Known for its effortless aesthetic Glossier is a brand that said they ‘hated’ foundation - now their new own has hit the shelves and we were lucky enough to be one of the first to try it out. Here is our honest review
You may be surprised to realise that up until now cool skincare, makeup and fragrance brand, Glossier didn’t have a foundation. They have an excellent concealer (more on that in a bit) and a skin tint, but in terms of something that offered more coverage there was nada. And this is because foundation, even the best foundation, didn’t fit into the brand’s aesthetic. Something which Glossier’s Director of Product Development, Emily Trillaud was very honest in telling me when I met her as one of the first journalists in the UK to try out the new Stretch Fluid Foundation, £34, which is available now.
“We hated foundation,” Trillaud told me. “We hated it how felt on the skin, we hated how it covered up skin. But what we were finding is a lot of our Glossier community were buffing our Stretch Concealer all over their face and they were asking us to create something to fulfil that need. So we’ve spent years working to make a foundation that fits within our brand. We knew we wanted our foundation to be built like a skincare product, but it had to perform like a foundation. We knew we wanted it to look as good in your bathroom mirror as it does outside in natural sunlight. We knew we wanted it to move and flex with the skin so it stayed in place and that it worked for everyone.”
That’s quite a list of requirements but it seems they've leant into all of them and tackled them head on. The formulation is 89 per cent skincare and only 11 per cent pigment. The pigment particles have cleverly been coated in amino acids that then attract to the naturally occurring amino acids in the skin so they fuse together making the foundation look as natural as possible. The texture has been built around a gel-cream moisturiser formula that contains hydrating plant-based squalane and moisturising glycerin as well as wild rose berry and a plankton extract that balance oil levels and shine. It’s been designed to be suitable for all skin types, every skin tone and for every type of environment.
Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation: the shades and how to apply it
The new foundation comes in an impressive 32 shades that are divided into 7 shade categories; very light, light, medium, medium tan, medium deep, deep and very deep. Each shade category has four to five options each with a different undertone. In terms of how to find your undertone, celebrity makeup artist Harold James, has some handy tips.
“Look at the veins on your wrist. If they are green then you have a warm peach or olive undertone. If they are purple-blue, then you have a cooler more pinky-red undertone. In general, darker skin tones have more orange and red as an undertone. Look for those tones and then have a play with the shades and you’ll find a great match.”
And in terms of where to swatch, James recommends colour-matching along your jawline.
To make things easy, the same shade library has been applied to the Glossier Stretch Balm Concealer, £22 - which has also had its shade range extended and now comes in the same 32 shades (compared with the 12 that were on offer before).
The foundation gives a light to medium coverage which can easily be built up and because it contains so many skincare ingredients he recommends not over-prepping the skin underneath. “Oily skins may not need anything underneath the foundation and drier skins may just need a bit of serum.”
Glossier Stretch Foundation: our review
Beauty Director, SJ has combination skin and doesn't often wear foundation. She tried shade Light 3, £34
“I’m not typically a foundation wearer, opting for a tinted moisturiser or my favourite It Cosmetics CC Nude Glow instead. However, I am a Glossier fan and their ethos of lighter, more natural skin-finishing products is very much my vibe so I had high hopes for their foundation. The first time I tried it I applied a full pump to my face and it was too much and far thicker than I was expecting. Half a pump is where it’s at.
It does, however, move well so you can blend it in easily. While I know there are lots of skincare ingredients in there, I can't say I really 'felt' them and to me this is a classic foundation formula that stays delivering more coverage than a skin tint or concealer and a more mattifying effect. Though it is described as a light - medium coverage I would say it errs far more on the side of medium. It certainly made easy work of reducing the redness in my skin and minimising my pigmentation patches, which I would normally have to add extra concealer to when wearing a tinted moisturiser. Perfect for weddings, parties or days where you need your makeup to look the same in the evening as it did in the morning.
Special mention has to go to the brush that has been designed to apply the foundation - Stretch Face Brush, £28. I haven’t had a chance to try it on my skin as there was only one sample in the UK at the launch of the foundation so it was a touch-and-feel only type of situation. But the packaging is genius. With a click of a button the brush swivels around to reveal itself and then once you're done, you turn it back in so the brush is covered and kept clean. It’s small and compact and ideal for travel or use on the go.
But back to the foundation. Would I wear it every day? No, I will stick with lighter options (I am one of those that loves using the Stretch Concealer all over my face) that give me a bit more glow, but it's great for days when I need a bit more coverage and want to keep shine at bay."
Design and Social Media Manager, Jemma has oily skin and uses foundation on the daily. She tried shade Medium Tan 4, £34
"First and foremost, I have to come clean. I haven't actually tried the beloved Glossier Stretch Concealer. However, as a fan of Glossier and someone who demands a foundation with buildable coverage, this is right up my alley. The diverse shade range really impressed me (in fact, it overwhelmed me – but once you work out which category you are, it is quite straight forward). The shades 'stretch' enough to suit me both with and without a touch of fake tan.
When I first swatched the formula on my hand, I thought, "This is THICK" and was a little dubious about how this would pair with my oily/combination skin. But then I realised, this is still technically skincare, so it's okay to forgo the majority of my skincare routine (e.g. moisturiser and serums). I just popped on some SPF, and I was ready to roll. If your skin tends to be on the oilier side, I'd highly recommend it. The consistency is remarkably creamy and glides on like butter. Contrary to its thick texture, it feels surprisingly lightweight – you almost forget you're wearing it.
Building coverage is easy without it looking too cakey, and it effectively covered my scars and blemishes, leaving me with a semi-matte finish that I rather liked. Although I initially expected it to have more of a dewy glow, the finished result resembles my real skin more. It’s safe to say it has wiggled it way into my makeup bag and I’ve been using it on repeat. I think it’s a great product that still harness Glossier’s OG ethos, so was certainly worth the wait."
Beauty and Social Media Assistant, Amy has dry, sensitive skin and likes a hydrating base. She tried shade Medium 5 , £34
"I love Glossier and cannot tell you how many bottles of Glossier Deodorant in Sandstone and the makeup skincare hybrid Futuredew I have bought over the years. So, when this foundation was first announced I was dying to get my hands on it. Because I have quite dry and sensitive skin, intense hydration is key for me. I prepped my skin as I would do normally with a hyularonic acid serum, moisturiser and a hydrating SPF. The skincare benefits of the foundation definitely catered to the sensitive part of my skin type but unfortunately, I think my skin is just too dry for this as even with all the hydrating prep, my skin felt tight after putting it on.
It does give a gorgeous medium-full coverage but to make it work for me I would have to mix it with a bit of moisturiser to make it more lightweight and glossy. Which makes me think I'm better off sticking with a skin tint or tinted moisturiser. I’m leaving this foundation to the oilier more hydrated girlies as I think this is one for them."