One lipstick to rule them all? That's the premise of Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick ($9.49 at London Drugs), which claims to deliver the perfect shade of nude, red, berry, or pink depending on one's skin tone (light, light-medium, or medium), along with an ultra-emollient formula—all for under $10. More details after the jump!
Almay's Smart Shade lipsticks remind me a lot of sister brand Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butters, albeit in a more limited shade range to take the guesswork out of choosing the right shade. Both products boast sheer, shiny, super-moisturizing colour, and they even have similar packaging. Don't feel like you have to stick to the shade recommended for your skin tone though: the skin tone is merely a suggestion, according to Almay Canada's reps, and you can go up or down a shade depending on how intense or subtle you want your lip colour to be.
These lipsticks were designed for the woman who's too intimidated by lipstick, who doesn't know which shade of red is right for her. Instead of being inundated with too many choices, she's guaranteed to pick the right one on the first try. Unfortunately though, based on years of experience trying different shades and now trying the Almay Smart Shade lipsticks, I just don't think that's a realistic notion when it comes to lip colours.
The shades have just enough pigment to show up on lips, and it seems in trying to flatter everyone the shades were kind of hit-and-miss in terms of whether they'd flatter me. I have a light-medium skin tone so all the shades I was given to review were, in theory, suitable. But in reality, the Red Medium wasn't warm or cool enough to really brighten my complexion; on my lips, its neutral tone rendered it a muddled brick hue. The Nude Light and Berry Light/Medium weren't as flattering as they could've been either.
That being said, the Pink Medium is the sort of bright, cool fuchsia that I've learned looks great on me, and sure enough, it did, brightening up my complexion while the sheerness and shininess made it appropriate for daytime wear. It's become one of the go-to lip colours always floating around in my purse since I began product-testing, and every time I wear it I get compliments.
So, bottom line: Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick gets a lot of things right—the ease and wearability of the sheer/shiny formula, the hydration, the price point. If one of the colours works for you, it might very well become a daily essential, but don't expect the shade range to yield the Holy Grail red lipstick you've been searching for all this while.