Matte For You? Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes Palette {Review and Swatches}


First off, I must apologize for my absence.  My trusty MAC Book Pro was damaged because I spilled water in it. It is irreparable and my heart is broken. But this means I have to make do with the other devices I have at home before I buy another. And I have to reinstall my Adobe Creative Suite. And those MAC book Pros are ssssspensive. So that’s my story. But, today I’m going to review a palette that has been on my radar since I saw it launched in the US. It’s the Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes Palette.

This was a palette I happened to see by chance because Smashbox SA hadn’t announced its arrival on our shores. Perhaps it was because it hadn’t been rolled out into Edgars stores or Red Square. I found mine at Foschini and saw it because the Smashbox stand in the Sandton City store is situated toward the front of the store.

Ooooh, I was doing jumping jacks and completely forgot to get the balm goodies, which has been at Stutterfords for going on 2 months now.

I have always said that favorite matte eyeshadow formula is the Smashbox Photo Op formula.

They are smooth, easy to blend, pigmented and long lasting. They do kick up some dust because they are a drier and densely packed formula, but, it’s nothing annoying.


As always Smashbox, is always at the cutting edge of innovation and always put out products with a twist!  Self-sharpening lip liners, telephoto 3 in 1 brush, Primer water and matte eye shadows you can use wet! Strange and out there, but it works!

The Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes can be used eyeshadow, liner and brow powder. To be fair, you can use any matte eyeshadow to do your eyebrows or liner.

smashboxphotomatteeyesbrushIt comes with a free handy dandy, high quality dual-ended brush. One end has a fluffy shader side to apply eyeshadow and the other is an angled brush, which can be used to draw eyeliner and fill in your brows.


You have 14 shades.

rhsYou have 6 warm-toned neutral shades on left side of the palette,


Two large pan highlight and transition shades in the middle .


and 6 cool toned neutral shades on the left side of the palette.



This palette doesn’t look exciting and I don’t think it’s meant to be. Smashbox describes the eyeshadows as base shades. But you do have a peach, a pink, a stunning grey, a rich burgundy and a beautiful black.

smasboxphotomatteeyesclosedpaletteThe cover and base of the palette is made up of hard cardboard but the shadows hare housed in a plastic insert. It has a high quality, full-sized mirror. It’s lightweight and has a magnetic closure making it safe for travel. The added extras are also high quality and consistent across the board.

Another thing they are consistent with is their How-To guides. This shows how to match your eyebrow colour to your hair colour. You know, you’ve seen brunettes with reddish brown eyebrows and blondes with grey eyebrows. I see you!

There’s also the standard how to apply eyeliner and eyeshadow on different eye shapes. The guide also shows how to fill in and identify the shape of your eyebrows and correct them if they are a bit wonky.

Forget the jagged hot messes and get your fleekiness on!

The shades




Desert is a medium brown with a warm undertone. It doesn’t apply patchy, is long lasting and I use this as a transition shade.

Heirloom is a mid-tone peach. Again the formula is excellent. It is long lasting, doesn’t apply patchy and is beautiful lid shade. It also as a transition shade on my skin tone.

Dune is light brown with yellow undertones. It works well as a transition shade. This is a good eyebrow shade for blondes.


Earthy is a long wearing, medium brown with warm undertones. This works well as an eyeliner and to fill in eyebrows for dark Brunettes

Suede is a mid-tone warm, reddish brown. I love to use this as an eyeliner, to smoke out the lower lash line and deepen my crease. It’s long wearing and applies smoothly. It is recommended to use as brow powder for beauties with Auburn hair.

Canyon is a deep taupe. This shade has a silky feel. It glides on the lid. This shade is recommended to fill in eyebrows for beauties with Ebony hair.


Middle shades

Vanilla is a sheer bone colour. That doesn’t sound very appealing does it? You can use this to highlight the inner corners of your eyes, your brow bone to make it look more prominent and lift the brow. This is a great way to set your eyeshadow primer. I use it to diffuse harsh edges when doing eyeshadow as well apply it to the inner corners of my eyes to open up those peepers!

Wheat is a sheer creamy brown. This can be used to set primer of deeper skin tones, serve as a transition shade and to smoke out eye pencils.



Grounded is a medium, cool-toned brown. This makes for a great transition shade for cool-toned eye looks.

Rosehip is a medium coral. It has the silkiest texture and applies smoothly and is long lasting. It is pigmented enough to use as a lid shade on my skin tone and will work great as a transition shade.

Haze is a bluish grey with a silky texture. This is a great shade to use for a classic smoky eye or over primer as a base shade when doing cool-toned looks. Application is smooth and it’s pigmented.


Jolt is a deep cool toned brown. I use this shade to fill in my eyebrows. It also makes for a great eyeliner and an alternative to black. This is great for smoking out the lower lash line and for adding depth in the crease.

Ditch is an intense reddish brown that is super pigmented. This makes for a great eyeliner, to deepen the crease and add dimension to an eye look. This will also work well on the lid when doing a warn, blackened brown smoky eye.

Blackout is an intense black. The formula is slightly drier than the other mattes. It is super black, super pigmented and great to use as an eyeliner.


You will probably look at the Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes palette and not look at it again. You will probably not swatch it. I wouldn’t blame you. It looks grey and brown with 2 pops of colour and a cream highlight. This is what like to call a ‘framework ‘palette. You have every shade you need to layer eyeshadows and define your eyes.

The varying shades of warm and cool toned brown shades cater to the basic hair colors and corresponding brow powders.

The point is, if you change your hair colour every week, you need this this palette. if you have matte palettes, you don’t need another one.

This palette will suit a makeup artist, who has work with various skin tones, hair colors, eyebrow shades and contour eyes. Yes, there are the Morphe palettes, which are more affordable but they do not have the quality of a Smashbox eyeshadow.

Personally, I prefer qualitative results as opposed to quantitative ones. Get this if it caters to your needs. This is not a must have rather it nice to have. You can get good eye look with this palette but the possibilities are not endless.

It has warm and cool toned transition shades a great highlight shade and one to set primers and cream eye shadow bases like MAC Paint Pots.

If you don’t need these shades, don’t get because while the quality of these mattes are consistently amazing, I wouldn’t buy a palette at this price point to ‘find’ ways to use the eyeshadow.

Where to buy: Selected Smashbox counters nationwide 

Price: R995

Do you think you would buy this palette? Do you think there a need for a ‘framework; palette? Let me know, down below.

Until next time, stay blessed and beautiful

Love you to the moon and back



Beauty Bugle



5 thoughts

  • I never try any Smashbox palette before. This one looks pretty. Doubt i will buy it though as it is very pricey. If i ever do it will be great for my non existent eyebrows lol

    • no eyebrows! U have eyebrows, I assure u my angel. I love ur feedback. There are many options available at clicks and dischem. I don’t do much to my brows but I have gathered so many brow products and love them all. I think with sparse eyebrows, defining with a pencil or using a pomade is a must. Powder can work but not on its own because it needs to have something to stick to. Ps . Smashbox matte eyeshadows are my HG, esp the photo op formula. Xoxo I think they do sell mini full exposure palettes which is fair,y priced

  • I love ANYTHING Smashbox…and this does look great. You know a find that the past three palettes I bought kick up dust: Kat von D, two of the Balm, though when I apply there is minimal product on my face so I guess much over much. Thanks for a solid engaging review! Best, Thaz

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