Review: Almay Smart Shade Makeup — Foundation and Blush

By Voxy  

almay_smart_shadeThis is one of the products that I purchased as a result of my lost weekend drugstore testing spree at ULTA. I’d seen this and similar products (Revlon’s Beyond Natural Skin Matching Makeup) advertised on TV, but was very much a skeptic. The ads claimed that the product, which comes out of the tube more-or-less white, will self-adjust to match your own skin tone perfectly.

Pah, I thought. Piffle. Baloney. Hogwash.

As it turns out, I was more wrong than Bjørk’s swan outfit, more wrong than Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, more wrong than Temptation Island.

Which is, if you think about it, a really staggering amount of wrong.

I wouldn’t have bought it without the opportunity to test, but I gladly (and, I admit it, cockily) squeezed some out onto the back of my hand, scoffing at its chalky whiteness, and knowing that it would never, ever, manage to blend into my … wait a minute. Where did it go?

Well, that couldn’t be right. It must be the funny light in here. Let’s try again.

Again: same results. Astonishingly, the makeup really did blend right into my hand. So I tried it on the inside of my arm, where the skin was lighter, and it blended in there too. When I lowered my arm and brought it back up again, I absolutely could not tell where I’d applied the product.

It performs equally fabulously on my face, which is good, since that’s where it’s designed to go. The product comes in three shades: light, light/medium, and medium. (I don’t know what to tell you darker-skinned folks — is Almay’s “medium” actually a shade that would work for darker skin, or is it really just another version of “light”? An evaluation from someone looking for a foundation for darker skin would be welcome!) I’m quite fair-skinned, so I chose the light shade and was very pleased. Even better than its ability to match my skin color almost perfectly (it is a *tiny* bit more yellow than my actual skin tone, but no one besides me would notice) is that it contains, wonder of wonders, an SPF 15 sunscreen that does not irritate my skin. This is basically unheard of. So even if it ended up being just a tinted sunscreen, rather than a foundation, it would be worth the cost, and more. Fortunately, it is a fabulous foundation. It leaves the skin with a lovely, velvety texture; lasts all day; and does not budge. It also does not clog pores, which was a real concern for me. Sometimes I apply only this; sometimes I apply this with a dusting of mineral foundation powder on top, and sometimes I precede the application of this product with Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More. The combination produces a fantastic finish. almay_smart_shade_blush

Because the foundation was made of win, I went ahead and bought the blushes, too, with which I’m equally pleased. They come in three tints: pink, natural, and berry, all of which are very natural. My skin is very fair and I can get away with wearing a sheer application of any of the three, but the color can also be easily layered for greater intensity or for those with darker skin. It produces a dewy finish and the color is extremely long-lasting: 12 hours or more with very little fading. The line also includes a concealer, which I’m eager to try, and a bronzer, which isn’t really my thing, as when I wear bronzer I don’t turn into a person with a healthy glow, but instead look simply like a pale-skinned person with a dirty face.

Really, I couldn’t be happier with these products and they rate up there among my top purchases of the year. I did test the Revlon Beyond Natural product as well, but didn’t like its consistency as much as the Almay.


Almay Smart Shade Makeup and Blush

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): excellent

Purchase again? Absolutely. Highest recommendation.

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  1. avatar marigolds
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    OK, I’m going to buy this now. I’m totally suggestible when it comes to makeup, and I actually *like* yellow-toned foundation.


  2. avatar Epi
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve been using the blush for a while and quite like it, so it’s good to read a positive review of the foundation. I’m a little hesitant about the “yellow” thing, because at my age the last thing I want is to look jaundiced, but I have such awful luck with foundation* I’m willing to give it a shot.

    *Although I do quite like the MAC spray foundation, especially over their primer. Which I am almost out of, but that stuff’s expensive, so drugstore foundation is sounding mighty appealing right now.


  3. avatar elsie
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 10:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve been satisfied with this foundation as well. As someone with rosacea, I struggle to find foundation that’s right for my fair skin but covers the redness well. Most foundations are too orange for me. I agree that it tends to run a bit yellow, but since that counteracts the redness, it works for me, especially on those days when the rosacea causes breakouts.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted October 22, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi elsie! Thanks for the info — it’s good to know it’s OK for people with rosacea! I’ll add the “rosacea” tag to the post.


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