter, but it sucks every microliter of moisture from my lips.

Oh, and the sponge is kind of lame…

Buuut, if you like the NARS Multiples, you might also like these (although they’re more drying than the Multiples on my lips).

PRICE: $29, available in five shades
AVAILABILITY: Available now online and at Smashbox counters, Nordstrom, Ulta and Sephora

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 9 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Kwmechelle says:

    Hmmm, I’ve never tried cream blushes even though I own one. They kinda make me nervous. I have combo/oily skin as well & I have scary thoughts of cream blush sliding & melting off my face during one of our dog days of summer. =)

  2. Debra says:

    The problem I had with NARS Multiples was they dried up on my cheeks!

    But I saw your FOTD with NARS Fez (got), Teddy Eye Kohl (got) and MAC Amber Lights (gonna get). But when I clicked to see Ricepaper the link was broken. I’ve got a dupe anyway but I wanted to let you know there was an oops!

    And Surfer Girl, you’re doing the Cote d’Azur proud!

  3. Agata says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your thorough review. I keep going back and forth on wanting to try these. Every time I am at Ulta I swatch them and I want them, especially this one and the highlighting one. But I probably don’t need either…I like how creamy they are though.
    Agata recently posted … The LBD of eco-skincare- Kari Gran Radiant Lip Whip review.

  4. Natalye says:

    I have really been wanting to try these! I have never tried a cream blush/bronzer, I’m afraid the product would dry out
    Natalye recently posted … It Cosmetics: CC+ Lip Serum in Love Review and Swatches

  5. Lulle says:

    I own Silver Lake Sunset and I absolutely love it – on the cheeks! I was shocked by how little product it contains and I think it’s priced way too high, but it gives me that perfect warm sunlit glow, it’s unlike anything I’ve tried before. On the lips I didn’t find it very drying, but it did settle into lip lines and emphasize existing dryness. On my cheekbones however it looks so dreamy… I’m even tempted by Hollywood & Highlight now for a cool, purely highlight version.
    Lulle recently posted … Rouge Bunny Rouge Fire Drops Loose Glitter Pigment: Sleeping Under A Mandarin Tree

  6. Omg, This looks awsome! Too pity we dont have the brand în România :((

  7. I quite like these. I just dab ’em on with my fingers and then blend like that.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Video review | Gillette Venus Snap razor

  8. Erin says:

    I think I’ll stick to NARS!
    Erin recently posted … VINTJS Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2014

  9. I can imagine your cat is giving you attitude!
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Inspired By … Dior Tie Dye Summer 2015

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