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I really like this foundation, and it does match the shade of your skin like magic. At first I was dubious, as this foundation only cost me £3.95 (I bought mine online, I think it RRP's at £10.95, which is a tad expensive) and comes out of the tube as a strange grey colour, but upon application it changed to match my skin tone, I have really fair skin and it can be a problem finding foundation to match. If you have acne, this probably isn't the foundation for you as it doesn't have the strongest coverage - more like a slightly stronger tinted foundation, but as I don't suffer badly from blemishes this doesn't affect me. Instead the foundation leaves a nice healthy glow to my skin which I really like, and leaves it looking smoother and keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day.
My concealer also sits nicely on top of it, blending well together. I think this product is slightly light-reflective as the dark circles underneath my eyes look reduced after use, making me a very happy person.
I also really like the fact that the foundation contains factor 20 SPF, meaning I don't need to worry about my face burning when I wear this foundation. The only drawback is the amount that you get in the tube, which isn't a great deal.
All in all, for the price - £3.95 - this foundation is a bargain. It's not for everyone - but if you don't have many spots or blemishes to cover, like a light coverage and have skin that needs to be hydrated this is a great product. I will definitely be buying again.
Almay Smart Shade Makeup has an RRP of £10.99, and is available from selected chemists and stores which stock the Almay brand, as well as online. As with most things, it can usually be found cheaper if you shop around online, and its currently selling at half price at boots.com. It comes in 3 shades; Light, Light/Medium, and Medium.
Why I Bought It
I have fair skin, and I find it can be really difficult to find a foundation which suits my skin tone. I currently own 2 of each kind of foundation that I have; one in the lightest shade, and one in the next shade up. But guess what? The lightest ones too light, and the next one ups too dark. So far Ive found this to be the case with every foundation Ive tried. I even tried Max Factors Colour Adapt foundation which claims to adjust to your skin tone, but as you still have to have the right colour for it to work, it was a waste of time. Maybe I just have an abnormal skin tone, but its rather annoying that if I want to create the illusion of unblemished skin I have to either look like a ghost or like Ive been tangoed! So, when I saw that Almay Smart Shade Makeup only has 3 self-adjusting shades to choose from, I thought this may be the answer to my problem. Ive also always wondered whether something that adapts to the colour of your skin would be any good as a foundation, as surely it will adapt to the colour of any blemishes too, thus not covering them?
The makeup comes in a dinky little 30ml tube, smaller than most foundation tubes Ive seen, so would be easy to fit in a handbag, makeup bag, or pocket if you so wished. The tube doesnt come boxed, so theres no extra packaging wasting materials and adding to landfill. The tube is what you could call skin coloured, fading to white at one end, and has the name and colour printed on the front, and a little product info, directions and ingredients on the back. It has a screw on lid which is very easy to open, but also fastens securely. The hole on the nozzle is only about 1mm in diameter, so its very easy to control the flow of the product, which in turns means theres less product wasted.
The info on the back of the tube doesnt really say a lot, it simply states that this colourless makeup transforms into a shade that complements your skin tone and takes the guesswork out of finding the right shade. I was interested to know a little more about how it worked, so I went on the Almay website and found that the foundation contains colour beads which are activated when you smooth it on, transforming to complement your skin tone. This is supposed to give you a sheer and natural finish, and leave your skin looking smooth and even. It contains grapeseed, ginseng and ginkgo biloba, which are all natural antioxidants to give your skin a healthy glow.
I also noticed on the website that this foundation won a 2006 Health Magazine Healthy Beauty Award, and a 2006 Redbook Magazine Most Valuable Product Beauty Award.
This foundation, as with all Almay products, is hypoallergenic, and has been clinically, dermatologically and allergy tested.
It is oil-free and non comedogenic (meaning it wont clog pores), and is suitable for all skin types.
As the darkest shade available is medium, I would not expect this foundation to be suitable for darker skin tones.
Before using this foundation for the first time I decided to try a bit on the back of my hand to see what it was like, and I was actually quite shocked. The liquid itself is a very pale peach colour, in which the tiny dark colour beads are easily visible. When I smoothed it over my hand, the liquid lightened slightly, before turning a very dark colour indeed, before lightening again, but it didnt match the colour of my skin. It was how dark it went to begin with that really shocked me, but the colour it ended up was close enough to my skin tone for me, so I went on to try it on my face.
The foundation glided on really smoothly, and felt really light and cool against my skin. It was easy to smooth it over my entire face using my fingertips, but trying to blend it was a complete disaster. I ended up with odd patches that had stayed the really dark colour that it initially went when I tried it on my hand, and no amount of blending seemed to change it. It did however, feel really light on my skin, and I did not feel as though I was wearing any makeup.
Before I went out into town I asked my mam to give it a go and see what she thought of it, as Id not been impressed by the colour. When I got back she told me shed used the foundation on one side of her face and asked me to guess which side it was. I honestly couldnt tell a difference at all until she told me which side it was, and then I could see that the side shed used it on looked less mottled, to put it in her words, but I still could not see any difference in colour. It seemed to have worked really well on her skin, and shed said she didnt have any problems blending it at all, but that she had only used a very tiny amount, so I thought maybe Id used too much the first time, and decided to give it another go.
This time I made sure I only used the very tiniest amount at a time, adding more when I needed it, and this did work much better, and it blended perfectly with my skin tone. It took me a few more goes to get used to it and to perfect my application method, but I now find it really easy. I normally apply foundation with a brush, but I find this one is best applied with the fingertips, as you need to massage it in circular motions, almost as if you were exfoliating, to activate the colour beads.
This foundation is very easily removed with facial cleansing wipes or facial cleanser. My mams also found baby wipes just as effective at removing it, so you shouldnt have any problems just using your normal cleanser or wipes.
Well Id best tell you a little about our skin types before telling you what kind of finish we were both able to achieve.
I have greasy skin with a tendency to break out quite often, a lot of acne scarring left over from my teenage years, and the odd dry patch. My skin is also very sensitive, but as Im only 22 I dont have any wrinkles or other signs of aging to contend with. Im also very pale as I dont see the sun very often and always use sunscreen when I do.
Once I got used to applying the foundation I found it gave a very natural looking finish, and it suited my skin tone perfectly. It felt extremely light, in fact I really didnt feel like I was wearing makeup at all, and my skin felt fresh and clean all day. It didnt feel at all greasy, and I didnt get that usual shine breaking through part way through the day. It didnt bother my sensitive skin at all, make my pores feel clogged up, or cling to dry patches making them more obvious, like foundations usually do. I also found it was a really good base for other makeup, helping blusher and the like to last longer. The only problem I had was with the coverage. The only reason I usually wear foundation is to cover my acne scars when i go on nights out, but the coverage was so sheer that they were no less obvious than without the foundation. My tinted moisturiser actually gives more coverage than this, so for me, even though it felt really nice, and did look natural, it was a complete waste of time.
My mams just turned 50, but her greasy skin has meant she hasnt got a lot of wrinkles yet, just a few fine lines. Her main problem is that she has very visible pores. Shes also pale, but less so than me as shes seen more sun over the years, and is not so bothered about sunscreens as I am.
As mentioned above, my mam found this foundation really easy to apply from the word go. It blended perfectly to her skin tone, and made her skin look much smoother than normal. The finish is very natural, and evens out her skin tone, making it appear more youthful, in my opinion. I think she hit the nail on the head when she said it made her skin look less mottled. Her pores are not noticeable when shes wearing this, and it really makes a big difference. She also says it feels as though shes not wearing any makeup, and it doesnt make her skin at all greasy. The finish lasts all day no problems, and it doesnt dry out her skin, which shes found to be a problem with other foundations.
Well, overall I think this is a good buy for anyone with fairly good skin who doesnt need so much coverage. Its great for my mam with her minor blemishes, and shes willingly taken it off my hands. For anyone looking to cover discolouration of any kind, such as scarring or age spots, however, Id recommend something with a higher coverage. Even though the tubes pretty small, the tiny amount you need to use means it will last ages, and whilst at £10.99 its not exactly cheap, Ive seen far less effective products selling for much more, so I feel this is really good value. Most importantly though, it lives up to its claims of taking the guesswork out of finding the right shade!
Colorless foundation /