Wednesday, 29 August 2007

L'Oréal True Match Mineral Foundation

RRP: £13.99
Shades available: 5

--What does the promo say?--
"A gentle formula enriched with minerals designed for all skin types. Helps protect the skin against premature ageing from sun exposure. Contains SPF15. Contains mineral pigments for a flawless-looking complexion. Natural and long-lasting result."

--What is it?--
Mineral foundations are made from pure crushed minerals and contain no harsh chemicals, dyes or fillers. This is not only kind to the skin but also has healing properties thanks to the natural presence of zinc oxide – perfect for those who suffer breakouts or have sensitive skin. Some mineral foundations on the market also contain titanium dioxides which provide a natural sunscreen, and light-reflecting mica to minimise the look of fine lines. It can serve as a powder and a foundation in one, though you can use an additional face powder with it if you wish. Other brands are quickly taking up the trend of mineral foundation, such as SheerCover, Bare Minerals, Bare Escentuals, Lily Lolo, Afterglow Cosmetics, Philosophy, Urban Decay, and Sheer Miracle. So L'Oréal, already one of the leading cosmetics brands in the world, clearly decided to take on the challenge.

The pot, at first glance, seems uncomplicated. Below you have a small pot containing the foundation itself. Above you have a complimentary brush (how nice), encased in a transparent lid. The entire packaging is transparent, with the L'Oréal logo and all other information crammed onto the tiny pot containing the foundation, which made the packaging look a bit 'busy'. I've recently found out that you can't buy refills for this product, meaning that the whole lot has to go in the bin when you're done. Bit of a shame as if you could use the packaging again it would be far better for the environment.

I have to say that I was a bit flummoxed by how to work this product and I think I had to read the leaflet two or three times. You can infer two possibilities from this: 1) that L'Oréal is rubbish at explaining their products or 2) that I am stupid. Make of this what you will! Once I'd worked it out, though, it was simple to operate and I got used to it quickly. Once you've removed all the preliminary packaging, you close everything up again, turn the pot upside down gently and then turn it the right way up before pulling off the lid, unscrewing the brush and dipping it in the little sieve-type apparatus that immediately obscures the pot, where some powder should remain. (God, I wish I could draw diagrams on this thing. I think I've just confused myself so I wouldn't blame you if you didn't quite get it!) You then apply the mineral foundation to your face in circular motions. They give you a brush, but it is the cheapest, nastiest, most horrible brush to use, with really rough bristles. Unfortunately, you can't throw it away as it is really the only secure part of the packaging, but I would recommend not using it and investing in a decent one.

The powder seems very fine and soft - not too grainy or rough. So far, so good.
On the face, it's difficult to apply it so that it doesn't appear patchy. I would say so far that the only way to combat it is to use the tiniest amount at a time, and to start with the cheeks rather than your nose. I've heard reports of people's faces becoming like oil slicks throughout the day when using this, but I can't say I've experienced this problem. This, however, is possibly because I use a face powder on top of it. They say you can use the foundation by itself, but unless you've got perfect skin, I wouldn't recommend it. Once you've built up enough layers for the effect you want, I would say the coverage is not bad. No better than any liquid foundation I've used, but not disastrous, and certainly not wow.

Feels light and fine on the skin.

Virtually odourless.

I didn't have to reapply this throughout the day, and it didn't slide off my face, but then again, I was wearing extra powder...

You have to apply several layers to get decent coverage - I would hazard a guess that even if you have perfect skin, one layer is not enough. Even then, I have used better liquid foundations.

--Value for money--
Poor. It's perhaps verging on expensive for a high street foundation as it is, and it has way too many flaws to be worth what you pay. However, it is good that it contains an SPF.

--Other comments--
I was surprised at the sheer averageness of this mineral foundation, particularly considering the high quality of L'Oréal's True Match powder. There aren't enough shades available, the brush is disgusting, and positive effects are minimal. I haven't even noticed any improvement in my skin, as is implied from the ingredients being all natural. However, I haven't been put off trying another mineral foundation - L'Oréal is not a minerals specialist and I'd be more prepared to try a company that is. I've also noticed, interestingly, that this product has been withdrawn from the US and UK sites of L'Oréal Paris, though it is still available on the Boots website and on the L'Oréal France website. Signs of poor sales and poor customer satisfaction perhaps?

"Because we're worth it?" Well, if that's all we're worth, I think I'll leave it.

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