Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup SPF 15
Almay relaunched this foundation under the premise that its new formula improves upon their "ToneMimic™ shade-sensing bead technology". The idea is that this takes the guesswork out of finding your ideal shade. Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly pan out, but this still ends up being a decent, fragrance-free foundation to consider.
Almay wants you to believe that their ToneMimic™ shade-sensing beads "intuitively transform to your skin tone for all day, natural looking color in your perfect shade." In reality, there's nothing intuitive about the color—it turns the same hue whether you rub it into a white piece of paper or your skin.
Of the three shades (Light, Light/Medium, and Medium) each appears to be a grainy whitish-gray right out of the tube, but during the blending process, the encapsulated pigments mix with the formula to create the end product color.
We were only able to get our hands on the Light/Medium shade, which has a natural looking hue. (Let us know if you've tried Light or Medium in the Community Reviews section.)
Coverage is on the lighter side, though buildable up to medium with a natural (almost matte) finish ideal for normal to oily/combination skin.
SPF-wise, 15 is an ill-advised rating if this is going to be your only source of sun protection. However, if you apply this over a moisturizer or primer with SPF 30 then the extra protection from the foundation is value added. The sunscreen actives are mineral-based (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), which is a plus for those with sensitive skin.
The bottom line: Although this foundation can't magically match your skin tone as claimed, if you can find a shade that works for you it's a decent option to consider. Just remember to double up on your sun protection!
- Sets to a natural (almost matte) finish that wears well.
- Offers light-to-medium buildable coverage to disguise imperfections.
- Fragrance free.
- "ToneMimic shade-sensing bead technology" doesn't intuitively match your skin tone as claimed.
- The small range of three light to medium shades won't work for everyone.
- SPF 15 is too low to be relied on for sun protection (so make sure to wear it over a primer or moisturizer SPF 30 or greater).
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.