"As a makeup artist, I've always been known for skin," says Gucci, reflecting on the spark behind Vital Skin foundation—the very first product she set out to create back when Westman Atelier was still a dream in the making. Having honed a technique for creating supernatural skin over decades on set with actresses like Cameron Diaz, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Aniston, she still didn't have a formula in her kit that ticked all the boxes, which included a buttery texture, targeted treatment actives, and a clean and safe ingredients list.
"There seemed to be this notion that luxury, performance, and innovation couldn't go together with 'natural'," she recalls. "I really wanted to dispel that notion." And then there was a rosacea diagnosis during her third pregnancy with her daughter, Petal, which made her own complexion prone to unevenness and flushing. "I needed a product that would help me feel confident, like it was melting into my skin and becoming one with it. It had to be easy to apply and feel truly comfortable when I was wearing it, not like I was wearing tons of makeup."
The result is a creamy yet weightless silicone-free foundation that was nearly four years in the making. "What I love about Vital Skin is that it functions as a concealer, a foundation, you can spot treat with it or apply it all over. It has a nice luminous finish while still being buildable. You can reapply without having to take everything off." The formula itself is made to do the work for you, but according to Gucci, the six pro tricks below are the X-factor that creates a finish so glowing and real, it's indistinguishable from healthy skin.
1. THINK TREATMENT, NOT JUST COVERAGE
Foundation melds with your skin and remains there all day, which means it has the opportunity to work for your complexion beyond surface level. That makes choosing a high performance formula with treatment actives formulated at clinical efficacy levels key. When Gucci began working on Vital Skin foundation with the labs, she wanted something that did more than just conceal. Soothing coconut and camellia actives hydrate, calm, and correct; biocompatible plant compounds reduce redness and irritation; and raspberry cell extracts provide antioxidant benefits. "If your skin is actually getting healthier, your makeup is going to look more beautiful."
2. ZERO IN ON A PERFECT SHADE MATCH
The degree of melanin in your skin determines how fair, medium, tan, or deep you are on the foundation scale—but that's one just one factor to consider when choosing the right shade; undertone is also key. There are no rigid rules, but if you have an olive or golden complexion and tan easily in the sun, you are probably warm; if your skin is rosier, you're prone to flushing, and you turn pink in the sun, there's a good chance you're cool. Neutral undertones fall somewhere in the middle.
The best shade match, says Gucci, disappears when you blend it into the skin. We want to help you get it right: If you know your favorite foundation shade from another major beauty brand, our Findation tool can help you choose a parallel tone from the Vital Skin collection (just click on the tab that says "Find Your Shade"). And then there's our Beauty Concierge service—a complimentary one-to-one virtual consultation with a trained Westman Atelier makeup artist to help you better identify your unique shade.
3. TWO SHADES ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN ONE
On set and in real life, Gucci always uses two shades of coverage to prevent what she calls "foundation face": "Most women have more than one tone to their complexion and you want to mirror that as closely as possible for a real second skin look, rather than creating a uniform mask."
To mimic how the sun effects hits the face, she suggests a slightly fairer shade in the t-zone (under the eyes, on the nose, and chin) and a half shade deeper on the periphery of the face or wherever you want to add the subtlest depth. "Skin also changes with the season," she says. "Most women are deeper in the summer and paler in the winter. Your best foundation match is rarely the same year-round."
For more application tricks and tips by skin tone, check out our easy foundation video tutorial series for fair, medium, and deep complexions.
4. APPLY HIGHLIGHTER BEFORE FOUNDATION
It may feel counterintuitive at first, but Gucci's secret for creating luminous skin that radiates from within involves reversing the usual order of your foundation/highlighter application. After cleansing and moisturizing bare skin, and allowing everything to absorb for a few minutes, she sweeps Lit Up Highlight stick over cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, and anywhere she wants more glow, like the Cupid's bow of the mouth. Then, she follows with a light layer of Vital Skin foundation, using a tapered brush for the most refined touch, and building to her desired coverage.
For Gucci's step by step video guide to this simple luminous skin technique, click here.
5. THE BEST CONCEALER IS YOUR FOUNDATION
Because Vital Skin's buttery weightless texture sinks instantly into skin, it functions as both a buildable foundation and concealer. "On weekends or days when I don't feel like wearing too much, I use Vital Skin with my foundation brush to neutralize only the areas that are bothering me—shadows under my eyes, redness at the corners of my nose, flushing on my cheeks," says Gucci. "For more polish, I apply all over, then go back and build up the coverage where I need it." If you have very dark circles, she adds, choosing a foundation shade that matches your skin color as closely as possible but contains a slightly peachy undertone can cut the appearance of purplish tones beneath the eyes.
6. SPOT CHECK FOR IMPERFECTIONS
Once foundation is seamlessly blended, Gucci likes to scan the face quickly and go back in using her signature "spot checking" technique. She dabs the tiniest bit of foundation over blemishes, broken blood vessels, and brown spots using the tip of a small concealer tool to airbrush discolorations away. Just that one finishing step "makes a huge difference." The little things, she adds, are the difference between "your makeup looks great" and "you look amazing."
To watch Gucci's fine-tuning coverage technique in action, watch this focused spot checking tutorial.
Our clean and safe formulations that are good for skin and the planet. To learn more about our ingredient "no list," click here. Plus, visit our ingredient glossary for information about skin-nourishing actives.
*Photo by Ben Hassett