Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour kit, not for everyone

The Smashbox Step-by-Step contour kit was one of the products I was really looking forward to this year.


So, when I saw it at Red Square in Sandton City, I grabbed it.



The palette was much smaller than I thought it would be, using promo pictures as my reference. But this would be great if you are travelling or 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. It’s 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.

All the goodies you get!
All the goodies you get!

It is very small and while the Smashbox instructions does say that you can use this one brush for bronzing, highlighting and contouring. No . . . you can’t. I used my regular brushes to apply 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 are really handy if you’re a beginner.

The box opens up into a guide on how to use the product.
The box opens up into a guide on how to use the product.

Powder contouring and highlighting is meant to be subtle so get the thoughts outta your mind that this is going to make you look like a Kardashian.

There are three pressed matte powders in the palette called Contour, Bronze and Highlight. (Yes, that’s what they are called.)

Contour, Bronze, Hightlight, those are the shade names.  If you bungle this up them I have no words.
Contour, Bronze, Hightlight, those are the shade names. If you bungle this up them I have no words.

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, it’s a happy medium

The colours in the pan.
The colours in the pan.

The shades in this kit are more on the ‘’one 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 depending on your skin tone. From super pale to super dark, it may be a total hit or a massive fail.


The colours of the Smashbox contour kit swatched.
The colours of the Smashbox contour kit swatched.

The texture of all the powders is very soft and they are pigmented, 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 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 like a bronzer would.

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, there was one nasty that shocked me . . . and that was the fallout.

The fallout broke my heart. This shot was  taken immediately  after using it . You can even see a droplet of water on the palette.
The fallout broke my heart. This shot was taken immediately after using it . You can even see a droplet of water on the palette.

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 powder 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 an everyday contour and highlight 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’

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 a very deep skin tone, I would skip this and buy try something else.

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 I can say that it can be forgiven that getting a universally flattering highlight and contour palette is a big ask in our milky way, 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 if 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 ?

I am going to do a review and demo soon, so you can see how I use it.


Where to buy: Smashbox counters, I got mine from Edgars Red Square in Sandton City. I’m certain it will be available online at

Will keep you posted.

Price: R550



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