The Sample: NEW Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liner in 3D Sparks (Review, Swatches & Photos)

30 Jan

The other day while on a quick in-and-out type mission at Sephora (who am I kidding–is there really such a thing?! :P), I spotted Smashbox’s display for the new Always Sharp 3D Liners. Now I’m not gonna lie, I’m not that big of an eyeliner girl, relatively speaking of course. I know a lot of beauty bloggers/makeup addicts have stashes that span 20 to 30 (or more!) liners but I have a modest 10 or 11–only half of which I actually purchased myself. Part of the reason is because I have such a hard time finding a great liner formula that actually stays put on my super oily, small semi-hooded  lids but really, I’m good with just a basic black or dark brown (when I’m feeling adventurous. ha!) liner any day of the week.

But when I saw these new liners shimmering away under the bright fluorescent lighting, something in me just had to swatch them and see if the liner matched the brilliant packaging. The very first shade I tried was 3D Sparks, a rich black hue gilded with a pearly gold luster; it was love at first sight. The effect can read a tiny bit olive at times but when you compare it to a true olive shade (see swatches below), you can see the difference–3D Sparks is a true black but with a 24-karat gold pick-me-up.

–click image to enlarge–

What sets the Always Sharp 3D Liners apart is the fact that they have a special sharpening mechanism in the cap of the product that actually keeps the tip of the liner–you guessed it–always sharp. I’m sure most of you are aware of this by now but a good eyeliner sharpener is a very important tool to have! I didn’t realize just how important until I left my trusty Chanel sharpener at home when I went to visit family in San Jose during the holidays. When I realized what I’d done, I thought “no biggie” and asked to borrow my cousin’s sharpener. Well, the “sharpener” completely splintered my liner, producing a small pile of wood chips with each turn instead of a pristine, perfectly pointed tip. I tried another cousin’s sharpener, with pretty much the same result–splinters in my eye, the feeling of which is very painful and cannot be recommended. I finally had to settle for my 5-year old cousin’s pencil sharpener which, while producing a manageable tip, still completely changed the shape of my liner from a sharp tip to a long, rounded one.

Anyway, the point of my ramble is: you don’t really appreciate a good sharpener until you don’t have one! But even better than having a good sharpener around is not even needing that good sharpener. There’s no risk of being caught without it and having to suffer blindness from wood splinters tearing at your corneas or, even worse, not being able to properly line your eyes! :P The cap screws on and off, ensuring that the tip is always sharpened into a fine point every time you open it. I also like that the cap design seals the liner in properly so there’s no risk of the liner drying out on you.

–click image to enlarge–

Also amazing? The actual formula. Like many “new-age” liners, the formula is quite smooth and buttery. It really does glide across the lid with nary a skip or tug. But the real test comes with the wear–after all, there are many smooth liners out there but few that can actually withstand the test of time, especially on my eyes. I am not kidding you, my eyes are a deathtrap to about 99% of the formulas out there. The combination of excessive oil and virtually no lid-space is certain to wear away at even the most hardy formulas within an hour or two, if not less. But not only is 3D Sparks pretty, it can perform with the best of ‘em, too!

Now brace yourselves for this: 3D Sparks lasts 8 hours on my eyes–WITHOUT A PRIMER–before transferring ever-so-slightly onto my eyelid and only at the very inner corner. It was a negligible amount, really–just a tiny little smudge that I quickly wiped away and that was that. It’s important to note that I usually skip lining my upper lashline to the inner corner since my lids fold over there, essentially creating an oily little pocket (ok, gross imagery…) where liners and shadows go to die, regardless of the formula or hearty doses of primer. I’d like to also point out that even my favorite Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liner smudges at the inner corner after about 3 hours without primer…

–3D Sparks on left, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liner in 5L on right–

–taken indoors under fluorescent daylight bulbs

Over primer, 3D Sparks lasted 10 1/2 hours and probably would have kept going, if I hadn’t washed it off to go to bed. I also tested it on my lower lashine and lower waterline. Again, NO liner I’ve ever tried could withstand my lower lashline or waterline for longer than about an hour and a half or so without running/smudging at the very outer corner. 3D Sparks made it to 3 1/2 before smudging slightly below my eyes but, surprisingly not at the outer corner. I will say that the liner slightly stung/irritated my eyes when used on the waterline, though. But you guys probably already know the drill–it’s best to stick with a matte liner on the waterline.

So, to sum it all up, if you’re like me and tend to be very “vanilla” when it comes to your choice of eyeliner shade, 3D Sparks could be a fun way to bling up your average black liner. It’s not terribly sparkly, in-your-face noticeable but when the light catches it juust right, it shimmers and shines in the best way possible and adds a subtle twinkle to your eye. It’s also crazy long-wearing–seriously!–so I think I’m definitely going to check out the matte kohl version. There are 6 shades in the Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner line and 8 shades in the Always Sharp 3D Liner line. My understanding is they are the same formula except the 3D features that killer multi-dimensional shimmer.

»»Pricing: $20/0.009 oz. (0.27 g.)

»»Availability: Sephora, and all Smashbox counters

»»Recommended for: those looking for a buttery smooth liner that not only truly lasts but is a fun twist on the average black liner

»»Overall Rating: A+

24 Responses to “The Sample: NEW Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liner in 3D Sparks (Review, Swatches & Photos)”

  1. Teri January 30, 2014 at 4:16 am #

    Aaaah, love at first sight indeed! This shade is just so pretty and the rich colour pay-off looks amazing! When it comes to pencils I think we’re pretty much the same, hehe. I maybe have 4 pencils, most don’t last on me. Also very vanilla when it comes to shades, they’re mostly black, lol!

    • becca January 30, 2014 at 4:48 am #

      LOL–nothing wrong with being vanilla! :P I mean…it’s just easy and goes with everything! But seriously, I am not over-hyping this liner–it’s crazy fantastic and SOOOOO long-wearing! I am so, so impressed. For some reason when I shop for makeup, Smashbox is a brand that I admittedly tend to overlook. But now that I’ve found this gem, I am going to start snooping around the rest of their line and see what else I’ve been missing out on! :P

  2. Icaria January 30, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Ooooh those are so pretty! I’m afraid they wouldn’t last on me like every other super long lasting crayon I’ve tried (I have this spot that touches my upper lid) but they sure look good! :)

    • becca January 31, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      I have the same problem, trust me! And this pencil really does honest-to-God stay put. It’s natural to be skeptical though since I definitely was when testing this. All I can say is, if you can test it at the counter before buying, DO IT!! :D

  3. Sunny January 30, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    OMG GIMME THAT! This shade has my name written all over it! So dang gorgeous! <3

    • becca January 31, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      LOL I could totally see you rocking this one for sure, Sunny! It’d be beautiful on you :)

  4. Larie January 30, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    I love this color! I’m definitely a liquid liner girl, all the way, but every once in a while I get tempted by the colors of these kinds of liners. Maybe I’ll try one…hahaha.

    • becca January 31, 2014 at 12:33 am #

      DO IT DO IT! Test it at the counter if you can then go about your business for the rest of the day…and prepare to be blown away! :P haha

  5. Emi at Project Swatch January 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    You make this sound AMAZING! I will definitely swatch the next time I’m at Sephora. I have waaaay too many eyeliners already though :/

    • becca January 31, 2014 at 12:34 am #

      LOL yeah but you don’t have THIS one…:P definitely check them out next time, Emi–the other shades are GORGEOUS as well! I had such a hard time choosing between them. And now that I know they actually can perform well, I am going to have to save my money and buy all the shades :P

  6. Lily January 31, 2014 at 3:23 am #

    Oh WOW! Thanks for this review, Becca. The colours look amazing and also, love that it stays sharp. Very handy!! I might have to look into these :-)

    • becca January 31, 2014 at 3:55 am #

      Aren’t they pretty, Lily! I HAVE to have the shimmering olive and purple shades next–TOO pretty!! :D

  7. Liz January 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    I’m always happy to see THE SAMPLE pop up on my blog feed. *wifely pats* :D

    I conducted a swatch test on these babies and found this particular shade a tad too shimmery for my liking. I only have about 4 or 5 liners myself and nothing really stays put, although lately I like setting them with shadows and smudging them out for longevity. Clinique and Bobbi Brown have liners that last well but I found the blacks not black enough!

    • becca February 3, 2014 at 2:42 am #

      Oh you! *blushes* :D

      Oh really? I was interested when BB reformulated their liners to the long-wearing formula but then I started hearing that they weren’t really all that great for *super* oily lids…so I gave them a pass. Must def check them out now. As for these 3D liners, they definitely are shimmery in the swatches but I find on the eyes, they are just right–for me, at least. They do have 6 matte shades though so I’m dying to give those a try and see if they are as long-wearing as 3D Sparks.

      As for finding a SUPER black, CRAZY waterproof liner, I still stand by Gorgeous Cosmetics’ iINK Liquid Eye Pencil (I reviewed it a while ago). I mean seriously, I have never ever come across a pencil so freaking BLACK! And the staying power…it’s kinda scary. I mean when I wear the stuff, I pretty much have to accept that I will be wearing it for at least 2 days because it just won’t come off even using my oily Shiseido eye makeup remover! :P It’s kinda pricey and to be honest kinda stings a tiny bit when used on the waterline but nothing crazy and if you’re looking for waterproof, then this beats all!

  8. Jacqueline February 2, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    Wow, what awesome swatches, they look so beautiful. I like that it keeps sharp without much effort.

    • becca February 3, 2014 at 2:43 am #

      Oh this liner is truly amazing–swept me off my skeptical feet! Their other shades are just stunning as well so I definitely recommend checking them out, Jacqui! :D

  9. Beauty Box February 6, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    OMG I NEEEEEED this! You had me at “a rich black hue gilded with a pearly gold luster” and I totally agree with you that a good liner sharpener is so essential. I cringed sympathetically when you related your Chanel story….what a tragedy!!!!!

    • becca February 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

      LOL thanks GOD someone else gets it–I think my cousins thought I was crazy that I was stressing out about it so much but man, there is nothing worse than a.) having a beautiful liner mangled up and b.) being desperate enough to line your eyes with what is essentially a weapon! :P

      If you check out these liners, let me know what you think. They are SO gorgeous in person!

  10. Joyce (bronzerbunny) February 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Oh oh oh! I’m gonna put the non shimmery one on my list right now! The shimmery bit is cool though but I’ve lately been getting shimmers in my eye from stuff UGH how does that even happen.

    • becca February 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      Haha I totally feel you! Ahhh, the things we beauty addicts endure for makeup :P

      I do hope the matte ones work for you but I’ll tell you, 3D Sparks did sting my eyes a tiny bit when used on the waterline so I really hope it was a shimmer thing and not a formula thing…because I KNOW you have super sensitive eyes when it comes to waterproof liners! Good luck, Joyce–let me know how it works out for you!

  11. Makeup Morsels February 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    This color is GAWJUS, I’m a sucker for antique gold/black liners like this one. Out of curiosity, what’s the sharpener you use? Looking for a good one.

    • becca February 15, 2014 at 12:48 am #

      Me too, MM!! They always make my heart go pitter-patter :D You definitely have to check this one out–it’s seriously beautiful with a multi-dimensional shimmer and lasts FOREVER and a day!

      Oh, and I just use a Chanel liner I’ve had for years–it came free with a liner purchase, I believe. It’s so sharp and ALWAYS produces a super fine, sharp point–no mangled tips or wood shavings, thank God! :P

  12. Cerstin February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Great review ! I actually just looked up what people had to say about this liner as I bought one today in Neptune and it’s amazing! I’ve always been trying to put liner on, but even if I manage a smooth line it inevitably smudges off…. Within minutes. This eyeliner is brilliant and I’ll be going back to Douglas to get at least one more!

    • becca February 23, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

      Hi Cerstin! I’m so glad that there’s another major Smashbox 3D Liner fan out there! It’s surprising how many of my friends/family/bloggers haven’t heard of this or tried it–it’s so amazing!! I didn’t swatch Neptune while I was in the store but I just looked up swatches online and it looks *stunning*. Lucky girl! I definitely have to go back for that one now. I also really, really want 3D Orchid!

      I agree that the formula is outstanding. I’ve had some luck with 2 or 3 liners but usually they are on the dry side (like MUFE’s and Senna’s). This one is so silky and glides right on but dries SO fast, I don’t know how they do it!

      Let me know if you do end up getting another one or two. I’d love to know which shades and what you think of them! :) Thanks for stopping by Cerstin!

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