Review: Smashbox Masterclass III Palette (Plus Looks!)

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I literally had zero plans on buying holiday palettes last year because between the Christmas shopping and getting iPhone 6, I think I was nearing my self-imposed limit on, you know, buying stuff.

Technically, the Smashbox Masterclass III isn’t part of the holiday releases, it was launched last Fall but is limited edition. I was gonna pass on it despite having vivid dreams of it on my vanity but when I saw one of my fave online sellers announcing that this thing was in stock, I just had to order!

Let’s start with the packaging

Now, from what I read, the first two Masterclass palettes were amazing in quality but packaging’s kinda crappy. Smashbox rectified the issue by overhauling the entire design of the third Masterclass palette.

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Instead of the usual laminated cardboard, the new packaging is sturdy plastic. Gone are the sad cream liners and lip glosses, the new palette is an all-powder collection!

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Rather than a flimsy protective film that accidentally scrapes off the products, the shadows are protected with a clear case that snaps reassuringly into place. Each side can be taken out of the case and is similar in size with a traditional CD case (remember those?!). Securing all the sexiness is a thick band of elastic.

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When I took the palette out, I was surprised at how heavy it is! I’d imagine the new packaging isn’t ideal for traveling but we’re not really after practicality, are we?

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Now for the products themselves, I’ve been playing with this palette for several days now and I can say the quality is consistent with the other palette I had, the Studio Pop. The mattes are so freakin’ smooth and blend like a dream! I can say the same thing to the shimmers. The size of the pans is a wee bit bigger than my old Smashbox palette.

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One thing I observed was some shadows kick a lot of powder. You will have to dip carefully so you don’t end up wasting product. Also, if you’re not using a primer, pack the products when building rather than blending them away because some are prone to sheering out.

I can say that the mattes and shimmers are pigmented enough but I am having trouble with the glitter shadows, especially on the contour side. I feel that some of them do not adhere well to the skin (Golden Orchid) and the glitters end up under my eyes or cheeks (Flirt). This can be rectified by simply applying a thin layer of primer over the lids and pack the shadows rather than sweeping them back and forth. But the thing is, I don’t use a primer at all, so some of the very beautiful shades on the palette are giving me a hard time, hahaha!

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The vivid ones from the color side are just glorious! The darker shades are super pigmented, a couple even stained my brush (Serpent/Nocturnal). I’m quite disappointed with Papaya though. It’s a fantastic color on the pan but it’s not as pigmented once you apply it on the lids.

I played around this palette for several days and created these looks:

Look 1: For the eyes, I used Pebble, a cool-toned brown,  to contour the crease, it was also the transition color. Then, I patted Flirt on the first half of the lid and then Golden Orchid on the second half of the lids. I simply deepened the crease color with Sumatra, just lightly dabbing the color on the outer corner of my eyes.

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I finished off by applying a combination of Ambient and Sienna on the outer part of the lower lids and transitioning to lighter color Flirt on the inner lower lids.

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For the cheeks, I patted Flush on the apples of my cheeks and then contoured my lower jaw and under the cheek bones as usual. I finished off with lipstick in Demure by Revlon.

Look 2: For look two, I started by contouring my crease with Nude. I patted the shimmery Cinder on the entire lids. Blend the edges so both colors meet together seamlessly. Added Serpent on the outer edges of the lids.

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On the lower lids, I used Serpent to line the outer part of the lids, transitioning the color to Cinder. Finished off with Snow to highlight under the brows and on the innermost corners of the eyes. Added a quick swipe of Honey lipstick crayon by Revlon.

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I contoured my cheekbones and lower jaw using the contour shade included in the kit and patted Carnation on the apples of my cheeks. I paired this off with a nude-y peach lipstick in Sultry by Cover Girl.

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Look 3: Rather than randomly choosing shades, I went vertically on the last column of the Contour side. I patted Golden Orchid on the lids, then Nude on the crease. I deepened the outer crease with Sumatra and then highlighted the brow bones with Vanilla. I smudged Sumatra on the outer corner of the lower lids transitioning to Flirt on the inner lower lids. I then applied Snow from the color side on the innermost corners of the eyes.

I then lined my eyes, added mascara and finished off with a sheer peach lippy in Peach-fection by Avon. For the blush, I used flushed, contoured the cheekbones and then added a whisper of theBalm Mary-Lou highlighter!

Look 4: I swept Pebble on the crease and then patted Steel, a beautiful grayish-blue. Layered Topaz, a matte mauve over Pebble and then deepened the outer part of the lids with Sumatra.

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I lined my lower lids with a combination of Steel and Cinder, finishing off with Oyster on the inner lids.

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I know you really can’t see the finer details but most of the shadows are really good! They are not as buttery or as pigmented as UD shadows but they wore well!

For staying power, I’d say it’s great. The shadows stuck around for at least 6 hours though there were signs of fading around the edges. The real performers, methinks, are the blushes and contour powder, they were long-wearing!

Overall, quite satisfied with this purchase. I feel like Smashbox really delivered on this one. Great value, great shadows and excellent set of face colors, really, this is one of the better palettes out there right now, grab one if you can!


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Tina Lee

Tina Lee-Almazar is a writer with an insatiable appetite for all things bright, shiny, and beautiful. She's a beauty junkie, a shopping connoisseur, a book collector, a purse addict, and a budding mom-tepreneur. Tina has a long-standing (and well-documented!) but one-sided love affair with cats. Special talents include: the ability to eat again an hour after eating, shopping at 3 different malls in 1 day, and taking a 3-hour power nap every day including weekends.

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