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Just How Smart is Almay Smart Shade?

Well, look at that.  I just dropped off the face of the earth for a week.  In my defense, I’ve been coping with a severe allergic reaction (and before you ask what I’m allergic to, let me just go ahead and tell you.  The world).  The wigeon, who was supposed to take care of things in my absence, has flown off into the sunset.  He’s on vacation, or so I’m told.  We will have words when he gets back.

I remember being fascinated by smart shade technology when it first came out.  Oh my god, it’s magic, cried my younger self.  While the charm has mostly worn off, I do still get a little thrill every time I see something a new product in this category.  Pair that with the awe-inducing swirl design of Almay’s Smart Shade Primer (seriously, I could stare at that thing all day long) plus a pump that actually works, and you’ve got yourself a very cool looking product.  But how well does it perform?

While I can’t say this made my foundation last any longer or my skin look any smoother, it did give my skin a nice gleamy finish, which hopefully you can see below.  I imagine this would be a good option for dryer skin types, as it really helped my foundation spread on more smoothly.

I also liked that it was hydrating without making me feel oily.  Most primers have a sort of silicone-y slip feel to them, which is by no means a deal breaker, but can get a big annoying.  This one feels much less slick than others I’ve tried, and rubs in easily.  Always a plus.  It does have a slightly off-putting scent, something I can’t quite put my finger on, but it dissipates once applied to the face.  

As for the foundation, I used a similar product from Revlon back in junior high.  I always felt ever-so-glamorous smearing that all over my face on special occasions, watching in awe as the white liquid somehow turned not-white.

This one looks and feels very similar.  The formula is a runny white liquid with little black specks straight out of the tube.  Part of the reason why it can work across a broad range of skintones is because it has extremely sheer coverage.  I can’t even tell you how much I’ve tanned since coming to college (and let me add that I’ve been reapplying globs of SPF 50 every two hours), and the ‘light/pale’ shade doesn’t clash with my skin.  I rub the tiniest bit (too much, and I find it can look cakey) over a primed face with my fingers.

As I’ve said before, I almost never wear foundation because I take great pains to keep my skin looking good on its own.  This evens out my complexion that extra bit on bad skin days.  However, I can’t see it working for anyone who needs medium-high coverage, given that it’s so light.

I’m on the fence about these products.  They weren’t bad per se, but having been exposed to so many different foundations and primers while blogging, I think there are definitely better options out there.  The primer may be worth a look if you’re in the market for a hydrating highlighter, and happen to have a coupon or some ExtraBucks, but otherwise I’ll just be honest and say they didn’t quite do it for me.

Pricing will probably vary depending on where you buy these, but ULTA carries both products for $11.99 here and here.

Have you tried color-adjusting products before?  What’s your favorite one?  I used to be totally enamored with the pH changing gloss from Sally Hansen.  I wonder where it’s run off to…

Full Disclosure: The products in this post were submitted for editorial consideration only.  For more information, please see my disclaimer.

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15 thoughts on “Just How Smart is Almay Smart Shade?

  1. I’m slightly over the whole color-adjusting trends, but these seem like decent products. And I just have to say that you are VERY lucky you have good enough skin to not have to wear foundation, so I can see how these work for you. They probably wouldn’t do much for my crazy skin (I’ve had allergies all week too…weird) but I do like the gleamy-ness of the primer!

    • Ehh, I didn’t fall in love with them. I do still a slight thing for those magic pink glosses though. I take great pains to keep it nice LOL. The gleamy-ness of the primer was its one saving point.

  2. I’ve always wondered about these smart color products, but never felt too curious/determined to actually buy one. Hope you get back in tippy-toppy shape soon, MM! 🙂

  3. Awww, I hope you are feeling better soon! Dang allergies. Dang widgeon taking a vacation-how dares he?
    I’ve tried that primer before and it’s ok. I didn’t really notice much of a colour correction with it but it did feel nice. Never tried the foundation. I still like the colour adjusting technology as it works for me. You should see what happens to my really pale daughter though-she’s so pale these things don’t know what to do and just turn grey or really dark orange. It’s highly entertaining.

  4. I’ve never really felt any interest in trying so-called “smart” makeup, just because I would much rather buy a shade I know will work than hope that one will adjust to my skin––plus, I need more coverage than something that is “adjusts” can give me! The primer does look nice and glowy, though!

  5. To be honest, I’ve always thought those “smart” makeup-type foundations were SOOOOOO gimmicky. The grey/white color is SO unappealing…and WHO cares if you’re makeup can change colors as long as it’s YOUR color and actually works. I’m sorry, but I would never 😛

  6. Like the others, I never really got into the smart technology much – mainly because I always assumed it was designed for light to medium skintones overall, and that the ‘intelligence’ would stop once it got to my darker skintone. I don’t have any basis to say if that is or isn’t true, but I do think you made a good point MM about it being so sheer that OF COURSE it’s going to match your skintone. I just don’t know. Anything that sounds too good to be true, usually is right?

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