I don’t know about you, but when I see a new face palette, my heart skips a beat. There’s just something about a good face palette! It can help you get ready faster on a hurried morning, pack a little lighter for your flight, multitask like a champ and make you look like a goddess in the process. I mean, who wouldn’t want everything you need for your face and eyes in one compact, right?!
I’ve reviewed Charlotte Tilbury palettes a couple of times here on the blog and a while back on my YouTube Channel. Her palettes are super great as well, though structured differently than the ones I’m discussing in this post.
Here we have two similar looking palettes on the surface. So of course, I want to delve into these lovely face palettes a bit more for you guys. After all, that’s what I do best, right?
SMASHBOX CALI CONTOUR FACE PALETTE
If you follow my YouTube channel, you know how much I adore the Smashbox Cali Contour Palette. It’s not only my most used face palette but one of the most used items in my vanity. Period. It’s just so freaking easy and versatile! I did an entire video on how to use it on various parts of the face and eyes.
The Cali Contour Palette is extremely sturdy (not what you’d expect from cardboard packaging) and has a nice sized mirror. I’ve traveled with this face palette a ton and it’s held up perfectly. It’s cruelty-free and contains 4 matte shades (contour, bronzer, blush, highlight powder) and 2 pearlescent shades (shimmer highlight and bronze highlight). All powder formulas are very creamy and smooth and apply to the skin beautifully.
Why do I love Cali Contour so much? Let me count the ways….
First, the shades are flattering for my light/medium skin tone. The bronzer isn’t too orange or too red or too anything. It’s just a great neutral bronzer that warms up the face nicely while the cool-toned contour carves out the places I need with the perfect gray brown undertone. Smashbox somehow invented the most flattering shade of blush on the planet! I’ve yet to see anyone from fair to deep skin tones look bad in this blush. Serously.
I use the light highlight on my cheekbones and the deep one on my eyelids. Deeper skin tones will probably love using it across their cheekbones! The yellow toned matte product labeled powder? Yeah, I don’t use it as a powder but use it to highlight my browbone and inner corner for daytime looks.
The layout of the palette is perfect. The two highlights are the smallest pans, which is how it should be. Not only that, but they’re on the inside of the palette. It works out perfectly since you use your biggest, fluffiest brushes for the other products in the palette. The lid folds all the way to the back also, making things really compact if you want to lay the palette flat on your vanity while you’re getting ready. Smashbox Cali Contour is $39.
COVER FX PERFECTOR FACE PALETTE
The Cover FX Perfector Face Palette is a newer product to me. But when the light/medium version first arrived via Boxycharm, the similarity in layout to my beloved Cali Contour, did not go unnoticed. There is also a medium/deep version available.
Aside from having plastic packaging, the layout is very similar with its large mirror and six pan configuration. However, the packaging is nice and sleek on the outside…much less busy than Cali Contour. I have to say I really like that! The Perfector Face Palette is also cruelty-free and contains 2 matte shades (contour and blush) and 4 shimmery/glimmery shades (a brightener, two highlights and a finishing powder). The Cover FX Perfector Face Palette is $45
You can see the major difference in the two palettes right away with the swatches. That blush!! Oh my. I LOVE a good pinky coral blush and they NAILED it. It’s smooth, beautiful and extremely flattering. Great job Cover FX! The bronzer lies somewhere between the contour and bronzer shades in the Cali Contour. So for me, I found it was fine to contour with (though not quite as gray toned as I prefer to create that true shadow effect) but a bit too deep to bronze with. The two highlights are nice. I love they gave a champagne and golden toned option to choose from. Both are perfect for light/medium skin tones.
Let’s face it, the brightener (on the far top left of the swatches) is just a third highlight. It’s very shimmery and gives you a white highlight option. So we now have three highlighters in this palette. But for me, the most confusing part of this palette is the largest pan in it…the finishing powder.
I mean, do we really need a face powder in a palette anyway? Chances are, we’re already loyal to our powder of choice already. Am I right ladies?!
The powder isn’t shimmery enough to be a highlight yet isn’t subtle enough to be a finishing powder to where it gives a diffused airbrush effect to your makeup. It’s pretty much a pink toned matte powder that has tiny bits of micro glitter throughout. Putting this powder all over your face is a far cry from an airbrushed finish. In fact, it’s very apparent that you have micro glitter particles all over your face. Not a good look!
I’m a bit perplexed with this Cover FX Perfector Face Palette. As you can imagine, I have major issues with the biggest pan in the palette being basically useless. I also wish they would have put a bronzer and a contour in the palette instead of a hybrid “brontour” shade that’s forced to do double duty. I’m also unsure as to why we need three highlights in one face palette, especially with Cover Fx’s target demographic. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I would have loved to see a second blush option.
In terms of texture, you can see in the swatches above, there’s no comparison. I swatched both palettes exactly the same…two swipes without dusting any powder off. Smashbox Cali Contour is smooth as silk. You can see the grit and chalkiness in all but two (the blush and brightener) of the Cover FX Perfector swatches.
Of course, swatches don’t tell the whole story. It’s about application right? In my experience, Cover FX Perfector doesn’t apply like it swipes. I have no problems blending it out at all. It’s not quite as smooth and glowy and face perfecting as my Smashbox, but it’s not terrible. However, I can’t say it’s the true all-in-one that solves all my needs. It’s not one I’ll reach for all the time because it’s just not super easy. I have to think about it more. And there’s that damned wasted full pan of finishing powder just staring at me, driving me crazy! Now if they had evened out the pan sizes a little and changed that powder to a bronzer and one of the highlights to a 2nd blush? We’d be in business! For now, I’m sticking with my tried and true Smashbox Cali Contour!