Review: Nars sheer glow foundation

nars sheer glow in stromboli

Nars sheer glow in shade Stromboli

If you’re in the market for a new foundation, chances are, you’ve come across the nars sheer glow. It’s been around for a while and is well loved by many, for good reason too. I’m already on my second bottle and definitely see myself repurchasing in the future. So let me break it down for you so you can decide whether this foundation may be the right fit for you too.

nars sheer glow bottle with pump

nars sheer glow stromboli swatch

Price and packaging:
This foundation retails for $59 cad for the standard 1.0 fl.oz./30ml. It comes housed in a glass bottle with a rubberized screw top cap and annoyingly, doesn’t have a pump. But nars does sell a pump separately on its website for $6 cad, which I ended up purchasing. It’s also worth noting that once you attach the pump, the cap becomes obsolete. It doesn’t fit over the top of the pump which has a twist lock mechanism instead. I’ve travelled with the bottle numerous times and found it to be very secure thus far.


Nars markets this as a glowing, satin-finish foundation with sheer, buildable coverage for normal and dry skin. For the most part, I agree.

Application, finish and longevity:
This is a medium viscosity fluid that blends into the skin effortlessly. I generally apply it with my fingers for a natural, light-medium coverage, which is also what Nars recommends you do. But I’ve found it to work equally well with a wet sponge for a sheerer, dewier finish or a buffing brush for maximum coverage. It is truly a no fuss application that leaves your skin looking smooth and radiant. The high concentration of silicones allow it to glide over the skin for a seamless look that doesn’t highlight enlarged pores or textured skin.

Here’s a side by side of my bare face on the left and one with just the foundation on, on the right.

bare face

face with only foundation on

As you can see, one thin layer evens out my skin tone and partially hides some of my hyperpigmentation while still managing to look quite natural, which is exactly what I seek for everyday wear. If you wanted more coverage, you could easily apply another layer with no problem whatsoever. I however, prefer to go in with a concealer to cover my dark circles and blemishes.

The following two shots are of my face with foundation, powder and the rest of my makeup on.

nars sheer glow on face front view

nars sheer glow on face side view

I don’t necessarily agree with Nars that this foundation is only suitable for normal and dry skin. I have combination/oily skin and find it to last a good 8-10 hours on me. As is customary for me, I prep my skin with the smashbox oil-free pore minimizing primer applied to my t-zone, and set the foundation with powder. I do still get oily by mid-day and have to blot my face once but then don’t really need any other maintenance for the rest of the day. As an oily skinned gal, who doesn’t want to wear flat matte foundations, that’s a tradeoff I’m happy to settle for.

This foundation also does not contain any spf which makes it a good choice for evening events or occasions where you expect to be photographed a lot as you never have to worry about flashback.

nars sheer glow in flash photography

Foundation in flash photography

Shade range:
Another reason I appreciate this foundation is the vast shade range that caters to most skin tones, including olive ones like mine. I wear the shade Stromboli which is very yellow with a distinct olive undertone that matches me perfectly. For reference, I am approximately a nc30-35 in the mac shade range. (See shade swatch above)


So to conclude, I think this foundation is well suited to most skin types except perhaps the extremely oily or extremely dry. Though even those skin types may be able to make it work with some experimentation. If you’re oily, try mattifying primers, powders and alcohol based setting sprays like the urban decay de-slick. Alternatively very dry skins should use a rich moisturizer, hydrating primer and a moisturizing face mist. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a versatile, medium coverage, natural looking base, the nars sheer glow is well worth considering.

PS: If you’re trying to decide between the sheer glow and nars’s other offering, the all day luminous weightless foundation, I found the latter to be a bit too heavy looking on my skin and unforgiving on any skin texture because of it’s dry, matte finish. Strangely, it also made me very shiny within a couple of hours of application even though the formula is oil free and supposedly geared towards all skin types.

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