Smashbox Eye Illusion review

photos: we heart this

A little while back we got our first whiff of springtime here in California. Rising temperatures and a wht spring organizing post sparked in me a rising need to weed my cluttered garden of makeup paraphernalia. Eye shadows were the big loser here—tossed were all the colors I didn’t wear and multiple shades of similar colors. I was left with my shimmery brown, gray and nude standbys, a handful of palettes and a couple of newbie testers for upcoming wht reviews.

What I got with this spring-cleaning was an enviable organized vanity area; what I lost was the flexibility of creating a multitude of looks that all those multiple shades of similar colors afforded me. Enter the Smashbox Eye Illusion Palette.

Smashbox Eye Illusion is a trio of three, almost-white pearlescent shimmers. These iridescent shadows promise to transform any eye shadow or cream eyeliner shade into an entirely new hue, expanding the range of your current shadow collection. The shimmering shades in super pale yellow, opal blue and pink cast a sparkling sheer spell to add some magic to your shadow collection.

Before we delve into the transformative powers of Eye Illusion, I wanted to note these shades can also be worn alone for a soft glow. I have found that these three Illusions make fantastic under-brow or corner-of–the eye highlighters. Rather than the usual pure white, these tones complement the shadows you’re wearing in a very subtle manner.

(Eye Illusion on it’s own.)

I’ve also found great use for the Eye Illusion as a blending aid. Sometimes layering shadows from lid to crease to brow can look stripy, no matter how much you blend. Using a light application of Eye Illusion on top of your shadows makes the lid and crease colors blend seamlessly. Who can’t use that?

Now for the fun part – the Illusion effects! There is a how-to video on Smashbox’s site that shows how dramatic this transformation can be: See slate go iridescent blue in seconds! Is it really so easy? In three words: yes and no.

Three other words? Time to play! This pot of three similar, yet surprisingly distinctive shimmers can create lots of new looks. As always when experimenting with makeup, I found some more successful then others, but had some fun just playing with color.

My first test with the Eye Illusion was with a dark teal shadow I had previously found a little too teal. What if I tried a little iridescent gold Illusion on top of the teal? My dark teal shadow was transformed into a light teal shadow. I tried the blue, then the pink. My teal was still a light teal, this time with a slight nod to the undertones of the Illusion. The blue made the teal look an even lighter shade, while the pink gave the teal a light purplish cast.

Stef swatched the brightest, dark shade she owns (MAC Electric Eel) and added the golden Smashbox illusion hue to it.

Subsequent tries were more dramatic in changing the shade of the original eye shadow. A charcoal-grey shadow suddenly appeared true blue, green-gold or purpley-gray with the blue, gold and pink Illusions, respectively.

Smashbox does recommend using a dark shadow or liner for the transformation to best take shape, since a dark canvas allows the Illusion to vividly showcase the shades of iridescence while creating a much lighter—yet not too-pale—glow.

Yet my most successful transformation was when I used the illusion on top of a pale purple cream shadow – mostly unused because of its lack of staying power on my oily eyelids. The shadow was already shimmery, but Eye Illusion delivered a big wallop of iridescence to the shimmer. The Blue Illusion made the almost lilac more lavender; the Pink made it more of a very light fuchsia (is there such an animal?). These transformations were beautiful warm weather lid colors. As an added benefit, the powder shadow of Eye Illusion transformed my cream shadow into a more wearable, less creaseable eye color. Excellent!

Bonus Tip: The Eye Illusion works well wet or dry. We’ve discovered that a dry application gives a sheer, top layer of shimmer. When applied wet, the Illusion seems to blend into the original shade a bit more.

So, as spring washes into summer and your makeup case gets lighter, Smashbox’s Eye Illusion can be a wonderful tool and a handy addition to your shadow and liner collection.

Testers, do you all think Eye Illusion is a transformative must-have for your eyes?

6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 56 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
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Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and part of the team behind the iPhone app, Mark On Call.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also contains an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by sherrishera

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: We Heart This - Win $76 in Smashbox eye shadows!

  2. Profile photo of irene
    irene

    Announcement!! I love Smashbox’s EYE ILLUSION. It is the neatest concept for kicking up your eye shadows I’ve seen in some time! At first, I thought this won’t do a thing for my lids! Oh, was I WRONG! Sha-zam!!! This has three light iridescent shades that can be applied directly over whatever (I mean that too) shadows or liners you are already wearing to add some serious pizzazz. I like to wear these alone as well. Let me tell you that my lids just looked so great with this on. I really liked the affect- rather soft ethereal looking lids! I tried blending them all and was immediately sold! Great for a quick pick me up for going out last minute! I give this five stars, with ease!

  3. Profile photo of nouveaucheap
    nouveaucheap

    I’m absolutely obsessing over this product after reading your review! I’m wondering how this would work over gel liners. I have some pretty boring black and brown gel liners in my stash, and how wonderful would it be to give them a shot of iridescent goodness? Hum…

  4. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
    Tyna Werner

    @kari – this is totally fun! I was worried this was too sparkly for me but the super soft pale hues called to me and I had to test it. So glad I did because I love it!

    While it’s fun to turn my matte colors into an iridescent show stopper of a color (especially on greys and blues – those shades seem to really sparkle with a layer of eye illusion), I mostly use this trio of pale shimmers as a highlighter or blending color. The powder is super fine and blends nicely, so there is never too much sparkle.

    I mostly use one of these shades as a highlighter (in the arch of the brow, inner corner or center of eyelid, etc) with my daily beige/brown shades. They all add a nice, clean, flattering pop to my semi-boring base.

    Between the great formula and choice of hues, I have to agree with @sherrishera that these make nice blending shades – when I’m wearing bolder or more dramatic eye colors, a sweep of the corresponding colored illusion softens the edges and adds some polish and “finishing” to my eyes.

    This multi-functional, magical pot is a total 5 star for me.
    .-= Tyna Werner´s last blog ..How to: Go Organic – The Dirty Dozen Cheat Sheet =-.

  5. Profile photo of sherrishera
    sherrishera

    @Recessionista, I tried the blue Eye Illusions over a black gel eyeliner, and it turned into a robin’s egg blue. The color was not dark at all, but interesting for sure.
    For me, I really think this product is at its best as I mentioned above (and @Tyna agrees), as a highligter/blending agent. If you would like a somewhat pale eyelid color this can be spectacular depending on the shade you choose.I usually like my eyeliners a bit darker, though.
    But now I got to thinking…hmm…what about a dark eyeliner on the waterline with an Eye Illusion-topped black or purple eyeliner beneath. I think I’m going to go try that now…

  6. Profile photo of Krista
    Krista

    When I first saw this trio, I wasn’t sure what to make of it…3 barely there shades…hmmm…so I put the pale blue opal on top of a too dark grey-based smokey eye and as if by magic, I suddenly had a smokey eye for daytime. I’m loving the pale golden shade on top of dark brown smokey eyes as well. I’m still playing around with this and let me say, the possibilities are endless. I like this on its own as a nice swipe of brightness on my lid–these shades are very good at neutralizing redness. Where this product really shines is in correcting too-dark shadow or in making very dark shadows wearable. It also adds some depth and impact to blah shadows. Overall, I’d say I wish I had this product years ago because I’ve given away so many shadows that didn’t work on me and this product would have made them salvageable. I would have saved so much money! D’oh! :)

  7. Profile photo of Amanda
    Amanda

    I love, love, LOVE any tool to make one product into a whole new product! Since I was a little kid mixing the left overs of my Mum’s nail polishes to make whole new shades I’ve played makeup alchemy with abandon. These shadows are amazing for mixing and matching old shadows that you might be a little bored with.

    Also, I used one of the shades (but I forget which one… D’oh!) on top of a “too red” lipstick and shazzam! Perfect lip color :) Truly a multitasker!

  8. Profile photo of christy
    christy

    This trio rules! Alone, they are all barely there hints of loveliness. But over colors, as lots of the ladies have said, this really does the job. As you can see from @Stef s photo it really tames down darker colors, making them jump from fall into spring! Amazing. The consistency is soft, and it seems to lock colors into place. This is an easy five stars. Like @Krista said, it totally gives depth to blah shadows…giving them new life. Smashbox seems to do no wrong, and they have really got another keeper with this trio.

  9. Profile photo of Kellie
    Kellie

    I was super convinced that Eye Illusion would not be noteworthy for me at all. Boy, was I wrong! This stuff is simply perfection. Not to be too big of a nerd or super redundant, but it absolutely “transforms” any shadow you wear into something soft and lovely. Try this with shadows you were previously unhappy with or try it with shadows you already love. These shimmers bring something new to everything!

    I only recently received mine. But I am already hooked. I especially love the opal blue. It is divine! And it is true that these sparkle just as much on their own. They really wake up your face. I highly recommend this product. And yes, it may be a little pricey for some. But think of it this way. You are getting three shades for the price. And those three shades can create an infinite number of new shades with what you already own. That is a bargain in my book!!

  10. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    Eye Illusion does what it says it will, transform existing eye shadows into something with more shimmer, with either gold, pink or an opaly blue. And while it’s kind of fun and you feel like a mad beauty scientist playing with it, I wish it didn’t make the existing shadow lighter. I’d be happier if it added the metallic effect and keep the shade at the same density.

    But if you’re looking for a product to give you more options for the shades you already own, you can have a lot of fun with this!
    .-= Stef´s last blog ..Cargo Pro Picks Collection – a beautiful steal! =-.

  11. Profile photo of sherrishera
    sherrishera

    Oh @Stef, you reminded me to check back in about my eyelining experiment here. I did line my eye with black eye pencil on the inside (waterline) of my lower lashes, and lined underneath my lashes on the outside with a black gel eyeliner. I blended some of the blue illusion on the outside-lined portion. The blue was light and bright and was really set off by the black-lined inside. Really, it was a nice, colorful frame. This look is NOT for everyday. It’s very dramatic but very pretty.
    I also have since tried the gold illusion on top of a very dark, highly pigmented dark rust shadow. I used the rust from lid thru crease. Then I came back and placed the yellow-gold illusion on the lid, leaving the crease as it was. This color turned out not pale at all, but rather a gold brickish brown. I’ve been doing this illusion for days now. I love it.
    This just goes to show ya that the experiments never end…I’m sure there’s more good uses left to come.

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