Friday, April 16, 2010

Product Review: Almay Smart Shade Makeup


Almay Smart Shade Makeup
Cost - $12.00-$14.00
Available - Everywhere Almay Cosmetics are sold
The advertising for Almay Smart Shade foundation promises that the foundation is "So smart it knows your shade. Skin-sensing microbeads instantly transform into your ideal shade."
Alright, I'll admit. I was skeptical as hell about this product. How could a liquid foundation that comes out of the bottle chalky white magically convert to my skin's perfect tone? With only bottles classified in general shades, such as light/medium and medium/dark, how is it possible to tackle a variety of natural skin tones? The questions I had were endless, and with a pricetag nearly twice the price I pay for my regular foundation, my curiosity had to take a backseat to the demands of my pocketbook. Finally, when I found myself with an empty bottle of my regular foundation (even Q-tips couldn't pull out the last remaining drops!), I broke down and decided to spring for newest offering from Almay.
My skin tone has always been hard to match when it comes to makeup. I'm perpetually lost between the lightest two shades in any makeup line. The lightest somehow washes me out until I look like Lestat or Louis' love child (yes, I took it to Anne Rice, take THAT you Cullen-addicts!). Using the next shade down makes me look like I've spent a few hours in a tanning bed. I've tried every powder, concealer, foundation, and bronzer out there, and I always wound up with a look that was anything but natural. So, with nerves in my stomach, I stood in front of the mirror and poured the white liquid (which has these little blue beads in it that remind me of those anti-bacterial solutions) into my hands and took a deep breath. Well, worst case scenario, I washed it off and started again. I began to apply.
Here's the thing...

It WORKED. I don't know how, and I'm sure some scientist is sitting in a lab, cackling away behind his soda-bottle glasses, but it WORKED. As I swirled the white liquid over my cheeks and blended it over my skin, it changed color. It transitioned from something that looked like that bad zinc that was so popular as a sunblock in the early 90's to aeven tone over my very much NOT even skin. Even the dark circles (yeah, I need more sleep) under my eyes were somehow concealed by this miracle cosmetic. I went ahead with the rest of my makeup application, and even needed to pull out a darker shade of blush as my generally-pinkish cheeks resembled a smooth porcelain. Wow.
Now, I've read other reviews of the Smart Shade line. Other people, generally those whose skin tones fall into the medium to darker categories, have not experienced positive results. This could mean that Almay hasn't quite perfected the fine details of olive to dark skin tones quite yet? I'm not quite sure. I can only speak for my own experience on the light (very light!) end of the spectrum. One of my biggest cosmetic challenges has been to find a shade that makes me look human; polished, professional, and with an even skin tone. This worked for me, and if you've been battling that same war for years now, I'd say it's definitely, definitely worth the $12.00 to see if miracles can happen for your skin, too.
I've also noticed that my skin is clearer recently. I've had pretty sensitive skin most of my life, and most foundations I've tried go on like cake and leave me with breakouts or blemishes. While Almay doesn't speak to this claim, I've noticed that using this foundation has kept my skin under control. Maybe because it's so light? The foundation goes on almost like milk; it's much more liquid than any that I've tried before. I'm not sure, but I'm not going to question a good thing.
Also, as a fun aside, after using the foundation, I went to the local liquor store. (Unrelated events, I promise you!) The clerk that has been serving me for almost a year, and has gotten to the point where she's stopped asking me for i.d. CARDED ME. She commented on my red hair (it's been red for awhile) and said that my complexion was much brighter than on my licence. She could have just been having an off day, but I choose to believe that it was because for the first time in ages, I'd managed to pull off that beauty-pageant-flawlessly-airbrushed foundation.
Bottom line, I fell in love with this foundation, and I'm not going back to anything else I've tried. I'm even considering trying the rest of the Smart Shade line. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but you only use a few drops of the foundation, and in my opinion, the results are absolutely worth it.
(Oh, and before anyone asks, I'm not a sponsored blog and I don't have any reason to rave about a product I don't actually enjoy.)

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