18 December 2015

Perfect Party Season Makeup with Smashbox Cosmetics

Smashbox Cosmetics Favourite Products

I love pretty much everything about Smashbox Cosmetics, from its ethos to its awesome product range - and let’s not forget the brand’s studio origins. They’ve also been responsible for making me look just about the best I’ve ever looked. So you can imagine my delight at being asked to join them on their recent Irish road-tour, where I got to hang out in Cork with their super-talented National Make-up Coach, Janine Bird, and talk beauty all day long.

As ever when I spend time with Janine, I came away with loads of tips and tricks for creating the perfect party season makeup look: sculpted, glowy skin paired with a sultry, smokey eye.

Smashbox Selfie Emma Fluffyblog and Janine Bird
With the gorgeous and talented Janine in Boots, Half Moon Street, Cork
Janine is a big fan of using make-up to shape and sculpt the face and, while previous years have been all about contouring, this year strobing has taken centre-stage. Many people find this an easier technique to master - although Janine points out that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and can actually be combined to great effect.

Smashbox LA Lights Blendable Lip and Cheek Colour Sticks
Hollywood & Highlight, centre, with Silver Lake Sunset (left) and Malibu Berry (right)

“For strobing, all you need is a highlighter that has a smooth polished sheen to it; it should never look “sparkly”. I like a cream or liquid highlighter as I find that they sit better and you can blend them easily with fingers, a brush or a beauty blender. For fair to mid toned complexions I would recommend our LA lights Hollywood and Highlight, whereas for darker skin Venice Beach Bronze looks great.”

Smashbox LA Lights Blendable Lip and Cheek Colour Sticks Swatches
Swatches L-R: Silver Lake Sunset, Malibu  Berry, Hollywood & Highlight

So we’ve got our highlighter – now what do we do with it?  Simples: “Apply the product to the areas of your face that naturally bounce light: the high planes of the face, like the top of the cheekbone, brow bone/temple, bridge of the nose, chin and cupids bow.  This will enhance and bring forward your cheekbones, and will also naturally throw the other parts of your face into greater shadow.”

As for a smokey eye, Janine recommends experimenting with colours to see which best suits your eye colour. She also reassures me that any eye shape can rock the look: people can be afraid the technique will make their eyes appear smaller, but she tells me: "Any tiny decrease that optically occurs by using stronger colours round the eyes is offset by the added definition and intensity. So go for it!"

Smashbox contour crayon swatches

The key, says Janine, is to “have maximum intensity at the lash line and then gradually soften that intensity, as you blend upwards towards the crease. Start by pushing the deepest colour you have chosen into the lash line with a small domed shadow brush, then softly wash a nude base shade from just above the dark shade up towards the brow bone.

Next, using a medium sized soft blending brush, start blending a medium shade in a similar tone to the shade along the lash line towards the crease. Blend until there are no obvious demarcations between the colours, and the overall effect is a soft graduation from the deepest shade to the nude base shade.You can intensify it further by using a pencil and tight-lining the inner waterline. If you want to you can repeat the same graduated process underneath the lower lash line for the most dramatic smoky effect. Smashbox Full Exposure Palette has a variety of nudes and soft smokey shades perfect for achieving this look."

Smashbox Cosmetics Favourite Products
Right pic from Xpose Beauty Bible, with Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel liner
New to the brand, and wondering where to start? I’d steer you first towards their matte lippies, especially the orangey/red Fireball – come on, this one has my name on it! – and Femme Fatale, that gorgeous purple Janine is rocking in the top pic. I liked it so much I wore it to my work Christmas party.  Their primers are some of the best that I’ve tried, with the 24 Hour Shadow Primer being perfect for this time of year, when you really want your eye makeup to last.

I’m also mad about the Blendable Lip and Cheek Colour Sticks, especially the stunning champagne shade, Hollywood & Highlight, which gives skin the perfect glossy, wet-look gleam –a handbag essential for me at this time of year. The contour crayons make child’s play of giving my moon-face a bit of shape and structure, and last but not least, the Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel liner pen makes fast and easy work of achieving the perfect flick.  What are your faves from the brand?

And if you’d like some more pointers about putting that all into practice, Janine and her pro artist team are back in Ireland this Saturday, December 19th, at Arnotts Dublin for a day full of masterclasses and one-to-one sessions; call 01 8050400 (ext 255) to make an appointment with the team. 

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