L'oreal's launched its new True Match Genius 4-in-1 cream to powder foundation (SGD$32.90), which promises to do 4 things:
1. Smooth like a primer
2. Unify and even out skin tone like a foundation
3. Correct flaws like a concealer
4. Finish and set like a powder for 12 hour wear
Sounds perfect, but I have to admit I am always skeptical about products that claim to"do it all".They tend not to do any one thing particularly well.
Well first off, cream to powders are always incredibly convenient to use, because they go on quickly no matter what tool you use for application; they are portable and travel well unlike bottles of liquid foundation, and on their own they don't look as matte and heavy as compact powder foundations.
Revlon just launched their new Colorstay 2-in-1 foundation compact which I have very mixed feelings about because it's not very long-wearing despite the "Colorstay" name, the shade options are extremely limited, and the concealer formula just isn't that great in my opinion.
So I was interested to see how the L'oreal True Match Genius measured up in comparison.
Presentation and Packaging
You get a very slim, flat compact with a mirror and a thin sponge for application. Standard-issue, no-frills. I did feel there seemed to be VERY little product in the thin, thin pan for what you pay. You get just 7g of product. (Revlon Colorstay has 12.3g.) So if you like to really pack on the foundation or use a buffing brush with this, just be aware that you will hit pan and run out in no time.
The sponge itself is not hard to use but also nothing special. It does the job. I prefer using my fingers to pat the product on personally but the sponge works fine. One small issue is the base of the compact is transparent, so from the back it looks a bit gross to show everyone your stained cakey sponge if you bring it out for touch-ups. You could get around the issue by placing the sponge with the used side up, but that's just an extra inconvenience.
1 - Priming
This is one area I feel the product does excel. I've tried it for several days and never used a primer with it. I do feel L'oreal's "ultra-gliding" formula manages to go on very smoothly and makes skin look more refined and pores a bit smaller.
It also does last and stay pretty fresh-looking for hours in our humid heat without running or caking up, even after sweating and blotting.
2 - Evening out the skin
The product goes on sheerer than I expected. If you rub it on, it almost feels like there is barely any coverage at all, compared to typical cream foundations. That's a bit misleading though - because even though it feels like the product is sheer, I don't really feel like I need a ton more concealer on top to cover my dark circles and marks.
Plus, you can dab on a bit more (I advise using fingers for building up extra coverage) where you need. It's still not full coverage - this will not cover acne and obvious scars. But it does even out mild discolorations and reduce the need for concealer despite being quite lightweight.
3 Conceal and correct
I can't say this can replace your concealer unless you have very minor flaws. It can conceal redness around the nose, small veins, mild discolorations etc. But if you need brightening under the eyes or by the sides of your mouth, or correction of very red or dark spots you will need a separate concealer with different undertones and higher opacity.
I will use this as concealer only in an absolute pinch.
4 - Set and finish like a powder
While this product does set semi-matte and does not stay tacky or creamy, it does not really look like when you set foundation with powder. Also, these days a lot of us use color-correcting or brightening powders that may not be the same shade as our foundation, so True Match Genius cannot be expected to do that.
That doesn't make this a bad thing though. I actually really like the demi-matte finish. It doesn't look flat - as you can see in the pic above, it actually looks pretty undetectable if you find the right shade match. Great for "no-makeup makeup" days.
I don't think I've worn this 12 hours yet but I've done 10 or so without problems. The coverage fades but it doesn't break down like some foundations can. And I didn't get too many problems with obvious oxidation.
But this brings me to one major con; color options.
I was picking on Revlon for bringing so few shades in, and L'oreal has even fewer. There is N1, which I am using - this matches about a MAC N2/NW20/NC25. The only pink-toned shade R1 is actually not very pale. If you are quite fair, you won't be able to find a good match in this entire range.
The 2 deeper shades are G2 and G4. I had expected that as an NC25, G2 would be my perfect match, but it's more suited to NC30-35 skin tones. Much deeper than I expected. G4 does look like a good fit for NC42 etc medium-tan skins. If you have caramel to deep skin tones, you won't find an option.
(Why do I feel like I repeat this every single time I review drugstore foundations in Asia? There is an entire segment of the market that is being completely ignored.)
The shades do swatch a tad lighter than they look in the pan, but not as much as Revlon's. And I've always been a bit confused about True Match's marketing angle about "perfectly matching" your skin. It's not like one shade adjusts to match a whole range of skin tones.
I've tried applying G2 to see if maybe it would be forgiving and just blend in, but it's still visible that it's a bit too deep. Make sure you swatch these to see if you can find a shade that melts into your skin. You are responsible for finding your right shade - just like any other foundation.