Monday, December 5, 2016

What I'm Not Buying: Smashbox Ablaze Cover Shot Eye Palette

A couple weeks ago, Smashbox released seven (yes, seven) brand-new "Cover Shot" eyeshadow palettes. The one that immediately caught my (and everyone else's) attention was the Modern Renaissance- copied inspired Ablaze palette. 

But I won't be buying. 

I'll be honest—I'm not entirely mad at Smashbox about these palettes. I think they are actually really cool in concept. All seven released at the same time, so it's not like Smashbox is going to drag out every release (like Urban Decay and Too Faced), and consumers will likely be able to get a palette with colors they like and that flatter their skin tone. 

I also like that Smashbox released these in a kind of nonchalant manner without crazy hype and fear of missing out tactics. 

The size of the palettes is small, and I don't exactly hate that either. But, I can see this going two ways. I can see someone buying one of these palettes—picking their favorite—and having that be maybe their only eyeshadow palette. And because the palettes are so small, I can see them running out of product fairly quickly, which would be annoying if this was their one palette. However, I can also see this someone who has a fairly large collection of palettes (like me) buying this palette and being grateful that it doesn't have a ton of product because it is something they will realistically get use on. 

But, here's my main issue with these. The palettes cost $29 each, and for eight shadows, that gives the guise that this is a good deal. However, these palettes contain 7.65 grams of product. To put that into perspective, my absolute favorite compact travel palette is the Ciate London Pretty Palette:

This palette is just a little longer than the length of my palm, and it only has one shadow more than the Smashbox Cover Shot palettes. However, the Ciate London palette contains 16 grams of product. That's more than double the amount of product in the Smashbox palettes and is only $6 more. I therefore think the Smashbox palettes could have been slightly less expensive. 

I first saw the Cover Shot palettes in the Sephora email about Cyber Monday "deals." I was curious to look at the palettes, and as soon as I clicked onto the page, I saw that Ablaze was already sold out. At other times in my life, seeing that would make me crazy and feel like I absolutely needed to get my hands on it. But at this point, when I saw that, it made me not at all interested in buying. Because it just reminded me of this insanity of buying within the beauty community. The reason Ablaze sold out so quickly is because it looks exactly like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette. And I would bet significant money that the people who clamored to buy Ablaze right as it became available are also people who already own Modern Renaissance. 

Let's look at Ablaze again:

And Modern Renaissance:

And from my own Collection, Lime Crime Venus:

Let's also look at the Kylie Burgundy Kyshadow palette:

And the Makeup Geek Autumn Glow bundle:

And the Tarteist Pro palette:

These palettes all look the same. Everyone seems to credit Anastasia Beverly Hills for coming out with the trendiest color scheme imaginable, but Lime Crime released the Venus palette nearly two years before that. And of course I understand that Lime Crime is an incredibly problematic brand, so people were thrilled when Modern Renaissance came out that they could get the color scheme they wanted and not feel guilty about supporting the brand. But this color scheme has been around for a couple of years now. And just because you like the color scheme, it doesn't mean you need to buy it from every single brand

And frankly, a few select single shadows would really be all that anyone would need, as is evidenced by part of my singles collection:

I didn't even mean to try and replicate the color scheme of these mega popular palettes; this is just how I organized my singles. 

If you break down Ablaze, you've got:
  • A matte cream
  • A shimmery golden bronze
  • A shimmery rose gold
  • A matte pink-toned berry
  • A shimmery burgundy
  • A matte orange
  • A matte brick red
  • A matte dark brown 

My guess is that most collections cover all colors other than the berry, orange (maybe), and brick red. That's more than half the shades in the palette that most people already have. Personally, I have at least two of every shade in this palette. I think it would be much wiser to just pinpoint the colors in this palette that you most like, look in your own collection to see if you have something comparable, and then just buy one or two singles that fill any gaps you have.

I've mentioned these colors before, but just off the top of my head, to supplement the rest of your collection, you could buy MAC Rule:

Photo: Temptalia 

MAC Cranberry:

Photo: Temptalia 

And Make Up For Ever Morello Cherry:

Photo: Temptalia 

And with the addition of these three shadows, you would be able to have your own version of any of the above palettes. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that most palettes cannot flatter everyone. And it's potentially a much smarter idea to look at a color scheme that you find appealing and then find single shadows that will flatter your skin tone so that you can build your own perfect version of that palette. Another idea is rearranging your single shadows to fit the same order of a palette that you find appealing. When you do that, it's shocking to see how in some cases you already own a palette you're lusting after. 

The swatches I've seen of Ablaze look fine, but nothing spectacular. I can appreciate the thought behind the Cover Shot Eye Palettes, but I feel no need to rush out and buy Ablaze. I was most drawn to the color scheme of it because I already own this palette a few times over (therefore I obviously like the colors), and it's important that I remember that and don't continue to purchase the same things again and again. Seeing the Smashbox palettes sell out well before anyone was able to give any honest and thorough reviews tells me that people are just trying to get their hands on it because they know they will be hyped. I assume—based on this—that they are the next "big thing" in the beauty community for a moment. But for me, my collection is already so stacked that something would need to be truly unique in order to get my attention. Ablaze literally looks like a carbon copy of Venus and Modern Renaissance. I own Venus and previously owned Modern Renaissance (and found it redundant), and I certainly don't need to buy this same palette yet again. 


  1. Thank you for writing this article. I've just started getting back into makeup and missed out on the ABH palette and now the Smashbox palette and was driving myself crazy trying to find it. I will check out the MAC dupes for sure! Thanks for saving my sanity!

  2. Any recommendations for a warm palette that's a little less warm than these? I'm looking to buy a palette as my collection is very small. I panned the orange shade in Wet and Wilds Desert Festival, but did not use the coral shade in the quad. I know that my oranges have to be a little more soft/peachy to work for me so the Modern Renaissance likely will not work.

    I am drawn to the oranges, bronzes and terra cotta shades that are so wearable in the Balm Nude beach palette. Smash box Ablaze and Lime Crime Venus appear to be like the coral shade in Desert festival quad... less wearable for me. I really don't want to buy more shadows that I don't wear. I think these palettes would go great on a red head. Alas, I'm a dirty blonde/bronde with aqua eyes... I find that I don't gravitate to the fall shades naturally and more towards the peaches, bronze, chocolate browns, etc. Let me know what your suggestions are! #AntiHaulAllTheWay!!!

    1. I might look into some Tarte palettes. I have and enjoy Tartelette in Bloom and find it's a nice mix of warm and neutral. There's also the Tarteist Pro palette, which has a pretty good selection of colors, but that palette also has a lot of shades in general. They also have smaller palettes on their website (I'd look into Dream Big and Don't Quit Your Day Dream). Tarte also has a palette coming out this fall called Tartelette Toasted that might be exactly what you're looking for.

      The very popular Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts palette is coming back in stock (and I think being made permanent) that might be worth looking into. I have this palette and really love it.

      For a drugstore option that I LOVE, there's Milani Earthy Elements.

      And something I always recommend is looking into some single shadows and building your own perfect palette. MAC, Makeup Geek, and Colourpop all have great pressed singles for around $5 each, and I also love singles from Inglot, though those are pricier.

      I hope this helps!

  3. Thanks! Your blog is becoming a go to when I need to be talked off the buying ledge. I really appreciate how you compare palettes by photos.