I Wanted To Love Smashbox's New Foundation, But Here's Why I Didn't

The new Liquid Halo Foundation sounds amazing... but actually disappoints.
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Michelle Villett
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The new Liquid Halo Foundation sounds amazing... but actually disappoints.
Smashbox Liquid Halo Foundation

One of the reasons I rarely wear foundation is because it's pretty much impossible to find one that actually matches your skin tone. (And I'm fair—so I can only imagine what dark-skinned girls have to go through.) In this category, I'm a total beauty snob: I think you get far nicer shades when you get out of the drugstore level.

Which is why I had high hopes for Liquid Halo, the high-def foundation that Smashbox released not too long ago. It's sheer to medium coverage, oil-free and with SPF 15. Most importantly, it's supposed to blur imperfections and make skin look luminous, but not like you're wearing any makeup. It's also an Allure magazine "best of beauty" winner. Sounds amazing, right?

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation (1)

That's my sample up there, which I requested from the PR because I was dying to try it. Liquid Halo seemed like it would be similar to one of my favourite foundations, Make Up For Ever Face & Body, which has a quite runny texture and builds up coverage without looking like you're wearing makeup.

First impression out of the bottle... Liquid Halo comes out of the pump a tiny bit thicker than the MUFE, but it's still runnier than a regular foundation (which I like).

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation (unblended swatch)

So far, so good, I thought. Except when I noticed the colour. This is the very lightest shade, 1, which is described as a "natural vanilla for fair complexions." Does this look vanilla to you?

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation (blended swatch)

It's sooooo yellow! I thought vanilla meant a more neutral tone—so in between warm (yellow) and cool (pink)—but this is obviously for someone with very strong yellow undertones. I'm surprised this is their one choice for fair complexions... and it's not even that light!

FYI, here's the shade selection (there are 10 in total):

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation shade range
  • 1 - Natural vanilla for fair complexions
  • 2 - Warm vanilla for fair/light complexions
  • 3 - Light beige for light complexions
  • 4 - Light warm beige for light complexions
  • 5 - Golden beige for light/medium complexions
  • 6 - Warm medium beige for medium complexions
  • 7 - Golden medium beige for medium complexions
  • 8 - Natural tan for medium/dark complexions
  • 9 - Dark golden tan for dark complexions
  • 10 - Natural deep cocoa for dark complexions

As you can see, it's a somewhat limited selection and the majority of the shades are on the warm side. Call me crazy, but I would've thought they'd have more neutral offerings, especially with only 10 shades. For me, there just isn't a choice here, since shade 1 is already too yellow; shade 2 is even more so (and darker).

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation (2)

Okay, so what if you DID find a colour match here? Is this foundation otherwise a keeper?

Well... I dunno. When you first put it on, Liquid Halo is almost alarmingly runny (although easy to spread) and greasy-looking. It took a good few minutes for it dry down without feeling sticky/slimy. After that, it almost takes on a very slight powdery quality—it definitely doesn't dry down to just feeling like skin. I didn't notice that much illuminating action, like it promised, but at least it wasn't shiny or sparkly, or super-matte.

Coverage-wise, I was a little disappointed. It's very sheer, and the runny formula makes it virtually impossible to build it up in specific areas—you can only build over big areas of skin. (MUFE's Face & Body is much easier to work with, in my opinion.) It would probably only work for those who barely need any coverage... in which case, why are you even wearing foundation? A BB, CC, tinted moisturizer or tinted primer would probably feel better on your skin.

I also didn't think it delivered that well on the not-looking-like-makeup aspect. Maybe this wouldn't be so much of a problem with a better shade match, but close-up, I could see a bit of the makeup sitting on top of my skin, even with just one layer. And the sort of powdery aspect accentuates any dry spots you may have on your skin.

Sorry, Allure, I'm giving this one a pass. But I'd love to know what YOU think!

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Have your say

Have you tried Liquid Halo yet?
Do you struggle with finding neutral foundation shades?
What's your favourite foundation with this kind of light, buildable quality?