Smashbox Triple Tone: The Easy Ombré Lip?

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review

The new Triple Tone Lipstick from Smashbox is such an excellent idea on the face of it: three lipstick shades in one bullet, arranged from dark to light so that they create an instant ombré effect on your lips. A dark, punchy lip-line graduating to a lighter, plumping shade on the fullest part of the lips, it’s seems like a very quick and convenient way to make a bold makeup statement. I can’t say that I’ve ever wanted to ombré my lips, or any other part of me for that matter, but the imagery on the marketing paraphernalia looked so enticing, so graphic and visually pleasing, I had to give it a go.

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review

The idea behind application is that you simply swipe on and then pat to blend out any harsh lines. Personally, I think that patting to blend makes the whole thing slightly pointless – if I’m applying three shades then I want some sort of evidence that I’ve done so. (“LOOK AT ME! I’M CRAZY AND EXPERIMENTAL, ME!”) It’s a bold look, so why not be bold? At any rate, Smashbox make absolutely beautiful lipsticks, and as the texture of the Triple Tone is buttery and gorgeous, the three shades blur into one another slightly anyway. So I would say no need to pat. But pat away if that’s what you want to do.

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review

I’ve been distracted by the patting thing, but that’s not the real issue at hand. It’s the actual application of the colour that we need to talk about. Because applying to the top lip is easy peasy and the effect is brilliant – I honestly couldn’t believe that I suddenly had this clever, eighties-style lipstick going on after just one swoosh-over – but applying to the bottom lip is a total ‘mare.

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review

You have to switch the lipstick around to get at the bottom lip, which means that, to all intents and purposes, the slant of the bullet is the wrong way around. The shape, once you turn it upside down (which you need to do if you’re going to get the dark part on your lipline and the lighter shade in the middle) is just not conducive to a good lipstick application. I tried this numerous times, and practice did not make perfect.

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review


I ended up going through a hell of a lot of cotton buds and makeup remover, and even after a proper clean-up mission on my trial for these photographs, I ended up with a bit of a mess. I like to call the finished result my “ombré lip with blurred-out lower edge”, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s just impossible to get a neat, defined lip-line on the lower lip with the bullet upside down. At least, impossible for me. People with half an ounce of skill would probably do OK…

When you think about the shape of the lipstick, it does seem unlikely that you would ever get both upper and lower lips neatly finished. Because you have to apply with a flattened lipstick surface, otherwise you wouldn’t get all three tones in one swoop of the bullet.

Smashbox Triple Tone Lipstick Review

It’s so frustrating, because my top lip is ombré perfection: Smashbox have, with their quirky idea, convinced me to buy into that whole over-lined, dramatic 3D effect. The concept is marvellous and a whole load of fun, but the execution is just slightly off. Maybe it’s just me, with my cack-handed lipstick skills and inability to do anything remotely intricate, but I suspect that a few people would find their ombré-ing a little on the smudged side.

I had an idea (brace yourselves): the Triple Tone could be a lipstick of two halves – one bullet for the upper lip and then a bullet in the other end of the casing with an opposite slant for the lower lip! (Smashbox: please send royalties to my home address, haha.)

smashbox triple tone lipstick ombre lips

Seriously, though: I love the final effect. Some shades give more of a dramatic finish than others – surprisingly I find the Red Ombré to be quite muted, just giving a very wearable, sculpted sort of look – and the darker edging does wonders for my gradually disappearing natural lip-line.

You can find the Triple Tone lipsticks at Smashbox here* – they are £17.50 each. And now, your thoughts, please: firstly on the whole idea of an ombré lip, which has been knocking around for ages now but is notoriously tricky to actually do. And secondly on my marvellous double-bullet idea. Think it would work?

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. August 16, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Just from the picture I was thinking “BUT HOW DO YOU DO THE BOTTOM LIP, SMASHBOX, HOW????”

    But that’s just how I roll. Double-ended would definitely be a better way to go. Ironically, if the colours were in reverse order, it would be easier to turn it upside down for the top lip – and you actually see more of the effect on the bottom lip anyway, because top lips tend to be thinner than bottom ones.

    Nice idea though. Just not fab execution.

    • August 16, 2017 / 2:57 pm

      Yeah, good point! At any rate, for clumsy me it was a bit like trying to knit with boxing gloves on. Not that I’ve ever tried it.. x

  2. Rachel
    August 16, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    Ok, unrelated to your (lovely) ombré lip look: I love your hair in these pics. Did you use your Wonderball? *that sounds so wrong

  3. Eleni
    August 16, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    You are gorgeous and the shade suits you perfectly! It would be nice if you also made a review of the tom ford duo for the lips which promises this ombré look in different combinations:)

  4. Evelyn
    August 16, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    I’d love to read your take on Benefit’s version of these (“lipstick & liner in one”) to see if the application is any easier and whether the formula and final effect is comparable at all.

  5. August 16, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Intrigued in these! x

  6. Hannah C
    August 16, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    I do yoga and I still couldn’t think a way of doing the bottom lip.

    It does look bl**dy gorgeous on you though.

  7. Martha
    August 16, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    My immediate thought when I saw the first picture was “but why isn’t it the other way around?” That would make the application process so much easier. It looks amazing on you, so I’d absolutely be tempted to try it, but the problems with applying it have definitely put me off – if you can’t do it there’s no way I can.

  8. Victoria Perolls
    August 17, 2017 / 7:47 am

    I’d just end up applying a thick layer to my top lip and pressing my lips together. I realise you wouldn’t get the sharp line, but I’m lazy and disinclined to try any harder. I only own one, lonely lipstick anyway (recommended by you actually, so thanks for that), so certain I would only ever use this for a giggle in the mirror before my evening cleanse. New Ruth Crilly product on the horizon, “Ombré Double Bullet”??

  9. NIN
    August 17, 2017 / 8:15 am

    ombre look on lips is great, BUT.
    not all lips have the same size. i know girls with very thin lips that this wouldnt workat all (not me ;p).
    they ‘d definately have to use a brush.
    i thinks 2 shades, or a double ended lipstick , would be more handy.

    • NIN
      August 17, 2017 / 8:17 am

      plus, i HARDLY believe that lips with the purple color in the pic were painted directly from the bullet. no way…

  10. August 17, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Good point and none that I would have thought about begore purchasing. But as someone that has seen the 80 lips in action I still have a dark liner, pink inside trauma that makes me very unappreciative of ombre lips in general.

  11. Sue Moran
    August 17, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    I’m afraid I’m with Linda, I’ve lived through the effect previously and it always made me watch someone’s lips while they were speaking as if a caterpillar were moving on their face. Sorry love, not for me.
    The red shade does look fabulous on you, and not particularly ombré.

  12. Kim
    August 17, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    I tried the Benefit version (two colors), and had the exact same experience – top lip was great, bottom was weird and difficult to do without coloring all over my chin. Something in the way I apply lipstick makes me end up with totally flat lipsticks anyway, so I suppose after some use, problem solved. With the Benefit ones, though, they are teardrop-shaped, so what has ended up happening with that one is that the smaller, lipliner edge has worn away faster, and I’ve ended up with the slant at the opposite angle. So now it is easier to do the inner part of my lips dark and the outer part light, but that’s weird.

  13. Claire L
    August 19, 2017 / 2:43 am

    It does look beautiful on you though!

  14. Gemma
    August 19, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    I was wondering about the bottom lip too…

    If the bullet were symmetrical (i.e. like an actual bullet, or if the tip were flat on opposite sides) and the colours were symmetrical too (in stripes rather than a bullseye) I think it would be easier. You might even be able to do it in one sweep!

    Why didn’t they ask us first?

  15. August 19, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    I soooo want to try this! I was going to say the same thing – the final look is more muted, not an obvious three layer ombre, but still an overall nice effect. The lighter shade in the middle ends up highlighting your lips and making them look fuller. This one is going on the birthday wish list ;)

    May from

  16. Mansi
    September 1, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    Much more convenient to buy 2 shades, and a liner. Besides everyone has different lip shapes, don’t think the lipstick could ever work! The shade is gorgeous though.

  17. Ariana
    September 30, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    I think that’s a great shade and looks amazing on you!

  18. Ellen Kackmann
    October 13, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    I adore your eye makeup in these photos. Do you recall what products you used?

  19. December 29, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    I bought the red ombré. I wondered if I would be able to get the same effect shown in the model- never happen! I sure don’t look like a model, but I can easily use this lipstick to get the same effect. Love it so much I’ll have to add more to my collection.

  20. April 7, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I just wanted to jot down a quick word in order to say thanks to you for the precious instructions you are giving out at this site. My extensive internet look up has now been paid with wonderful facts and strategies to go over with my great friends. I would state that that most of us readers are unequivocally endowed to dwell in a magnificent place with many marvellous individuals with very beneficial strategies. I feel rather lucky to have used your web pages and look forward to some more exciting moments reading here. Thanks once more for everything.

  21. April 10, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    I’m also commenting to let you know what a outstanding discovery our child developed reading through your webblog. She figured out such a lot of issues, including how it is like to have a wonderful coaching spirit to let certain people really easily gain knowledge of selected problematic topics. You truly surpassed our own desires. Many thanks for producing such practical, safe, informative and as well as fun thoughts on your topic to Jane.

  22. April 11, 2018 / 2:26 am

    I truly wanted to post a remark so as to say thanks to you for those fantastic guidelines you are posting on this website. My prolonged internet search has at the end of the day been honored with reliable concept to exchange with my best friends. I ‘d state that that we site visitors are undoubtedly endowed to exist in a wonderful community with many lovely individuals with helpful tactics. I feel truly blessed to have encountered the website and look forward to many more brilliant minutes reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

  23. April 12, 2018 / 12:14 am

    Needed to compose you a very little word to give many thanks as before just for the incredible thoughts you have shown on this site. This has been so seriously open-handed of people like you to offer unreservedly just what many of us could possibly have sold as an e-book to get some dough on their own, especially since you might have tried it in case you considered necessary. The things in addition worked as the great way to know that other people have the identical desire just like my own to figure out more around this problem. I am certain there are lots of more pleasant sessions in the future for many who read carefully your website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *