The question I get asked the most as a blogger and as a makeup artist is

‘If you could only ever use one brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?’

I can answer that one pretty quick. Smashbox.


When I worked in London, I was a regular at the Smashbox counter at Boots Sedley Place (by Bond Street station) and ‘my local’ (in Boots, Fleet Street). Early on, their eyeshadow palettes were the big draw for me, as I just found them to be far superior to the Urban Decay Naked palettes.

I first tried (and loved!) their Halo Gel Foundation, which has now been discontinued… why, oh why? It’s the best foundation they have ever had. Studio Skin is perfectly fine, but the Halo Gel Foundation gave such a beautiful finish and was genuinely long-wearing… agh, my perfect foundation.

I’ve since been using their BB cream for years after it being recommended by my fellow beauty buffs at the In My Kit group, after I requested help on finding BB creams for deeper skintones. I started off with one of the ‘Try It Kits’ in Light/ Medium, which had a 15ml BB cream, 3.4g Halo Powder, and a mini Photo Finish Foundation Primer.

 

So… what have I tried? Here’s the list… so far…

  • Halo Gel foundation  (discontinued)
  • Fade To Black Photo Op eyeshadow palette (discontinued)
  • Fade Out Photo Op eyeshadow palette (discontinued)
  • Double Exposure eyeshadow palette
  • Wondervision Sparks eyeshadow palette (2013 holiday palette)
  • Full Exposure mascara
  • Limitless Black Eyeliner
  • Photo Finish Foundation primer
  • Photo Finish Radiance primer (tube – discontinued)
  • Heat Wave lip gloss set (limited edition)
  • Double Exposure mini eyeshadow palette
  • Photo Op mini eyeshadow palette
  • Photo Finish 24h eye primer
  • BB cream
  • Halo Hydrating powder
  • Be Legendary  Matte lipstick in Electric Pink
  • Primer Water
  • Photo Finish Radiance primer (with Hyaluronic acid – jar version)
  • 24-hour Waterproof concealer
  • BB water
  • BB concealer pen
  • Orange colour correcting pencil
  • Always Sharp 3D eye liner

    Is it all love and roses?

    As much as I love Smashbox products, I am by no means a fangirl, that laps up everything they release. I love about 90% of their permanent range but only a handful of their limited edition ranges. It’s not the product quality I have issue with, it’s the marketing. I loved Smashbox when they linked up with respected pro makeup artists, in-keeping with their brand ethos.

    2017 brought some new social media focused collaborations in the US and globally; the Covershot palettes endorsed by Shay Mitchell (of Pretty Little Liars fame) and the Spotlight highlighter palettes endorsed by YouTuber Casey Holmes (yeah, I had to Google her too). Their other 2017 releases have been very good, namely the Radiance Primer with hyaluronic acid (basically skincare meets primer), Always On Gel liner (these are bloody fantastic) and the matte liquid lips (nice and creamy while still very matte, although they are a little late to the liquid lip party). I haven’t got round to using my eye primer samples yet but will report back when I do. I think that I am just more disappointed with the lack of tailoring of the social media campaign ‘stars’ to the UK market.

    Smashbox haven’t yet gained the market share that they deserve. Using social media starlets is one way to remedy that, but only if executed properly. The two pop culture icons that they have used just aren’t sufficiently well known in the UK and so the marketing campaign feels lazy and a little ‘copy/ paste’.

    L’Oreal got the tailoring just right with their 2016 My True Match campaign. If Smashbox want long term growth, it needs to be organic growth. It feels like they’re in the wrong retail space. Their quality is far superior to MAC, in many ways, and they really should be in department stores, alongside Urban Decay, MAC, Bobbi Brown as their peers, rather than sitting alongside L’Oreal, NYX and No7 in Boots.

    I’m #teamSmashbox all the way but I feel that they need to up their social media game and tailor it to our market, and not assume that the US model will work globally. Where do you stand on this? I’d love to discuss @tasnimmua on Twitter