Is There Really Such a Thing as a "Smart Shade"? I Test Out Almay's Collection

Almay Smart Shade Foundation and Blush
Recently I found myself at the vet's office about 30 minutes before a scheduled appointment. Not wanting to wait in the lobby for that long, I headed next door to CVS to see what was new. (Don't worry about the dog, he waited in the car for 10 minutes and I think a husky can do this when it is 45 out without any issues. I think he was just bored judging by the licks on the inside of the window when I returned.)

I wandered the aisles and got sucked into an Almay display. Granted their Smart Shade foundation and companion products have been out for probably over a year, but I haven't tried them yet. And they had a package with the foundation and a matching concealer for free, and then there was a buy 1 get 1 free deal, so I could also get the blush for free! How could I not take advantage of this bounty and buy all 3? Yes, I know you would have done the same thing in my position.

Almay Smart Shade Swatch
Really, I admit that the reason I wanted to try out this product was because of the claims regarding the shade. They show it changing color on tv, and I had no idea how this worked or if it worked well. I don't have a PR contact from Almay, so I have no one to ask about the technology behind this, but I do have to say whoever came up with this is a genius.

The product only came in 3 shades. I was nervous about this as I'm pretty fair and I have a really hard time finding foundations light enough for my skin. I bought the light shade of the foundation/concealer pack, and I grabbed a pink blush figuring pink was fairly universally flattering.

When you squirt the product out of the tube, it looks like it does on the left side of my hand (Please excuse my lack of hydrated skin and the hair on the back of my hands. I should probably have done a paraffin treatment or something before taking these pictures, but C'est la vie.)

To me it looks like melted vanilla bean ice cream initially. It's pure white with black (!!) dots, with a light moisturizer consistency. The blush and concealer are a tad thicker than the foundation, though not by much. With rubbing it starts to change colors, matching what is beneath it. It isn't body temperature that causes this reaction as that glob of foundation can sit on the back of my hand for 20 minutes and look the same.

Really, the product requires rubbing, which makes your fingers the best way to apply these products. I apply a bit to the back of my hand, then dot it across my t-zone and my chin. I think use fingers to rub in small circles and blend it together as the product changes color. It does seem to match what is directly under it, and I don't recommend making big sweeping movements with your fingers as the foundation won't match other areas quite as well and you want it to stay more localized to where it first started changing colors. Trust me on this.

You can adjust the coverage you get by layering the product. It is initially on the light-medium coverage side, and with a second layer it is more medium coverage. The foundation blends really, really well into my skin and I couldn't even tell I had it on my skin. It really looked amazing, and I think I may have found a new favorite foundation!

The concealer is not pigmented enough to really cover under my eyes well (I like a well pigmented concealer there), though the consistency and coverage were perfect for around my nose and over small blemishes. It will perfectly match the foundation as well, rather than being 1 shade lighter. So, I've been using it on my face and using my usual MAC concealer under my eyes.

The blush is similar to using a cream blush and is best used directly over the foundation rather than over powder. It does change to a pretty color that complemented my skin tone (I used pink, it was a nice light shade), however I was disappointed that the blush wasn't darker. It was hard to layer the blush to get a heavier application, as it tends to stick on itself. Once I applied powder over everything it looked like I hadn't applied any blush at all, and I had to use a powder blush.

Overall, I loved the natural look of the foundation. It was easy to adjust coverage, it blended beautifully and really lasted all day. I like the concealer but found it only worked for areas I needed a light concealer and not for under my eyes were I need more coverage. I'd love Almay to come out with a heavy duty, more pigmented version of this concealer. The blush I thought was a pretty shade when I blended it on my skin, but I couldn't layer it and the shade was so light I wondered why I had bothered with the product. I'll buy the foundation and concealer again but skip the blush.

Interestingly enough, I have visited a few Almay displays since initally buying this product. I've found that the displays at ULTA, Meijer and CVS are small, and for some reason Walmart has about twice the Almay products as any of these places. I'm not sure if that's because my Walmart is brand new (opened about 2 weeks ago), but you may want to keep that in mind if you're looking for Almay. The BOGO deal was a limited time thing at CVS, I'm sure there will be similar sales in the future!



  1. Hi, I love your blogs so much.
    Can you please check out mine, I just started making them.
    Thank you

  2. Check out this cool beauty contest....

  3. I was so skeptical about this product when I saw it on tv. I wonder if it works for darker women or if you end up looking chalky?

  4. hi,
    Good work keep it up.
    Keep posting more...

  5. I like this product when I'm in a temperate climates. It doesn't keep oiliness from showing through in the tropics though.


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