The third Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette to catch my attention was Smoky. And I actually do think there are some pretty and "unique" properties about this palette.
But I won't be buying.
My thoughts on the concept, size, and price of the Cover Shot Eye Palettes can be found here.
While Ablaze was the first palette to catch my attention, and I was really drawn to Golden Hour, the Smoky palette was the palette I had to actually tell myself "no." I like the layout of this palette. I like the way it looks. And I even had a difficult time coming up with similar-looking palettes. This palette has a sense of uniqueness to it that I appreciate, but for me and my collection, this sense of uniqueness is false.
I've mentioned several times before, I fall for the "group attractiveness effect" where a collection of items together holds more beauty than each individual piece. I've also mentioned how my brain tricks me into thinking something is unique when the colors are arranged in a way that I haven't seen before, even when I have all of the colors individually. Both of these things happened with the Smoky palette.
I always think it's important to check out swatches of a product before purchasing or to swatch the product on yourself in-store. And that's because promotional images tend to be saturated and misleading, which is what I believe has happened with several of these Cover Shot palettes. The colors look incredibly rich in the promotional pictures, but when I see swatches, they look liked a toned-down version of what I expected. Don't get me wrong, the colors are still pretty, and it's not as though they look of particularly bad quality, the colors in the photos are just a little misleading.
Based on swatches, the Smoky palette has the following colors:
- Mid-tone brown matte
- Yellow-based cream matte
- Purple shimmer (it looks cranberry in the promotional images but purple in swatches)
- Bronze-brown shimmer
- Green/gold/silver shimmer
- Forrest green shimmer
- Dark gray matte
- Black matte
The only shadow that seems actually unique is "Rock Me," which looks to be a green/gold/silver. It reminds me of Telepathy from the Kat Von D Monarch palette as well as maybe a mixture of the "Browbone and Eyelid" shades in the Wet N Wild Comfort Zone. Fortunately for me, it's not a shadow that really calls to me as something I want. I'm sure if I had it and used it I would think it looked interesting, but it's not something that I am particularly drawn to.
Otherwise, I absolutely have all of those shadows. All of them. And that's exactly what I mean about the group attractiveness effect. Even though I have every single one of these colors, my brain still tricked me into thinking this palette was unique.
The most similar palette I own is the Ciate London Smokey Suedes palette:
But there are also several similar shades in the Juvia's Place Nubian 2 palette:
And though certainly not exact, my Natasha Denona custom palette has some similar tones as well:
Outside of my collection, the Make Up For Ever Holiday 2016 palette shares similar tones:
As well as the drugstore classic, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone:
I'll give Smashbox credit that I don't have any palettes that are extremely close duplicates, but that still doesn't mean the collection of colors is unique. And frankly, when applied onto the eyes, I doubt there will be much of a difference whatsoever between the dark gray and black shades. Because of this, I feel like there is absolutely a wasted shade in this palette. Dark shadows are typically used less than all other shadows, so to give two of them—even in a smoky palette—feels overkill.
I'd like to come back to my point about looking at swatches. As I said, the swatches of these palettes don't look necessarily bad or poor quality, but they also don't look special at all. The mid-tone brown matte, for example, looks very light, and I don't know if it would really work as a crease shade on most skin tones. I've mentioned already how the color that looks as though it would be a gorgeous cranberry is actually a pretty standard purple shade, and the bronze-brown shimmer is also nothing special. I have seen better and more complex bronze shades from Urban Decay, Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, MAC, Makeup Geek, and even Morphe.
The Smoky Cover Shot Eye Palette is pretty, but I don't know who would be its target audience. I think this has the potential to be a good option for people looking for a smoky palette and who don't want to spend a ton of money, but I also think there are better options. There are only a few shades in here that really make it a "smoky" palette, and I think most people would be better off buying a few select singles to complement what they already have. And for smoky eye lovers, again, I think there are better smoky palettes available that have a more interesting color scheme. And frankly, most smoky eye lovers probably already have more than enough shadows to create a myriad of smoky eye looks.
The Smoky Cover Shot Eye Palette then feels to me to be the option for people who like to collect makeup or who just like to try everything. I'm not passing judgement on that mentality because it would be a blatant lie if I said I didn't like to try things, but I have also seen that shopping in this manner is a waste of my money. This is a pretty palette, but I feel like the majority of people who will purchase it are those who already have their share of smoky shadows a few times over. They will add this one onto the growing pile of tried but largely unused shadows and will mark the Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palettes off their "to try" list. That mentality just doesn't hold any value for me. I already have all the colors in this palette, and I won't be buying.