The Smashbox’s Studio Pop Ultimate Palette features 45 eyeshadows from their Photo Op formula. The quality in general is terrific – some are a bit better than others, but the “worst” shadows in this are quite good. I experienced no creasing with any of these – even without a primer. The wear time is well above average – with primer, it was excellent. I rank these on par with Bare Minerals Ready Shadows and higher than Urban Decay, if that gives you any idea.
The shadows are arranged into trios. Looking at the above picture, the first three across the top are a trio, then the next three below that, and so on. That’s how I decided to break them down for swatches and photos. Let’s get started!
- Cream is a frosted pale butter yellow. The color payoff is fantastic and it applies very smoothly without highlighting every crinkle or wrinkle in your lids, the way some frosted shadows do. This one works best as a highlight color for brows or inner corner.
- Ambient is an orange gold (not quite copper) with a shimmer finish. It’s super creamy and goes on just like butter. I was surprised at how flattering this one was when I used it as a lid color – I often have to keep orange shadows away from my eye openings, but not in this case.
- Sienna is a satin medium brown that just barely on the warm side of neutral. It’s also buttery and smooth, with terrific color payoff.
- Platinum is a metallic taupe that’s very aptly named. Color payoff is excellent, and it goes on like cream. This type of color is about as shimmery as it gets in this palette, by the way, and it’s more wearable than most shimmers.
- Fig is a very deep purple with brown undertones and a finish that’s just a tiny bit shimmery. It goes on very smoothly with great color payoff. The brown undertone makes it a neutral purple.
- Rapture is a medium deep neutral brown satin – a couple of shades darker than Siena, and more chocolatey. Once again, buttery application and great pigmentation. This one works very well as a liner, too.
- Birch is a mildly shimmery pale, neutral beige. It applies like silk with terrific pigmentation and color payoff. This one is great when you want just a little bit of shimmer in a highlight or light lid color.
- Suede is a cool, silvery brown metallic. This makes it like a neutral in terms of how it works with other colors, but it can actually pass for a gray – which makes it a great alternative for people who struggle to find grays that work for them.
- Obsidian is a deep charcoal with very fine silver shimmer. It’s pigmented enough to be used as liner or shadow, and goes on like butter and blends wonderfully.
- Naked is a light beige pink with a matte finish. It’s not quite as creamy as some of the others, but it goes on smoothly and is nicely opaque.
- Crisp is a light peachy-pink with a very fine shimmer finish. On my warm undertones, it pulls a little more apricot. This one is soft and silky.
- Doe is a light-medium neutral brown with a satiny finish. It’s so finely milled you can almost get too much on your brush, and yet it doesn’t kick up a lot of dust – it’s like this formula has a moistness to it.
- Champagne is your usual pale gold color with a slight peach undertone and a metallic finish. It applies beautifully, almost like working with a cream. It’s a very versatile color that works for highlighting or as a lid color, or even a base. Yes, it is close to Stila’s Kitten.
- Peacock is a light silvery green metallic. It goes on super creamy and opaque and blends out easily so you can also use it as a soft wash of color.
- Sumatra is a deep brown matte with yellow undertones. I use this to fill in my brows, line or in the outer corner. It’s very similar to Mac’s Espresso, but considerably more pigmented and smooth in application. This is a dream matte for me – while the color is dupable, the quality is unusually good.
- Snow is a matte white with very slight warm undertones – almost a paper white. It’s very pigmented with great color payoff, and you can easily use it as an opaque white or sheered out as a highlight color (I use it on my browbone and it’s fantastic for when you don’t want any shimmer there).
- Cement is a medium gunmetal gray matte which is fantastically opaque and creamy. It doesn’t have a hint of blue, and I’m one of those people who turn most grays blue – not this one! It works wonderfully as a liner or a shadow.
- Harbor is a deep matte midnight blue. Again, it’s smooth, opaque, creamy, pigmented – everything you could want. I love this one as a liner because not quite being black, it has the effect of a black liner but the slight blue in it brings out my brown eyes more.
- Breeze is a matte mauve with gray undertones. It’s a little less creamy than some of the others, but still opaque and pigmented with great color payoff.
- Lavender is a shimmery lavender with blue undertones. It’s applies very well though it’s slightly drier than some of the others. The pigmentation and color payoff is great, it just may take more than one pass with the brush to get it there.
- Orchid is a deep grayish purple with silver micro-glitter. This one is buttery and doesn’t have any fallout, despite the glitter. It’s also great as a liner.
(While this trio may be the weakest of the bunch, it’s still pretty awesome in comparison to all other shadows – it’s always the purples that fare the worst in any line because the pigments are hard to get right. Be sure to scroll down and see a look I did using these and see for yourself how they do!)
- Nectar is a matte light peach leaning toward yellow. In the swatch, it went on a little bit sheer, but on my eye it was great, especially for a pale matte. This is a great base color.
- Cinnamon Toast is a warm bronze-gold shimmer. It’s incredibly buttery and looks super rich and pigmented on the lids. This has become one of my go-to colors.
- Roast is a deep chocolatey brown with gold micro-glitter. It’s so creamy I can easily use it as a liner without getting any fallout.