I have a love-hate relationship with Smashbox. There’s not much I can either take or leave; Smashbox products usually strike me as ZOMG AWESOME or what-on-God’s-green-earth-were-you-all-thinking. So when my new Smashbox Beauty Breakthroughs kit arrived in the mail, I was simultaneously squeeing with excitement and bracing myself for crushing disappointment.
Fortunately, no crushing, at least as far as the brand spanking new Smashbox Cheek Stain is concerned!
The packaging is irritatingly precious; in keeping with the idea that these products are super-ultra-new, Smashbox has put them in super-ultra-plain packaging with stick-on labels that say “SMASHBOX LAB SAMPLE” in typewriter print with some mysterious formula abbreviation on it. Message: You have gotten your hands on something that is so new we haven’t even made labels for it yet! It’s super-secret! It’s straight from the lab! We snuck it out without anyone knowing!
(Sadly, this has already fooled at least one person on the interwebz, who posted a serious and very worried query on a makeup site asking how we know these products are safe if they are lab samples? Sigh. FAIL.)
Now that I have that off my chest, let me just say that this cheek stain is seriously good. As good as the Tarte cheek stains, and maybe even a little better in some ways. The Smashbox stain only comes in one color (so far), and right now you can only get it as part of the kit — however, I’m sure it will be coming out as a standalone product. Again, the color is dark and intense in the container but goes on sheer and translucent and is really lovely. I’m having a hard time describing the color on my cheeks: it’s a perfectly balanced deep red-rosy-cheek blush color, neither pink nor coral. It is subtle, not bright, and looks 100% natural on me. Both the wear-length and the skin-feel are as nice as the Tarte products.
In spite of the fact that the applicator is reminiscent of a travel-size deodorant, I really like the shape of the product surface, which was a surprise. Being thoroughly acculturated to the round-headed Tarte cheek stains, I was dubious about this very elliptical shape. But it turns out that when you hold this applicator vertically, the shape makes it much easier to contour the cheek than I expected, and it’s a definite improvement over the round-headed applicator.
I don’t know that I could choose one of these brands over the other. I like that the Tarte products come in more shades, but the color of this Smashbox one is so flattering it almost makes me think I wouldn’t need any more colors. I’ll be excited to see what other shades Smashbox eventually produces. I’ll also be interested to see what the product size and price point will be; Smashbox runs just slightly over Tarte in pricing, and with Tarte pricing their product at $30 for 1 oz., it will be interesting to see whether Smashbox puts out a same-size product at a higher price point or a smaller product at a lower price point. I can’t imagine they’d put out the same size product as Tarte and price it lower. As I said in my last post on cheek stains, I’d prefer a smaller product for a lower price, but that’s something else I’m not going to get my hopes up about.
Smashbox Cheek Stain (via the Master’s Class Beauty Breakthroughs Kit at Sephora): $59 for the kit, which right now is a Beauty Insider exclusive
Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Kit: mixed. Cheek stain: excellent.
Purchase again? Yes, when available, and when (if) I run out!
(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)