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Reviewed and Recommended: Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder

April 8, 2009 Reviewed by Emily 8 Comments
The character Norma Desmond from the 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard is the ultimate Grande Dame of Hollywood, getting older and still clinging to a long-gone era. In the movie, she preens around her museum-like mansion, oblivious to the fact that the world has changed and she has not. No makeup product screams Norma Desmond to me more than loose face powder. It is a product that looks great on younger women, but as skin ages, it begins to work against them: it settles into fine lines and dries the face out, creating a mask-like appearance. Norma must have loved it.

The fact is that aging skins needs more moisture, not less, to look its best. Smashbox Halo Powder is billed as a technological breakthrough, due to its patented hydration system. It also contains 48 minerals, 11 amino acids, and peptide, which all give long-term benefits to your face. Smashbox claims that in its own clinical trials, 10 minutes after application there is a 33% decrease in the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes. And after 6 weeks of use, there is a 67% decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles overall. I began to hope that “anti-aging powder” wasn’t actually an oxymoron.

My results? Fantastic. It added moisture and glow to my skin, something I didn’t think was possible. After application, my skin felt cool and refreshed—like it had been sprayed with a mist of water. The powder gave medium coverage, setting my makeup without caking, drying, and highlighting my lines. My skin looked smoother, its coloring imperfections were minimized, and I felt radiant. Friends told me that my skin looked great, and I believed them.

The innovative packaging is another reason to pick up this powder. I fear the Great Powder Explosion that inevitably occurs when a container of loose powder is my makeup bag. The Halo Powder is actually a compressed cake that you shave off by twisting the compact, so you only sift out the amount you need at one time, no more.

An interesting ingredient in the Halo Powder is peat extract, a natural anti-inflammatory detoxifying agent. Peat is essentially a compound made of a variety of decomposed plants found all over the world. It sounds unappetizing, but it has been used in Central Europe for centuries to treat skin conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. In clinical trials, it has been proven to be rapidly absorbed by the skin.

For people who are sensitive to wheat, be aware that this product also contains Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein. It retains water and tightens skin, but it can be bothersome to some people with allergies.

If poor Norma were really alive and around today, I would recommend that she get first get into therapy, and second: lose the old talcum powder and switch to Halo. It really gives new appearance to older skin.

Mica, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Isopropyl Linoleate, Synthetic Wax, Polymethyl-silsesquioxane, Water, Zinc Stearate, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Barium Sulfate, Dimethylacrylamide/Acrylic Acid/Polystyrene Ethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Dehydroaceatate, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract (Goji Berry), Trisodium Edta, Peat Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Dimethicone, Gold. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
  • May 20, 2011

    by Justd

    This will is my third attempt with this powder, and either my skin has changed with the advantages TIA has afforded me from the variety of product selections I've come into the knowledge of, or it's been change. Regardless, this time the color appears to be working for me and is not chalky as it's been in the past, and my T-zone isn't so ridiculously oily behind using it. It has been three years, so anything is possible, but what I like best is if you purchase it at Sephora, you can return it after trying, no questions asked. The jury's still out on this one, I tend to like Makeup Forever's High Definition Powder more bcuz of how it handles my oily skin, but I'll have to check out it's ingredients. For now, I think I'll be keeping Halo for a little longer to see how my skin fairs.

  • May 12, 2011

    by Susan


    I read your comment and the review of two years ago, and I stopped by Nordstrom to buy some. I can't wait to try it!

  • May 12, 2011

    by Noel

    Smashbox's HALO is one of the very few make up products that I use that has reached my coveted HG status! Since I try my very best to wear an ALL physical sunblock, in which I try my very best to apply the correct amount to get the actual spf protection stated, i.e. at least a tsp for the face, I usually end up with a whitish cast to my face since I have an olive skin tone. In fact, I have never come across and all physical spf that doesn't give me that cast. To compensate for this, I use Halo in Medium, which matches my skin tone EXACTLY! Nobody could ever tell I'm wearing makeup and I'm a guy! I use about 6 times a week and a container has lasted me over a year now. Halo IMO is by FAR superior to mineral foundations like BE. The stuff simply rocks!!!

  • November 4, 2009

    by San Monahan

    I have used the Dior spray foundation and so like it. In the winter months there is a color that is a good match for me, but in the summer no color blends. Even though I wear sunscreen and do not tan, I do get a tad bit darker in the summer. I have used the Luminess Air and liked the spray system but did not like the foundation formular; it made my skin feel uncomfortable and I washed it off. I tried it a few times with the same results.

  • May 6, 2009

    by Emily

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for your comment and recommendations!

    I have tried the Dior spray foundation before and liked it very much--I actually learned about it from a makeup artist friend who uses it on celebrities all the time and swears by it herself. I have not tried the other three you recommended, but now I am definitely intrigued.

    One tip: I actually preferred to spray it onto a sponge and apply from there, it seemed to go on more evenly that way. The SK II applicator seems like a definite technological advance, though--one that I will have to try for myself!

    Thanks again,

  • May 6, 2009

    by Michelle

    Hi Emily,

    I think I have some product suggestions for you to consider or even review if you'd like. I read on a review that the Smashbox Halo Perfecting Powder is the POWDER form of the Dior DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation ($60). It is a light spray on foundation that gives that light AIRBRUSH look and feel, as if you're not wearing make-up! It has really good ratings along with some others I've found, such as the SK II air touch Foundation (it's the most expensive one out of the four, but people are raving about it; I think the exorbitant price is because you're buying the technology of the little machine), and ERA Face spray (About $35-$55). I think they also used the SK II for most of the characters in the TWILIGHT movie.

    I also saw Luminess Air ($30) on an infomercial, but I'm not too sure about the product. I found mixed reviews, but mostly positive ones. However, the idea of lightweight, airbrush make-up for a flawless look sounds great-especially when you don't have to worry about contamination and bacteria from sponges/brushes getting on your face because you're just spraying it on!
    Have you tried any of these products, Emily? I see that you write many reviews about cosmetics for TIA. If so, can you give me some feedback? Especially on what the ingredients in these products do, or if they're harmful or not? Thank you!
    I found a link to an SK II demonstration video:

  • April 8, 2009

    by Emily

    It really depends on how much coverage you like. If it's daytime, I don't think you'd need foundation, too--particularly if you're doing something casual, like running errands. For a more formal or evening look, it might be better to layer it over foundation.

    It gives more coverage than average powder, though, so keep that in mind.

  • April 8, 2009

    by dmpond25

    I was curious about this powder, thanks for the review. One question, could you wear this powder as a foundation or is it just to complete your routine after applying a foundation?

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