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Mistaken Identity –The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color Doesn’t Quite Deliver An Error-Free Performance

loreal-paris-infallible-2-step-lip-color

Nowadays, women expect more from their makeup products so that, when it comes to lipstick, they demand shine, opacity, vivacity, hydrating qualities, transfer resistance, staying power, SPF protection, and more. Products like the  L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color ($12.99 at drugstores and Ulta.com), then, are designed to address this lengthy list of criteria, with the ultimate goal being to provide women with a single lip product on which they can rely. No need for constant touch-ups. No chapped or cracked lips at the day’s end. No color feathering along the outer corners of the mouth, smudged onto teeth, or left behind on coffee cups and wine glasses. In the case of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color, the idea was to create a liquid lipstick that would go on with the ease of a lip gloss (hence the handy sponge tip applicator on one of its two ends), offer both a nice color pay-off and excellent shine (why the formula is liquid instead of creamy), hydrate lips (through the clear-colored lip balm on the opposite end), and last all day (again, by applying a coat of the clear balm over the liquid pigment so as to seal in the color). It may seem like a lofty goal, but other brands have attempted the feat and succeeded  — among them Make Up For Ever, with its Aqua Rouge collection). Most recently, the dual-sided, l0ng-wearing, liquid lip color craze has hit the mass market so that, right as L’Oréal unveiled this new formulation,  Rimmel launched a very similar lip product — also featuring a dual-ended design featuring liquid color on one side and a color-setting balm on the other.

Overall, I’d say the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color misses the bullseye — but not by much. To use a darts-based analogy, I’d say the lip color aims at that pried  tiny circle in the middle of the board but falls just outside the outer bullseye ring. It still earns a great score, but it’s not quite a perfect one.

First, let’s chat about the virtues of the product. First, there are 24 shades to choose from, and they range from creamy nudes and bold purples to vivacious cherry engine reds. Similarly, different finishes are peppered throughout the collection, so that some colors are demi-matte while others pack a bit of flirtatious sparkle and others still boast a vinyl-like sheen. Take a look at the five shades I’ve been road testing: Timeless Rose, a fleshy rose pink shade with tons of gold and silver sparkle; Red Infallible, a cherry popsicle hue, Raisin Revival, a deep plum-tinged purple with fuchsia tones; Coral Constant, a beachy, orange-tinged red; and Neverending Nutmeg, a deep nude shade with cool undertones rather than the traditional golden or pink nuances.

Here’s what all these shades look like when first applied (before locking them in with the lip balm):

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loreal-infallible-2-step-lip-color-swatches

Pretty neat, right? Now, behold what they look like  after the lip balm is applied over each shade:

loreal-inafllible-lip-color-after-applying-balm

It’s a subtle difference, but you’ll likely notice the colors don’t seem quite as vibrant but that they do, however, appear more evenly distributed and all boast a nice sheen.

The catch? Well, there are a few tricks to the application process. First, make sure your lips are moisturized before applying the liquid pigment, but do not do so with any balm still lingering on your pout since it will prevent the color form adhering to lips properly. Second, once you apply the liquid lip color, do not press your lips together as you would when applying lipstick. Doing so can lead to the color being unevenly distributed (I managed to have a ton of color from my top lip migrate to my bottom lip after doing so!). Sure, you can always apply a bit more color if you do make that mistake — just remember not to keep repeating it! And third, and most important, wait a beat before applying the lip balm. I’ve found that waiting a full minute to 90 seconds is best. Otherwise, if the lip color is still too wet, the lip balm can actually shift the color which will, in turn, lead to patchiness and streakiness. Fourth, once the lip balm is applied to lips, resist the urge to press your lips together, dab at your color with your fingers, or touch your kisser in any way for at least five minutes. Take a look at the Neverending Nutmeg shade in the pic below, which I rubbed ever so lightly after applying the balm. Now imagine that on your lips. Not so great, right?

photo-of-patchiness

If you follow all the aforementioned steps, you should be able to go through a solid 6-8 hours with your lip color largely in place. Though, to be clear, the color will start to fade as the hours go on so that, by hour four or five, it won’t be anywhere near its initial intensity (which is to be expected).  As an example check out, how the Neverending Nutmeg color looked on me when I first applied it…

celia-san-miguel-wearing-loreal-neverending-nutmeg-infallible-lip-color

… And how it looked three hours later (as shown below).

neverending-nutmeg-lip-color-after-2-hours

As you’ll hopefully notice, the color is still in place, but it’s lost some of its luster. What I find most unsettling, however, is that the color seeps into fine lines along the lips and actually accentuates them (which you can see clearly in the photo above).

For an even better example, check out the before-and-after photos of me wearing the Raisin Revival shade. First, check out how the color looks on my lips just minutes after application:

celia-wearing-loreal-infallible-raisin-revival

Now, check out what the color looks like after 5 1/2 hours (at which point I’ve had tons of water, a green smoothie, etc).:

raising-revival-after-5-hours

As you can see, there’s still a substantial amount of color on my pout but it looks pretty full and patchy, especially along the center of the pout.

To better illustrate how the color fades over time, I took the next photo, in which I’m puckering up (in a very unsexy manner, I might add)

raisin-revival-up-close

Notice how the color looks patchy along the upper lip and around the center of the lower lip? Not awesome.

Sure, even “long-wearing” lip colors will fade, but that’s actually not my main gripe with these lip colors. My biggest source of frustration is how drying they are on lips. The so-called “lip balm” may have sealed the color, but it certainly didn’t provide my pout with hours worth of hydration. Every time I wear one of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color shades, my mouth feels tight, so that it almost hurts a bit to smile. And, after I remove all traces of the lip color, I wind up spending the next few days reaching for my lip balm every half hour or so. There’s nothing cushiony or creamy or delectable about the lip color, and the drying effects are pretty unbearable for someone like me whose skin tends to be on the parched side.

My other gripe, which is related to the aforementioned one, is that, over time, the lip color seeps into every line and crevice along the lips making your pout look older. Because it’s not formulated with skin-loving ingredients that smooth out those fine lines and wrinkles, promote collagen production, and boost hydration content, the skin on your lips starts looking puckered and prune-like. And, in turn, a look-at-me lip color just draws attention to deflated and crinkly lips. I can’t even imagine how much this would irk me if I were ten or 20 years older!

Overall, then, the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Lip Color makes a valiant effort, but it falls short of expectations. Sure, it’s not a terrible product, but it’s also not stellar. Turns out “infallible” may have been an overstatement!

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