Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Almay Smart Shade CC Concealer & Brightener Duo Review & Swatches of Shades

smart shade concealer plus brightener
Almay Smart Shade CC Concealing & Brightening Duo
New for Spring 2014

Price: $8.99 for 3 grams
Approx $3/gram

Almay released their new concealer earlier this year alongside their "new" Smart Shade Foundation, & their new Anti-Aging Smart Shade Foundation, among several new color products like their Softees Eyeshadow Singles as well.

Almay's Smart Shade CC Concealing & Brightening Duo is not a true cream as it would first appear. It is actually a dimethicone based cream product, much like Hard Candy's new Glamouflage Lite Concealer Duo and this changes the performance and features of the formula a bit which may be a positive or negative for you!

Supposedly, Almay Smart Shade CC Concealing & Brightening Duo will do the following (according to Almay):

this color correcting duo helps skin look flawless with a natural glow. 
the brightener highlights features while the corrector evens out skintone, 
corrects discolorations and minimizes redness. 
hypoallergenic. dermatologist tested. made for sensitive skin.

These claims aren't necessarily outrageous, infact, they're halfway reasonable and should be easily acheived with any well formulated concealer or highlighter. The "natural glow" claims refer to the satin finish. That part is true. The brightener will highlight while the concealer will correct. That part is also true. Hypoallergenic is a generic term and totally unregulated, and most products are dermatologist tested at some point in their lifespan so that has little significance.

So where do the Smart Shade & CC claims come in to play? In short, they don't. Luckily, this concealer doesn't have the same typical pigmentation found in most of Almay's Smart Shade line, that is, the color is immediately obvious & pre mixed; it is not a greyish fluid which needs to be blended to release small balls of powdered pigment. Those formulas kick me in my rear, I never seem to be able to blend them easily and as far as them adjusting to your skintone in a unique way? That's a marketing scheme and a parlor trick. You mix the product and while blending the pigment becomes apparent, therefore appearing to be matching your skin. As for the CC part, CC stands for Color Correcting, Color Corrective, or some combination therein; usually at least. (In Tartes CC Primer Stick, the CC part of the name stands for "Colored Clay" so its a non-committal term at best.) Anyways, the whole color correcting claims are just a new spin on an old staple, after all, aren't all foundations & concealer's color correcting to some extent?

As for the Smart Shade CC Concealing & Brightening Duo itself, as I said, its an interesting product. Its part of a new line up of silicone based creams (as opposed to standard emollient ones), and, unfortunately, its a type of formula which isn't entirely perfected and is a bit of a hit or miss. I love the shades offered, which are Light, Light/Medium, and Medium, especially the Light duo which has a very pale pink brightener and a very pale peach. It should suit fair-light skintones quite well. Medium and Light/Medium also have a pink Brightened and a peach concealer/corrector, but the shades aren't as neutral. Luckily, the shades do apply similar to how they appear in the compact so it should be easy to decide before trying it if the shade will be a match. (I would suggest you do consider trying Hard Candy's Glamouflage Lite Concealer Duo if this type of formula intrigues you and you can't find a suitable match with Almay.)

Formula wise, this is a rather draggy concoction. I believe that that is somewhat evident from the swatches in the photos since that is about as well blended as I can get this prior to it warming up and melting with your body temperature, (at which point it creases.) It is definitely best applied with a paddle style concealer brush over a very well prepped and well moisturized eye area. For blemishes, there are still some waxes and emollients so be cautious. Coverage ranges from sheer-moderate. The problem again, lies in application; there is really no way to achieve medium coverage and have it look natural or non-cakey. Its a shame too, because I do love the shades.

As far as the highlighter/brightener portion, the issue again is blendibility which is a key proponent of a good highlighter or brightener since you don't want it to be obvious. This is one which would be O.K. for girls starting out with concealer who don't need significant coverage and don't wear alot of foundation. It will also work halfway decently over a Tinted Moisturizer or moisturizing BB Cream since those will help aid in the application.

Its a great concept having silicone based creams but this particular category (which is different than previous cream-powder formulas) is still a bit new and a ways away from being perfected!

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