Smashbox Double Exposure Palette Review & Swatches

If you have been wanting to try the new Smashbox Double Exposure Palette, I have good news for you! The palette is now available for purchase to anyone! I purchased mine when it was still exclusive to Sephora VIB Rouge members so I have had plenty of time to play with it before writing this review. The “selling point” of this palette is that all 14 colors can be “transformed” into 28 colors simply by wetting them! Is it really true? Do they really transform? Are you skeptical? Let's see proof!

The set

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette, Full Exposure mascara, Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Coral, and #SHAPEMATTERS how-to insert
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette, Full Exposure mascara, Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Coral, and #SHAPEMATTERS how-to insert

Let's start from the packaging! The palette itself is made of a high-quality and sturdy cardboard with magnetic closure. The lid has a mirror on the inside but it lays flat so you'll need to prop it up against something to keep the mirror at your eye level.

The palette comes with a full-size double-ended brush with a shader style on one end and angled liner on the other. The shader end is decent quality but the liner end is a little scratchy against the skin. Also included in the set are (1) a sample size of the brand's best-selling Full Exposure mascara and (2) a #SHAPEMATTERS how-to insert with 3 different suggested looks for “day look”, “dramatic look”, and “defined look” for each eye type (almond, round, upturned, downturned, and monolid eyes). I actually find this insert very informative and comes in handy sometimes!

Also in the picture is a deluxe-size of the Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Coral (review) that I received as a free sample with purchase. :)

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; included double-ended brush
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; included double-ended brush
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; included double-ended brush
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; included double-ended brush
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; Full Exposure mascara (L) and Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Coral (R)
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; Full Exposure mascara (L) and Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Coral (R)
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; #SHAPEMATTERS how-to insert
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; #SHAPEMATTERS how-to insert

Upon opening the palette, you will see another thin plastic protective sheet covering the eyeshadows. The sheet contains information such as the shade names (that are unfortunately not printed on the palette itself), the types of finish, and the types of “change” once the water is added.

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

The palette at a glance

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

The palette features 14 eyeshadow colors with the lighter, more daytime shades placed at the top row and the darker, more dramatic shades at the bottom. The colors are mostly in the “neutral” zone with the addition of navy blue and plum purple as an extra touch. There are 3 different finishes — shimmer (x7), matte (x3), and satin (x4).

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

“14 SHADOWS THAT UNIQUELY TRANSFORM INTO 28”

Per brand, each shadow will supposedly change in one of the following four ways when applied wet with a dampen brush:

  1. amps up vibrancy (x2 shades)
  2. gets deeper (x5 shades)
  3. turns metallic (x5 shades)
  4. adds sparkle (x2 shades)

And there's no need to be concerned about the shadow texture once it is wet since the formula will never “glaze over” and will always “dry like new”. And in my experience, this claim is true! All the shadows dry down to their original texture once the water evaporates! :)

I find that some of the shades change more significantly than the others. For example, some may turn highly metallic, some may turn just slightly deeper, and some may not perform well at all when wet, so the 14 shades don't technically transform into 28 “usable” shades to me, although most of them do. I also find that the colors are not crazy pigmented to begin with. When they are dry, they are pretty muted and subdued compared to a lot of other neutral palettes out there. You also need to really dampen the brush to see any significant changes. If you only slightly dampen it, you might not see much of a “transformation” at all and you may feel that the after-effect is much too subtle to be regarded as a transformation but rather just an improvement. I have to say, though, that the majority of the shadows apply so much smoother and more evenly when they are wet!

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

QUALITY

I find the overall quality of the shadows decent. They are not mind-blowing by any means in terms of texture. For comparison, they are not as super pigmented and smooth and buttery soft as those of competing brands especially when they are dry but their performance is greatly improved when they are wet. The lasting power is slightly short and fading may be noticeable at day's end if they aren't applied over an eye primer/base. I did not notice any serious fallout (except for one shade) or powdery texture with the Smashbox shadows, though, and that's not something I could say about the other brands! :)

Whole palette swatches

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; top: dry; bottom: wet. The effects are much more intense in real life!
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; top: dry; bottom: wet. The effects are much more intense in real life!

Shade breakdown – top row

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed, and Veiled; Top: dry; Bottom: wet

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed, and Veiled; Top: dry; Bottom: wet
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed, and Veiled; Top: dry; Bottom: wet
  • Silver – blue-purple silver; shimmer
    Dry: Soft, smooth, fairly pigmented but has a tendency to dilute quickly so only blend gently and as necessary.
    Wet: “Turns metallic“. The color definitely becomes more intense and has a foil-like effect.
  • Mauve – lilac-purple taupe; satin
    Dry: Texture is very similar to Silver — soft, smooth, and blends well, perhaps too well, so try not to over blend to preserve the color intensity.
    Wet: “Turns metallic“. The color becomes deeper but not so much metallic to me.
  • Peony – champagne pink; shimmer
    Dry: Looks beautiful in the pan but barely shows up on my medium NC30 skin tone. As I build, only the metallic champagne base becomes more and more intense. The pink tone isn't very buildable.
    Wet: “Turns metallic“. Luckily the pink becomes more apparent when used wet! So I love this color much better wet. :)
  • Blanc – warm silver; shimmer
    Dry: So creamy and buttery smooth! Decent pigmentation but the color sheers out so easily during blending and produces serious fallout.
    Wet: “Turns metallic“. This is when the color becomes more alive! Foil-like and opaque!
  • Quartz – golden peach; shimmer
    Dry: Beautiful shade and my second favorite! Soft, smooth and well-pigmented. Doesn't sheer out into nothingness during blending. Looks almost metallic on its own already.
    Wet: “Amps up vibrancy“. It definitely turns metallic and opaque to me than just amps up vibrancy!
  • Flushed – rose gold pink; shimmer
    Dry: My most favorite shade! :) Can't have enough rose gold. Excellent texture just like Quartz — smooth and nicely pigmented. Shows up well on my skin and doesn't blend into nothingness.
    Wet: “Gets deeper“. The color becomes super opaque and even smoother!
  • Veiled – warm beige; satin
    Dry: Stiff, dry with poor color payoff. Barely shows up on my skin. I only use it as a base and blending color.
    Wet: “Amps up vibrancy“. I don't think using it wet makes much of a difference, perhaps the color turns slightly more pigmented but it's not significant.

Shade breakdown – bottom row

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig, and Espresso; Top: dry; Bottom: wet

Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig, and Espresso; Top: dry; Bottom: wet
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette; L-R: Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig, and Espresso; Top: dry; Bottom: wet
  • Midnight – blackened navy with bright blue sparkle; satin
    Dry: Firm but not as dry as Veiled. Nice pigmentation and doesn't sheer out too much. Buildable and blends well.
    Wet: “Adds sparkle“. It becomes a super high-impact brighter blue with a slight metallic effect! Beautiful!
  • Temper – blackened plum purple; satin
    Dry: Firm and slightly dry. Well pigmented but the color doesn't blend well and usually results in a patchy finish.
    Wet: “Adds sparkle“. I don't really see the increased sparkly effect but I do see the color turning brighter, deeper, and more opaque.
  • Haze – silvery purple taupe; shimmer
    Dry: Soft, smooth, and blendable but the color is quite sheer and requires some building up to achieve a nice color payoff.
    Wet: “Gets deeper“. The color becomes more intense and opaque.
  • Noir – black; matte
    Dry: Firm and dry but tends to be patchy during blending. At least it doesn't blend into nothingness like most matte black shadow!
    Wet: “Gets deeper“. The shades definitely becomes much more intense and opaque and applies so much smoother.
  • Copper – reddish brown; shimmer
    Dry: Very nice texture! Feels more like a satin to me than shimmer. Smooth and creamy, intensely pigmented, blendable, and buildable. The finish is almost metallic already!
    Wet: “Turns metallic“. It does turn into a nice metallic with deeper, richer, and more opaque finish!
  • Fig – burgundy brown; matte
    Dry: Firm but not dry. Surprisingly sheer but buildable. Tends to be patchy during blending.
    Wet: “Gets deeper“. This shade to me is better use dry. The color unfortunately becomes very patchy and impossible to blend when wet!
  • Espresso – warm brown; matte
    Dry: Nice texture with a soft and smooth feel. Blends well. Decently pigmented and easily buildable.
    Wet: “Gets deeper“. Another color better use dry. When wet, it turns super patchy and incredibly difficult to blend to a smooth finish.

The eye look

In the look below I decided to use all the colors dry to give you a general idea of how they perform in their original state! :) I applied Veiled all over the lid and followed with layers of Silver as a lid color below the crease. I darkened the outer corner with Satin and smoked the upper lash line with Noir. The crease color is a mix between Quartz and Flushed. I lined the lower lash line with Copper, brightened the inner corner with Peony, and highlighted the brow bone with a combination of Veiled and Blanc. That touch of blue liner is of course MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue (review). ^_^

Wearing Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Wearing Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Wearing Smashbox Double Exposure Palette
Wearing Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

Pheww… and that's it for my take on the new Smashbox Double Exposure palette! I tend to go overboard when reviewing eyeshadow palettes because I like to share with you every detail I know! :) If you are a neutral eyeshadow wearer and like to experiment with different textures and don't mind dampening your brush once in a while, then I encourage you to give this palette a try! :)

Purchase

US$52 at NordstromSephoraUlta

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26 Comments

  • I like the colours Silver, Haze and the overall scheme, not impressed with the quality though. I rarely use eyeshadows wet so it’s probably not for me.
    I love how you’ve used Petrol Blue, it’s such a great shade. :)

    • True. I was wondering the same thing when I was writing up the post. I wonder how many people will actually bother to dampen the brush to apply their shadows. It’s another step (small step but still an extra step) that some probably surely can’t afford during morning rush!

  • You know, I don’t mean to be cynical, but for the darker row it seems a lot more like “normal is chalky and awful, but then it TRANSFORMS into decent shadows.” The whole seems a bit fussy!

    • LOL I totally see where you’re coming from! The swatches definitely seem that way but they are not as bad applied on the actual lid! :D

  • Hey Jaa, I love how this palette looks on you! That blue eyeliner is a stroke of genius :) Looove that second photo of you! <3

    • Thank you so much, Sunny! Also thank you for replying to the question I asked on IG. LOL. Sometimes I feel like you’re the only person listening to me. Haha. <3

    • Hey Laarni! Thanks so much as always! :D Yeah, I needed to show the shadows wet because it’s the palette’s selling point! I needed to prove that the shadows did indeed “transform” (for better or worse) when wet! :D

  • Hi Jaa,

    thanks so much for this very detailed review. It is a great source for anyone who is interested in giving this palette a try. That black shade looks so similar to MAC Carbon lol. Actually I also had a black like this at their holiday palette and had to smile whie swatching it. I like using eye shadows wet but I think it is a problem for many.

    • I think your MAC Carbon comparison is spot on, Sara! It does remind me of Carbon! :D Except I didn’t smile when I was swatching mine. I chuckled! LOL!

  • Love the blue eyeliner! The palette is nice too but doesn’t really grab my attention for whatever reason. But I had no idea that it was a wet/dry thing until I read this.

    • Thanks, Liz! I love love love using Petrol Blue on my lower lash line. :D I had no idea either that it was a wet and dry thing when I first saw the palette! The colors are not very unique so I can see why you didn’t pay too much attention to it! :)

  • I like the palette but don’t love it. I think the liner you used is awesome. I also like the eye shape you did, it’s very sultry and complimentary!

  • I really wanted that palette but I guess I will skip, it doesn’t look very unique. Thanks for all the swatches and such a detailed review. And I agree with everyone else, that Mac blue liner looks gorgeous on you.

  • Love this look and your GENTLE, KIND eyes Jaa :)) You crazy woman, you! Ok…so maybe something is wrong with me but I just don’t like their packaging. I just reconfirmed my thoughts after looking at the packaging on this palette lol. The colours don’t wow me either. I think …hmm…I *think* Im just not a big Smashbox fan *gasp* ! I love their be legendary lipsticks but I haven’t found anything else that wonderful by them ( and their packaging doesn’t help me lol) . Regardless that look you’ve created is gorgeous on you ( and your kind. non-mean eyes like I said :p) and ze favourite eye liner of yours looks amazing too :)

    • Wanna know the easy trick, Dee? Add the bottom lashes!! Mean to kind in seconds! LOL! In all honesty, I’m not completely blown away by this particular palette but I have other Smashbox favorites that I use regularly! One of them being the new Pore-Minimizing Primer! Have you tried? Love that thing! :D

  • Thanks for such a detailed review! You scientist, you ;-) This is actually an amazingly pretty palette, colour-wise! For some reason I kind of forgot about it after seeing some pictures, but now I’m reminded how many nice cool toned shades there are! The look you did is really beautiful, and the dry/wet transition is actually really impressive (I wasn’t expecting much of a difference at all, LOL!), but it’s a bit of a shame there couldn’t have been the ‘cherry on top’ of the shadows being better than ‘decent’.

    Ah, the search for perfection continues ;-)

    • They have other awesome products such as face primer and lipstick that I love but I think they need to step up their game a little more when it comes to eyeshadow! :)

  • It is such a pretty assortment of neutrals. Too bad you don’t find the quality excellent, though.
    Anyway, your makeup look is so pretty! Love the bluish lower waterlines. <3

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