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Almay Intense i-Color Eyeshadow - Does It Enhance Natural Eye Color & Is It Worth Buying?

Alisha Adkins is an author of horror and speculative fiction. A self-described "aging goth," she has a strong interest in creative makeup.

Almay Intense i-Color

Trios for Hazels & Smoky-i for Blues

Trios for Hazels & Smoky-i for Blues

Almay Intense i-Color for Green Eyes

Almay Intense i-Color for Green Eyes

Eyeshadow to Enhance Your Eye Color

Almay markets hypo-allergenic Intense i-Color powder eyeshadow trios designed to bring out the natural color of the wearer's eyes.

Wearing certain colors to enhance the color of one's eyes does fundamentally work -- but how well do Almay's trio's succeed at their claim to do so, and are they worth purchasing?

Step-by-Step Instructions

LaurNmakeup: Almay Intense i-Color Eyeshadow Trios

"Eyeshadow for Dummies"

The fact of the matter is, there is nothing remotely new, revolutionary, unique or special about the formula of Almay's Intense i-Color eyeshadows. To be blunt, the product Almay is marketing looks like a 20th century eyeshadow that is being sold in the 21st century. But, you may ask, how could any company ever hope to successfully move such an outdated and mundane product in the current market?

Essentially by marketing it as "Eyeshadow for Dummies." Almay's current slogan is "Almay Makes It Easy." More than any other brand in the drugstore, Almay has positioned itself as the brand for beginners. Don't know anything about applying makeup? No problem. Almay will take all of the guesswork out of the process for you.

Almay promises the customer that no guess work need be involved -- just wear these shades, and you'll look okay. In fact, until recently, Almay even shaped its i-Color packaging like an eye so that users could easily visualize where to put each shade.

The thing is, when you rely on a company for guidance in place of your own knowledge, you're also stuck with using that company's product -- no matter how subpar it may be.

Sleek New Packaging

Almay: Same Product, New Packaging

You may notice that the pictured products above are in older packaging. Be assured, most of these products are still produced, in the same formula and shades -- they are now just in a sleek new round package and have been given new names. These eye-enhancing lines are now called Party Brights, Everyday Neutrals, and Evening Smoky. All three of these trio lines are available for brown, blue, hazel, and green eyes.

The Truth About Green, Blue, & Grey Eyes

Personally, I like to think of my eyes as green, although they can look blue or grey as well. This is because a person's eye color is based upon the amount of melanin in the eye and, for people with lighter eyes, changes in the light being scattered by the iris can actually change the apparent color of the eyes. This is known as having "chameleon eyes." You can read more about this phenomenon here.

In an attempt to play up the color of my eyes, over the past few years, I've been suckered in by Almay's promise of enhancing their color again and again. For this reason, I own 5 Trios for Green Eyes, 2 Almay Intense Color Shadow Sticks for Green Eyes (which had the consistency of grease paint and mercifully seem to have been discontinued), 2 Trios for Hazels, and a Smoky-i for Blues. It is from these 8 Almay powder shadow trios that I created eye swatches for this article.

Wearing complimentary colors to enhance eye color does work on a fundamental level. My frustration with myself for buying so many lies in my laziness when it came to educating myself . After all, in an era when information is so readily available, how hard is it to learn which colors compliment your eye color?

Eyeshadow Shades that Enhance Eye Colors

Eye ColorComplimentary Eyeshadow Shades


Purples, Greens, Burgundy, Peach


Blues, Greys, Browns, Peach


Purples, Greens, Browns, Grey, Gold


Charcoal, Purples, Browns


Browns, Blues, Purples, Greens

Just Go with Purple

Chart Analysis

The table above was compiled by consulting dozens of articles and charts around the web. There is actually a good bit of disagreement, incidentally, about which shades best compliment each eye color, but the recommendations I've included are the most universally agreed upon for each eye color.

So there, now there is no need to limit oneself to Almay's eyeshadows.

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Incidentally, you may notice that you really can't go wrong with browns or purples. These colors actually suit all skin tones and enhance almost all eye colors. So when in doubt, just wear brown or purple.

Pigmentation & Consistency

Upon testing these trios for this article, I found the following:

Pigmentation - Eyeshadow pigmentation was moderate. However, while the colors looked distinctly different in the pan, colors had a tendency to all look kind of the same once applied. Color also tended to go on a bit patchy.

Consistency - These shadows are referred to as "silky powder." Varying shades can range from smooth to chalky in consistency and are prone to fallout.

Applying the Shadow

Application - Initial application was not even; some areas appeared excessively pigmented while others were streaky and lacked color.

Blendability - These shadows, when blended together, grew muddy and lost their distinct colorations.

Fallout - Fallout was excessive in the pan across all shades. About one-third of the shadows had significant problems with fallout once applied.

Transfer - Transfer for this product was ridiculous. Upon application, I experienced immediate transfer from my eyelid to the lower lash line (obscuring my eyeliner) upon blinking! During wear, the whole eye area soon became a muddy mess due to transfer from the lid to the upper eye.

Trio for Hazels 003


Why Choose Almay over Other Brands?

What a good question. These trio combinations are supposed to be specifically designed to bring out your natural eye color. But if you look at the pictures to the right, does 034 Trio for Greens really look much different than 003 Trio for Hazels?

Eyeshadows need to be of high enough quality to maintain their distinct colors on the skin, so even Almay's seemingly simple to fulfill claim that it offers its customers palettes that will enhance their natural eye colors falls short because the palettes' colors are getting lost.

There are other brands that sell eyeshadow palettes made specifically to enhance certain eye colors (although they may not stake so much of their company's budget on marketing them). It is hard to imagine that a consumer would be worse off for choosing one of those options.

Price Point

At the time I am writing this article, prices for Almay's products are as follows:

The current renditions of Almay's Intense i-Color trio lines ("Evening Smoky," "Everyday Neutrals, and "Party Brights") for brown, blue, green, and hazel eyes are available in major drugstores and typically retail for around $7.99 each.

All of the previously released trios can still be found on Amazon, including the ones in my collection. On Amazon, for instance, 04 Trio for Greens is $5.99, Smoky-i for Blues is $6.28, and Trio for Hazels 023 is $14.99 (I have no idea why).

The Bottom Line

There was a time (not so long ago) when Almay's Intense i-Color Eyeshadow would have been useful, but the fact of the matter is that you don't need to buy products like this anymore. Physicians Formula also produces a line of eyeshadows geared around enhancing eye color as well. Don't limit yourself to either.

These eye-enhancing trios are a marketing ploy companies use to sell inferior eyeshadow, but the fact of the matter is that this is now an obsolete idea. Consumers don't need companies to pair their eyeshadow shades for them anymore.

If you're unsure of how to combine colors or lack confidence in your technique, that's okay -- just watch YouTube. There are thousands of tutorials you can watch for free there. Then you can buy colors that enhance the color of your eyes, sure, but in shades you like -- without being locked into buying lifeless shades in a chalky, poor quality formula.

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Cynthia Lyerly from Georgia on September 18, 2015:

Your conclusion is just what I thought. It's why I can justify spending $50+ on Urban Decay Naked palettes because those shadows rock. You do get what you pay for. Mascara is about the only area I'm willing to by OTC makeup. Nice blog!

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