L'Oreal Paris
Visible Lift Smooth Absolute Instant Age-Reversing Foundation SPF 17
Category:Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen > Liquid Foundation w/ Sunscreen
Last Updated:06.20.2014
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:Yes

The only thing remotely "age-reversing" about this foundation is the built-in sunscreen, which has some benefit for improving healthy cell production, but primarily, like most sunscreens, protects against further sun damage. Keep in mind that such a benefit is hardly unique—it's true of any well-formulated sunscreen.

Although the anti-aging claims for this product are exaggerated, the real headline for this liquid foundation is its performance, which is exceptional. It goes on evenly, blends seamlessly, and leaves a dewy finish that's soft and luminous, but not shiny. The formula is good for all skin types except oily.

Most impressive is how completely skin-like this foundation looks, which is remarkable considering that the coverage is medium, but it can be built up to full coverage depending on how much you apply. The shades are similarly impressive, with eight mostly neutral options that run from fair to medium. The formula is tenacious, and lasts for hours without fading or turning orange.

So, with all this praise, why didn't this foundation earn our "Best" rating—because of the applicator. It's an attached synthetic-hair brush that you dispense product through by twisting the base. There's no way to remove the brush and there's also no way to reliably clean it (the packaging also advises against rinsing it), so you'll likely have a gunked-up brush within a couple uses, which will mean streaky application.

While the foundation looks gorgeous when applied with a brush, the inability to clean it is hard to ignore. No matter how lovely this looks on your skin, it just isn't packaged in a way that's best for application.

  • Applies evenly and blends seamlessly.
  • Looks remarkably skin-like.
  • Medium coverage that you can build to full coverage.
  • Eight well-chosen shades, with options for fair to medium skin tones.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Dewy finish is luminous, but not shiny.
  • Provides adequate broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Color stays true for hours, without fading or turning orange.
  • Twist-up brush applicator has the potential to gunk up easily.
  • Brush applicator cannot be washed.

Note:This foundation’s rating is due to its overall performance rather than its SPF rating. Due to concerns about people not applying sunscreen liberally enough to get the amount of SPF protection stated on the label, it is often recommended to look for SPFs with ratings higher than 15. If you plan to use foundation as your sole source of facial sun protection, consider using one rated SPF 20 or greater. If the foundation with sunscreen you choose is rated less than an SPF 20, we strongly advise applying it over a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 15 or greater and following it with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater. That way, you’re ensuring sufficient broad-spectrum protection which is essential for having and maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin at any age.


Active: Octinoxate (7.5%), Titanium Dioxide (8.9%), Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl 4 Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Sulfate, PEG 10 Dimethicone, Cellulose Gum, Sorbitol, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Methylparaben, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Acrylates Copolymer, Tocopherol, Methylsilanol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Retinyl Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polycaprolactone, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Atelocollagen May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Bismuth Oxychloride

Brand Overview

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of the daytime moisturizers with sunscreen and SPF-rated foundations don't provide sufficient UVA protection; lacking in effective anti-acne and skin-lightening products; boring to problematic toners.

Just like its sister company Lancome, L'Oreal doesn't have its act together when it comes to skin-care products. For all their talk of advanced formulas, fancy double-page ads in fashion magazines, and impressive-sounding quotes from scientists at their research and development facilities, most of what L'Oreal offers for skin care is a whole lot of nothing—or at least nothing tremendously helpful for helping skin look and feel its best.

An ongoing issue with L'Oreal (at least in the United States) is the lack of sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients in their daytime moisturizers with sunscreen. Very few of them contain the actives that provide as much UVA protection as you can get from a sunscreen. Yet this major oversight (and it’s not just with the older products—several newer sunscreens launched with this deficiency) didn't stop L'Oreal from heralding the FDA's approval of their patented ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) sunscreen for use in the United States. (Mexoryl SX has been approved for years in Europe, and L'Oreal routinely uses it in the sunscreens they sell there.) The attention-getting headline was that Mexoryl SX provides "the best" and "most stable" UVA protection, but that's not entirely true; there are other options. Why didn't anyone in the media point out to L'Oreal that while Mexoryl SX may be great, that doesn't explain why the majority of their other sunscreens leave the consumers who use them vulnerable to UVA damage… Sigh… Inadequate UVA protection is not only unhealthy for your skin, it severely damages L'Oreal's credibility as an international skin-care authority.

Aside from the sunscreen frustrations, L'Oreal's moisturizers are a yawn-inducing, fairly repetitive bunch. A cursory review of their formulas demonstrates that L'Oreal is simply not keeping pace with the competition, just as Lancome isn't at the department-store level. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line they could be doing so much more. (You have to wonder if they're more interested in advertising and public relations than in advancing skin-care expertise.) The makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit!

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all L'Oreal skin-care products contain fragrance.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.com.

L’Oreal Paris Makeup

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as the overall best at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor, if they exist at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores have been updated to reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up. The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products. They fall short with their powder eyeshadows, but not enough to warrant avoiding them, especially if you prefer sheer eye makeup. Still, with only minor tweaking and consistent adherence to the importance of UVA protection in their cosmetic products with sunscreen, L'Oreal could pull ahead to be the hands-down winner when it comes to shopping for makeup at the drugstore.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Saturday, August 03, 2013
No "gunking" with my brush

I bought this foundation w/out preconceived ideas about the brush and any gunking/ unclean issues. It's been awesome. 1 twist and it comes to the brush. If anything, there is too much sometimes, but I put the extra on my hand, brush on thin amount of foundation and then scoop excess back on brush. I cover with the lid and it's there tomorrow ready to apply without twisting for more.The brush has stayed smooth and gunk-free due to silky texture of makeup. Recommend!!

Reviewed by
Gina S.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Visible Smooth Absolute

This is definitely the best foundation I've ever tried. I have combination skin and nothing gives me the finish and lasting power like this one. At first the brush didn't bother me. In fact, I liked it. I liked it for the purpose of just gettng it on my face..then, blend out with another brush flat top kabuki. The brush did get dirty and broke me out, but glue got loose and so did the brush and now I'll probably just put it into a more sanitary container. No big deal. Still love it!!

Reviewed by
Maureen O
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Beautiful, elegant finish.

The coverage and finish on this are absolutely gorgeous. It's a solid medium finish, and it looks like absolute perfect, even over acne discoloration. I found the shade range a bit hard for me (I'm very light and neutral, not terribly red or yellow undertoned), but I can make it work when I have a little bit of color in the summer. I use the brush to dispense on to a clean brush/sponge to keep it sanitary. Great for evening/heavier makeup needs.

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