Smashbox's Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner marries the consistency of a gel-cream eyeliner with the convenience of a twist-up, pen-style applicator. Its angled, flexible tip is intended to make the eye-lining process smoother and easier while offering the versatility of creating a thick or thin line—no brush needed. So does it deliver? That depends on your expectations. There's a bit of a learning curve, and some will still find their normal gel/cream eyeliner preferable to this; nevertheless, it offers an interesting method of eye-lining with its own pros and cons.
To apply Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner, you twist the bottom of the applicator to dispense the cream-gel. The flexibility of the rubber tip facilitates smooth coverage (no dragging or skipping), and the slanted, "angled design" is particularly helpful for creating a winged/cat-eye look.
The fragrance-free formula takes a minute to set, but once it does, you're left with waterproof, transfer-resistant color (to take it off, we recommend using an oil-based makeup remover for best results). Unfortunately, though this is waterproof, it isn't flake proof—we experienced a bit of flaking during wear, especially on the days we applied a heavier application.
The applicator takes some getting used to, particularly when trying to figure out how much product to dispense when creating an ultra-thin line, but once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy to control and comes with the added convenience of not needing a separate brush to apply.
Interestingly, the shade range is a bit of hit or miss. While were checking this product out, a salesperson at Sephora tipped us off that the blue shade (Sapphire) doesn't go on as smoothly as the rest, and indeed we did experience the color skipping when we tested that shade. Apparently, the Smashbox rep had informed this particular Sephora team about the problem and admitted that because the ads featured the bright blue shade they didn't want to nix it from their inventory. Our advice? Just don't pick that one, as you likely won't get the application you were hoping for.
As for the other shades, the Jet Black, Smoke (grey), Lilac, and Cocoa (brown) offer rich, matte-finish pigmentation. The Plum shade has a metallic hint to it.
All in all, we suspect this will be a love it or hate it type of product, dependent on whether or not you find the applicator more difficult to use than your current eye-lining method. Other than the occasional flaking and problematic Sapphire shade, Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner performs well enough to earn our praise… just not quite our top rating.
Two interesting things about Smashbox are that its name refers to the early, accordion-style cameras and that Smashbox is first and foremost a Hollywood-based photography studio. The company's creators, Dean and Davis Factor, have their heritage in makeup—their great-grandfather was the legendary makeup artist Max Factor. The makeup, which debuted in 1996, began as a collection of trendy and fashion-forward colors coupled with a pleasingly neutral palette of foundations, concealers, and powders. Nowadays, there are exceptional options to choose from, but also some color products that fall short due to too sheer formulas or other issues noted in their respective reviews.
Where Smashbox has lived up to their Hollywood makeup pedigree is with a few standout formulas, including impressive lip products as well as excellent foundations, BB and CC cream options. Of course, the brand is also well-known for their range of makeup primers—whether that’s a necessary step is up for debate—but nevertheless they do offer a few products in this category that are worth considering.
For more information about Smashbox, now owned by Estee Lauder visit www.smashbox.com.
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