Product Reviews

The Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Lacquers: Some Legends Last, and Some Don’t

Published in: Lips, Makeup, Product Reviews, Smashbox

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer, $24 each (available in 20 shades)

“Gather round, young’ns,” said granny Karen, “and let me tell you the story of a long-wearing lip lacquer so shiny, so smooth, so long-lasting and revered that it was legendary!”

I can see it now…the spunky granny version of myself telling the story of Smashbox’s Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquers ($24 each and available in 20 shades) to a group of gum-smacking, eye-rolling tweens, although, really, there’s no way I’m going to make it past 75 with my sanity intact.

I can see myself handing down vintage tubes of my go-to colors to my favorite granddaughter — let’s call her Jem because she has pink hair and sings lead in a punk rock band — while telling her tales of my legendary adventures with my legendary cat.

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer from the top to bottom: Beet It, Pink Social, Rosewater and Legendary

From top to bottom, Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquers in Beet It, Pink Social, Rosewater and Legendary

But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My dearest Jem will not be acquiring her feisty granny’s beloved and precious tubes of Be Legendary Lip Lacquer. She will, instead, get amusing anecdotes meant to teach her life lessons, as well as a few pieces of stale butterscotch hard candy. :)

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Pink Social

Pink Social, a warm pink

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Beet It

Beet It, a deep purple

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Legendary

Legendary, a blueish red

Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Rosewater, a warm light pink

Rosewater, a cool light pink


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Have You Tried the Tricky Grinder? Gotta Get Loose With Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush In Bloom

Published in: Face, Makeup, Product Reviews, Smashbox

Wearing Smashbox's Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom ($24) on my cheeks

Wearing Smashbox’s Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom ($24) on my cheeks

TRICKY GRINDER IN THE HOUSE, Y’ALL!

TRICKY GRINDER — in the mix!

I know, “tricky grinder” sounds like a DJ name, right? Like some guy spinning at da club on a Tuesday night. Normally, you wouldn’t go because it’s a school night, but sometimes you just gotta dance.

Dun-cha-dun-cha-dun-cha-dun-cha!

Sorry to burst your house music bubble, but today’s “tricky grinder” is not in reference to spinning the phat jamz.

It’s the contraption that is both a blessing — and a curse — of these $24 Halo Long Wear Blushes by Smashbox.

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom

Matte warm pink In Bloom, one of the six Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blushes

Come on, baby, let’s do the twist

You might remember seeing these Halo Longwear Blushes before. They first bounced on the scene in 2013. I took a look at them then but didn’t give them a good try until this week. Now they’re available in six shades for $24 each.

The one I’m wearing in the picture at the top is one of them, In Bloom, a natural-looking matte warm pink.

Solid blushes that come in a jar with an attached cheese grater-like thingamabobber, they let you easily control how much loose powder you use. Just twist the inner ring like a pepper grinder to shave some of the solid blush into the pan.

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom closeup

A closeup of the grinding contraption…

Big surprise! I get a weird kick out of this. When I use the twisty top, I feel like I’m earning my blush, like I’m a pioneer on the plains, planting, growing and gathering fresh non-GMO vegetables in my garden and sh*t. But with makeup.

Why loose blush?

I’m usually not a big fan of loose powder blushes because they can be super messy, and I’m super clumsy, but I love the way they look. I know it sounds like a bunch o’ hooey, but I’ve been taking makeup pictures of myself pretty much daily for eight years, and I see a distinct difference between the way that loose and solid powder blushes appear on my skin. Loose powders just seem to have that certain something, that je ne sais quoi, that solid powder blushes generally lack.

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush In Bloom, one of the six available shades, looks amazeballs on skin, both in pics and real life. I like this particular matte pink because it’s forgiving (doesn’t emphasize pores) and fantastic for pics. Wear it, and your cheeks will be the envy of all the baby cherubs, son. On top of that, its 14-hour wear time kicks so much @ss. I’m talking solid color from start to finish, with minimal fading.

A couple of Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blushes with a MAC Lipglass for sale

A couple of the six available Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blushes next to a MAC Lipglass for scale…


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Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara Totally One-Ups the Non-Waterproof Version

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Product Reviews, Smashbox

Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara

The new Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara, $20, available now in one shade, Jet Black

Smashbox’s latest waterproof wunderkind, the brand-spankin’-new Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara ($20), earns the Raging Hormone Stamp of Approval (also known as the R.H.S.A in less formal circles).

In my testing this week, it withstood not one, not two, but THREE spontaneous PMS-fueled crying fits.

One of those fits may have been triggered by sad-looking, slow-motion kittens on YouTube, but that’s a topic I’d rather not analyze right now…

Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara is the waterproof alter ego of Smashbox’s original Full Exposure Mascara, which my BFF Jen happens to be obsessed with. We’ve had a surprising number of text convos that reference that O.G. version (“It’s good work makeup and doesn’t smudge.”), but to be honest, I’ve always felt that the original one is just OK. I like the color but feel like the formula doesn’t hold a curl as well as I’d like.

Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara

This waterproof Clark Kent-ian alter ego version, however, does. It lifts curls like Atlas lifts the earth and lasts at least 10-12 hours. It gives good length, volume and separation; plus, it’s even more resistant to smudging and flaking than the non-waterproof version.

As far as the lash look itself, I love it. It’s dramatic but doesn’t go over the top. I’d say it’s about two drag queens, a martini and a pair of Swarovski crystal-encrusted roller skates shy of the MEGA GLAM look I get from Guerlain’s Cils D’Enfer Waterproof, which is my current out-to-THERE waterproof mascara, but I think both are great. Full Exposure Waterproof just happens to be better for a slightly less flashy lash look.

Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara before and after

Before and after two coats


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Purple Plus Matte Equals Music to My Ears: The New Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Les Violines

Published in: Eyes, Guerlain, Makeup, Palettes, Product Reviews

Guerlain Les Violines Ecrin 4 Couleurs Long-Lasting Eyeshasdows

Wearing the new Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in Les Violines ($63)

It occurred to me while fiendishly gurgling on my third cup of coffee this morning and scouring every surface of my office (including the floor) for my missing, precious pan of MAC Soft Brown (I eventually found it) that on any given second of any given day, there are women, and makeup-loving men, around the world joining Team Matte Eyeshadow.

If you’ve already been drafted, congratulations, and welcome. :) Now check it — Guerlain’s new Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Violines is like the Super Bowl for violet eyeshadow lovahs.

Guerlain Les Violines Ecrin 4 Couleurs Long-Lasting Eyeshasdows

Guerlain Les Violines Ecrin 4 Couleurs Long-Lasting Eyeshasdows

It’s $63, which, ya know, is business as usual at Guerlain, but if you’re open to the idea of paying that much and have a yearning, burning love for matte purples, I think these are pretty great.

Guerlain Les Violines swatches

Les Violines strums a tune about violet. Its three lightest shades are tonally near and dear to each other, making them ideal for blown-out matte purple looks with smooth transitions, like what I’m wearing on my lids in these pics. I paired Violines with contoured cheeks and a slightly shiny berry lip, for a look that I think has that meow-rrific ’90s thing going for it.

Guerlain Les Violines Ecrin 4 Couleurs Long-Lasting Eyeshasdows

Here I’m also wearing Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipstick in 362 Cherry Pink on my lips

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Laura Mercier’s New High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye Disguises Dark Circles, But Demands Significant Elbow Grease

Published in: Eyes, Laura Mercier, Makeup, Product Reviews

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye in shade 4

Wearing the new Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye ($28) to cover up ye olde dreaded dark circles

If your current full-coverage under-eye concealer were a skimpy Brazilian-cut bikini, then Laura Mercier’s new High Coverage Concealer ($28 for a 0.27-oz. tube) would be a Victorian Era bathing costume, complete with skirt, bloomers, bonnet and shoes.

In other words, no skin be showin’ here, ma! Those dark circles will be covered-the-eff-up.

A recent addition to Laura’s permanent line, High Coverage is referred to as “three in one” by Team LM. It’s supposed to cover, de-puff and brighten under-eye circles, all at the same time, and it comes in 12 shades that correspond to the colors in Laura’s existing Secret Concealer range.

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer (1)

I had hoped to experience significant makeup nirvana testing High Coverage based on how much I’ve been loving the new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation Laura released at the same time (one word: amazing), but to be honest, my feelings run hot and cold… My overall opinion depends on how psycho my skin is acting on any given day.

Annoying Dry Skin Issues: Chapter 1,576

My under-eye area is usually some degree of dry, from slightly dry to very, and when it’s very dry, High Coverage Concealer does not look cute.

Yes, it completely covers my dark circles, which is great, but the texture looks thick and heavy, and cracks appear around my fine lines.

It’s a different story, however, when my skin is behaving better (and I also jump through some extra hoops, which I’ll describe in a moment), in which case, High Coverage looks and works great. The cracking is kept to a minimum, and the texture looks natural.

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye in shade 4

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye in shade 4

Being somewhat dry and thick (it looks and feels like a thick paste, as opposed to a runny liquid), the formula is also pigmented — things that don’t often lend themselves to easy blending — so if you attempt to half-@ss the application, you could be in for a janky surprise (particularly if you have mature skin).

The way around it is to really get in there and do the work, and if you do, High Coverage can look lovely.

Here’s how I apply it

A drop the size of a pin head is enough, literally, to do both eyes. The back of the tube recommends dotting a bit on a fingertip and patting that beneath your eyes, but I tried that and wasn’t too crazy about the way it turned out. I thought it looked a little heavy…

Instead, I load a smidgen on the back of my hand, where I sheer it out using a synthetic tapered blending brush (you could use a brush with natural fibers for this, but I find that synthetic brush heads usually have stiffer bristles, which in this case handle the thick-ish formula better.)

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer For Under Eye in shade 4

Application tips on the back of the tube

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