I Tried the Most Controversial Foundation Ever to Go Viral on TikTok

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In all my years writing about beauty, I’ve never seen a foundation be so controversial. Folks on TikTok are divided on whether it’s a foundation miracle or the worst product they’ve tried. The truth? Like many things in beauty, it’s all about preference. But of course, I’m going to give you my Jones Road What the Foundation review because, well, I have thoughts. The TL;DR: like most of Jones Road Beauty, What the Foundation is great for those looking for more natural coverage.

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But first, let’s discuss the basics. There are 12 shades of the “tinted moisture balm,” which correspond with the brand’s Face Pencil ($25 at Jones Road), which can be applied to areas that need more coverage, such as redness around the nose or dark under-eye circles. WTF’s formula includes jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate for moisture and skin nourishment. It has a light coverage with a dewy finish. It doesn’t dry down but you can set it with powder if you prefer.

It’s called What the Foundation because when founder Bobbi Brown and her team tried it, they quickly said “What the…”

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Jones Road.
Jones Road.

What the Foundation $44

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If you saw Meredith Duxbury‘s TikTok videos, you know people were unhappy with the way she reviewed What the Foundation. That’s because she grabbed her usual massive amount of product and spread it onto her face like she does with a full-coverage foundation. That’s not going to work here. Mikayla Nogueira also didn’t love the formula, saying it didn’t “look good on me” and the “scent is overwhelming.”

And then there are those who absolutely love the coverage and the texture. Search TikTok and you’ll find hundreds but I especially loved the reviews from @iamsohello and Shelbey Wilson. The former uses shade Pecan and says she “didn’t expect it to work.” She ends up really liking it and says she would “definitely recommend it if you like a light coverage.” Wilson uses shade Porcelain and says it “goes on like a moisturizer” and “looks very pretty.” She’s a fan.

I had a feeling I was going to like What the Foundation. That’s because I like a light coverage with a dewy or natural finish. If you prefer full coverage or a matte finish, this isn’t for you. Brown says it also isn’t for those with especially oily skin. She also says not to apply moisturizer as a base—WTF is moisturizing enough—so I used sunscreen and left my skin alone otherwise. Using shade Beige, I applied a light layer onto my skin and rubbed it in like I would my skincare. It looked pretty but to test the coverage, I applied one more layer and a little Face Pencil in shade 08 on my red areas. You can see it in action here.

I finished with Jones Road Miracle Balm in Flushed ($38 at Jones Road) across my cheeks and nose. If you want a little more color, try Jones Road’s new The Best Blush ($28 at Jones Road).

Elizabeth Denton.
Elizabeth Denton.

The results? Really nice! The finish is dewy but not greasy on my combo skin. I applied a little powder under my eyes to avoid any creases. The formula smoothed out my dry spots, covered some redness and lightly evened my skin tone. I like that you can still see my freckles — something I’m appreciating as I get older. This is a perfect everyday makeup for me. For a night out, I’ll stick to a more typical medium-coverage foundation for more of glam look. One thing I agree with folks on? The smell is a bit strong. It’s a natural smell (from plant oils) and didn’t stick around on my face but I can see how it’s strong initially.

What the Foundation isn’t for every makeup wearer but it’s a definite win for those who prefer a “your skin but better” vibe. Because of the buzz around this product, shades keep selling out, along with Miracle Balm hues. So, grab it while you can.

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