17 Jul 2013

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow

A blogger friend of mine (greetings to the fluffy one!) lately put the call out to ask who had the skinny on NARS Sheer Glow.  Sure, thought I, I'll send on a link.  And then I wrote a post about how I store my foundations and in the middle of all the linking, realised I'd never reviewed this one.  Weird, as I love it so.  So onwards we go... If I were to review this foundation in a word?  Yum.

First of all, let's get the obvious out of the way.  As proponents and opponents both will attest, this is a complete misnomer, a bad monikered, oxymoronically named product.  This foundation is anything but sheer.  And it is anything but glowy.  But it is quietly, unfussily, gorgeous.

It claims to have skin brightening and hydrating effects with repeated usage, I can't say I've ever noticed this so-called benefit.


The coverage for this is not sheer.  It is medium to just-over-medium+.  It will cover you but for hyper-pigmentation or blemishes, you really will need correctors underneath or concealers on top for these concerns.  You're not really going to be able to build with this foundation, it's pretty much just medium coverage, end of story, despite NARS' product claims on their site.


More oxymorons.  This is not a glowy finish.  It's a demi-matte-type-of-velvety-satin.  Nor is it a dewy finish, despite taking a little while to dry down.  This one has a very "natural satin" finish - it's one of those rare foundations that genuinely gives the natural-but-flawless-and-not-in-an-I'm-wearing-foundation kinda way.


Wearability- and lastability- wise, it lasts around about the 8-hour standard mark.  It feels light on the skin, but heavier than a tinted moisturiser (or is that my brain listening to the name and telling me that it's lightweight?).

Shades & Undertones

NARS Sheer Glow - shades

There are twenty shades with various bases (undertones) ranging from yellow to pink to peach to olive to brown to red, and a fantastic shade range, Siberia is very very pale (way paler than MAC's NC or NW10 for example), so this one is definitely one to try if you are having difficulty getting a really pale shade.  Shades and undertones for foundations, I've personally found, is one of the things that NARS do Really Really Well.

Best Applied With

Fingers.  As recommended by M. NARS himself, and I have to say I agree - I have found that this foundation benefits from a bit of heating up before application (you'll get closer to medium+ with fingers) but it also works perfectly fine with a flat paddle brush.  A sponge soaks up too much of this really to be useful (from my experience) and it doesn't really need a buffer brush, although a less dense synthetic buffer brush will work fine with it.

Note that this foundation can take a few minutes to completely dry into your skin, so I usually recommend fingers either to apply, or heat from the palm of your hands pressed all over your face afterwards to press the pigments into your skin, and than a quick follow-up with a 1-ply tissue to blot away any excess.


This is a water- and silicone- based foundation.  It also contains glycerin (that'd likely be that lovely subtle natural luminosity then).

What is it like?  It's a thick lotion, not quite a creamy formulation.  What does it compare with?  Finish-wise, Armani Maestro has the "natural finish but slight glow" thing going on, but it's more sheer and more glowy.  Illamasqua SkinBase is more buildable and definitely more dewy.  It's somewhere between the two I think.

Best Suited To

I would say very dry and dehydrated to dry, normal and just about up to combination, however I definitely wouldn't use this on oilier skin.  It doesn't particularly cling to dry patches, I haven't found it to oxidise or separate-out on my face.  It benefits from a primer if you want it to last that little bit longer, but a primer is not necessary for the finished product.  It benefits most categorically from powdering on oilier areas of the skin, otherwise it can transfer and fade a small amount.

It's supposedly usable as a concealer under the eyes, however I tend to prefer the new NARS concealer for that role.

Flashback?  SPF?  Price?

It doesn't contain any SPF, so there will be no flashback in flash photography.  It also photographs beautifully.  €40-ballpark will get you 40ml as far as I recall, so cheap it ain't (anymore than most NARS products).  This one is pretty much fragrance-free, which is something I appreciate.  Look here for more information.


Absolutely, categorically, yes.  No two ways about it.  Get a sample first, but it is one of those quietly beautiful ones.   In fact, I've just reminded myself that I've run out... must... get... more...

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