I have the driest skin on the planet. This is probably public knowledge by now because 90% of all my reviews are on foundation problems due to it or pricey creams/serums/peels to fix it. That said, I have NEVER been a fan of cream foundations because they are dry and difficult to apply over dry skin, emphasize my dry patches, tend to be heavy and look really obvious. well, until this discovery at least! Enter Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation - my savior and new HG winter foundation. This foundation is freakin’ glorious.
Ok so, this glides on like butter - I kid you not. It feels like I applied a good serum and not a foundation and I could not stop touching my face the first time I used it. Yup, it's that silky. Application is easy-peasy and completely streak free. I have used my fingers (not my preferred method bc I am a total germaphobe), buffed in with a blender brush, and also a stipple brush and all methods gave me a flawless appearance. This does not emphasize pores or dry skin - hallelujah! Coverage is a very good light to medium and very build-able (It does not cake at all). I love a good dewy finish and avoid the matte look like the plague; this foundation does manage to give a dewy glow without looking shiny at all, which is amazing. Although some reviewers have complained about staying power I haven't had any issues at all and its stayed put on me with or without a setting powder through 12 hr work days. I prefer this over Nars Sheer Glow which speaks volumes to its quality. Last but not least it is a PERFECT shade match for me which is often a struggle to find. I got Stromboli and know my skin and tone well enough to predict my Summer shade will definitely be Barcelona (FYI: I am NC 30).
1) Price. At $38 this stuff ain't cheap. Nars never is BUT the problem here is a trifecta of issues... you just don't get much for your money size/amount wise (whereas you do with their other foundations which run abt $5 more than this one), it's so creamy a lot of this goes to waste if applying with a brush (or the sponge it comes with), and the chance of this drying out before its time is pretty high. I have to pain stakingly wrap a hairband around it every time I use it which can be a pain in the a@ss because I chose not to purchase the NARS compact casing. Which brings me to ... 2) The compact casing is sold separately for ten bux. Say what??? Yeah, you heard me. That's some trickery, bringing the price well over that of other Nars foundations in the end. Another issue here is that the case is way bulkier than it needs to be; it fits the actual makeup and sponge lengthwise plus has a mirror which adds to the weight. Huh? Why didn't they just make it in a way where you lift the cream and the sponge is stored under? Yeah, they didn't think this one out, it would be better sized and shaped more like their blushes are IMO. Also, the standard Nars rubberized style matte black packaging is a nightmare to keep clean as you open and shut it. I started out only using this for overnight trips away from home to insure it didn't dry out or accidentally open in my makeup bag because it's such a magnet for residue, but it was still so annoying on so many levels I ended up ditching it and just scooping out a little into a small sample container instead.
Even though there are some issues, I still recommend this product for anyone who struggles with dry skin and desires a nice dewy coverage that looks natural. It is a high quality foundation and my new HG.
I am not into cream foundations because they are just too thick and heavy feeling for me. In addition, I find them hard to blend and they look very unnatural. That being said, this is a beautiful product which really surprised me. It is a dream to blend and apply because of it's creamy, soft, silky texture. I use my fingertips to apply and this way I can control how much I'm putting on my skin thus I end up using very very little. I simply dab on the areas that i need coverage and then blend blend blend out so that everything is even toned. This ensures that I have a very natural, 'your skin but better' look. It lasts me a whole day (12 hours) without touchups and photographs well. It looks dewy in person but photographs matte/silky for some reason. I will admit though that as the day progresses it becmoes more and more dewy so oily skinned girls beware of that. In all I'm very happy with this product and will repurchase the refills. For reference, I use Gobi (neutral toned when compared to Deauville which is more warm) for my NC15-20, GA Luminous Silk #3 skintone, and I have normal/dry skin.
I do like the foundation abut I have oily skin and this is a no go. After about 3 hours my face is really greasy and it looks like I've been working out. This is not for people who have oily skin!!!!
I have never been loyal to any foundation or powder. I really hate the look and feel of heavy foundations or powders. But I just LOVE this one! I have tried them all in hopes of finding something that would give me coverage and glow without looking caked-on or heavy.
This makes my skin look natural and glowey. I use Medium 3 (forget the name that goes with it). Now that I've decided I really love this and will keep buying it, I'll have to buy the compact to put my refills in. Right now I only had the refill which is a pain since there is nowhere to put the applicator in. It's pricey, especially if you decide to buy the compact too. But I must say it is worth it! I've tried more expensive foundations out there like Cle de Peau, Armani, Chanel, etc and none of them compare to this.
Edit. This lovely foundation started to clog and cause cysts. Beautiful, but I cant wear it.
I'm extremely picky about foundations, having tested/purchased probably 100 of them over the years. This foundation is, hands down, the most gorgeous finish I have ever worn. I have combo skin, and it absolutely looks perfect, like I have nothing on.
Which pretty much guarantees that they'll discontinue it. :)
Please buy it and love it, so they'll keep making it.
Good coverage but not great for oily skin. Hate the sponge it comes with. Very little in the compact for the amount of money.
I love this foundation. I works much better for me than the Sheer Glow which i found clung to dry patches. The refill securely clicks in place in the empty compact. The empty compact is the standard Nars ruberized packaging which I'm not its biggest fan, but otherwise doesn't really bother me. The texture for this foundation is amazing. Even though its a cream it's thin and very light in consistency. The coverage is light but buildable. The finish is fantastic, radiant but not overly moist, dewy. I used a beauty blender to apply a layer all over, then used my fingers where i wanted more coverage and finished blending it all with the bb. The finish is flawless, makes my skin look silky and radiant.
The price for the refill is $38 and its 0.42oz, making it very pricey by the oz. However, i feel like if i ran out i would consider repurchasing because it works for me.
As for a color match, i found Fiji to be my shade. For reference I'm around NC25, 021 in Dior Foundations, Medium Ivory in Laura Mercier Silk Cream, C2 in Mac's Face & Body and 30B in Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.
I feel like I have the skin that this foundation is designed for. I was soooo looking forward to using this product and it has been an absolute and utter fail for me.
I purchased the compact that goes with the foundation. It has a nice, big mirror and a holder for the sponge that ships with the foundation. The compact has the typical rubberized NARS coating which usually doesn't bother me, but when you're dealing with a cream product it's just a giant mess waiting to happen.
The little pod that contains the foundation does not fit securely in the compact when you open the compact. It rattles around. It isn't in danger of falling out, but it definitely does not fit securely. This isn't a deal breaker, but it's annoying, especially when the compact cost $10.
To use the product, you open the compact and then open the little pod. When you open the foundation pod, if you open it too far, which is easy to do, it actually pops the pod out of the compact. It's just a bit cumbersome, especially for a foundation that's touted as being very portable. And if you don't use the application sponge then the compact is immediately 100% bigger than it needs to be.
The foundation pod itself is incredibly plain and does not close particularly securely. You definitely could just buy the pod and use the product out of there without the compact, but I would be worried about throwing it in a bag or a drawer. I think that other products running into it could flip the lid open and lead to a giant mess. Also, since NARS go to the trouble of mentioning that you need to close the prod to keep it from drying out, I really wish the thing closed tightly. I've seen a couple of other reviews where people took the lid off the foundation pod. While this definitely improves the experience from an aesthetic perspective, it is expressly NOT what NARS recommends for storing the foundation.
FOUNDATION CONSISTENCY AND APPLICATION:
They are not kidding about the "cream". It is super creamy and emollient. And this is coming from someone who has incredibly dry skin. This stuff was crazy creamy. According to the NARS press release, this is supposed to have a "buildable formula" that will "deliver medium to full coverage". Um, yeah. About that ...
Application with a brush:
Using a brush is my preferred method for applying cream foundation. I used a small, densely packed synthetic brush. The foundation is so creamy that I had a very hard time building up any coverage using a brush. On my very dry skin, it slid around and I ended up with very light coverage that did absolutely nothing to cover any blemishes and did very little in terms of evening out my skintone. The light coverage also did not wear well. After 4 hours it was incredibly patchy and by the time I finally removed it at the end of the day it looked absolutely abysmal (not that any foundation looks great after 14 hours of wear, but this looked worse than if I'd worn nothing). Pigmentation pooled in my pores, fine lines and anywhere that I had any texture at all while making the rest of my face too shiny and turning the setting powder into a patchy paste. It was terrible.
Application with the sponge:
Using the brush produced such awful results that I decided to follow NARS's recommendations and try using the sponge to press the product into my skin. This definitely produced better results. I got a lot more coverage than I did with the brush. It was probably light to medium coverage. I did still need to spot conceal, but it was so much better than what I got using the brush. The amount of product I ended up using with this method was appalling, especially considering this foundation contains less than half the usual amount that you'd get in a foundation (.42oz). I applied it once using this method and it made a huge dent in the product. Wear time actually improved considerably with a heavier application. It did get patchy, but probably around the 8 hour mark rather than the 4 hour mark with a lighter application.
I have super dry skin with occassional dry patches. This foundation doesn't cling to dry, flaky patches of skin initially, but it also doesn't do anything to help those patches. For how creamy this product is, it didn't do much to moisturize my skin. As the day wore on, the pigmentation pooled around any texture on my skin.
For setting, the foundation is supposed to "set in seconds". Well, I suppose that any foundation will set in seconds, it's the number of seconds that varies. This did not set quickly on me. It took a minute or two. And even then, it didn't really dry down. It retained a somewhat tacky feel even an hour after application. Clearly, you can powder this product to set it and I did in my T-zone. I set it the first day with a MAC mineralize skinfinish natural with a brush and then, the second day using a Laura Mercier translucent pressed powder with a puff. As with the foundation application itself, I got much better results pressing the powder directly over the foundation as opposed to trying to brush it on. I probably should have set the foundation over my entire face because, the tacky finish grabbed on to my powder blush.
The third day, I didn't set it with any powder at all and by the four hour mark, I was completely oily in my t-zone and the foundation was beginning to break down and the pigments were pooling in my pores and around any texture on my skin. So I would say that for me at least (and I don't have a very oily t-zone), powdering this foundation is a must.
What is the point of having a foundation with this super emollient formula that works great on dry skin and has a radiant finish if you have to powder to give it any wear time? And I have to powder with a luminizing powder to give it any radiance?
***UPDATE*** - I have upped this to 5 lippies - since my skin got drier it has been a dream, and when it sets it looks so light and naturally glow-y. I apply a small amount and use a buffing brush to blend it all in for light coverage. Seems to work very well with my Armani foundation brush or Ecotools. I dust some loose powder in the t-zone and it looks very natural & polished. When I wear this I don't have to touch it up all day aside from a blotting tissue once at some point after several hours. Perfect for winter - not so much for my skin in warmer months. Seems a lot less "greasy" to me now, and with a light moisturiser or primer underneath it can be sheered out easily without get patchy. Repurchase? Probably. The price is a bit high and I've hit pan after using it only about 3 weeks which has never happened to me before with any foundation, not sure why. Perhaps the brush/sponge is absorbing too much when I pick it up from the compact because I only use a small amount and don't need coverage except around my nose and under the eyes. Price aside, it's a beautiful foundation.
I know this is kind of geared towards dry skin - I have combination skin and my skin has been more dry lately and I thought this might work. I have this in the colour "Fiji" which is a lighter golden peachy yellow-based shade that matches my NC25 skin very well. It has light to medium coverage, slightly buildable but is quite "slippery" so do not expect full coverage easily from this.
The pros are :
- nice range of colours from fair to dark
- doesn't get cakey
- leaves skin looking luminous and healthy
- light, natural finish
- because it's greasy, doesn't have much staying power
- too much "slip" when blending/building up coverage tends to slide all over instead of setting quickly
- expensive PLUS you have to buy the actual compact separately (that may or may not bother some people)
- tends to build up/slide into nose/eye area, any creases or lines
I know people have mentioned that it seems like you don't get much product, but I think that's because of the packaging - NARS is 0.42 oz compared to CoverFX Cover Cream Foundation which is also 0.42 oz while D&G Creamy Foundation which is 1 oz - but Illamasqua's cream foundation is only 0.28 oz. So it's pretty average for a cream foundation. HOWEVER I feel like I end up using wayyy more product which is odd - I don't need much on a daily basis. Usually a small drop of foundation can do my whole face and one little Sephora sample size pot of other foundations has lasted me over a month! But not with this - I have to keep going back, re-doing certain areas. I think it is because of the slip, this doesn't set very fast so when I apply more it just slides around. The greasiness can make blending a chore.
I think if you have truly dry skin this might be a good choice. I would definitely try this on in the store before buying though.
All in all, I like the finished look - it suits my skin tone and looks natural and glow-y but I feel the effort required to get it to look decent is way beyond what I have had to do with my other foundations.
If this suits your skin I am jealous because it's a lovely product, fragrance-free, with hydrating ingredients and gives natural looking light-medium coverage without being cake-y. I gave it a 4/5 rating because it's not bad but it's not anywhere near "I love this". I don't reach for this product often.
Let me start by saying I do like the radiant creamy concealer so I had high expectations for this. But this "foundation" is awful. No coverage at all. I would say greasy, not radiant. And the amount of product you get for the price is just ridiculous. No, just no.