Almay Smart Shade Mousse Makeup Review & Swatches

Almay Smart Shade Mousse Foundation ($9.99) recently launched for Spring 2013 at drugstores in four color selections (I found mine at Harmons).

This is color adapting foundation product that supposedly “changes” once applied to your perfect shade of color thus the lack of colors. Light, Light/Medium, Medium, and Dark are the soup du jour for this foundation.

Take a look!

Funny story, this comes with one of those protective seals that you can keep to cover the foundation or toss out. When I was taking photos of it I placed the seal on my desk and had plans to reseal the foundation after.

Well it disappeared.

I was on freak out mode looking for it since it disappeared. Not a big deal right? The problem? It had a huge heap of foundation on the seal! I was so worried it would get on the my cream carpets or worst my clothes. I HAD no idea where it went. I finally found it earlier today stuck to a bottle of perfume. I don’t even know how it got there! To make matters worst a newly dry cleaned shirt I put on this morning has a HUGE smear of the foundation on it. I dread finding out if I got it on anything else.

Beauty blog problems. They be big.

Anyway…on with the review!

They call this a mousse but the texture is more of a thicker cream. It has a bit of a gelatin-like feel to it. It kinda bounces when you touch it but isn’t the whipped up texture of a traditional mousse foundation.

The foundation starts out life as a pale gray-ish shade. There are tiny little pigment capsules embedded in it which burst as you apply and begin to morph into “your perfect” shade. Honestly, you can rub it on your arm, your face, a piece of paper, or even a napkin and the shade pretty much comes across exactly the same. I tried it on myself, my sister, and even my best friend (we all have different skin tones) and the shade kinda sorta has the same exact color finish. I got the Light/Medium shade and it goes a bit orange beige on me. Thankfully not so much so that I’m running around looking like Snookie! The color is too sheer to really pick up on the orange. The orange isn’t noticeable until I head into an hour or two of wear, that’s when it begins to darken and go more orange. Otherwise, the color fits not too badly to my skin tone.

On the upside it does feel very nice. It has a little bit of a silicone feel and blends out to a creamy, smooth, almost matte satin finish. It’s lightweight and wears comfortably. It doesn’t conceal major problems so if you have acne scarring, darkness, or just depend on your foundation to give you completely flawlessness I don’t think this will cut it. It does create a nice working canvas for makeup. The color is wrong for me on some levels but in a certain light it almost looked flattering. The shade does have oxidation issues and begins to deepen and go more orange within a two hour period and will fade completely by hour four. I don’t love how dark it begins to get within an hour or two of application.

Overall, the verdict is still out for me. If it fits your tone you might be lucky enough to say, “Hey, I like it!” but that will probably be rare. They got a nicely texture foundation here but the entire color match technology ruins things. If they released it in say 15 or even 20 different shades, same formula, I might be inclined to get the right match and proceed to rave it because I honestly have no problems with the application and wear. The real issue is all of the “Smart Shade” technology that makes the entire product wishy washy for me.

If you find it on sale it might be worth a haul. If you’re lucky enough to call one of the four shades a perfect match, again, it might be worth a haul.

But I think many will be disappointed. You’ll like the texture and formula but probably hate the color.

Available now at drugstores.

Tried it?

Do share!

  • 12/6/12 18:47 LINDARRAGNAR:

    lol Muse I am so sorry about your shirt!! :( I seem to always get mustard on my shirt whenever I eat a corndog! LOL One time I made sure to roll up my sleeves etc. and was extra cautious…. about 3 hours later I noticed my hair looked extra yellow, and guess what!! I got a HUGE blob of mustard in my hair!!!!!! Oh it was so embarrassing!

    and to add insult to injury the foundation is orangey! :( what a shame!!


    • 12/7/12 11:41 the Muse:

      aw it’s ok! thank god it came out hehe. OH no! That’s awful! not so much embarrassing but getting it out was prob a b1tch! haha right? my shirt and I couldn’t even get a decent color out of the foundation as a reward!


  • 12/6/12 19:16 BLee:

    Ya, orange would not look so good on anyone. tee-hee unless your at the chocolate factory :)


  • 12/6/12 20:38 Lulle:

    I might try it out next time there’s a sale on Almay at my drugstore. I’m just curious about the texture!


    • 12/7/12 9:08 the Muse:

      the texture is gorgeous lulle! ;D


  • 12/6/12 22:45 charlotte:

    I used to wear the original formula.. had no problem with the color, but it had the same issue with the “disappearing act” after a few hours. The blush and concealer were the same.


  • 12/7/12 2:08 Britney:

    The first swatch looks just like melted marshmallow, lol. I think I will pass.


  • 12/7/12 2:40 Suzanne:

    Ive tried the almay smart shades and they always pull orange. I cant figure out for the life of me why they are still doin it..


  • 12/7/12 9:21 OrangeLipstickBlog:

    Orange within a two hour period? Umm…eww. I have just never been able to find a drugstore foundation that works for me. NEVER! I started my makeup life with foundation from Clinique and I’ve been disappointed every time I make the rash decision to purchase drugstore foundation. I’m glad it works for some people, though!


  • 12/7/12 11:38 K.B.:

    I’m both intrigued and freaked out by this product. Although it reminds me of those way cool shirts in the 90s that changed colors when you went out in the sun. lol


    • 12/7/12 11:41 the Muse:

      ha…they sell them ALL over the islands still!


  • 12/7/12 13:16 Hana:

    Hi Muse,
    I’m a beginner when it comes to make up. Do you have any recommendation of products that I should start out with? ^^ Thanks so much.


    • 12/7/12 13:22 the Muse:

      i’m not sure of your current routine hana? the basics are a good start, foundation, concealer, powder…not sure if you already use those?


  • 12/7/12 13:55 Danielle:

    I’m always pretty unsure about these things. They just strike me as odd! I’m also afraid something will pull orange (there’s no such thing as PALE with drugstore foundation!Everything is STILL not light enough and pulls orange) Gah, I can’t afford to do expensive foundation that will match since it might not agree with my skin and then I have to deal with ugly breakouts.


    • 2/2/13 0:16 Sabrina:

      Just tried the new Revlon Nearly Naked or whatever it is called in Vanilla, their lightest yellow based colors and it worked great for me. Check out that line!


  • 12/7/12 15:36 Cindy:

    Aww! Sorry about the mess Muse! Don’t feel to bad, I tend to make messes very easily with my makeup, I’m a clumsy girl. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over my bottle of foundation… :'[


    • 12/10/12 9:19 the Muse:

      oh believe me totally done the knock down a million times don’t feel bad ;-D


      • 12/10/12 14:38 Cindy:

        I think I should put double stick tape on the bottom of any product that I could spill. Would save me money, time, and a headache!


        • 12/10/12 14:41 the Muse:

          lol good idea or crazy glue ;-D


  • 12/26/12 11:09 Kellee:

    Addendum to the first post I added, I do not have ANY orange tone whatsoever…For those of you that thought after 4 hours it went away one word-PRIMER ladies!


  • 2/17/13 11:02 Traci:

    I don’t think these self-adjusting things ever really work. I do really enjoy the Almay Clear Complexion foundation, though. It has salicylic acid in it, and I do notice an improvement in my complexion when I wear it regularly.


  • 3/26/13 2:54 Elle:

    Great review! I had the same problem with this product :( I am quite fair and usually by them great shade in every foundation. I was excited at the thought that hey maybe I can finally get the right shade! Sadly no :( the product is AMAZING otherwise but like mentioned it just goes orange after a few hours, which on a tanned individual might be ok, but on fair or pink undertone people a HUGE deal breaker :( the texture is phenomenal and for me the coverage was even fantastic, it covers any acne I had or acne scarring, it even beautifully glided over any dry spots I had. If they could get rid of that orange effect they’d have gold! :)


    • 3/26/13 9:59 the Muse:

      aw elle sorry I had the same issues :( it’s just too orange on my skin! the texture is lovely but the orange is a deal breaker!


  • 3/26/13 2:56 Elle:

    **** usually buy the lightest shade (darn auto spell lol)


  • 5/5/13 21:03 Ann:

    So I thought I would wear this for several hours before I threw my two cents in. I have a very oily face, red spots from rosaeca as well as a few spider veins. Most foundation oxidizes and turns orange on me. This stuff surprisingly held up really well. My face still got oily after after several hours, but no foundation will help with that. I used medium, because I am not fair, but not dark. This make up looks good. It did not settle in my lines, nor did it become too orange. It covered really well. After reading some of the others reviews I was not expecting to like this as much as I did. I think it really smoothes my skin. Maybe they need to work on a product for really light skin, but for me it was almost perfect. I’m glad because I have trouble finding foundation that I like.


  • 7/14/13 9:43 jaded:

    The gray mauve color looks perplexing if not scary, but if it doesn’t turn me orange…

    Big question: does it break anyone out?

    Thank you, Muse.


  • 8/19/13 15:45 Alex:

    I tried this out recently and it works amazingly with my summer tan! The texture of this foundation is like a dream<3 I didn't set it with a powder and had no problems looking lily or anything. I applied it with my fingers and I looked as though I had just been airbrushed!

    I'm in love with this foundation!


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