Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super Charged Foundation in #34 Beige Medium - review and swatches


I bought this foundation for 20 per cent off during Sephora's Black Friday sale last year. From memory it wasn't top of my list of items to purchase, but it was in the top five because I'd tested it and liked it, and it was also available for purchase online (a good deal of Sephora Australia's stock isn't, unfortunately). Plus I didn't have any dedicated foundations back then - I'm a BB/CC cream and tinted moisturiser junkie - so this filled a gap in my collection.

While I am really enjoying it, I decided during the period I used this as part of Project Dent that it's not a repurchase item for me. Reason being, it's not quite perfect: the peach undertone kills me and I can't always rely on the product to wear for long periods of time. But more on all that below.

Marc Jacobs claims/product details:
  • Erase the past, perfect the present and protect the future
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty delivers a breakthrough gel foundation that’s anti-ageing, long-wearing and radiance-awakening
  • Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation creates a weightless, natural veil that never settles into fine lines
  • An infusion of soft focus powder reflects light to minimise imperfections, while revitalising multivitamins provide ultimate hydration for even application and luxurious wear
  • Versatile formula builds easily from natural to full coverage 
  • Formulated with Buoyancy Gel™ technology
  • RRP $69 AUD for 30ml, but do wait for specials (I bought mine for 20% off)

The product comes in a fancy glass bottle, complete with a pump. It's not the best for travel (glass never is) but I don't mind that because the foundation feels special - just what you want from your fancy products.

Note: I've decided to do hand swatches this time because I think the back of your hand is an excellent place to swatch foundation (much better than swatching on your arm). Reason being, the back of your hand is textured so you'll be able to see how the foundation performs over textured skin. You'll see below that it does have a blurring function and doesn't sit in fine lines (same goes for the face), so that's a plus for this product.

Unblended (left) and blended (right) swatches, direct sunlight:

Indirect sunlight (now that's peach!):


Blended out, direct sunlight:

Blended out, natural light:

My bare face for reference:

And the other side (bare):

Wearing three pumps of the product, indirect sunlight (click on any image to enlarge it):

Other side, indirect sunlight:

And in natural light:

Other side, natural light:


This is a decent product and I'm glad I bought it, but I also won't keep it on the 'permanent' list because like many, I'm super picky with my base products and this one isn't quite perfect.

It's a lightweight gel that spreads and applies well. If you have dry skin like me, you may prefer to whack on a super hydrating primer underneath (or even a facial oil) because the finish is a touch on the powdery side of satin for my personal tastes, and I'd prefer something with more glow. The other thing I do is mix this with a drop of oil: something to consider if you want a dewier finish.

Shade #34 Beige Medium is the best colour-match for my skin in terms of depth, but the peach undertone is just wrong (I'm more yellow). Problem is, the shades with golden undertones are too dark for me so this was my best option, and I bought it knowing that I had overly yellow products to mix it with so I could make it work.

And here's where the foundation first falls down for me: if I have to add a drop of oil and a yellow product to make this work (coupled with the drop of illuminator I add to most bases), then it's starting to be too hard. While I'm happy to do this because I like how the product looks on my skin, this is why I won't repurchase it: I don't want to be a chemist every day.

What I love about the product is that it doesn't sit in pores or fine lines - indeed, this is my biggest issue with foundations because all too often I wind up with little pale dots around my hairline and nose - and this was the reason I bought it in the first place, coupled with the fact that it blurs texture and makes my skin look more smooth. So if you can find a good colour match and you're happy with the finish, you may really love this if you're after something to manage textural issues.

As for the finish, it's more satin than matte but it looks almost matte on my skin because I'm so dry. I can manage this issue with oils/primers etc, but if you're dry too, I'd definitely test this before purchase. The good news is, this doesn't cling to dry patches (at least on me) so I think it works well for dry skin. Mind you, I reckon it would be best if you're oily/combination (and that's what Tati is, the youtuber who first put this product on my radar).

Another issue I have with this product is that the lasting power isn't great. It's mostly gone by the six-hour mark and it starts to fade after around four hours, so if you need something that stays put, this mightn't be the product for you. The lasting power is better when I add my yellow mixer (a concealer I own from Bodyography) and set it with a good setting spray, so you can manage the issue but it's not a marathon product on its own.

Other things to note are that the foundation does build reasonably well without looking cakey; it sets so you mightn't need a setting powder (unless you're super oily or add oil like I do); it has a slightly grainy texture that I don't love (perhaps that's the 'soft focus powder' they've added to the formula); I need three pumps to get a light/medium coverage (so it's not great value on a price-per-use basis); and it mixes well with any other base I've paired it with, so it's versatile. 

In sum, I do really like this product but I wouldn't buy it again for the reasons mentioned above. While I love how it makes my skin look - smoother and more even, while still looking like skin - I have to put in too much work to get the colour and finish I'm after. But I still recommend testing it if you're in the market for a lightweight foundation that manages texture well while still looking natural.


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