Smashbox’s 2014 On the Rocks collection includes two shadow palettes. This is review of the smaller of the two with 12 colors. Here is the blinged-out, eye-catching packaging that hints at what lines within.
After admiring the rainbows from all possible angles, you open the box to reveal a 4″ x 4″x 0.5″ compact fit for a dark fairy queen.
Once you get over admiring that, flipping the snap-lip open will reveal a mirror that takes up the whole inside of the lid, 12 shadows, a big ole rhinestone and a clear plastic insert (which you can’t really see) that protects the mirror and the names of the shadow printed on it.
What You Get for the Price
According to the Smashbox website, this palette is filled with “12 party-perfect shades of Smashbox’s best-selling, super blendable Photo Op Eye Shadows – from runway-inspired jewel tones to lush neutrals.”
For $36 you get the following as shown and labeled on an included leaflet-insert:
Blacktop (black shimmer), Coronation (purple shimmer), Nutmeg (copper shimmer), Opus (light pink matte), Vanilla (light beige matte), Chianti (shimmer), Sapphires (shimmer), Confectionette (bronze shimmer), Mist (light mauve shimmer), Bourbon (shimmer), Midnight Emerald (shimmer), and Obsidian (grey shimmer).
Each color is 0.04 oz. or 1.25 gm. The palette contains 0.48 oz. or 15 gm of product total. That calculates out to $75/oz. or $2.40/gm.
In comparison, Urban Decay’s Naked palettes contain twelve 0.05 oz. shadows for $54 or $90/oz. The Lorac Pro palettes contain for sixteen 0.02 oz. shadows for $42 at $131.25/oz. Those are boring palettes though. Too Faced’s Pretty Rebel palette has ten 0.05 shadows for $41 or $82/oz. That’s the Sephora sale price though. Normally it’s $46 @ $92/oz.
Ignoring that brief tangent, Smashbox’s OTR palette isn’t bad considering that its not filled with snooze worthy nude colors. They are both wear-able yet jewel-toned enough to be fun.
Smashbox touts that the total value of the palette is $135
In comparison, a Smashbox Photo-Op Eyeshadow Trio contains 0.097 oz for $28 which translates to $288.66/oz. Holy shit… that price difference. If the OTR shadow palette was to be price at the same rate as the regular trios, the palette would cost $138.56 which makes me go: WOW. For once a company’s “valued at” claim undershoots the real value.
So far this palette is looking pretty good – aesthetically and monetarily.
Out of curiosity, I looked up and calculated UD shadow singles to be $360/oz. -cue soft crying-
“Just the Facts” as Touted by Smashbox
- Super blendable, velvety formula
- Highly pigmented, even color
- Lasting wear
1. Most of them are blendable. Most of them are silky. A couple are velvety. One is buttery.
2. Considering this is from a studio brand, they’re moderately pigmented. A handful of them are very rich. 3 are lacking.
3. More like lasting stain (with the darker colors). With no primer in air conditioned environments, most of them withstand creasing though fading happens within 4 hours. Two lasted a little over 6 hours.
Here are all 12 colors lined up. My method is to stroke the eyeshadow once with my finger then swipe it on the bare skin on the underside of my arm. Rinse and repeat as necessary until opaque. The black numbers going down the right side of my arm denote the number that corresponds to the eyeshadows’ name. Please refer to the numbered insert picture above for said names as I am too lazy to label the picture. Also, please ignore all the stuff on the left side of my arm. I’m sorry the picture turned out so small. Please right click on the picture, open in new tab, and press “cntrl” and ” + ” simultaneously .
The Break Down
I’m reviewing down. Counting backwards from 12 because on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the shadow palette of a fairy~
Not really, I got this for myself because COLORS. And its waay too early for Christmas. People don’t even have their holiday decor up yet. Hell, its not even Halloween. If I saw any houses with Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations up I would just assume that the occupants were too lazy to take them down after the previous holiday season. Anyhoo, on with the review. I have a shitty phone camera with questionable focus abilities so just bear with me please.
12) Obsidian – I’m just going to assume whoever named this has never seen obsidian before. In case you were wondering what obsidian actually looks like, it’s jet black and looks like this. If it were up to me, I would have named this eyeshadow something along the lines of Moondust or Galaxy because it looks very space-y to me. It’s a slightly-warmer toned slate grey with very fine magenta, teal and silver sparkles interspersed throughout. The teal sparkles cool it down a bit, but it still isn’t a cold steel gray. The overall finish of an opaque layer is shimmery with a veil of fine pink and green sparkle. The texture of this shadow is soft and smooth like genuine suede. This took 3 swipes to go opaque.
11) Midnight Emerald – is indeed a beautiful cool emerald with darker emerald, olive and teal-blue flecks. Swiping it out of the pan, the shadow feels very silky. The base color is darker, very emeraldy green as shown in the 3rd palette picture and insert picture. However, in the swatch above it shows up as pretty much pure teal because there is a freaking layer of sparkle being reflected. I retook that picture 7 times from different angles trying to make it look like how it did in the pan. No luck. An opaque layer of this color to appear pretty much metallic teal so I’m not sure why Smashbox is saying it’s a shimmer. Swatched on my arm, the densest part of the color is metallic, dark emerald green with a blue sheen at most angles. The yellower-green sparkles are more evident on the edges where the color is blended out. This color took 2 swipes to go opaque.
10) Bourbon – is a warm milk chocolate brown base with larger grass-green, copper and gold sparkles. The sparkles aren’t evident in the pic because the sparkles are more apparent after the top layer of the shadow has been swiped off. I got a nice, pretty surprise after running my finger across the surface 2 or 3 times. Bourbon is a drier color and harder to blend than #11 Emerald and #12 Obsidian. If you look at the swatch tail (right half) you can see that the color kind of skips and there’s an awkward bald patch. Swiping out of the pan, the color feels nice and smooth. When it touches skin though, the shadow seems much drier. It’s just not as bendable as the colors with finer shimmers. It took 4 layers to go opaque at the head of the swatch.
9) Mist – is the color of a washed out lilac that’s been sprayed with rose mist and vanished with a coat of shimmer. There’s very, very fine silver micro-glitter in this color that makes would make it a nice inner corner highlight on most skin tones. I personally would not use this as a brow bone highlight because the shimmer is chunkier than i would prefer for such subtle purposes. Pale – light, warm skin tones could get away with it though. I feel like this color would be right at home in the lighter end of Naked 3 Palette with its rose-y theme. Naked 3’s 2nd color, “Dust,” is darker and more pink. Mist leans more purple and lacks the larger gold shimmer specks. I also daresay that it has a hint of brown(I’m horrible at describing what I think are neutrals so comparisons to well known palettes and colors are the way to go!). The shadow in the pan feels silky when i pet it and the shadow glides onto the skin pretty easily with good blendability. This eyeshadow took 3 swipes to go opaque.
8) Confectionette – is a cool bronze that borders on antique gold. It warms up a bit on the skin. Swatched on the skin, its lighter than it appears in the pan. The swatch strongly reminded of the anodized finish of the gold iPhone 5s, but with more apparent shimmer. The texture of this shadow feels almost like pressed powdered sugar: it has a slightly gritty texture and is on the drier side. lucky it doesn’t also form a mini dust cloud when you poke at the surface of it. I’m not really sure what to think of this eyeshadow besides that its not my favorite. It does look very nice and rich once I do get a solid layer down. However, I have a handful of other similar gold-bronze shadows that I would reach for I even think of this one. It blends better than #10 Bourbon does but also took 4 swipes to go opaque.
7) Sapphires – is beautiful. Just a heads up: I’m a sucker for cobalt/sapphire/dark royal blue shades. This eyeshadow is composed of royal blue pigment in a dark matrix with sapphire and peacock blue micro glitter and very slight flecks of purple shimmer. To explain what I mean by dark matrix think of those glitter nail polishes where the pigment/glitter is suspended in a dark colored base to give it more richness and dimension. Polishes with pigment suspended in clear matrix are more bright but have less dimension because there is no contrast. This shadow employs the same concept as black matrix polishes. Look around the edges of the head of the swatch and at the very dragged out tail. See how it looks like the vibrant blue is sitting on top of a patch that looks almost like a bruise? (Now nod your head). Sapphires’ finish is almost metallic. The shadow in the pan feels smooth but not soft and took 2 swipes to go opaque.
6) Chianti – is an unique wine color with a hint of chestnut when you blend it out. There are noticeable flecks of gold, and light green as well as an abundance of magenta AND violet microshimmer once you get under the surface of the shadow. The texture of this one is very similar to Sapphires. The shadow is firm under your finger but silky once you swipe at it. I noticed some patchiness issues on my arm because my finger would catch a bit while swatching. Happily the shadow blends gracefully. The finish of this one is odd. It looks what would happen if you applied a glitter topcoat over a matte base. This took 3 swipes to go opaque.
#5) Vanilla – is the only true matte shade in this whole palette. It’s a very soft, buttery white peach. Literally. The shadow looks like the flesh on the inside of a white peach. It’s very light with slight yellow and orange undertones. The color would have blended right into my arm had it not been for the fact that my skin is cool toned. The texture in pan and on skin is so deliciously smooth and not at all powdery, unlike how some matte shadows are. If velvet and buttercream had a baby, Vanilla would be it. This color took 3 swipes to go opaque.
#4) Opus – is the color of the underside of a pink rose petal with a dash cream. Smashbox claims that this eyeshadow is has a matte finish but it most definitely NOT matte. In the pan, there’s a hint of very fine shimmer. This is another shadow that I think would be right at home in the Naked 3 palette. Pink and boring. On the skin, this translates to a satin finish with a slight golden glow at certain angles. The texture is also soft and blendable but not as much so as Vanilla. It took 3 swipes to go opaque.
#3) Nutmeg – is perfection. It is because shadows like this exist that I continue to collect shadows even though I have enough to last me a few lifetimes. That’s one swipe of color. ONE. Uno. Ichi. It’s so amazing that I feel two conflicting desires: One part of me wants to use it obsessively; the other cries that I shouldn’t touch it lest it gets all used up. Anyhow the color is a saturated warm brown gold with very fine olive and yellow gold shimmer. I think i see some russet in the pan too but it isn’t visible on skin. Nutmeg is like MAC’s “Woodwinked” with a few differences. It’s darker, has less red, more orange brown and looks like it was varnished with a sheer patina of antique gold. The gold-brown base swatches metallic but the gold and olive microglitter sitting on top lend this a gorgeous shimmer finish. The texture is ridiculously soft and buttery like MUFE’s gel to powder eye shadows. I’m afraid to press down with my finger, because I’m afraid that I’ll leave a dent in the pan.
2) Coronation – is a warm, red-based royal purple with chunky green and magenta glitter with finer gold micro shimmer. The purple base is matte but the simmer and micro glitter sit on top of it making it sparsely shimmery. This color looked beautiful in the pan, and was soft while swiping it out. However, on skin this was the driest of all the eye shadows. It didn’t blend very well and took 4 swipes to begrudgingly reach opacity. It got the last laugh because there were some sheerer bald spots.
1) Blacktop – is a medium black with readily visible fine silver glitter. However, plentiful multicolor micoshimmers are also apparent upon closer inspection. This eye shadow is the color of your elementary school’s mica-rich blacktop on a sunny day after it has been redone with a fresh layer of asphalt Luckily, it’s much smoother to drag your finger across the surface of this shadow than it is to drag you finger across an actual blacktop. On the skin though, the drier texture was a bit disappointing. It took three swipes to go opaque but did not blend out very well or far.
Performance (Dry vs Wet) & Comparisons to Other Colors
All the dry vs wet swatches are one swipe each. Dry is on the left. Wet is on the right.
12) Obsidian – This shadow is super silky and blendable so you shouldn’t have issues diffusing it. It has a little fallout if you use a fluffier shadow brush so i would recommend using a bullet brush, pencil brush, any denser shadow brush or your fingers. It looks stunning foiled and applied with a dampened synthetic brush. I tried mixing it with Inglot’s Duraline and got a light silver liner begot a more intense, long lasting version of the eye shadow.
Shiny like steel but not as cold.
After 3 hours, with no primer all the shimmer disappears leaving the matte warm grey base.
11) Midnight Emerald
Teal shimmer is even more apparent. It also has more dimension wet.
With no primer, the emerald shimmer is still going strong after 6 hours.
Better. And more sparkly.
After 4 hours of no primer, all the glitter and shimmer is gone. The brown base left is slightly faded with less red. it looks almost like a medium dark taupe grey.
9) Mist – blends out very well but can appear sheer or non-existent.
More intense and shimmery when wet.
Urban Decay’s “Cherry” on the left is a truer pale pink with bigger glitter and more silver shimmer.
Mist from this palette is dark and brown toned in comparison.
Unimpressive in 1 swipe but the shadow is greatly improved when wet.
I would use fingers or a dense/synthetic brush with this one or the color will go on rather sheer.
Oh yes, please. More blue! More vibrant!
After 6 hours of no primer, the high shine metallic finish is gone. The eye shadow appears darker but is shill shimmery from certain angles.
On the left is Sapphires from this OTR palette. It leaves a navy-grey stain after the shadow after the color fades away in 6 hours.
In the middle is “Climax” from bareMineral’s “The Grand Finale” duo. Its slightly red in tone, learning toward purple. It is shinier and more reflective in finish.
On the right is MUFE’s Diamond Shadow #308 “Night Blue” It’s the darkest of these blues with a nore apparent black matrix and larger, chunkier glitter (that has a tendency to fall out).
All three colors have 2 swipes each.
6) Chianti – for best results apply with a dense brush.
It’s gorgeous wet. Chianti is forgiven.
After 6 hours of no primer, the finish calmed down from a glitter finish to a shimmery finish. After 8 hours the wine purple fades away and the shadow appears to be a warm, grey-dusty chestnut color What’s left of the shimmer has traveled into the crease or vanished. This color stains wet or dry so wear a primer unless you want to scrub at your panda eyes.
The shadow is matte but the wetness from the water is giving the swatch a slight shine.
Expect graceful fading after 4 hours sans primer.
Intensity and shimmer finish is much better in one swipe when foiled.
Performs the same as Vanilla with slight creasing at 5 hours.
3) Nutmeg – very smooth, blendable and pigmented. However it is so pigmented that it has fall out oftentimes so apply, lightly blend, then add more to intensify.
I didn’t think that there was much room for improvement… but it still improved.
You can apply this any way you wish because hey, it’s makeup, but I prefer patting with a paddle. A little bit of mixing medium on a brush + nutmeg makes for a very flattering gold eyeliner that has just the right amount of brightness and pop.
Both of those are one swipe. Nice, eh?
2) Coronation – the pigmentation is much better when applied using a brush that’s dense. I used a push/liner brush to apply this and the color turned out very nicely thought it was still a pain and refused to blend.
More apparent glitter and much darker purple matte base.
After 4 hours of no primer, the eyeshadow fades to a lighter matte purple base that’s more blue toned than warm. There are also a few flecks of glitter left.
1) Blacktop – the color payoff is acceptable when applied with a dense synthetic brush. It works well as a liner and does not blend well AT ALL.
Still not black enough.
After 4 hours it becomes a completely matte dark grey with cool greenish undertones. This color also stains the skin badly which is kind of funny considering how the color isn’t super pigmented.
My Thoughts Overall
The description of this palette tells lies. The ONLY matte shade is Vanilla. I’m calling Opus a satin but both Opus and Vanilla would be good as highlight colors depending on how much drama you want. The shining star in terns of color density and performance is easily #3 Nutmeg. The pigmentation is so good. *~* Hell, merely patting it with my finger will yield an opaque swatch. The darker colors (everything except Opus, Vanilla and Mist) are a bit difficult to remove. With a splash of water and a few light rubs, the color goes away but a stain or *ahem* shadow is left in its place. You’ve going to need a makeup remover and time to deal with the -pain-in-the-ass fine glitter. Chianti & Coronation are glitterbombs once you scratch the surface of the shadow pan away. Blacktop is a glitterbomb that fizzles out quickly (aka the glitter falls out fast). You are probably going to want to do your eyes first if you use any of these colors. After using Obsidian a few times, the dimensional multi-shimmer finally came out of hiding. It went from being a “meh” color to one of my favorites in the palette. Bourbon is also filled with multicolor glimmery specks that are more coarse and apparent to the naked eye than Obsidian, but becuase the glitter is more sparse, the overall finish is moderately sparkly rather than shimmery.
Most of them are pretty smooth and blendable with the exceptions of Bourbon, Chianti, Coronation and Blacktop. Most of them feel like silk. A couple of the ones with finer shimmer and near metallic finish feel like velvet – Obsidian, Midnight Emerald and Sapphires. Nutmeg feels like gold in butter form. The texture reminds me a lot of the baremineral ready eyeshadows As Robyn would say: It’s pigmented as a motherfucker.
Pigmentation is pretty good for all the colors except Blacktop. Chianti and Coronation had very weak pigmentation on their first swipes. After I dug into them the pigmentation got better. I find it funny that two of the throwaway colors are at the top. They were the first ones that I swatched and made me go: …. Crap… was getting this palette a mistake? Coronation is disappointing because it’s such a beautiful purple with so much potential but it’s not very blendable. Smashbox botched it though. Perhaps too much binding agent? Blacktop is a mystery. How did they screw that one up? There are drugstore matte blacks that are silkier and more pigmented. I’m also being a little hard on dry Chianti because its a misbehaving purple (my favorite eye-shadow color after blue) that wont swatch smoothly. The glitter in it is gorgeous though. It gets much better with a mixing medium as do many eyeshadows in general. The rest of the shadows make the palette well worth the price point, in my opinion.
The colors with larger glitter do have significant fall out. They stay out glittery but end up matte. That fact might be a deal breaker for some people. I would recommend applying the darker & jewel time colors with dense, paddle brushes or fingers. Swiping them on with fluffy brushes will not yeild satisfactory color intensity. I used a concealer brush to pat most of them on, actually.
The color selection in this palette is pretty safe and universally crowd pleasing with it’s mix of fun and wearable. I’m considering getting a couple as gifts.
For $36 or $3/color, it’s a pretty good deal if you like some brights, glitter and jazz. The palette is well coordinated and can create so many combos. My brushes are crying from thinking of all the washing they will have to endure as I experiment with different looks.
The leaflet-insert also has guides for 3 different looks that you can create.
And now there’s glitter and sparkles all over my keyboard. My pet uni-kitty must have walked all over my desktop, again.
EDIT: because the last thing this post needs is more content. However, i felt compelled to share this information.
If the OTR palette ($36) had a fraternal twin or a sister-by-another-mister, that sister would be the Shadow Box ($34) by Urban Decay. Check this out:
Both palettes have 12 colors with a whopping 10 that overlap.Overall the colors in the shadow box are shimmery/frosted with no glitter specks. Also, the lighter colors in the Shadow box are darker – which I find rather ironic and hilarious. Lighter colors being darker in the shadow box? Anyone? No? Okay. Swatches of the Shadow Box can be found here at Temptalia though the palette didn’t exactly receive a glowing review.
The Shadow Box may be cheaper at face value but it only contains twelve 0.01 oz. (a total of 0.12 oz.) for $34 or, uh, $283.33/ oz. Ouch… compare that to $75/oz for the OTR palette and that’s 208/oz more for a palette that merits only a “meh”. If you want/need a palette for this holiday season, do your self a favor and spend two whole extra bucks for Smashbox’s On the Rocks Photo Op shadow palette. It’s a much better investment and the cover is fraking gorgeous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of UD but I’m not a blind, rabid fangirl. I’m a smart shopper. Now if you want to be reeeaaally smart (read: frugal) wait for these palettes to go on sale after the holiday frenzy is over. However, you run the risk of this limited edition stuff running out of stock so in the end, it’s up to you and your wallet.
If you – for some reason – so desire the Shadow Box, it is available on the UD website and at Ulta. If you are conflicted and happen to live near an Ulta store, you can paint your arm with swatches to compare the two palettes for yourself.
EDIT AGAIN: as a reply to one of my comments
I think that the quality between the palettes may be inconsistent. The variance might be an issue in quality control from batch to batch. Some palettes may have more/less glitter than others. For example Chianti lit up like “Christmas lights” for me while another blogger said that the shimmer in it was very fine and gave the eyeshadow a almost metallic finish. Someone else also reported blacktop as being a really pigmented, very glittery black which i wholeheartedly disagree with. My blacktop was weaksauce and had sparse spackles of shininess. Their swatch of Coronation also appeared to be lighter and redder. The swatch showed a very vibrant violet leaning purple – almost like that bright purple in the UD Shadow Box. Yet another review of this palette reported more of a burgundy red with less chestnut in their Chainti. Their finishes for Obsidian and Sapphires was less smooth overall. I found Confectionette on the drier side but they reported a creamy texture. They also reported Vanilla as being “on the chalkier side” which made me go: O_O WUT
Al I can say is: good luck when you buy your palette.