A hard-working foundation that won't let you down as you go about your day. It's brilliant value for the price but is best suited to oily and combination complexions, so dry skin types may need to look elsewhere
Decent shade range
Feels good on the skin
Brilliant price point
Too heavy for dry skin
Glass bottle isn’t great for travel
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The pressure was on for my L’Oreal Infallible foundation review. When it comes to foundation, I’m normally as loyal as a labrador. I know what base I like, so it takes something pretty impressive to persuade me to stray.
My skin is pretty average, and if I had to categorize it, I’d say it was combination. I’m oily across my t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and can be dehydrated in parts. For me, the best foundation is one that can keep both sides happy. It needs to have good enough staying power to sling onto my 3 pm oil-slick forehead, but not be so heavy-duty as to make my cheeks look cakey.
On paper, L’Oreal Infallible Foundation 32H Fresh Wear sounds like it will tick my boxes. According to the product description, it’s full coverage and transfer-proof yet lightweight and stretchable. It was initially launched promising 24-hour staying power but has since upped its endurance levels to an impressive 32 hours as part of a reformulation. But is all of this enough to steal me away from my long–time beloved base? And how does it measure up when put through its paces for all-day wear?
To avoid confusion, there are two other foundations in the Infallible range: the 24h Matte Cover, and the 24H Fresh Wear Foundation Powder. This review is focusing on the 32H Fresh Wear Foundation, which is the one best suited to my skin type.
Our beauty editor’s L’Oreal Infallible 32H Fresh Wear Foundation review
L’Oreal Infallible Foundation packaging
First up, first impressions. There isn’t anything super snazzy or innovative about the L’Oreal Infallible Foundation packaging, and it looks pretty similar to most of the best drugstore foundations on the shelves – and there’s nothing wrong with that. To paraphrase the well-known saying, if it’s not broke then there’s no point in fixing it.
The bottle itself is glass (and therefore fully recyclable) with a plastic pump and cap. Eco-brownie points aside, glass bottles aren’t always my top pick for foundation, as they take up more space in your makeup bag compared to a squishable tube. Plus, there is the risk of breakage if they’re dropped onto a hard surface too. But, the benefits of a transparent glass bottle are 1: letting you see when you’re near to needing to restock, and 2: allowing the product to stand upright on your dressing table. Which, for someone as clumsy as me with a beige bedroom carpet, is an important factor.
The pump mechanism allows you to manage how much foundation you’re using at a time (one pump is pretty generous), and also avoids any cross-contamination from having to dip your fingers into the formula. The flat top means it’s not at all fiddly either.
The foundation formula
For the price, I didn’t expect any add-ons from the formulation, but L’Oreal has thrown in a couple of extras. There’s the “oxygen technology” which has been in there from the start, and then the vitamin C, which was added when the foundation was reformulated. The oxygen technology does sound clever and is essentially using polymers (a flexible substance made of large molecules for us non-scientists) and powders to hold the color onto the skin. What it means is that you don’t need a thick, cakey layer to make your foundation stay put, making for a more comfortable experience.
It doesn’t oxidize either, so you won’t end up increasingly orange the longer you wear it. Vitamin C is there to add glow but appears on the ingredients list after the preservative (meaning it’s lower than 1%) so, realistically, isn’t going to make much if any impact on the skin. If that’s a real skin goal for you, treat yourself to a dedicated vitamin C serum instead. There is SPF25 in the formulation too, which is always appreciated.
How does it look and feel on the skin?
When applying the L’Oreal Infallible 32hr Fresh Wear foundation, I was initially surprised by how light and fluid the formula was. I think, from the name, I was expecting something that felt paste-like. How to apply foundation of this ilk? Well, as it’s so lovely and lightweight, it spreads really nicely and is easy to apply with a brush or your fingers. I tried both and found that the finish was smoother and more natural-looking with a brush.
I have some redness on my cheeks and a little congestion around my t-zone and this base blurred these bugbears really well without settling onto and into them – creating a nice clear canvas for the rest of my makeup. As it’s what I would consider a full coverage foundation, I think you do need to follow with bronzer and blusher to re-carve out your features and avoid straying into mask territory. The overall finish is pretty matte, so if your skin is on the dry side I imagine it would look much heavier than it did on my combination complexion. As for how it feels on the skin, this is an apply-and-merrily-forget-about-it base. I’ve tried other long-wear foundations so heavy that the phrase “cracking a smile” takes on a far more literal meaning, but this is very much the opposite.
Although pale, my skin tone skews on the warm side, with a slight yellow tinge that I normally find tricky to match with drugstore foundations. I was pleased that my chosen shade (linen) was a convincing match. There are 26 shades in the range, which is a decent amount of choice, but only five at what I would consider the deeper end of the shade spectrum. Hopefully, this is something that L’Oreal will look to expand in the future. It's also worth mentioning that some online reviewers have found the shades have changed slightly since the reformulation, so if you've loved this one since launch, it might be worth getting freshly shade matched.
How about after a day of wear?
By describing their product as infallible, L’Oreal set my expectations pretty high. Longevity is implied, and I was expecting it to be fully drink-proof, hug-proof, and sweaty-commute-proof. And I’m pleased to say, it really was.
This foundation is clingy in a good way and doesn’t jump ship at the first sign of trouble. I wore it for a busy day of dashing about and was pleased to find it was still very much in place by the time I got in. It even passed what I consider to be the ultimate test of long-wear foundation, and that’s if I can see any traces of product on my white flannel when I wash my face after the gym. By that point, the majority (if not all) of my base should have been lost to sweating and mopping at my brow with a towel, but, like a limpet hanging to a rock, the infallible foundation was still there. So, if you don’t already have an oil-based cleanser, you’re going to need to invest to get it off before bedtime.
Of course, by the end of the day, the finish isn’t as flawless as when first applied, but the fade was slow and relatively even. It held on tighter to the drier areas around the outer edges of my face, but that’s to be expected given there’s less sebum to send it skating and more dead skin cells to cling onto.
I want to caveat here that I didn’t test for the claimed 32 hours, as I don’t believe that anyone should be wearing their makeup for that long – nor should they need to. The only exception would be if you were at a festival, or all makeup removers had suddenly become obsolete. But, if you were looking for a foundation to see you through some kind of crisis, this would be it.
L’Oreal Infallible Foundation review: My verdict
If you want the best full coverage foundation that won’t desert you by 5pm, then this really is the base for you. It’s hardworking in terms of staying power and formulation and leaves skin looking and feeling good. The price makes it even more appealing, and if you’re feeling flush, you might even want to invest in this as your evening-only, party-proof foundation. I think the formula would be too heavy for someone with very dry or exceedingly dehydrated skin, but for oily to combination complexions, it’s certainly a winner. I've certainly cleared some space in my makeup bag.
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Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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