The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Almay Smart Shade Makeup Review

Makeup that magically transforms to match your skintone? Impossible! Or is it...? The Budget Babe's resident beauty expert investigates. —BB

by The Budget Beauty Babe
Lately, Almay has been broadcasting these really tempting commercials on TV. Their fabulous model squirts out a little bit of white makeup onto her finger, and it magically transforms into her perfect shade on her face. The commercial then goes on to tell you about new Smart Shade technology, where microscopic color beads activate upon applying them and change into your exact shade of makeup. Needless to say, I was very incredulous, and yet their commercial worked because off I went to Ulta to give it a whirl.

It was easy enough to pick the shade I needed from their three options (light, medium and dark), and before even making it home I ripped open the package in the car and squirted some out on my fingers just like the spokesmodel. Gently rubbing it into my hand, I was really surprised: The makeup actually did change from white to my skin color! Then for the sake of my experiment, I grabbed my boyfriend's hand and proceeded to rub some on him, and amazingly it did the same thing (and his skin is at least five shades darker than mine!)

Upon very close inspection of the "white" makeup that comes out of the tube, you'll see little flecks of color, which leads me to believe that this is in fact "liquid mineral makeup" - where in the minerals are suspended in a makeup base and then blended into the face and like other loose minerals reflect light in such a way that perfect matching occurs. Pretty clever.

I think this is a nice product, however, I must say that it covers more like a tinted moisturizer and really doesn't have the covering power of foundation. I really like it as a base to loose mineral makeup, as it provides SPF protection and a nice evening of the skin tone. Those with more to hide need not apply - the makeup is too thin to cover redness, blueness, or spots.

Overall I like this product. Almay Smart Shade Makeup is clever, quasi-magical and delivers light, even coverage (great as a base, perfect replacement for non-tinted moisturizer) with SPF protection.

>> Almay Smart Shade makeup is available at for $12.14.

BBB, I was dazzled by Almay's marketing also! But I'm sorry to say that I tried this product and was not impressed by the even pastier color than my regular skin tone which resulted nor the oilyish texture (not sure if it actually contains oil) with what felt like micro-beads you would find in a scrub(albeit minuscule/dissolving). I kinda felt like it deposited in my lines as well. I'm a freak and have a very particular idea when it comes to the texture of what I put on my face. Maybe I need to give this product another chance per your very thorough and convincing review?
#1 romi on 2008-02-19 20:55 (Reply)
hmm... I don't agree at all with the above- I own this product as well and I find it to be wonderful and really smooth and silky- maybe you own an old bottle or one that has been affected by temperature? It sounds like an old product.... just a thought, since I love mine!
#2 Peaches on 2008-02-19 21:39 (Reply)
that didn't even cross my mind! but all my comments really do point in that direction. time to clean out the make-up trove and give this product a fair try!
#2.1 romi on 2008-02-20 12:06 (Reply)
You should go to Beauty Brains. They explain that the product changes color even on a piece of white paper, so the "smart shade personalized technology" involved is pretty much bullsh*t.
#3 Troglodyte on 2009-01-05 08:41 (Reply)
I just bought this in light/medium. I have tried many different types of foundation, from the $10 drugstore ones to a $180 Cle de Peau ones... I'm very satisfied so far with this Almay one. I wore it for 1 whole day today, but mainly indoors. I'm going to try wearing this outdoors tomorrow to see if there's any change in color. I've read some reviews how it turns orangey when worn throughout the day, so I'm crossing my fingers that this doesn't happen!
#4 pc on 2010-05-09 15:07 (Reply)
From the patent on the technology behind this product:

"In the case of a composition applied to skin such as foundation makeup, the development of the color directly on the skin from a non-skin matching color to a skin matching color gives the consumer the impression that the composition is “smart” and capable of changing color to exactly match her skin tone."

Basically, traditional foundation has pigment evenly distributed throughout the base ingredients. Almay has figured out a way to suspend the pigment in little drops/clumps. When you apply the makeup, you break the clumps and distribute the pigment. There is NO color change. All you are doing is emulsifying the makeup yourself instead of buying makeup that is already emulsified. It's a total scam.
#5 Bkitties on 2011-07-08 08:46 (Reply)
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