For a primer that has "luminous" in the name, we were expecting a glowing, radiant finish. Instead, Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer SPF 15 sets to a more muted matte, pink tone that is supposed to "help skin look brighter and combat the appearance of dull skin".
To a minor degree, the pinkness does even out sallow skin, and you could consider the whitish-pink cast it leaves brightening. However, the biggest difference we noticed was just that skin looked lighter and slightly pink which isn't necessarily flattering for all over use, plus it doesn't work for all skin tones, especially darker skin.
On the plus side, the semi-matte finish has a slight blurring effect over imperfections, and it wears just fine under foundation and other makeup. While the fragrance-free formula boasts a small amount of beneficial skin-soothing and repairing ingredients, the clear bottle packaging won't be able to keep the light-sensitive ingredients (such as antioxidants) stable unless you keep this stored away from natural light.
Another important factor to consider is that even though this provides broad spectrum sun protection (from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), SPF 15 is below the standard recommended by physicians and dermatologists worldwide (it should be at least SPF 20+). As such, we'd advise pairing this with another form of sunscreen (i.e. your daily moisturizer or foundation with SPF) to ensure adequate protection.
All factors considered, this primer fares best for normal to combination skin, but gets a mere "meh" recommendation from us.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (4.3%), Zinc Oxide (3.3%). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Glycerin, Boron Nitride, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Butylene Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethicone/PEG 10/15 Crosspolymer, Alumina, Crosspolymer, Methyl Acetylglycyrrhetinoyl Hydroxyprolinate, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice, Tocopherol, Niacinamide, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate, Lactobacillus, Hydrolyzed Triticum Monococcum Seed Extract, Maltodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Methicone, Xanthan Gum, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sodium Citrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Mica, Iron Oxides.
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 don’t automatically adapt to skin’s 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.
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