A Long-Wear Base With A Natural Finish

In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, TZR editors are testing the buzzy Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation.

It’s a tale as old as a beauty brand releasing a new product in the digital age: the launch is met with much fanfare and there are a number of viral hacks demonstrating all of its off-label uses. This is the lore of Glossier’s Stretch Balm Concealer, a dewy finish formula that camouflages dark circles, pimples, and redness. Originally created in 2016 for those wanting more coverage than the brand’s Perfecting Skin Tint, the concealer quickly became a product fans slathered on their entire faces. Fast forward to 2023, and Glossier is finally launching an official product intended to be used as your base makeup: meet the Stretch Fluid Foundation.

Inspired by the concealer of the same name, the formula offers a buildable light-to-medium coverage with a natural, skin-like finish with just a hint of radiance. Staying true to its focus on enhancing your complexion rather than completely covering it up, Stretch Fluid has a base that’s 89% skin care ingredients so anyone can wear it, whether you have dry or acne-prone skin.

Given the TZR beauty team has very strong opinions about foundation and how it should perform, we did a double-take when the news of Glossier’s latest launch hit our inboxes. Ahead, our honest thoughts on the Stretch Fluid Foundation.

Fast Facts

  • Price: $34
  • Size: 30 ml/ 1 oz
  • Clean/Cruelty-Free: Yes
  • Best For: Those who like a natural, second-skin finish without sacrificing coverage
  • Ingredient Highlights: Squalane, glycerin, wild rose berry, plankton extract, amino acid coated pigments
  • What We Like: Lightweight; adds a natural sheen; good shade range
  • What We Don’t Like: Need to apply a bit extra to cover discoloration
  • Rating: 5/5

How TZR Keeps Score: 1/5: Making a return; 2/5: Keeping as a backup; 3/5: Finishing to the last drop; 4/5: Recommending to my group texts; 5/5: Already on auto-replenish

The Formula

Leaning into the brand’s “skin first, makeup second” mission, the Stretch Fluid Foundation’s formula consists of 89% skin care ingredients. Included in the mix is squalane and glycerin to hydrate and help support the skin barrier, wild rose berry and plankton extract to hydrate while simultaneously reducing shine, and amino acid coated pigments, which makes the coverage flexible so it wears with you in lieu of getting cakey mid-day or mid-sweat — whatever comes first.

The gel-cream offers buildable, light-to-medium coverage that feels like second skin for up to 12 hours. Stretch Fluid comes in 32 shades divided into seven categories that include five undertones. In addition, the brand is expanding its Stretch Balm Concealer shade range so that you can find your corresponding match to the Stretch Fluid Foundation.

While the intended application technique is choose your own adventure (fingertips, sponge, or brush), the brand has also created the Stretch Face Brush as a companion to the foundation. The gua sha-inspired tool features densely packed bristles that are curved to fit the contours of your face for a seamless finish.

Our Experiences & Results

Erin Lukas, Deputy Beauty Editor, TZR, Wearing Light 2

Courtesy of Erin Lukas

“I’m typically not a foundation girlie. Instead, I’ll use concealer all over to blur and mask any redness or blemishes because I don’t like feeling like I’m wearing a heavy layer of makeup. So when I do wear foundation I expect it to do the most: make me look radiant, conceal my trouble spots, hydrate my skin, and be completely undetectable. I admit, I didn’t know what to expect coverage-wise from a Glossier foundation given the brand’s skin-first approach to makeup. However, to my surprise, Stretch Fluid meets all of my requirements. While I initially tried it on a good skin day, I also took it for a spin the day after getting a facial that included extractions (seen in my photo above). A single pump evened out my skin tone, while I needed to dab a little extra on some dark spots and post-extraction red marks on my chin. What’s more, I was out and about all afternoon on a 90-degree day and the foundation stayed put. In fact, the formula worked with my sweat and simply made me look dewier without any caking.”

Faith Xue, Executive Beauty Director, BDG, Wearing Medium 5 & Light 3

Courtesy of Faith Xue

“It feels like every week there’s a brand launching a new foundation, but I mean it when I say that Glossier’s much-awaited Stretch Foundation is truly special. The first thing I noticed when applying it was how light it feels. The consistency feels more like a light serum than a traditional foundation, and like a serum, it reflects light and leaves nice sheen behind. If you’re looking for lots of coverage and blurring, you’ll probably have better luck elsewhere. But if you’re looking for an everyday foundation that will just make your skin look ever-so-effortlessly better — as in, smoother, clearer, brighter — then you’ll fall in love with this foundation like I have. I have oily-combination skin and the formula is perfect for me — it’s breathable and sinks in instantly, so I don’t look like I have an oil slick on my forehead by the end of the day.”

Jessica Fields, Beauty Writer, TZR, Wearing Medium Deep 1

Courtesy of Jessica Fields

“Complexion is one of my favorite categories because it’s the foundation (no pun intended) of any makeup look. That said, while I can get very picky about formulas and coverage, I’m always open to trying something new. While I’ve been a fan of a few of Glossier’s skin care items such as the Milky Jelly Cleanser and Balm Dotcom, in the past I’d strayed away from the makeup products because I prefer a medium-to-full coverage look. But reading about the brand’s latest foundation launch, being skin-first with plant-derived ingredients, and a unique gel-to-cream formula, I was beyond intrigued. As I pumped two small dots onto my face, I was happy to see that the blobs stayed put and didn’t run before I could begin blending. But what really took me back was how well it melted into my skin and completely matched my skin tone. It’s not uncommon for many people to have to create a unique blend with two different shades, but this had nice golden undertones that complemented my complexion and gave me a second-skin-like feeling. As for the final appearance, I really appreciated how it blurred small imperfections and delivered a satin yet glowy finish that didn’t break down throughout the day.”

Angela Melero, Executive Editor, TZR, Wearing Light 2

Courtesy of Angela Melero

“This formula is great for everyday wear. It blends in easily with my makeup sponge and is super buildable (although it’s not full-coverage, so I wouldn’t recommend it for occasions where heavier makeup is required). I don’t typically wear foundation during the week — I’ll stick to a tinted SPF or or CCC creams — as I like to let my complexion breathe. That said, this foundation felt just as light, if not lighter, than my go-to tints and offered some nice blurring to boot. I built on it with concealer, cream blush, brow gel, and mascara for an easy, five-minute look that got me through a day of meetings and in-person appointments. I like that the finish is like second skin — you can’t even tell I’m wearing makeup! My complexion just looks smooth, even-toned, and has a lovely natural, velvety sheen to it.”

Amanda Ross, Beauty Editor, TZR, Wearing Medium 1

Courtesy of Amanda Ross

“Did Glossier’s foundation make me believe in foundation again? Yeah, it really did. I have a semi-annoying skin situation in which I have pretty good texture, but a lot of assorted hyperpigmentation — melasma, freckles, lingering dark marks, that kind of thing. The Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation stippled on beautifully with a brush, totally camouflaging my uneven tone with just one pump of product. The best part, though, was how incredibly light it felt on my skin. Usually, this sort of coverage comes part and parcel with a thick, gloopy finish, but this felt legitimately featherweight — much more like a serum or skin tint than a full-fledged foundation.”

Is Glossier’s Stretch Fluid Foundation Worth It?

As a handful of beauty editors, we’ve seen (and tried) virtually every foundation on the market, from lightweight skin tints to full-coverage formulas with airbrushed finishes. While there are a number of great formulas available, it’s an anomaly to find one that suits various skin types and very specific foundation preferences such as ours.

Because all of us easily integrated Stretch Fluid into our makeup routines and found that it delivered on its promises of a lightweight, natural finish that would hold up throughout the day, Glossier’s first foundation is absolutely worth checking out. While it won’t deliver complete coverage for full-on glam makeup, it’s a great option for everyday life, whether you simply want to enhance your skin and leave it at that or create a low-key look.

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