Smoke & Mirrors, a loose eye shadow powder, was my first encounter with Tricia Sawyer's products. Sawyer, a Hollywood makeup artist had an interesting idea: to make smoky eyes a simple, one product process that doesn't require 30 minutes work. It's a neat idea, actually, even if reality is a bit more complicated than the vision.
Smoke and Mirrors is a very dark not-quite-black powder that has quite a bit of purple, brown and gray in it and a gold (or is it bronze?) shimmer and comes in a tube with a sponge wand. It sounds a bit like Guerlain Terracotta Kohl, but since there's no mention anywhere of using it on the water line I'd avoid trying it as such. The color, despite the several pigments used is flatter and not as vivid as any of the Guerlain kohls I've seen. So Smoke & Mirrors is an eyeshadow supplement of sorts, though you can use it on its own. You apply it over your existing eye makeup, depositing most of the powder over the lash line and blending/smoking it upwards and to the outer corner of the eye.
Then you look at the royal mess you created, mutter a few expletives and ask yourself where you went wrong. It's not you. Mostly it's the applicator. Loose pigments such as this one are messy by nature (remember my blue pawed kitten?), and the way the tube and applicator are constructed makes using them even worse. While you can't prevent the black cloud that comes out as soon as you pull the wand out without de-potting the whole thing into a jar, you can use a medium size eye shadow brush (to transfer the product from the applicator or if you pour a little onto a flat surface) that collects less powder, absorbs more and distributes it evenly. It also prevents some (but not all) of the fallout, which is a huge problem here.
If you're not using Smoke & Mirror over an existing eye shadow, make sure your eyelids are well-primed. Otherwise the powder wouldn't stay in place for more than an hour or so. It fades, migrates and smears if you even look at it funny. So a primer and a nude base eye shadow that helps you blend the dark smoky one are essential. I'd also be very careful when using under the lower lashes. It's very hard to make Smoke & Mirrors remain where it's supposed to under the lashes, and I'm also not too fond of the shimmer particles in that area. It just looks off to me.
This tutorial on Tricia Sawyer's site shows both the strengths and weaknesses of the product, so you can make your own conclusions. My bottom line is that it's a good idea that could have used more tweaking. I'd also like to see more color options. If this shade is borderline too dark for me, it would be way too Lindsay Lohan on many others (the very pale model in the tutorial is a good example for that).
Tricia Sawyer's Smoke And Mirrors ($21) is available from QVC and through Sawyer's website. It was part of my free BeautyFix kit.
Photos by me.