Project Focus 10: Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

We made it! It’s the final product review for Project Focus 10!  All of us are reviewing eye shadow palettes today so be sure to check out everyone’s posts – links at the bottom of the post.
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I got the Smashbox Double Exposure Palette last November during Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points redemption event:
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So it was “free” but it normally retails for $45 CAD.

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There are 14 colours in the palette, each containing 1.21g for a total of 17g. The box also comes with a deluxe sample of Full Exposure mascara which I haven’t tried yet.
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L to R:
Top row: Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed, Veiled
Bottom row: Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig, Espresso
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The colour names are labelled on the back – I wish the names were right on the front of the palette along side the shades.
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There, that’s better! 😉

All of the shades in the top row are shimmers and metallic, and the bottom row have a mixture of mattes (Noir, Fig and Espresso), the rest are shimmers and satins except for Copper which is metallic. There are a mix of both warm (left side of the palette) and cool (right side) shades but nothing in overly extreme ends of the spectrum.  It’s a versatile palette and can create a wide combination of eye looks.

At first glance, this is like any other eye shadow palette, but its claim to fame is that each shade can be used dry or wet. Smashbox claims:
• 14 shadows that become 28—just activate with water!
• Each shadow transforms in 1 of 4 ways, thanks to coated pigments that create multiple effects when wet
• Shadows won’t glaze over

Smashbox provided a guide on how each shade changes with water:
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The 4 ways that the colours turns when applied wet: turns metallic, amps up vibrancy, adds sparkle, or gets deeper.

I’ve swatched each shade dry and wet side by side:
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You can see that most of the shades don’t benefit from being applied wet! In fact, some colours perform worse – the mattes are terrible when applied wet – streaky and patchy. Copper and Veiled look dulled when applied wet. I’d say the only shade that looks like a “new” colour when applied wet is Midnight. Other shades apply smoother, acting like cream shadows, as apparent in Flushed, Haze and Mauve. Overall, I do not feel like I got “double” the amount of colours, which is really disappointing. I can verify that the pans do return back to their normal state after being dampened – there is a slight shine to the surface but no hardening of the powders. This is visible in the photo below showing the palette in its current state after usage:
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I’ve been wearing this palette on and off for the past couple of months and there’s a definite pattern of usage: Quartz, Flushed, Mauve and Copper more of a dip than any other pans. I also like Haze and Fig; and Veiled makes decent highlighting shade. My least used shades are Silver, Blanc, Peony, Midnight, Temper and Noir.  The quality is also not consistent between the finishes – the metallics outperform the other finishes (pigmented and smooth), whereas the mattes are not my favourites – a bit dry and difficult to blend.
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A selling feature of this set was the inclusion of #SHAPEMATTERS insert with how-to’s for 6 eye shapes (BONUS! the box states).  Whoop-dee-doo. 🙄  I took a picture of it and them promptly lost the thing.
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One of the biggest misses for me is that there isn’t a matte transition colour in the whole palette. This prevents the palette being a stand alone one.  I typically pull out my Smashbox Nude eye shadow single to compensate – it’s a warm tan colour that works with any eye look.  Also, I should note that the eye shadow single felt so buttery and smooth compared to the mattes in the palette – not the same quality at all.
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The packaging is fine – made of a mix of sturdy cardboard and plastic, measuring 17cm x 7.5cm and 1.8cm high – just too large and bulky for me to ever take travelling. I do like that the lid opens and lays flat and includes a good sized mirror.

The palette comes with a dual ended brush which Smashbox states:
Domed side: Absorbs just the right amount of water for impactful color
Angled side: Creates a precise line when wet, a diffused line when dry
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The brush is actually quite nice! Both sides are useful – the shader side is good for packing on the colour and for blending, and the angled side for more detailed work like smoking out the corners or lining the lash line.

I was surprised to see the price of this palette at only $45 CAD – it’s superb value with 14 full-sized eye shadows (works out to approx $3.20 each). I think the price was reduced? Because I read posts from 2014 when the palette was first launched and they list the price as $52 USD and now it’s showing up as $39 USD. 😕  I find it telling when companies do that. Recently I was at the Nars counter and they were telling me that they lowered their NARSissist L’Amour, Toujours L’Amour Eyeshadow Palette from $90+ down to $76 CAD – I guess they’re not selling well?
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The eye shadows are made in the US and the brush is made in China.  Smashbox is available at Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques in Canada.
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Pros:
• Pigmented
• Smooth and blends easily
• Versatile range of colours and finishes
• Good value
• Included brush is useful

Cons:
• Missing matte transition shade
• Applying wet didn’t necessarily result in shade change
• Not too long wearing – some fading by 6 hr mark
• Only regularly use 4 shades out of the 14

Stash worthiness: 6/10

I don’t dislike this but it’s palettes like this that reminds me why I don’t buy many large format palettes. They’re just a waste for me since I end up using just a handful of the included shades. I don’t want to dissuade people from purchasing this – the eye shadow quality is quite good – but just know that you are not getting 28 shades, just the 14.  Do you have this palette, what are your thoughts?

Stayed tuned – next week we’ll be writing our final thoughts on how we did on our Project Focus 10! 😀


Please go check out my collab clan for their Project Focus 10 posts:
♦ Ingrid of Curly.Spring.Blossom
♦ Jodi of A Brash Attitude
♦ Joy of Styled With Joy

51 thoughts on “Project Focus 10: Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

    1. Yes, time flies huh! Midnight was the best one wet – I never wear navy eye shadows but that one is nice as a liner. The silver is meh… silver on me makes me look like 1970’s Cher.

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  1. I absolutely love reading this review, very informative! it sucks that most of the colors stays the same or becomes dull when applied with water. But I do love the matte colors and since the price is going down I might just add this to my collection.

    http://clairneriah.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, if you look at this palette just by how the colours apply dry, then it’s definitely a solid palette. The mattes are nice – they’re very good core colours that anyone can use. And the value is really amazing considering each pan is a full-size eye shadow. Glad you found this review useful! 🙂

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  2. The final week !!! Yay 🙂 I’m ready for pastel colors …
    I bought the Full Exposure a long time ago and to me it was horrible ! This one seems nicer but I wouldn’t buy it . (Even more so since your review)
    Large palettes are the best but they are not create equal… The Tartelette, the KVD, Viseart, Laura Mercier & Becca’s Ombre Rouge (like you know) to name a few are spectacular ! I just think that you chose some average large palette to state that it’s not your cup of tea !!! Before your next purchase you know who to ask:P
    A really great review … Mine has barely pictures since I forgot my palette in Québec 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By large palettes, I mean anything with more than 8 colours – I just don’t get the full benefit out of so many pre-determined colours. After reviewing this palette and watching that YouTube video you linked about the Too Faced Peaches palette – it got me re-evaluating whether I should get the KVD or even the Viseart palettes! Are they are MUST? Tell me!
      Aw, the difficult life of moving and back and forth – why are you and BM not living together? 😉

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      1. We don’t live together because BM lives in the country (2 hours from my apartment!) I wish we could live together … At my pension maybe 😉
        You don’t need The KVD and the Viseart … I think that you would enjoy one of these for sure. Just buy them both at the VIB sale and keep the one you like the most !!!
        For me the Chocolate Bars are great too since there is only one duds in each palette (BonBons has NONE) !!!
        I like the value that large palette offers since a good single eyeshadow is more than 20$ !!!

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        1. Aww too bad you 2 live so far apart. My SO and I lived about 45 minutes apart and ended up moving in together midway from where each of us used to live! 😉
          I’ve been thinking that I will like the Viseart better than the KVD. While I love the idea of an all matte palette, the layout of that format is just so MASSIVE! Now for the Viseart – which one? Neutral or Cool Mattes?

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          1. 2 hours is a big gap and there is nothing but wood in between !!!
            I agree that I prefer the format of the Viseart than the big KVD.
            I will buy the Cool Mattes since I do own that KVD but you should go with the Neutral Mattes or both 😉

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  3. I think Smashbox’s mistake is marketing the palette as being able to get double the amount of colours from using the shadows wet, when you’re really just getting the same shade, with perhaps more pigmentation (or less : P) At least the quality is much improved from the Full Exposure palette.
    I like that this palette has a good mix of cool and warm shades. Quartz, Flushed, Fig, Mauve, Peony, Temper, and Haze are calling out to me! The latter 4 shades are probably too cool-toned for me if I were to buy this, though.

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    1. Yes, for sure the marketing of this palette wasn’t completely truthful. I wasn’t expecting WOW magical transformation but not such pathetic changes. It WOULD have been fun if they were colour changing pigments like those nail polishes – can you imagine? Brown eye shadow changes to green! 😛
      I was really surprised how much I like the cool tones in this – both Mauve and Haze have gotten more attention from me as time wore on. I’m half debating depotting these but also toying with passing it onto someone who may enjoy this palette more than me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking that too! Or maybe eyeshadows that just look like regular shadows dry, but become duochromes when wet! Oooh 😛
        Hmm, that’s tough because you like 50% of the shades in the palette. I guess it comes down to whether or not you think you’ll continue using these shadows regularly now that Project Focus 10 is over, or if they’re just going to get neglected.

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  4. I don’t know if they think buyers are stupid or if they really thought they wouldn’t piss a bunch of people off claiming that their 14 shades would turn into something magical when applied wet but they sure dropped that price down pretty fast! Without being applied wet the shadows do seem to be an improvement from their original full exposure palette. They are pretty, especially those pinks. But I agree, I would rather have singles then this palette as well, it’s not the deal they market it to be at all.

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    1. I know – in this day of social media and online reviews, you’d think they would be smarter about what they claim about these things. I didn’t try it but I’m sure you could wet any eye shadow and get the same results as these “special” ones. I use these shadows dry pretty much 95% of the time while I was testing them out. Going forward, I’ll only be using them dry – they perform fine dry. And that Flush shade (peachy pink) is probably my favourite one in this palette – I don’t have anything like it!

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  5. That sucks!:/ idk but for some reason smashbox shadows just don’t attract my attention. They just look stiff and the formula is bleh. :/ I don’t own any shadows from smashbox but I’ve swatched them and they aren’t anything special compared to all the other shadows I own .. in fact wet and wild makes better quality shadows than smashbox in my opinion lol. I was tempted at picking it up though when I saw it at Macys on sale but passed cause I only liked some of the shades. I’ve also read soooooo many reviews saying the wet formula is so bad. Ugh! glad you got this free lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a few Smashbox singles and they’re excellent! I also got a small trio during Sephora boxing week clearance sales and it’s really good quality too! Whatever they did to make this formula “special” for the dry / wet properties, I think is what went wrong. I wouldn’t overlook Smashbox as a brand – they do typically have nice eye shadows! Just stick to smaller palettes or singles.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s funny how you mention you don’t use Silver and Peony that much, they’d be too of my most reached for shades, silvers look beautiful on their own! Overall, it looks like a beautiful palette and a nice colour selection 🙂

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    1. Those 2 colours just clash with my skin for some reason. They look really white and too frosty. I guess maybe I need to apply them more sparingly… I’m always drawn to taupes and browns and tend to shy away from pinks, silvers and blue!

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    1. Honestly it’s a very good palette! Most of the cons for me has nothing to do with the quality of the eye shadows themselves. I also think this palette is amazing value compared to other palettes on the market these days. The stupid “double” claims really derailed the palette.

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  7. I have this palette too and I wish I reached for it more often. I can’t pinpoint the reason. If I remember there were 3 that I liked. Now that I read your awesome review I might pull it out again.

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  8. I can’t believe that the project focus 10 series is over! That just flew by!
    I despise when a company makes weird claims like “double your shades”. I would otherwise find this palette quite pretty but I get so grumpy about being lied to that it diminishes my desire to check out the product in the first place. How cool would it be if adding water really fid make a marked difference though?

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    1. Oops just found this comment from back in April! Sorry, I hate not responding to comments!
      It would be SO cool if these were shade changing eye shadows like those magic markers. Applied dry, it’s purple but if you wear it, it becomes orange! But, I could see potential problems like what if it rains and get on my face? What if I cry! Or yawn? Ahh my eye shadow look is all ruined! 😛

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      1. Ha! It actually makes me feel MUCH BETTER because I am SOOOOO behind on comments. At this point it’s a normal state of affairs for me and I’m hoping that all of my blogging buddies have accepted it as a part of the charm that is me 🙂
        Even though the shade changing eyeshadow idea is fraught with potential problems I say we patent it and make millions! I’d still totally buy it 🙂

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