Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Smashbox Full Exposure eyeshadow palette review & swatches

Oh, yeah.  It looks like it's time for me to say my word about this new Smashbox Full Exposure eyeshadow palette. Ever since its release there's been a lot of controversy about this palette, lots of ranting and raving, comparisons to other nude palettes the market is being constantly showered with. I believe the opinion about this product and how much use one can get depends very much on who buys it and for what reasons. In a moment I'll try to explain what I mean by that. 

Smashbox Full Exposure is a palette of a set of nude/neutral eyeshadows that are very cleverly arranged. The top row consists of only shimmery eyeshadows and in the bottom one you'll find their matte counterparts. There's also another subdivision - the lightest shade in the centre is neutral and whatever is left of this central shade tends to lean warmer and the shadows on the right are definitely on the cooler side, which doesn't mean you can't mix them both, but this division definitely helps the less experienced users combine the shades intiutively.

The palette comes in a nice packaging made of rubberised cardboard with holographic logo on the lid, which I believe will get very messy if you use this palette a lot. There's also a double-ended brush that is by far the best make-up brush that I've ever seen added to a palette. The fluffy side is a very close dupe of MAC 217 and the other side is a flat brush that is half white and half black, the black bristles seem synthetic to me, but I might be wrong.

The palette also comes with an eye chart that can help you identify your eye shape and then choose the type of make-up that would look the most flattering on you, not colourwise, but in terms of contrasting light and dark shades.
From what I gathered, reading other reviews, there's supposed to be a sample of Smashbox Full Exposure mascara, I searched for mine high and low and it was nowhere to be found.

I'm not going to describe each individual shade separately, the photos and swatches are strangely accurate. The rows of eyeshadows perform very consistently, therefore I am able to discuss them as the whole bunch.

So, let me start with the shimmers. All of them, with the notable exception of the lightest one in the centre, are not actually shimmers but fine glitters. They swatch surprisingly well with a finger and on bare skin, but when applied over the matte eyeshadows from the bottom row they refused to cling, lost theit pigmentation and looked like some specks of silver glitter thrown rather imprecisely around the eye area. When I used the glitters on the lash line or in the inner corner, they caused a very unpleasant sensation in my eyes, interfered with my contact lenses etc. 
These glittery eyeshadows performed best when applied on bare skin plus primer or over any cream/hybrid eyeshadow (my favourite combination is with Dior Fusion Mono Matte eyeshadows) or finally, patted on top of the matte eyeshadows from this palette with a finger.   
As I've said, the lightest shade in the centre deserves a special mention as this is what I would all these shimmers to be like. This is a gorgeous shimmery shade that has beautiful pigmentation, buttery soft and smooth consistency, glides on like a dream and contains no chunks of glitter.

The matte shades in the bottom row are just the opposite of the glitters above them. While the glitters are, let's not be afraid so say it, very poor quality, the mattes are truly stunning! Whether you like the shade selection is a matter of personal taste, but it goes without saying that everyone will find something for themselves. But what I'm truly enchanted with is how buttery and blendable these eyeshadows are. Matte eyeshadows seem to be rather difficult to make right, most of them tend to be dry and powdery, lack pigmentation, apply patchily and take time and effort to blend. But not in this case. In fact, they're everything I've just mentioned in reverse. So if you're looking for superb quality matte eyeshadows that will suit everyone, this is the palette for you.  

So who is this palette for?
Although this palette contains everything you need for nude/ neutral/smoky eye look - the lighter shades and those that can serve as eyeliners, mattes and glitters, shades suitable for all skin tones, and a high quality brush and the eye chart - I still wouldn't recommend this palette for a beginner. The glitters are so hard to work with that they can actually be quite discouraging. And a set of 6 glittery eyeshadows is not exactly what you need in your beginner's kit. 

But if, like myself, you're looking for a set of superb quality matte eyeshadows this palette is the one you should go for. However, if I were to make a well-balanced, conscious choice, I'd rather pick the Lorac Pro palette. The concept is the almost the same, but the shimmers are of incomparably better quality and there are more shades to choose from. The only problem is that the Lorac Pro palette is only available in the States, so the if you don't have any friends or family across the Atlantic, E-bay is the only solution for you.  
I also like it cause I enjoy playing with make up, trying to invent new combinations and making eyeshadows work is a challenge for me, but I do realise that for someone like my mum, who expects eyeshadows just to go on smoothly and effortlessly the first time you try them on, who doesn't own a number of eyeshadow bases etc., this palette would be a nightmare.

On one hand this palette contains everything you need for a day to night look for all skin tones, ages and preferences.
On the other, I believe palettes need to be intuitive, involve no learning curves, no time spent trial and error practising, no extra products to make them work. 

I absolutely love the mattes, I've learnt how to use the shimmers and I don't regret buying this palette at all. It contains a number of cool-toned shades which I like and lovely chocolatey browns as well. But if I were to choose just one palette, Lorac Pro would be a much better investment. I've just checked the current prices of Lorac Pro palette on e-bay and it costs approximately just as much as Smashbox Full Exposure in Sephora Poland, including shipping. 

Disclaimer: I bought the product myself for my personal use and I am not affiliated with any company. I am not paid to do this review and everything I said here is my genuine opinion.

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