Smart Shade Anti-Aging Skintone Matching Makeup SPF 20
Almay relaunched Smart Shade Anti-Aging Skintone Matching Makeup SPF 20 under the premise that its new formula improves upon its ability to adapt to your skin tone. Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly pan out, and this just ends up being a so-so foundation to consider.
The "ToneMimic™ shade-sensing beads" are supposed to "intuitively" match your complexion, but in reality the color turns the same hue whether you rub it into a white piece of paper or your skin. No magic there!
Of the three shades (Light, Light/Medium, and Medium) each dispenses as a grainy whitish-gray color right out of the tube. During the blending process, the encapsulated pigments mix with the formula to create the end product color, which may or may not be a good fit for your skin tone.
Speaking of blending, it takes some effort to ensure seamless results due the encapsulated pigments. You can expect medium coverage and a matte finish that holds back oily shine.
As for the anti-aging claims, this foundation contains some beneficial antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients, but their benefits are diminished due to the potentially irritating fragrance in the formula.
By the way, relying on this as your only form of sun protection is ill advised due to the low SPF 20 rating (medical experts around the world agree you need SPF 30 or higher). However, if you apply this over another product with at least SPF 30, then the extra protection from the foundation is value added.
See our Best Foundations with Sunscreen for superior options.
- Offers medium coverage and a matte finish that holds back oily shine.
- True to claim, the formula contains anti-aging ingredients such niacinamide and antioxidants.
- Doesn't intuitively match your skin tone as claimed, and the small range of shades won't work for everyone.
- Takes extra effort to blend.
- SPF 20 is too low to be relied on if you were counting on this as your sole source of sun protection.
- Contains potentially irritating fragrance.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Strengths:An excellent assortment of mascaras; several exceptional foundation options to choose from; a phenomenal liquid eyeliner; a selection of good makeup removers.
Weaknesses: Some of the Intense i-color products do the exact opposite of enhancing eye color; mediocre blushes; Smart Shade products dont automatically adapt to skins color as claimed.
Long a standby for those with sensitive skin seeking hypoallergenic products (though that term is unregulated and can be applied to any product, regardless of ingredients), Almay continues to refine its comprehensive makeup line. In early 2006 the company repackaged its old favorites, and also relaunched several new makeup items. Everything now has a sleek new look and color-coded packaging. We admit, the makeover is effective, not just product-wise but visually too.
Shopping this drugstore line is now much easier because of the clearly defined product and color family groupings. Lamentably, testers and trial sizes of the makeup are still scarce regardless of where you shop. Almay has always been a reliable line for foundations, powder, and mascara. Within its current lineup you'll find that remains true. Their foundations are better than ever, and still offer full, broad-spectrum sun protection and a mostly neutral palette. We also found their concealers and mascaras have improved, as have the pencil options. When it comes to shopping for makeup staples with state-of-the-art formulas, Almay has many winners, and some innovative surprises that its competitors would be wise to learn from.
For more information about Almay, owned by Revlon, call (800) 992-5629 or visit www.almay.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.