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We tried L’Oréal’s foundation to see if it lives up to the TikTok hype

(CNN) —  

You can always count on TikTok to circulate the next trending beauty product. For the past few months, it’s been L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder ($11.99; target.com and amazon.com) that’s dominated the platform. Though it just dropped in January, there’s a very good chance you’ve already stumbled upon a beauty blogger raving about its gorgeous, instant coverage. One such video by TikTok user Rocio Soria, in which she tests the foundation against a more expensive formula and concludes L’Oréal’s is “worth all the hype,” has generated 7.9 million views to date.

But despite its popularity, we at Underscored are too seasoned to be easily impressed, so naturally, we had to see if it was praiseworthy by testing it ourselves.

L'Oréal Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear in a Powder
PHOTO: L’Oréal
L’Oréal Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear in a Powder

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear in a Powder ($11.99; target.com and amazon.com)

I’d say I have combination skin that definitely skews more oily, despite a few sparse dry areas that pop up in the winter time. No matter if I’m wearing a liquid foundation, my favorite tinted moisturizer or makeup-less, I’d probably need to blot at least once before the day is over. I also have some hyperpigmentation and acne-scarring on my cheeks and chin that I try to cover up whenever possible.

About our testers

Stephanie Griffin, our social media strategist, has sensitive, combination skin in the summer with super dry skin in the winter. Additionally, she remarks having noticeable scarring after years of severe acne, so she’s always on the hunt for makeup products that give a good amount of coverage that won’t make her look super cakey. Typically, she opts for a low-medium, liquid foundation, specifically the Ilia Super Skin Tint Serum Foundation ($48; sephora.com) that’s super buildable.

Before and after of Stephanie Griffin trying the foundation in shade Ivory
PHOTO: Stephanie Griffin/CNN
Before and after of Stephanie Griffin trying the foundation in shade Ivory

Our photo editor, Natasha Hatendi, has sensitive, combination skin as well, with primary concerns of hyperpigmentation, eczema and acne. She tends to reach for liquid, hydrating foundations and tinted moisturizers. Although she has not yet found the perfect foundation, she prefers makeup that has targeted skin care benefits like the Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup Foundation ($31; sephora.com) that’s medicated to help treat breakouts.

Delaney Strunk, our programming editor, has super oily skin, with redness concentrated on her forehead and the bottom sides of her nose. She prefers medium to full coverage foundations that are almost always a liquid. If she has a big event or meeting, she reaches for the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation ($36; fentybeauty.com) but on a typical day she’ll use the liquid version of the foundation in question, the L’Oréal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation ($14.99; ulta.com).

Product overview

According to L’Oréal, this powder has a “weightless texture [that] gives full-coverage and a natural, matte finish that looks fresh” and feels comfortable for hours. It’s meant to provide coverage like a liquid foundation, but mattify without the dreaded cakey look that yields a blurring effect, even skin tone and no transfer. The brand offers this non-comedogenic, water- and sweat-proof formula in 14 shades to suit “even oily and acne-prone skin.” The Infallible Powder comes in a small compact with a sponge applicator to blend in the product without the need for additional brushes.

Because this is a powder foundation, I wanted to make sure my skin was heavily moisturized prior to applying. For skincare, I cleansed with the First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser ($22; sephora.com) because it’s rich and creamy, hydrated with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($15.06, originally $19.39; amazon.com), and added some sun protection with the Olay Complete Lotion Moisturizer SPF 15 ($9.99; target.com). Then, I opted for the Milk Hydro Grip Face Primer ($32; sephora.com) because it’s super hydrating and leaves my skin glowy.

Before and after of Kiana Murden trying the foundation in shade Hazelnut
PHOTO: Kiana Murden/CNN
Before and after of Kiana Murden trying the foundation in shade Hazelnut

After properly prepping my skin, I dove right in and just dipped the dry sponge applicator into the powder foundation, which picked up the powder easily. Like the TikToks I saw, I did a good swipe onto my skin around my scarring and found that the formula glided easily onto the skin. I quickly applied the foundation to my entire face, dipping back into the pressed formula to evenly cover my blemishes until I had the most even complexion I could achieve. Finally, I finished my routine like usual with the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer ($26; fentybeauty.com), the Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder ($24; ulta.com) and Sonia Kashuk’s Chic Luminosity Bronzer ($7.89; amazon.com).

What we like

Three of our testers were surprised by the overall results of using this powder foundation, much like the TikTokers who inspired our test. The application is so simple, even a novice could master it quickly with minimal mess. It provided us good coverage to hide acne scarring, for the most part, but buildable without ever feeling heavy or cakey. Oftentimes, we forgot we were even wearing makeup at all because of how smooth it left our skin. Most importantly, it was gentle enough for Griffin and Hatendi’s sensitive skin, not causing any breakouts or irritations.

“Like its claim, it truly did stay put all day, though I did apply a few touch ups to my T-zone using the compact’s built-in mirror and applicator sponge,” says Griffin. Because the compact is so easy to carry around, and includes the brush and mirror, we found this to be an excellent on-the-go foundation. Although not completely transfer-proof, we did find this formula to stay put throughout the day, especially if you’re WFH. Hatendi says that she didn’t need to touch up or blot at all if she applied it correctly, and didn’t experience too much product rubbing off on her mask.

Before and after of Natasha Hatendi trying the foundation in shade Copper
PHOTO: Natasha Hatendi/CNN
Before and after of Natasha Hatendi trying the foundation in shade Copper

We also loved that the Infallible foundation blended well with other makeup products in our routine. Personally, I was a bit nervous to go over the foundation with my usual liquid concealer, but the foundation didn’t budge at all. Perhaps the quality primer helped the foundation stay in place, but we were happy with our finished base that was matte and natural as the brand suggests.

What we don’t like

The L’Oréal Infallible 24h Powder Foundation is meant to be a full coverage foundation, but in reality it was more medium coverage. We found that to fully cover our dark spots and hyperpigmented areas, we needed to apply the foundation multiple times and spot conceal afterwards. Strunk was left a bit underwhelmed with this powder foundation because although it gave her the matte finish she prefers, she felt it washed out her facial features. If this is a concern for you, we’d recommend adding bronzer or blush to add some dimension back onto your face.

Before and after of Delaney Strunk trying the foundation in shade Porcelain
PHOTO: Delaney Strunk/CNN
Before and after of Delaney Strunk trying the foundation in shade Porcelain

We also weren’t huge fans of the compact itself because we felt that it cracked easily, and the makeup sponge was a bit small although it does pick up a lot of product. Hatendi and Strunk found it easier to apply the formula with a foundation brush like this one by Milani ($11.97; amazon.com) to best control how much product she used and blend everything out. Beware too that the powder easily dusts out of the compact and onto the floor or your clothes while applying, so it’s best to hold the compact at an angle or over a bin to avoid any unwanted spillage.

Lastly, the shade range for the foundation could use some work. With only 14 shades, it might be quite hard for people to find their exact match especially for deeper skin tones and undertone varieties. We’d recommend trying out shades in-person if possible, or doing a virtual try-on on the brand’s website. In fact, none of us were completely satisfied with the shades represented in our testing pictures above, but we were able to make it work with other products in our routine or trying the next shade up or down. Strunk even chose the same shade as her beloved Infallible liquid formula, but felt it showed up lighter on her skin.

L'Oreal Infallible Powder Foundation Lifestyle
PHOTO: Kiana Murden/CNN
L’Oreal Infallible Powder Foundation Lifestyle

The bottom line

L’Oréal’ Infallible 24h Powder Foundation is a great travel-friendly foundation that provides medium coverage at an affordable price, as long as you find the best shade match to your complexion. We’d choose to wear this for a quick WFH beat or whenever we want to pick up a lightweight foundation powder at the drugstore without breaking the bank. This is sure to have a spot in our makeup rotations, so we’d recommend getting your hands on it ASAP.