Since relaunching its beauty collection in 2019, Gucci has made headlines everywhere.
Its lipstick campaign divided opinion for ditching models with super straight, gleaming white teeth. Instead, Gucci Beauty enlisted Dani Miller, the lead singer in Brooklyn-based punk band Surfbort, and model Mae Lapres, to advertise its 58-strong lipstick range. While this took some Gucci fans by surprise, others praised the brand for championing beauty in imperfection.
It wasn’t the only product to get people talking, though, because along came Gucci Beauty’s Mascara L’Obscur. One campaign shot on Instagram, captioned “It builds and builds, for eyes that are EVERYTHING”, featured lashes so loaded with product that they appeared ‘spidery’ or ‘clumpy’. It didn’t sway some Gucci followers but others loved the bold statement.
Earlier this month, Gucci Beauty added yet another product to its makeup dynasty: the Fluide de Beauté Natural Finish Fluid Foundation. Unlike the other products, it launched relatively quietly and didn’t make much of a splash on social media, but believe me when I say it’s a game-changer.
As a beauty editor, I’ve tried hundreds of foundations which promise to airbrush blemishes and fine lines, impart an otherworldly glow and stay put all day. The reality is that few really deliver. I have combination skin which is prone to oiliness (subsequently breakouts), and dry, flaky spots, which are exacerbated by ingredients like acids or central heating and cold weather. The majority of foundations break me out, collect around parched patches, slip and slide and – probably the most annoying thing – oxidise throughout the day, turning a dubious shade of orange. Yes, even high end products.
Admittedly, I’m always swayed by pretty packaging and Gucci’s Natural Finish won me over with its frosted glass bottle, millennial pink lid and delicate gold font. But the formula is the best part. It provides medium coverage yet is so light and silky (that’ll be star ingredient, dimethicone) that it can be built up by layer. Just one pump is enough to cover my entire face and I apply this with the Joy Adenuga Multi-Use Face Brush, £15, which blends foundation quickly and evenly, especially around the eyes and nose.
I find a lot of medium to full coverage foundations chalky and not able to mesh well with skin but this is completely seamless. It isn’t a chore to work in and doesn’t leave behind any streaks. While the initial finish is matte, as the day goes on, it makes my skin glow in all the right places, and when back-to-back Zoom calls wash me out and make my skin look flat, I love that about it. What it does to my large pores is especially impressive, though. The phrase ‘your skin but better’ is overused when it comes to makeup but it hits the nail on the head here. A light veil of this stuff almost looks like I’m wearing a real-life Paris filter as it blankets over my acne scars (both red marks and indents), which I’m often self-conscious about.
For a medium coverage foundation, the staying power rivals most high coverage foundations I’ve tried. It stays in place all day with no need for powder or touch-ups. It’s also one of the very few products that doesn’t leave me covered in little whiteheads and it dissolves away with micellar water, cleansing balm or face wash depending on your personal preference. At 40 shades, there are 10 less than the brilliant Fenty, but there are many options for dark skin with a focus on undertone to ensure the finish is neither ashy nor orange.
There are one or two catches, though. The formula is ever so slightly fragranced (lightly floral, just like Gucci Guilty Love Edition Eau de Parfum For Her). My skin is sensitive to any type of scent in skincare but it has no problem with this and I much prefer it to the paint-like smell that’s a feature of some foundations out there. Of course, the big catch is the price tag. If you compare it to other designer brands like Chanel, Dior and YSL, which are typically around the £30-40 mark depending on the type of foundation (bottle or tube, light or full coverage), £46 is steep.
If you’re looking for an alternative, I’ve come across a handful of cheaper, high street dupes lately. The L’Oréal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Cream, £10.99, is very light and dewy in texture and provides medium coverage. Like Gucci, it stays in place and feels like a second skin. The Ordinary’s Coverage Foundation, £5.90, is also similar in terms of coverage but I like to mix it with a pump of serum or moisturiser to amp up the glow, as it can otherwise look quite matte. The Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Skincaring Foundation, £32, is a little higher in price than the above two but, coverage-wise, it matches Gucci and boasts skincare benefits with hydrating hyaluronic acid, brightening vitamin C and moisturising vitamin E.
While these are all excellent products, they aren’t an exact match, so if you’re thinking of treating yourself to a luxe beauty buy for making it through the longest month of the year, make it Gucci’s Natural Finish. If you ask me, it’s well on its way to becoming a cult hit and definitely has the potential to rival such beloved products as NARS’ Sheer Glow, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear and IT Cosmetics’ CC Cream.