Smashbox Always on matte lipstick review

Makeup Reviews, Reviews

Everybody in the internet world loved these when they launched. And (of course) people like them for one of the following three reasons.

  1. They got them for free.
  2. They like Lilly Singh and want to support her.
  3. Somehow, they legitimately like the lipstick.

I fell into category two. Lilly Singh was the first youtuber I ever watched consistently and I still really enjoy watching her videos.

Her lipsticks though?

Not as much.

I tried on Lilly Singh’s shade (Bawse) two months before I purchased these and was shocked at how hard it was to remove the red stain from my lips. It was my first real experience with a liquid lipstick and I wasn’t sure what to think of it.

Flash forward two months and I’m (early) holiday shopping with my grandmother. I try on driver’s seat (the brown) and love it. It goes into my cart immediately. Towards the end of my shopping expedition, I add one more shade to my cart because I have an extra $20 to spend. It’s pink, I tell myself. It’s a bright fun  shade!

Looking back on that, I’m so disappointed in myself. With an extra $20 I could’ve grabbed another Vice lipstick by Urban Decay that I knew I loved. I could’ve grabbed an eyeliner! One of the Amuse Bouche lipsticks (review here)! I could’ve done anything but reach for a lipstick I now dislike.

I immediately put on Babe Alert (pink-coral) right after buying it and went to go see a movie (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) with my friends. After only eating popcorn and some candies, I was disappointed to find the entire thing had faded off my lips. Oh well, I thought.


There is one plus for this lipstick. It has the best applicator I’ve ever tried on any liquid lipstick ever. I use the point to line my lips and then fill them in with the flat side of the applicator.

The packaging reminds me of the Julep It’s Whipped lip mousse, but cheaper. The Julep lipstick has the same type of top, except it’s made of reflective metal instead of matte black plastic. The Smashbox lipstick also has the product encased in plastic, while the Julep one has glass. This makes no sense, because the Julep lipstick is cheaper (by $4) than the Smashbox one.

Keep in mind, these two products are not dupes. While they look alike, the Julep one is lighter, less long wearing and the colors are nothing alike.

My problems with this lipstick are numerous. First, these oxidize so badly. At first, they go on light and wearable. Minutes after applying, these both change into bold lipsticks. The funniest part is both have the word nude in their description on Sephora and Ulta.

Stepping Out is described as a deep nude. On my lips this changes to a dark brown.

Babe Alert is described as a nude rose. Are you kidding me? This is a pink coral that’s shockingly bright! This is not nude. This is not rose. Who named this, and when was the last time they visited their optician?

See what I mean by deep brown? On my skin, this is anything but a subtle nude. I never reach for this color because I feel like there are so many better things I can wear. There is never a moment when I think to myself while getting ready I feel like I need to wear a dark brown liquid lipstick today. 

I will be decluttering this shade because I never use it and never want to.

Babe Alert, on the other hand, I really like. The shade goes well with my skin tone and while it’s definitely not a nude, it’s too bold. So despite the fact I hate the formula, I’m still trying to work with this one because the color is so beautiful.

If I apply Shea butter on my lips prior to this, it works okay. It’s not as long wearing though and it transfers to everything. And it still looks a little chalky on my lips.

However, I’m struggling to let go of it until I find another shade like it, even thought it has hardly any redeeming qualities.

So while I was taking the photos for this post, I left Babe Alert on my lips because as I mentioned above, I like the color.

And then this happened.

Look closely at the photo above. The left side is the photo taken to show the swatch when I first applied it. The right was taken about 20 minutes later after photographing another set of products.

The lipstick has sunken into my lip lines (which I don’t actually have because I’m a teenager) and dried out my lips. I don’t mind a lipstick feeling dry, but I hate it when it looks dry and chalky. It’s a super unflattering look anyone. It is possible to have a liquid lipstick that doesn’t look like this. One of my all time favorites, the Too Faced melted matte lipstick (see a swatch here) doesn’t do that and it’s $3 cheaper.

With Shea butter on my lips, this doesn’t happen. My lips still look a little chalky, but nowhere near as bad as this.

Here’s my final note: I’ll never let go of Babe Alert because of how much I adore the color, but I can’t get rid of Stepping Out fast enough. This product dries my lips (and looks it), doesn’t have the staying power it claims to have, isn’t transfer proof, and oxidizes in an unflattering way.

This should be a hard pass for you.

Ciao bella!





All products discussed in this post were purchased by me.

This post contains affiliate links.

Read more about my affiliate link/PR samples policy here.

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  • Reply
    Tiffany Renee Harmon
    July 11, 2017 at 7:10 PM

    It’s a bummer that it dried out your lips so much 🙁 I think that’s why I tend to avoid matte products. The colors are still really pretty though. Thanks for your honest review.

    • Reply
      Sloane Bella
      July 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM

      You’re welcome! Thank you for your comment.

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