Product Review: Almay Smart Shade Makeup
Hi y'all! I just drove for an hour and a half in rush hour traffic to come to Mississauga to do some testing, only to realize that duh, my participant is coming in on Tuesday, NOT today. So I feel real smart.
Oh well, on with the review! The Almay Smart Shade foundation caught my eye because it promised to "magically transform into [my] ideal shade"! Magic makeup! It's full of magical gobbledy-gook technology and will magically make you look better! It's magic, folks!!
This stuff looks hella odd coming out of the tube... like a white cream with tiny black dots in it. Its appearance reminds me a bit of a facial scrub, but it doesn't feel at all grainy going on. There are 3 shades to choose from: Light, Light/Medium, and Medium, but the display only provides a tester for the Light/Medium shade. This product is supposed to "take the guesswork out of finding the right shade", so I suppose they figure one tester is enough.
Needless to say, I was very skeptical of this product -- any cosmetic that claims to "magically" do anything raises my suspicions immediately. I figured that the little black dots probably reacted with friction or sebum or whatever to create colour, and that it would match one's skin tone because it was sheer enough to blend out, NOT because it could somehow detect your skintone. Sort of like those magic-paintings from my youth, where you brush a picture with plain ol' water, and pretty colours appear out of no where. Except my face won't turn into a picture of Hoppy the Easter Bunny or whatever.
Anyway, I finally caved and hesitantly picked up the Light/Medium shade. And I'm.... impressed. Really impressed. The shade match really was dead on, and most importantly, the finish was extremely natural looking. This is the most skin-like foundation I've tried to date! I was also impressed by the coverage -- this is definitely a light coverage foundation, but it was a notch more than the super sheer tinted-moisturizer-esque coverage I was expecting. A touch of concealer on top of the foundation, and I was very happy with the results.
In terms of oil control, it seems to be holding up pretty well. I haven't put it through a whole day's wear yet, but it looks good at least up to the 3 or 4 hour mark, sans blotting. I'm going out for my friend's birthday tonight, so I'll be able to report back on how well it stood the ultimate test of drinking & dancing**!
I still have no idea how this shade-matching voodoo action works though. I put some of the Light/Med shade on Roommate (who is very pale) and it looked really orangey on her. So it appears that you DO have to use the shade that best approximates your skin colour. I just put some on my knee (darker than my face due to self-tanner), and it blended right in there as well! Weird! Wonderful, but weird!
One tip: be sure to blend the product well. Since it sort of looks and feels like face cream, it's tempting to just smear it on. But don't! I did, and ended up with dark smudges on my jaw line, where I'd failed to blend properly. This foundation is VERY easy to apply, so long as you work with small amounts and blend as you go.
So far, I think this has been the best summer foundation I've tried. An uber-natural coverage plus SPF 15 make Smart Shade a great option for outdoors-y activities*. The squeeze tube and screw-on cap means it's safe and easy to toss it in your bag. The cost (~$18 CAD for 30mL/1 Fl Oz) is somewhat prohibitive, especially for a "drug store" foundation -- albeit one that performs as good as some higher end ones I've tried. I think that if Almay dropped the price point by $3 or $4, a lot more people would buy this. I happened upon mine for about 15 bucks on sale, so keep an eye out for any coupons or discounts! Definitely a rave in my books!
* Need I remind you to use a proper sunscreen underneath if you're going to be outside for any length of time?
** We're going to the very crowded, very fun, and very gay Village too, which means it's going to be a crazy, sweaty, drag-queen/Shania Twain-impersonator filled time! Yee haw!
This review was part of Foundation Week!