Smashbox, Boots, Sedley Place
Last Friday was the launch of the new Liquid Halo Foundation from Smashbox, the cult US brand available in the UK at larger Boots stores. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try the foundation and road-test it for you.

Being the early bird that I am, I was one of the first 50 (I was 2nd in line… impressed? or pitying my early start?) in-store at Boots, Sedley Place last Friday and got my hands on a free full-size bottle worth £27.50 RRP. Yes, free! Result!

 

Price: £27.50
Weight/ volume: 1 fl. oz/ 30ml
Shades: 10
My shade: 4 (described as a light warm beige for light complexions)
Features: Works with all undertones/ Buildable sheer-to-medium coverage/ Long-wearing/ Moisturizing/ Sweat and humidity resistant
Purchased/ sample: Free full size product

Smashbox, Liquid Halo HD Foundation

Sales blurb:

Bring on the flawless! The first-ever foundation with 100% Liquid Light Technology completely evens out skin for a totally natural, luminous finish. (Think gel-covered pigments that mimic photo filters to blur imperfections.) 

Created in our studios, this HD formula was developed to keep up with advancing photo technology by giving you flawless coverage that’s undetectable to the naked eye. 

So how was my first ‘Halo’ experience?

Well, first Gillian Staal, the National Events & Educational Exec at Smashbox talked us through the brand and the Liquid Halo foundation in particular. She told us

“It’s a 100% mineral foundation with a hydragel base. That gives it a luminous finish and best of all, it’s oil-free and has SPF15.”

 

Smashbox, Liquid Halo HD Foundation

Then she handed me over to the lovely Holly for my foundation shade match. As a make-up artist myself, I know when a foundation match is right, and more importantly I know when it’s wrong. Holly matched my skin perfectly and to my surprise, I was matched at shade 4. Shade 1 is the lightest and 10 the darkest.

Why was I surprised?  Well, given that I’m South-Asian, usually my skin is on the darker end of the spectrum. With Smashbox Liquid Halo HD foundation, I am on the lighter end. So what? Why do we care? It’s great news for Women of Colour. It means that Smashbox’s claim that they can match any skintone with these 10 shades, is probably right! Hallelujah!

 

On to the important stuff. Does it do what it says on the tin?

 

•    Works with all undertones – I decided to hang around after my skin match was complete and took a look at the other lovely ladies joining me in my early morning foundation mission. There were a two very fair ladies, one olive skinned, myself (light-ish brown South-Asian) and an Afro-Carribean lady. All of us were well matched and the foundation looked very natural once buffed and blended into our skin. My test sample of 5 may not be scientifically sound, but anecdotally I can say that the foundation matches worked for all of our skintones and both yellow and pink undertones.

Smashbox 1: naysayers 0

•    Buildable sheer-to-medium coverage – Holly applied lightly as I wanted a natural look. By the time I got into work, I had changed my mind and built up the cover just a little more where I needed it i.e. over the acne scars on my left cheek. I didn’t use much more, a small drop was all I needed and it was very easy to build up the cover and still get a natural-looking finish. I think if you build up any further than medium coverage then it would probably look a bit masky but Smashbox make it clear that it is intended for sheer to medium coverage, not full cover.

Smashbox 2: naysayers 0

•    Long-wearing – My foundation was applied at around 8.20 am on Friday, I didn’t powder over the top of it, but I did spritz with setting spray (Urban decay Al Nighter, of course) once I’d popped some eyeliner, mascara and blush on. It was a long day at work and I didn’t get home until about 10.30pm. My make-up wasn’t perfect but it hadn’t disappeared into oblivion. I did check throughout the day and I was still looking good at about 6.30pm, with slippage going on sometime between 6.30 pm and 10.30pm. To be prudent let’s say it lasted well from 8.30am to 6.30pm, that’s a good 10 hours. I was really starting to like this.

Smashbox 3: naysayers 0

•    Moisturizing – I must admit that in my morning haste to get to Sedley Place for opening at 8am, I forgot to put my moisturiser on. Eek! Naked face! So all I had on was the Smashbox Photo-finish primer and the Liquid Halo HD foundation. That’s why I kept checking my make-up throughout the day to check for dry spots/ patches/ flakiness. Good news is that it wasn’t dry at any point in the day but at the same time it wasn’t oily. I had a touch of my usual t-zone shine by mid-afternoon, but not so noticeable that I needed to powder or blot.

Smashbox 4: naysayers 0

•    Sweat and humidity resistant – They key word here is ‘resistant‘. It doesn’t mean you’ll be sweat-free, but Smashbox claim it minimises foundation minimise slippage from sweat/ humidity due to it’s gel-base. Where better to test this than the busy and stuffy tube commute? I was indeed sweaty and a bit gross I think as I clambered onto my tube, then dashed around switching platforms. I could feel sweat beads forming on my nose and upper lip (don’t know why it’s always there?) and thought that by the time I hit the escalator on the way out of my final destination I’d look like a melted mess. I whipped out my pocket mirror on the escalator to find that yes, I was sweating, but no, the foundation hadn’t budged or melted away. It lived up to a very tough claim. I was really impressed.

Smashbox 5: naysayers 0

Smashbox, Liquid Halo HD Foundation

So… 5-nil.

Any negatives? 

Yes. One. It’s my old bug bear Titanium Dioxide providing the SPF in foundation. Flashback! It can be controlled if applying sheer cover or by powdering very lightly to set the foundation (the more powder, the more flashback you get) but if like me you need/ like heavier cover to cover acne scars, then flashback becomes an issue. No more so than with other SPF 15 foundations though.

Just to be clear, I would never recommend skipping SPF! I just prefer it in my moisturiser and I allow it to fully absorb into my skin before buffing any foundation over it. I’ve never had a problem with flashback if I let the SPF fully absorb (10-15 minutes after applying) before putting on an SPF-free foundation.

 

Smashbox, Liquid Halo HD Foundation

Yay or nay?
By george, it’s a yay!

It may just be the second best liquid foundation I’ve tried (sorry Smashbox, nothing beats Illamasqua Skinbase). It is certainly superior to MAC and Bobbi Browns various liquid foundations, but is priced in the same range. I’d love to see how it stands up against Makeup Forever HD foundation (which I have yet to try).

I am keen to find out if any other Women of Colour found it hard to get a shade match and also at the other end of the spectrum, is shade 1 light enough for porcelain skin? Let me know in the comments below!