Smart Shade Smart Balance Pressed Powder

for $ 13.99
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews


Brand Overview

If this pressed powder really could adapt to match your skin tone after application, as claimed, it would be a good thing, because it's impossible to determine which shade is right for you just by looking at the packaging—they all look exactly the same! All of the shades have a light base with white swirls and dark spots of color that are meant to join together when applied and somehow adjust to your skin tone, and to everyone else's as well. The truth: Makeup cannot magically adjust to the color of your skin because it doesn't know what skin color you have, and this one is no different.

In reality this is a very dry pressed powder that looks somewhat chalky on your skin. Even more disappointing is that it offers little coverage and minimal oil absorption. There are too many exceptional, affordable pressed powders available to tolerate a gimmicky one like this claiming to magically match your skin tone.


  • None.

  • Shade-adjusting claim is not true, which makes selecting the right shade nearly impossible.
  • Dry texture is difficult to pick up with a brush.
  • Leaves chalky, white cast on skin.
Jar Packaging: No
Mica, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Nylon-12, Silica, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Water, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid. May Contain: Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide

Almay At-A-Glance

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.

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