Almay recently launched these new single eyeshadows in a hybrid formula, somewhere between powder and cream shadow. The brand describes them as "Light as air, whipped powder shadows [that] provide pure color". They have started to pop out in drugstores, but not at my local stores, so I bought the 3 shades I own at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.
The Almay Shadow Softies (usually under $5) come in a cute little charcoal box with a transparent lid and an interesting teardrop shape. The angle makes it really easy to pop it open (how many times did I break a fingernail trying to open an obnoxious eyeshadow pan...). The packaging is sturdy enough to be carried around in a purse. They come with a sticker that goes around the opening (you can see it on the Lilac shadow in the first picture) so you can be sure that the little box you buy has never been opened before (gross people who open makeup and test it on yourself in drugstores: I hate you).
|Left to right: Creme Brulee, Moss, Lilac|
The texture is unlike anything I've tried before: it's a lot softer than a powder shadow, yet not creamy like a cream/gel shadow. It doesn't feel wet or oily and you can still detect powder grains. I'm not sure how you could whip powder as Almay claim that they do, but "light as air" is an accurate description. Unlike many cream shadows, they don't feel heavy or tacky on the lid, they're very thin and just barely there. Compared to another drugstore cream-to-powder product that you may already know, L'Oreal Visible Lift Blush, Almay Shadow Softies feel less creamy and more powdery, but they might be even thinner and lighter once applied.
|Left to right: Creme Brulee, Moss, Lilac|
Because of this unique hybrid texture, it's pretty much impossible to get any shadow at all on a brush, regardless of how much you try to rub and scrub the surface. The only usable tools are your fingers. This might be a deal-breaker for those of us addicted to their makeup brushes, but I think it won't be a problem for most users. Applying these shadows with a finger is in fact incredibly easy and fool-proof. Rub your finger on the shadow, swipe on your lid, blend the edges, done! It's super quick and so easy you could almost do it without a mirror. Perfect for the weekday mornings when I'm in panic because I'm running late (that could describe every single morning...), but still need a little bit of makeup on.
|Bottom to Top: Creme Brulee, Lilac, Moss|
I'm saying a little bit, because these Softies are not as pigmented as Almay seem to imply in their official description, what they offer is more of a wash of color. Pigmentation varies greatly between the shades that I have: Moss, the khaki, is fairly intense although it looks more like an antique gold on the eye, with a metallic finish; Lilac yields a light touch of shimmery pastel color and needs to be built for best result; Creme Brulee is basically colorless but sparkly, best used as a highlighter. As usual the eye swatches tend to look washed out and the result was more intense than the pictures show.
|Lilac on lid, Creme Brulee on browbone: more intense in person!|
|Moss on lid: more intense in person!|
Staying power is average, I do see some slight creasing after a few hours, but not too much fading by the end of my work day.
Overall: I do personally love Almay Shadow Softies and will buy more shades (I really want to try a matte finish), but I realize that some people might not. If you need user-friendly shadows that are fast and really easy to apply to create subtle work-friendly looks, I think you will love them, and their very affordable price will help. For my desperately-not-morning-person self, they are just the perfect product to do a quick makeup fix in less than 5 minutes (that's for shadow, concealer, mascara, blush). On the other hand, if you like intense shadows and can't imagine doing your eye makeup without using brushes, this is probably not a product you'll enjoy.
Where to buy: at your local drugstore, usual retailers of drugstore beauty brands, or online on drugstore.com.
The products featured in this review were purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.