An Intro and Disclaimer:
This review aims to provide insight about Smashbox’s 2014 Holiday On the Rocks Be Legendary Lip Gloss Set via my opinions and photos.Two of the colors are limited edition and exclusive to this set while the other 3 are re-promotes from Smashbox’s permanent line.
I have never reviewed a lip gloss before. In fact, up until last week, I completely eschewed them. I had a bad experience with those tube lip glosses in elementary school and haven’t touched them for the last 10 years or so. The saccharine fruity scent and molasses-like stickyness would have appalled even a toddler. Happily in the decade since, lip gloss “technology” (Ha!) has improved quite a bit. No. Lip gloss technology is not an actual thing, but its the best term i can think of that would imply forward progress and better performance/quality. I guess the phrase “lipgloss formulation” would work too but it doesn’t have the same connotation.
Anyhow I was convinced to try these because of two reasons:
1) It’s been a while. So lets see how far the cosmetics chemical industry has come since i last tried – i think it was – a Juicy Tube.
2) One of my friends found my review of Smashbox’s Holiday Palette so entertaining that she got me this as “an early Christmas present” but with a catch: I would have to write another mini dissertation on it.
Since it’s here, free of charge and sitting on my desk, here goes the review.
Girls like diamonds and make up right? Put them together it just makes sense.
The packaging really is gorgeous and as far as i can tell pretty sturdy. The tube is square and made of a moderately substantial plastic. The clear part on the tube is prone to scratches and the whole thing attracts fingerprints like crazy. The black cap twists in and out of place with a tactile click. For those of you with non-clinical OCD, rejoice in the fact that it will always align with the rest of the tube.
The applicator is a felt covered paddle which I like quite a bit. When you first pull it out of the tube, there is a little glop of product on the tip and some more clinging to the wide sides. The flat paddle makes broad sweeping application quick and breezy while the narrow edges + rounded tip allows for precision around the edges and cupid’s bow.
On an application difficulty scale of 1 – 10 this gloss is a 1. I much prefer this over the doe foot applicator though the paddles drives some other bloggers crazy.
What You Get For the Price
The set of 5 mini glosses retail for $28. Each gloss is 0.16 fl oz for a total of 0.8 oz. That puts these lip glosses at $32.5 per oz. Regular full sized tubes of Be Legendary Lip Glosses are $20 for 0.20 fl oz. or $100/oz.
Smashbox values the set at $88. If these mini glosses together were priced at the same rate, the value of the whole set would only be $80. Some may argue that the two limited edition colors should be worth more or that the variety is worth the extra $8 but I’m trying to be straight, not generous. I personally like the small tubes better. They aren’t exactly more sanitary but with will get used up faster and are less likely to expire before I finish them.
As a comparison, Nars’ Larger Than Life Lip Glosses are $26 for 0.19 or $136.84/oz.
Buxom Full-On Lip polishes are 0.15 oz for $19 or $126.67/oz.
MAC Lip Glasses are $15 for 0.17 or 88.24/oz
Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipglosses are $19 for 0.34 or $55.88/ oz. (For now they are on sale on the UD website for $5 each!)
OCC Stain Glosses are $18 for 0.33 which comes in at $54.55/oz but they aren’t touch-up-on-the-go friendly.
Claims: As taken from the Smashbox website:
WHAT IT IS:
The ultimate set of our ultra-luxe Be Legendary Lip Glosses—including 2 limited-edition shades!
inspired by photo gels found on set, this gloss starts with a clear, hydrating base free of traditional heavy binders (meaning no stick-factor), then it’s infused slowly with bold pigments (unlike most glosses that are over-processed in a rush).
JUST THE FACTS:
• Airy feel
• Glassy finish
• Vibrant color
You get: Legendary (true red), Azalea (bright pink fuchsia), Pout (pale blue pink), Gilt (champagne golden shimmer), Jewel (soft golden berry)
WHAT I THINK IT IS:
A set of Be Legendary Lip Glosses with one color i absolutely will purchase in full size, one limited edition color that i really really hope will become a permanent addition to the line and 3 that are nice
Photo gels are not actually the wet squishy gels you may be thinking of. Photo gels are transparent colored films made of plastic that are used to change lighting temperatures or color correct things. They are also used in theater to change the color of the spot lights. Photographers can put the sheet/film over the light source, usually a lamp or the flash bulb, to change the color cast by the lighting. It’s like putting red-tinted cellphane over a flashlight to get red light instead of white light. The beam of light will still look like a circle projected onto the wall but it will be red tinted instead white.
JUST THE FACTS:
• Glassy New-Car-Like Shine
• Two lasting staining colors
Arm Swatches and Breakdown
I am only doing arm swatches for now. I will eventually model the colors on a real human face and lips (aka mine) but I’m just not comfortable with doing close ups right now. My skin was freaking out last week due to stress and as a result, cystic acne was happily popping up like mushrooms. Right now my face is suffering from PTSD, trying to recover from the hyper-pigentation and raised bumps… yeah… would not make for a pretty picture.
Pout and Legendary are what I would consider luster glosses. In the tube they contain very, very fine shimmers that may not be readily apparent in the photo of the tubes. Once applied to the lips, the glossy shine all but camouflages the shimmer. Azalea is a matte cream base with no shimmer what so ever. The finish however is just as glossy as all the others. Jewel and Gilt are straight up glittery glam in the tube but on the lips they both impart a shimmery and shiny finish. Pro tip: click on the pictures below to enlarge them for more detail.
All of the glosses make it look like you’ve applied tinted glass to your lips. I have never tried MAC’s lip glasses but i imagine that these Smashbox glosses are very much like it
Gilt – I imagine that this would be universally flattering. It’s a warm bronze champagne with less yellow and more orange-brown. There are lots of yellow-gold, green flecks packed into it. Magenta and orange micro shimmers are present as well in lower concentrations. This gloss makes it look like you made out with a glittery, gold Christmas ornament then glazed your lips with, well, glass glaze.
It is THE holiday gloss.Gilt is perfect for layering over just about any lipstick for festive parties. It just screams Christmas, tinsel, New Years and all kinds of other fun stuff including Thanksgiving. Anytime you break out the bubbly and karaoke machine would be a good time to wear this. It’s suitable for everyday wear to the office too if you’re feeling cheeky and wearing a polished, chic outfit. The finish is shimmery but in low light or upon inspection from an arm’s length or less, the finish appears glittery.
Jewel – is the warm brown color of a bar of milk chocolate that’s been photographed under the yellow glow of an incandescent light bulb… If the chocolate was packed with gold and orange microshimmers. Green is also scattered throughout in lower concentrations. Additionally, very fine violet/magenta shimmers lend this gloss a plum-wine sheen when viewed from certain angles that make it quite lovely and multi-dimensional. It has a very glossy, shimmery finish from a distance. Someone would have to be within your personal bubble to pick up on the glitter. Smashbox says its a deep berry color…. yeah no. Maybe a berry that’s rotting or has been frostbitten then thawed.
Pout – is the color of a white cherry tree in the peak of spring time. I said tree because though the individual petals are white, the blossoms have red centers. When a mass of blossoms are viewed from a distance, they appear – not white – but pink like this:
The gloss is faint, cool pink that contains very fine gold, green magenta and orange shimmer like a dressed up nude. It looks icy and intimidating in the tube but is really quite delicate when applied. The multicolor micro shimmer blends seamlessly into the lips for a lustrous finish. Pout’s shade of pink reminds me of Ballet Slippers by Essie but with shimmer.
Legendary – is named after Smashbox’s signature blue-based red but the lipgloss version of Legendary has more orange in it to the point that it resembles the lipstick “Mandarin” (also by Smashbox) but a wee bit darker. The gloss is infused with very fine magenta, crimson and orange sparkles.
Like the lipstick Legendary, it looks much darker in the tube than it does applied when applied.
Gloss Legendary has just the right amount of brightness without being too orange. It’s sheer so it’s very wearable on its own. It is no where near as opaque as a liquid lipstick (i.e. Hourglass Opaque Rouge) so don’t expect it to be. The finish of this is like red glass.The intense shine completely overwhelms and hides the superfine shimmer unless you look at it from a certain angle.
Azalea – is hot pink with a blue, rose-red base. Confused? Well. What I’m trying to say is that it confuses the fuck out of me but i really like it because this color because walks the treacherously thin line between bold ‘n confident & fun ‘n casual. Let me try this again: If you blend this out enough, it will look like a rose red with cold blue undertones. Concentrated, the result is a medium hot pink that can be dressed up or down. The brightness of the pink makes it a bolder lip color, but because it applies semi-sheer, it merely adds a adventurous pop to your face without being obnoxiously loud. You can wear this with a confident, strutting attitude or an I’m-fun-&-approachable countenance. Smashbox says its a the pink of a fuschia flower but what they mean is that it’s the pink of the sepals.
Face Performance: Wear and Combinations (Coming soon after my face recovers)
If you expect to eat a meal and still have lip gloss on your face, forget about it. All of the glosses will survive light snacking or drinking though a straw (or water-falling) but if the meal in question is a sandwich or wings/ribs you’ll need to reapply. If nothing touches your lips or your face, these glosses seem like they could easily wear for more than 8 hours. The color does not fade as long as the shiny glaze coat is still intact. I, however, cannot go more than 4 hours without breaking out food of some kind or another so I cannot say how long they will actually last.
They glide on like a liquid silk. When i pull the applicator out of the tube, I dab the little glob of product onto the middle of my lips then use one side of the paddle to swipe my top lip and the other to swipe gloss on my bottom lip. One pass back and forth is usually enough to get my desired coverage. I use the edges of the paddle to define the edges/cupid’s bow, smack my lips a few times to get equal distribution on my top and bottom lip, then even out the color/shimmer with the broad side of the paddle again. After i let them “cure” (aka leave my face alone) for 5 minutes they don’t move, melt or fade.
There’s no grittiness whatsoever from the the glitters: Gilt and Jewel. All 5 glosses are mousse like and have almost a wet, whipped texture. They are truly non-sticky and non drying. The glosses all have a cushion-y feel, like a very thick lip balm or a moisturizing lip mask. However, they are tacky upon impact though so if you have long hair, strands will catch.
All of tubes smell faintly of creme brulee when opened. I don’t think they are supposed to have an actual taste but swear i get a slight hint of sweetness. That may be attributed to my nose fooling my tongue. It’s not noticeable to the point of being unpleasant and disappears within 5 minutes.
Pout – This gloss looks fine in the package and swatched on my skin: gossamer and elegant like a wispy pink mist so I thought it would be fine on fair to light skinned people and bad news on darker skin tones. When worn alone on my lips however… it’s a different story. My skin tone is cool-light but my natural lip color is usually a medium rose like Fresh’s Rose Sugar balm (that stuff disappears on me). Pout lightens my lips and cools them down, making them an ashen pink-lavender shade that is out of my comfort zone. I’ll wear crazy eyeshadow colors but I’m a less accepting of lip colors. The cool light pink + my cool asian skin is quite odd. It clashes with the natural flush in my cheeks and makes it look like just my lips were stuck out in the cold for too long. My raven dark hair in contrast with the paleness and makes the whole effect even worse. I’ll be frank, it makes my lips look like those of a platinum-blonde Caucasian. If I put on blonde wig, blue circle lenses and mix my foundation with white body paint I could say that I’m being Miley Cyrus in the below pic for Halloween. I have no problem with the formula, just the color itself.
Legendary – looks like cherry tomato red on my lips. It has a warm, orange-y tone that can be carried from fall over to the spring and summer. I personally wouldn’t wear it in the fall months but hey its makeup, do what you want with it. After i lick off the glaze or wipe it off, there is a noticeable red tint on my lips. This gloss can be used to color correct lipsticks that are too cold or simply layered over any red based lipstick to intensify it and make it super lustrous and shiny. I find that it looks good worn alone if i want some color that is noticeable but normal. Azalea is more fun and actually gets people to mention and discuss it with me so I like it more.
Azalea – leaves a slight rose stain after I’ve eaten something or unconsciously licked it all off. I’ve been wearing this color a couple days in a row. It seems to have less think of a texture than Pout and Legendary. The glazed feeling doesn’t seem as impenetrable to air as the other two do. This color is stunning and I’m not sure how to say all the good things i have to say about it without sounding a bit obsessed. It is easily my favorite out of the set. The pink brightens up my face and complements my natural flush. It works with warm,cool, and yellow skin tones quite well.Obviously, it will look good on neutral tones. It clashes with the complexion of my olive toned friend though. The greenish tones do not play nice with the red-pink. This gloss can be worn over an equally bright lipstick, swiped over a dark nude to liven it up, or over a light lipstick to deepen the color. Bottom line: it’s extremely versatile if you’re not shy and a mad scientist at heart. Did i mention that it’s my favorite?
Gilt – is favored for fancier looks. This is my second favorite out of the set. For me its fun but it’s pretty much a strictly layering gloss to get a little more va-va-voom. It glitz-es up anything under it making is a great addition to a night time makeup bag. I probably would not wear this alone during the day time unless there was some event. The looks fantastic swiped over any red lip.
Jewel – This color is not flattering on me worn alone. It darkens and makes my lips looks unnaturally drained of blood. If you have naturally taupe or brown toned lips, you can probably get away with wearing it on its on. That being said I find that this is a good color for dressing up over vampy or darker, warm-toned lipsticks/lip liners to make them look less harsh/intimidating. This will get extensive use during the fall and winter, layered over my darker lip colors.
This is a nicely valued introductory set to Smashbox’s Be Legendary ling of Lip Glosses . It would also make a good, safe mid-priced gift for someone. I’m rather impressed by these lip glosses’ performance, but don’t forget that I’m test running these after a decade long dry-spell. They have just enough pigment to be noticeable but are good of layering and changing the hue of the underlying lipcolor. The texture and stay power is also really good. If there are better glosses on the market, I don’t own them. That being said I was not impressed at all with the Buxom or Chanel glosses when i tried them for comparison (I”m going to get murdered for saying that). Chanel was sticky and buxom was sheerer than the most daring lingerie. Seriously why the fuck are there 100 shades of Buxom Lip Polishes. They could cut that number way down because every 6 or so in a color family look the same. The differences are near imperceptible on the lips and no one is going to be able to tell there’s any difference unless 1) the person is your lover coming in for a kiss in which case they probably aren’t thinking too hard about your lip color when looking at your face or 2) the person really likes staring at your face and is a die hard color theorist.
Aside from that brief tangent the colors in this Holiday 2014 set are well coordinated though they may not be universally flattering. I’m not sure if quality is slightly worse than the main line (which tends to be an issue in limited edition sets). If they ARE inferior to the permanent glosses, then the permanent glosses must be pretty damn amazing. If i had a regular Be Legendary lipgloss and liked it, I would have bought this set myself to try out the different colors. because the price is fairly justifiable. Standouts in Smashbox’s On The Rocks Be Legendary Lip Gloss Set are Azalea and Gilt. I will most definitely be picking up Azalea in full size after this mini tube runs out. If they ever make Gilt permanent in a full size, I will be getting that too because its so fun. I don’t think its worth buying another set just for one gloss though… unless I split the set and give the others away in pairs as gifts… but that would be evil. I liked Legendary but if i’m going to wear a red lip i want it to be fuss free and long lasting. That means not applying after every time i pull out some munchies. The gloss is fine and all but a lipstick would last sooo much longer and leave a stronger stain (I recommend Infrared Matte but that’s for another post). Jewel is a nice color but not as vesatile as Gilt and can’t be worn alone like Legendary so it comes in at a firm fourth. Pout is my least favorite because its too pigmented to layer and play with yet its just sheer enough to make my look blegh.
This Holiday 2014 set can be found at the following locations for $28 online and in-stores at the Smashbox Station:
Nordstrom (Free shipping!)
and of course the Smashbox website which offers free shipping/returns/samples with every U.S. purchase.