Disclaimer: This post features item(s) received at no cost for reviewing purposes, but the opinions are mine and, as always, honest. Read the full disclosure here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you (I appreciate your help).

I have to admit, it’s been a while since I last browsed drugstore makeup aisles. It may sound snobby, but high end makeup often/ mostly performs much better. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been using drugstore makeup my whole life, until a few years ago, and I know there are some gems out there. Heck, I even did my wedding makeup using only drugstore makeup, and it was (dare I say?) beautiful. Well, recently I received a whole bunch of Almay makeup for testing, and I have to say, drugstore makeup has improved a lot in the last couple of years. It’s on trend, the variety is great, and there is an improvement in performance, too. Let me introduce you to some interesting Almay products!

Shadow Squad Eyeshadow - Making A Statement and Thrill Seeker

Shadow Squad Eyeshadow in Making A Statement and Thrill Seeker

Unfortunately, we’re not off to a good start. I find the concept of these monochromatic eyeshadow quads interesting – one eyeshadow colour in four different finishes, matte, glitter, metallic and shimmer. I got excited when I saw the purples, and that interesting blue-green glitter. However, they are not very pigmented. I really had to dig into them to get swatches, and they didn’t work on my eyes much better either. In short, I wouldn’t buy these 😦

swatched in a photo later on

Smoky Eye Trios Eyeshadow in Smouldering Embers

Smoky Eye Trios Eyeshadow in Smouldering Embers

Here we have an improvement. The Smoky eye trio swatched better. Although it’s not hugely pigmented, the shades are soft and blend well on the eye. There wasn’t much fallout and the overall look was quite natural. They did fade towards the end of the day, even over a primer. The little sponge applicator is useless, it’s too tiny, so I used my brushes. I can recommend this trio if you like subtle makeup, and are worried that you may overdo it.

Here you can see swatches of the smoky eye trio above the shadow squad quads. All of the shadows were built up:

almay eyeshadow swatches
Top to bottom: Smoky Eye Trios Eyeshadow in Smouldering Embers, Shadow Squad Eyeshadow in Making A Statement and Thrill Seeker

Moving on to the products I liked much better:

Velvet Foil Cream Shadow in Astro Girl, Golden Vibes and Lunar Disco

Velvet Foil Cream Shadow in Astro Girl, Golden Vibes and Lunar Disco

As much as I wasn’t impressed with the pressed eyeshadows, I was amazed by these cream ones. They are thick and creamy and so very pigmented. They should be applied with a finger, but I had some luck blending out the edges with a synthetic brush (it’s hard to get even application of a pigmented cream eyeshadow with a finger). They are also the most long-wearing cream eyeshadows I’ve tried – I recommend an oil/balm or a waterproof makeup remover, or else you’ll have to rub a lot to take them off with a regular makeup remover. They don’t budge at all when I swipe micellar water over. I love the packaging that resembles acrylic paints, and that old-gold Golden Vibes colour is my favourite out of these three. I’ll probably buy a few more colours, that’s how much I like them.

swatched in a photo later on

Almay Liquid Lash Extenders Mascara

Almay Liquid Lash Extenders Mascara

Unlike drugstore eyeshadows which usually can’t compare to the high end ones, I’ve had lots of luck with drugstore mascaras, and this one is a winner, too. I prefer thick wands like this one because they lift my already long lashes better. This mascara added a nice length and volume and didn’t smudge. I wouldn’t say the effect was dramatic, but not natural either. It would be a nice everyday mascara for me.

Almay Clear Complexion Blemish Armor

Almay Clear Complexion Blemish Armor

I was confused as to why I received this product among all the makeup, but boy am I happy I did. Luckily I don’t get too many big blemishes, so I can’t justify using anti blemish skincare, and spot treatments like this is what I normally go for. As it happens, I had a big annoying under-the-skin pimple on my cheek beside the ear that was painful and WOULD.NOT.GO.AWAY and only one application of this treatment shrunk it in half over night. It also stopped being painful, so I didn’t even apply again. I am actually not surprised, since this solution has the maximum allowed amount of salicylic acid. I can highly recommend it!

swatched in a photo later on

Make Them Jelly Hi-Lite in 24k Dreams and Unicorn Lights

Make Them Jelly Hi-Lite in 24k Dreams and Unicorn Lights

So, these highlighters are something completely new to me. I’ve seen jelly texture around, but I never tried any jelly makeup, and I was intrigued. I will start by saying how much I love the feel of these highlighters – the smooth, cool texture feels great on my skin and I think I’ll love them for the spring and summer. They are quite glittery, though, so not something I usually go for, but I hope I’ll find an occasion I could use them for, especially since the glitter is nice and fine, and the jelly texture helps it stick, so it stays where I apply it. A little goes a long way, and these jars will probably spoil before I use them up. I think they would both look nice on the eye, too, but not sure if it’s safe to use them there. There is a definite learning curve with the jelly texture, since it can be a bit hard to blend them out. I found that small amounts and thin layers work the best.

Goddess Gloss in Fairy and Enchanted

Goddess Gloss in Fairy and Enchanted

I saved the best for the last – these lip glosses are fantastic! As you may already know, glossy lips are back (thank God), and these glittery, but not over the top glosses are a good choice if you need to restock your makeup bag with some glossy lip choices. I like these two colors on their own or over lipsticks, as they can be applied quite sheer or build up for more colour. They are pretty much non-sticky, although I’d still wear them only when my hair is tied up (just in case).

Here are the swatches of the lip glosses, highlighters and the cream eyeshadows:

almay lip gloss highlighter cream eyeshadow swatches
Top to bottom: Goddess Gloss in Fairy and Enchanted, Make Them Jelly Hi-Lite in 24k Dreams and Unicorn Lights and Velvet Foil Cream Shadow in Astro Girl, Golden Vibes and Lunar Disco

I am so happy I tried some Almay makeup, because I am not sure I’d reach for it otherwise in the store, so I’d never discover these new favourites – the lip glosses, velvet foil eyeshadows and the blemish solution are fantastic! I am intrigued by the highlighters, the mascara is quite good, and I might even use the smoky eye trio. The only product I definitely didn’t like are the eyeshadow quads. Overall, I think these products deserve a go. You can find them online and in retail stores (check Amazon, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, etc).

Are you interested in any of these products? Have you ever tried any Almay makeup? What is your opinion on the glossy lips trend coming back?