The name Smashbox makes me laugh. I always picture some Luddite with a mallet going ballistic on a desktop computer.
Then my mind wanders over to Smashmouth. Remember that musical group from back in the day? “All Star” and “Walkin’ on the Sun” were huge. Now I hardly ever hear their songs played…and when I do, I always laugh.
Back to the star of this post!
The Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 is the very first beauty balm that I’ve ever tried. And I’ve been curious about beauty balms for a long time.
I decided to get this one because it had a colour that closely matched my skin, and even though I do wear a separate sunscreen, I want my BB cream to always have SPF for added protection.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Light Pictures
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Light Ingredients
(This is going to be a realllllly tallllll photo!)
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Light Swatches
Natural Light Photo
√ Hydrates (initially, but feels drying later)
√ Helps remove excess surface oil
√ Banishes shine (for a certain period of time)
X Doesn’t settle into fine lines & pores
X No chalky matte finish (it can look chalky if you don’t touch-up)
- Name: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 (Light)
- Colours Available for the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 (from lightest to darkest): Fair, Light, Light/Medium, Medium & Dark
- Amount: 30 mL (1 fl. oz.)
- What I Paid: Approximately $50 CAD
- Where to Buy: Smashbox website, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora stores & Sephora website
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 Review
I asked the Beauty Boutique Expert at the Shoppers Drug Mart to help me find the right colour. Surprisingly, I would’ve chosen “Light” and that was exactly the shade she chose!
In my swatches, you may think that it looks really yellow or orange, but when I blended it out, it was a perfect match for me. (Yes, I did take a photo of it blended out completely, but when I photographed it, you couldn’t see anything…haha!)
The “Light” shade is great if you have yellow undertones, but aren’t pale enough to wear “Fair”.
I’m disappointed in the colour selection. While those with richer skin tones always have difficulty finding foundations that match their skin tones, I feel like they have an even harder time when it comes to BB creams.
From a lot of the ones I’ve seen (even from other brands), there tend to be more shades for those with lighter skin like me than for those with rich skin tones. Seriously…this is 2012! Branch out, and accept that there are people who come from all different races!
Finish & Application
When I first applied it, it was thick and had a satiny finish on me that wasn’t shiny, but it wasn’t chalky (more on this later). I was able to glide it on effortlessly, and it applied smoothly.
I’m really happy to see that it has SPF 35. Even though I swear by the Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50 For Face/Body, it’s nice to know that for the days when I feel lazy, I can wear just the BB cream and get a little more protection than if I went bare-faced.
Of course, you really don’t use enough product to get the full sun protection, so I wouldn’t advise using just the BB cream on a regular basis. You need to protect your skin with a proper sunscreen.
The squeeze tube is nice because you can get the amount you need without contaminating the rest. However, I think it’s silly how it comes in a cardboard box. It really doesn’t add any extra value.
It provides a sheer wash of colour, but I found that it was mildly buildable to medium coverage if you wear more than one thin layer.
I get the occasional pimple, but nothing severe. While I wore this, it didn’t cause me to break out, and I didn’t have any pimples while testing this out for weeks. However, judging from the coverage it gave my skin, I would say that this won’t be enough to cover skin imperfections like red pimples, dark under-eye circles, and dark spots. (You’ll have to use a concealer for those.)
Does It Mattify Skin?
When I first applied it, my skin had a satiny sheen, however when it dried, it became more matte. The shiny areas on my face (the T-Zone) were less shiny. That being said, after 3-4 hours of wearing just this BB cream, my skin started getting really shiny.
So, another time, after applying it, I set it with my Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder Microfinish Powder. Unfortunately, within 4-5 hours, my face got shiny again.
I also tried wearing my Shiseido The Skincare Day Moisture Protection SPF 15 underneath the BB cream and then the setting powder on top. Same results.
It was only when I tried the combination of my Shiseido sunscreen and the Smashbox BB cream that I noticed my skin felt tight and dry. (That’s because the Shiseido sunscreen is already very mattifying. You can have too much of a good thing.)
How Does It Wear?
In the beginning, it made my skin look really natural and good. But then at the 2-3 hour mark, I noticed that the Smashbox BB cream settled into my pores and lines of my face and looked a bit chalky. I don’t have lots of wrinkles, but you know the lines that everyone has when you just make a facial expression? Well, the product would sink into those. Not a good look.
The next time I tried it, I rubbed it in more and applied less product since I thought perhaps that was the reason. But…nope. It seems to always sink into the areas I don’t want it to.
Sooo…when I wear this now, I have to check the mirror and dab my face with a tissue to blend it again. (I refuse to touch-up with more product. I don’t do that for anything except my lip gloss, and I’m not about to do more touch-ups for a BB cream that’s supposed to save me time by being a 5-in-1!)
Is It Really a 5-in-1?
According to Smashbox, their BB cream is supposed to prime, perfect, protect, hydrate, and help remove excess surface oil.
Yes, it does prime the face very well. I tried using it as a primer under my loose mineral foundation, and it did the job.
As for perfecting…well, I didn’t feel like this gave incredible coverage. It’s basically a glorified tinted moisturizer. And you’re never going to get a completely flawless face with a sheer formula like this. That being said, I do like how my skin peeked through instead of being fully covered. (I’ve never liked or worn full-coverage foundations.)
It does protect your skin. I was hesitant to try it, but I wore it without my usual SPF underneath on a really sunny day. I didn’t burn. However, you should know that there are rays from the sun that cause you to burn and others that cause free-radical damage to the skin. Just because you don’t burn or tan doesn’t mean you’re fully protected. (Again, I recommend not relying on this for your sole SPF.)
After trying the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 before and feeling like it was terribly drying, I thought maybe the BB cream by Smashbox would be the same. Thankfully, it was way better. It glided on, and I felt like my skin was moisturized lightly.
How Do You Apply It?
There’s no one ‘right’ way, but I prefer to use my clean fingers. First, I dot a little bit onto my forehead, and then work my way to the cheeks, chin, and nose. Afterwards, I just rub to blend it in, and it seemed to work well.
Some people like to use brushes, but considering how expensive this product is, I didn’t want the bristles to absorb any of the product. Plus, I feel like the warmth from my fingers helped to blend in the product.
You just can’t review the BB cream by Smashbox without talking about the insane price. At around $50, this is an expensive glorified tinted moisturizer!
I felt like while the product worked okay, it wasn’t holy-grail material, so the price tag isn’t justified.
After I use up my tube, I won’t be repurchasing it.
Final Verdict: 7/10
I liked the Smashbox BB cream, but I wasn’t blown away by it. For $50-ish, I need to be blown away, shot up into the galaxy, and serenaded by David Beckham playing a harp in heaven. 😉
It’s just okay, and I think this product doesn’t live up to all the hype surrounding it…at least on my skin. Maybe if you have oilier skin, it works wonders.
I really gave it a hell of a chance with many different combinations (e.g. with primer, without primer, with setting powder, without setting powder, with loose mineral makeup on top, etc.). Anddd…I still wasn’t terribly impressed.
It gets a good score of 7 because, for the most part, it felt good on the skin, it was easy to apply, it has SPF, and the coverage was surprisingly buildable.
What has been your experience with BB creams? Would you (or have you) ever spent $50-ish (CAD) on a BB cream? Do you think western BB creams are just glorified tinted moisturizers?
Just curious if you’ve tried any other bb creams? I stayed away from this one because of the price tag. I am loving Marcelle’s bb cream – it just doesn’t seem to have any spf =( I’ve tried the Garnier (got a sample in a beauty box) and was unimpressed. I’ve also tried Missha – as they have a Canadian distributer now. It was pretty good – much more coverage than the Marcelle one – though I found I didn’t need that much coverage – but it has the spf.
No, I’ve never tried any other BB creams, but I’ve been curious about the ones by Marcelle and Garnier.
What was it about the Garnier one that you didn’t like? Also, aside from the Marcelle one not having any SPF, what were its strong points? (Every time I try to buy the Marcelle one, they’re always out of the light shade. Must be good!)
I’ve never heard of the Missha one. Can you tell me a little more about it? (I would definitely love to try out more BB creams in the future.)
Interesting! BB creams always sounded too good to be true to me–I like products that can cover a couple of different bases but I’m pretty skeptical that *one* product can effectively do all 5 or 10 or 250000 things the package claims. You said this was your first BB cream–even though this wasn’t a star performer, do you think you’ll still be open to trying other BB creams after this one is used up?
Yes, I’m definitely still open to trying out other BB creams, although I probably wouldn’t drop as much money the next time (unless it’s a BB cream by Shiseido. I really believe in that brand’s commitment to quality).
The ones by Marcelle and Garnier have been on my radar, but the Marcelle one’s always out of stock in my shade, and lately I’ve been hearing negative things about the Garnier one, so I’ve held off on getting it until I do more research.
Will you be trying any BB creams?
Probably not. I’m open to trying new products, but when it comes to my skincare and foundation routine, I’m pretty set on the products I like to use.
If something works well, stick with it. Totally understand!
I tried a sample of Smashbox’s BB cream and I loved how amazingly it evened out my skin tone, however I began to notice that even the lightest shade they offer was still too dark for me! (im pretty pale) however though, this was before the summer season so it would probably serve me well now. I do however use a Korean brand, Missha, BB cream because they actually have a nice pale shade for me 😀
I do however believe the price tag for the Smashbox one is ridiculous! Considering the original BB creams from Asia don’t even sell for that much!
How’s the Missha BB cream in terms of the formula? Does it have SPF? And is it light-medium coverage?
Yes, it has SPF 42 and it’s about medium coverage 🙂
That sounds great – SPF 42? Amazing! I’m going to try to hunt that one down. Thanks!
I have the garnier bb cream and I have to say I am really happy with it. I am pretty fussy with my make-up but I find the garnier bb cream to be pretty good 🙂
I reviewed it a while ago on my blog and I think the best things about it are the quality and the price. I think it was about $12 AUD although it might have been more/less my memory is a bit foggy ,sorry.
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Cool! I’ll have to check out your blog post on it because I’ve been curious about that BB cream.
Great review! Could you tell us what MAC shade you are so I can use that for reference when trying to figure out if I should get the Light or Fair shade? Thanks!
My skin tone is roughly around NC20 in MAC. I have golden undertones.
I have been wearing the Smashbox BB Cream for the past month, with moisturiser underneath and translucent power on top. And….I LOVE IT ! My skin is not terribly oily, but during the day I do get shiny on my t-zone. This BB Cream lasted me 8 hours and I still did not have any shine. The only con I find from this product is that it emphasizes dry patches. Other than that, this is pretty amazing and I think worthy of $50 CAD. I heard though that the Revlon Photoready BB Cream is very similar to this, and it is less than half the price of Smashbox’s BB Cream so that is what I’m going to try next !
I’m happy to hear that you’ve been enjoying it much more than I did! And it’s good to known that you may have found a cheaper alternative – love saving money! 🙂 Hope that it works out for you just as well!