Towards the end of last year, IT Cosmetics and Smashbox sent me a couple of fabulous liquid makeup products, but like many of you lovely readers, I was caught up in the busy holiday season. Now that we’re well into 2019, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to test drive IT Cosmetics’ Matte CC+ Cream and Smashbox’s Studio Skin Foundation.

Anyone who’s visited Sephora will commiserate about the dizzying array of liquid makeup available. In addition to traditional foundation there’s tinted moisturizers, concealers, BB (beauty balm) creams, CC (colour correcting) creams and even DD (daily defense) creams on the horizon.


Each product is designed for a different purpose, even though there’s a lot of overlap as beauty mavens clamour for a miracle cure-all.

Foundation is the pre-eminent makeup base, possessing the widest selection of shades while offering the most pigmentation to provide the fullest coverage.


Most CC creams are formulated to contain a light, whipped texture with colour correction properties and slightly sheerer coverage than foundation. Some can also do triple duty, replacing concealers and primers.

CC creams use light-diffusing particles to blur and even out imperfections such as blotchiness, redness and age spots. And since there’s less pigmentation, shade-matching does not have to be as precise as with foundation. Both CC (and BB) creams typically offer fewer shade selections too.


Smashbox Studio Skin 15-Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

Smashbox’s oil-free formula is available in a whopping 40 shades, ranging from fair to deep, with various warm, neutral and cool undertones. The product credits “flexible polymers” for providing 15 hour, budge-proof wear. 

Smashbox Studio Skin 15-Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

Smashbox tried to colour match me and sent me three shades:

Though the shades are on target, the undertones are a little off. I applied samples to the underside of my upper arm, which is slightly paler than my jawline. Even so, the shades don’t quite match. The 1.1 formulation (FAIR-LIGHT WITH NEUTRAL UNDERTONE) might have been a better pick for me.


The colour stays true and does not oxidize after application. I do like the idea of having a lighter and darker shade as these can be blended during different times of the year. Our complexion tends to darken (tan) in the summer and remain pale in the winter months.

Studio Skin dispenses with a pump and has a viscid, syrupy consistency. The top can be unscrewed so every last drop can be swabbed up.

I began to apply it with a foundation brush but found it too messy. The liquid felt tacky under my fingers so a sponge seemed to work best.


One layer will provide medium coverage but the product is easily buildable. The gluey texture takes a bit more time to blend properly but will reward with a smooth, satin finish. Multiple layers will produce a flawless look but also appear less natural, especially under flash photography.

During my first few days of use, the foundation would break up and rub off well before its advertised 15 hours of wear. I have combination skin and the matte formulation settled into dry patches around my nose and forehead.

Applying a good primer before the foundation remedied most of these issues as an extra, unavoidable step. This formulation has a light scent but no unpleasant odour. Studio Skin feels comfortable all day and washes off after a couple of rinses with micellar water.


IT Cosmetics Your Skin but Better Matte CC+ Cream

IT Cosmetics Original CC+ cream has long been a fan favourite. Last year, the cosmetics line expanded their colour range and introduced an oil-free, matte version with built-in SPF 40.

Now available in 12 shades, this CC+ cream boasts colour-correction, anti-aging and hydration benefits not found in conventional foundations. 

Infused with detoxifying charcoal, oil-absorbing colloidal clay and blemish-combating tea tree extract, this full coverage cream is a dynamic multitasker.


Unfortunately, the shade sent me (Light Medium) was a little too light on its own and the ultimate effect on my visage was not as natural as I wanted. It almost completely disappeared into the paler skin of my forearm. However, I enjoyed the ease of application and was surprised at the amount of coverage that this product provided.

The texture of the matte formula is quite a bit thicker than Smashbox’s Studio Skin foundation. Perhaps the light-diffusing properties of the CC+ cream gives the impression that it provides full coverage just like the Smashbox foundation.

I hadn’t tried IT’s original CC+ cream but many reviewers claim that the oil-free version is thicker and a bit harder to blend.

I used my fingers and a makeup sponge to work with the cream. I do prefer the tube format over a glass bottle but unfortunately the pump cannot be unscrewed. You’ll need to snip the tube in order to get to all of the product. Like the foundation, the cream also settled into dry patches along the side of my nose, although not as badly.


Pairing it with a primer, I was able to achieve a polished and natural finish.

Of the two products, I prefer the CC+ cream for daily use, with a couple of exceptions. The Smashbox foundation is easier to remove and more comfortable to wear. The CC+ cream feels dense and requires a bit more scrubbing to completely wash off.

Neither product is able to withstand the vigorous routines of my day unscathed, but transfer was minimal even after 12 hours.

Retailing at CAD $46, Smashbox’s Studio Skin Foundation is a premium product with a wide range of shades. I would recommend it for a special occasion when you need a flawless, airbrushed look and have the time to work with the product.


IT Cosmetics Matte CC+ Cream retails for CAD $49 (CAD $38 at Sephora) and provides a host of benefits in addition to coverage. IT Cosmetics’ CC+ cream family also includes Original and Illumination, both with SPF 50. If you can find the right shade, the CC+ cream is a convenient and hard-working, multi-purpose item.

Both products are available from their respective websites or at Sephora. My experience with these products suggest that virtual colour-matching is no substitute for an in-person experience. Put your best face forward and take the time to choose your best shade!

About Our Contributor Cora Li

Cora Li

Cora dabbles in arts, technology, food, and travel. She loves that Vancouver offers a vast playground for exploring all of her passions. Cora’s most memorable job to date was working with VANOC during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.


  • Comment by Gemma Etc. — February 18, 2019 @ 6:03 pm

    I really like the sound of the Smashbox foundation. I’m currently trying the glow version of the CC cream from IT and I like it xx

    Gemma • Gemma Etc . ❤️

  • Comment by Ariane Colenbrander — February 18, 2019 @ 6:52 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    Hope you get to try the foundation. I’ll pass along your comment to Cora 🙂

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