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Beauty Bugle

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Universal? Smashbox Step-by-step contour kit

Universal? Smashbox Step-by-step contour kit

The Smashbox Step-by-Step contour kit was for me and most of you beauties one of the most anticipated make up products of the year!


While taking some time out (beauties all we need that) and doing some make up shopping, I spotted this at Red Square in Sandton at the weekend.

The palette was much smaller than I thought but it will  be great if you are travelling or you’re trying to streamline your make up storage.


The case itself is sleek in typical minimalist Smashbox style with the Smashbox logo on the top of the palette and a diagram of what’s inside on the back.

The palette itself is hard plastic, sturdy and has a full side mirror on the inside with another diagram. (You can remove this) It comes with a free contour brush; a mini sized one, great for placing the contour powder on your face and running the product down the sides of the nose and nothing else.


It is very small and while the Smashbox instructions do say that you can use this one brush for bronzing, highlighting and contouring. No . . . you can’t.  I used my regular brushes to apply the contour colour only and blend out the rest.

 The box opens up into a step-by-step diagram on how to use the contour kit and where to place each color. I’ve always loved the thought Smashbox puts into it’s packaging, with the inserts and leaflets, which is really handy if you’re a beginner.  Now, if you do not get where to place these products and use them, it’s unacceptable, you basically get a manual . . .

Powder contouring and highlighting is meant to be subtle so this isn’t Kardashian-friendly.

There are three pressed matte powders in the palette called Contour, Bronze and Highlight. (Yes, that’s what they are called.) Again, if you get this wrong, you have only your self to blame, this is clearly marked J


The contour colour is a cool mid-tone brown. This is a true contour shade. . While I usually get away with using bronzer on a day-to-day basis to contour with, a true contouring shade needs to be cool-toned to create a shadow on your face and the last time I checked, shadows were not brown, orange or gold.

The matte bronzer is a warm brown, I was afraid it would not show up on my dark skin.

The highlight shade is a yellow-toned beige, not banana yellow or stark white. And happy medium 

The shades in this kit are more on the  ‘’on size fits all’ side because there is only ONE contour kit and it’s meant to work on all skin tones. Does it? Not really. It will look different on different skin tones. From super pale to super dark, it may be a total hit or a massive fail.


The texture of the all the powders is very soft and they are pigmented (use a very light hand but if you get strips on your face but overdoing it, blend it out with some powder), with the highlight powder having slightly satin finish, note I said satin not shiny.

So how does it fare on my brown skin?

The contour colour created a very subtle shadow, which looked pretty good. I was surprised that it showed up at all because I have dark skin.

I doubt this will show up enough on anyone with really deep skin tones.

The bronzer was did warm up my skin slightly, but I didn’t like the look of it on my skin. It’s not muddy or orange; it’s just that the shade doesn’t show up on me the way I like a bronzer to look.

The highlight powder is a beautiful shade, with a beautiful texture. It worked for me but it may not flatter really pale or really deep skin tones may find this overwhelming or a bit ashy overwhelming or look ashy.


However, the shocker was the fallout.


 I have never tried a Smashbox eye shadow or powder that has as much fallout as this. A light touch of the tiny brush into the pan and it’s all over the place! It get’s better . . .because this is a palette where the pans are so close to each other, the powder spilled over into one another.

I don’t mind the contour and bronzer mixing a bit, but the bronzer, spilled right into the highlight powder.

Now, I get soooo frustrated when a dark eye shadow spills into a light shadow, you know how difficult it is to clean that up, if at all.

Thankfully, because of the fallout, I was able to dust it off, losing quite a bit of the highlight powder in the process.

I will not buy this again because of that.

However, this Smashbox contour kit is great to create everyday contouring and highlighting because of the subtly of the finish and is also great for beginners. I mean with all the step-by-step leaflets and diagrams, they weren’t joking when they said ‘step by step’. I love the way Smashbox simplified things.

Bar, the bronzer, it looked good on my skin and created a barely there effect, I would have liked it to be a little more ‘there’. I suggest you try it out before buying. If you have really very deep skin stone, I would skip this and buy try something else. Smashbox is usually a brand that is innovative and groundbreaking, this didn’t blow my hair back , guess I also set the bar very high when it comes to Smashbox, they really have always delivered standout products.

I saw that stocks the Anastasia Beverly Hills contour palette, which is currently out of stock, but I’m sure, they’ll be in stock soon. Excited to try that . . .


While  it can be forgiven for shade selection, (I mean with 3204 skin tones, it’s a big ask.), the fallout was a massive fail.

This is the FIRST Smashbox product that has failed me in this way . . . and if you follow me, you know I’m a Smashbox addict. I’d like to think I bought a faulty kit, but I know I’m wrong . . .

Beauties, in my opinion, test this and if one of the shades do not suit you, save your cash.

Have you tried the Smashbox Step-by-step contour kit? Let me know how you found it J


Where to buy: Smashbox counters, I got mine from Edgars Red Square in Sandton City.

(UPDATE: Not available at red square online yet.)

Price: R550




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