Recession-friendly beauty: Almay Pure Blends


For many women, the days of spending $40 on a bottle of foundation or $25 on blush are over, at least temporarily. Many of us are discovering the joys or horrors of shopping for cosmetics in the local drugstore. Unfortunately, the average American drugstore is hopeless: the choices are bewildering and the displays are utterly depressing. Cosmetics companies don’t make things better: one brand’s packaging looks like every other’s, until all the products from Maybelline to L’Oreal to Revlon blend into one another seamlessly along a sad, poorly lit wall . . . that is until you get to Almay’s new Pure Blends cosmetics (see above).

Almay Pure Blends stands out from the rest. Packaged like Stila (a more expensive brand sold in department stores and Sephora) in cheerful cream and pink colors, Almay makes us feel good about buying inexpensive beauty products in an otherwise very depressing time. While the other brands stick to decades-old packaging, Almay has decided, even during the deepest recession since the Second World War, to go all out and grab the customer’s attention. And it worked! I bought the foundation which comes in a small tube that is perfect for traveling. I also bought the shimmer loose powder, three eye shadows, blush and lip gloss. Here’s my review:

  • foundation: small tube, perfect for traveling, beautiful lightweight coverage – better than almost all expensive department store brands I have tried; makes pores smaller, skin look smoother and glowing.
  • loose finishing powder: comes in matte or translucent shimmer  – I chose the translucen shimmer because when applied over the foundation, it makes the skin gleam, not in an oily shiny mess but in a healthy way. Perfect companion to the foundation.
  • powder blush: 3 shades of blush and 1 bronzer – gorgeous subtle color that you can build up if you want a more intense blush. I recommend the Orchid shade for darker skin tones and honey for lighter ones.
  • eye shadows: sheer, natural-looking eye shadows that go on smoothly giving you more control over the depth and intensity of the color. My favorites are stone, steel and cocoa.
  • lip gloss: very natural shades, easy to apply but the taste and smell are awful. I do not recommend this gloss.

In summary, Almay Pure Blends cosmetics (except for the lip gloss) are much better than most department store brands I have tried. The packaging is beautiful and portable for travel: small, compact and lightweight. Prices are very budget friendly: $14 for the foundation, $7.50 for the eye shadow, $14 for the loose powder, $11.50 for the blush and $8 for the lip gloss. I bought these products at a Walgreen’s special promotion (buy one, get one for half price) so it was truly a bargain. Many online stores are also discounting these products so do your research before you buy.

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Shopplr, a site on fashion, beauty and design. Esme is the founder of (travel guides and hotel reviews) and MuniWireless (WiFi networks).