This is my first experience with an Almay primer and I have mixed feelings on it. According to Almay, “this new primer helps provide a luminous finish while prepping your skin for makeup application.” Initially I was a bit concerned about the “luminous” part as I thought it might leave my skin shiny or greasy looking. Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case; instead, I ended up with bright, healthy-looking skin that yeah, you could describe as “luminous.”
I was also left with skin that felt quite smooth. A good primer basically creates a thin layer over one’s skin that fills in imperfections and creates a flawless canvas with which to apply makeup over. Based on touch, this primer does just that, creating that smooth surface that allowed for quicker and easier makeup application.
For me, prepping skin for makeup is only half of what a superior primer does; the other half is working to keep my makeup in place. Here is where Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer falls flat. While testing this product, I did numerous split face tests, some of which involved facing Almay’s primer off against Make Up For Ever’s HD Microperfecting Primer. Each time, it was no contest. The MUFE primer did a visibly better job when it came to lengthening the life of my foundation, blush or eyeshadow.
Now, Almay doesn’t make any claims about this item improving other product’s staying power so part of me feels it’s wrong to hold this fault against it. But, like I said above, for me, a primer can’t be great without this trait so yeah, in the end, I do view this as a flaw in this product.
Another test for a great primer is whether or not you can wear it on its own, as a product that at least somewhat improves the overlook of bare skin. Here, Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer shines. Almay says that, “the pearly pink tones help skin look brighter and combat the appearance of dull skin.” I completely agree with this claim. I did a few split face tests in which I applied the Almay primer to one half of my face and wore nothing on the half. The half with the primer on it looked brighter —though not glow-y—and just looked happier and healthier. The primer also did a good job of evening out my skin tone and even softened the appearance of pores and blemishes.
Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer is packaged in a pump bottle, a design I like since pump bottles help preserve the lifespan and the integrity of the product. This style of packaging also makes it a breeze to pump out just the right amount of primer.
Like all Almay products, this one is designed for sensitive skin and is “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist tested” but as those terms are sort of meaningless, I’m more impressed by the fact that this primer contains broad spectrum SPF 15. I’m also impressed by the price, only $16 for a 30 ml container.
Would I buy it: No but mainly because I already have a primer that I love and that does everything an amazing primer should do.
Should you buy it: If you’re looking for a well-priced primer that evens out skin tone while brightening it and blurring pores, then yes. But if what you’re really looking for in a primer is the ability to extend makeup life, skip it.