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).
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.
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
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,