I had been a huge fan of NARS Oil Free foundation and wore it for years. I have sensitive, acne prone skin with rosacea on my nose that can flare up if I use the wrong thing. My t-zone gets oily but I also get surface dryness from skincare products (finacea and differin) that I exfoliate away once or twice a week or when needed. Most of the time my skin looks pretty good.
I thought this would work for me since I have an oily t-zone. I tried several times. Sadly, each time, no matter how much I exfoliated, it accentuated any dry flakes I had, even when none were visible to the naked eye. It's like it wouldn't quite blend in to the skin but was sticking to things on the surface. It was very apparent I had foundation on as a result. I had to return the foundation to Sephora today. I exchanged it for the Sheer Glow and am hoping it will work for me instead. I'll never understand why companies mess with a good thing. Their original formulas were fine. I'll report on the Sheer Glow after I try it. But this one certainly disappointed me. I thought it would be the closest to their old Oil Free. Sadly, it was nothing like it.
I first tried NARS Oil-free back in circa 2009, and it became my HG. It had a very unique thick and dry consistency that at first that was a bit difficult to use, but once I got the hang of it, it went on beautifully, was easy to build, gave me perfect, flawless complexion and looked so natural. Stayed on all day and night without caking. Unfortunately its been discontinued and replaced with the Sheer Matte. The Sheer Matte is still a great foundation, but it's has a different texture than the old Oil-Free. It goes on thinner and lighter and resembles other liquid foundations in consistency. The coverage is light but buildable, especially with a light dab of powder (I use Makeup Forever powder, they work great together). I find Sheer Matte doesn't spread as evenly though, sometimes it leaves streaks. Still, NARS is the only brand that doesn't get cakey, oily and gross on me by the end of the day, so it's still the best foundation for me. Wish it came with the pump though, I've never gotten around to buying it (it's sold seperately). I have light skin with neutral-to-yellow tones, and Gobi is the best match, though Deauville is very close as well. It lasts forever and a bottle goes a long, long way. But I'd give anything to have my dear old NARS oil-free back. Sigh... this will do for now.
Finally bought this foundation after much indecision. It's nice, gives me the coverage I need, but it isn't waterproof or resistant, so when my eyes water it leaves a streak I have to blend in. Great color match; Siberia matches my skin perfectly. Feels a bit heavy to me though. Gonna use the bottle and then try to find something else.
I was keen to try Sheer Matte, after being a huge fan of the Sheer Glow counterpart but wanting something more oil-absorbing. First thing that struck me about Sheer Matte is that there is a slight colour discrepancy compared to Sheer Glow. I am NC43 in MAC and Syracuse is PERFECT for me in Sheer Glow, however is a shade too pale in Sheer Matte.
I didn't find this foundation long-lasting at all. I prefer low-coverage foundation, and while this provides it, it doesn't look that great when you start to build it up. It's also quite hard to work with and blend in, and has misshapen my favourite foundation brush!
Overall, NARS is still the best in terms of great colour matches for those of us with yellow-toned skin, but if you have oiler skin you might be better off using Sheer Glow with a good primer, or blotting powder.
For reference I'm NC40/42 and in this foundation Barcelona is a terrific match for my skin tone. First and foremost, if you're going to buy this foundation and use it on a regular/semi-regular basis, do yourself a favor and purchase the pump that goes with it. For me, that makes all the difference in the world regarding ease of use and package quality. You can either use the cap or the pump but once you insert the pump, you can't use the cap (unless you remove the pump). I have combo-oily skin with a t-zone that likes to grease out. Many years ago I tried NARS Oil Free foundation and it was not a winner for me but NARS Sheer Matte foundation IS :) I get just a tad bit oily mid-day and need to blot but just once and that's better than my usual 1-2x with many other foundations. Yes the name is Sheer but I consider it light coverage that is easily buildable. I would repurchase and highly recommend. Oh, and get the pump!!
I had a love hate relationship with this foundation for about a month, but now it is just HATE. I regret ever wearing this foundation. It was like a makeup disaster for me. For reference i have VERY oily & very acne prone skin (almost always have an active breakout). This foundation has zero staying power with my oily skin. It seems to separate and make patches of my face look dry and crusty. Part of that may be the combo of my moisturizer and this foundation because i use an oil based moisturizer and this is water based. Water and oil do not mix. My shade was also much too light for my skin tone, oh using this was a month of makeup malfunctions. Please just do yourself a favor and dont waste your money on this.
I'm loving this foundation. A friend recommended it to me, and I was hesitant to try it because of the not so great reviews here on MUA. But I went to the Nars counter and the ladies were so kind to give me a few sample bottles of some shades to try. I've been wearing the samples for the past two months, to try and find my shade (they'e lasted me quite a while), and I've fallen in love with how Santa Fe looks on my skin.
I have combination skin, and usually by the end of a day of wearing foundation, all you see is shine and my foundation turning a strange colour as my facial oils penetrate through it. But this foundation has amazing staying power. I apply it once in the morning at 8am, and by 8pm my skin is still looking fresh and oil free. It has the perfect amount of coverage to cover my many skin imperfections, without looking too heavy or caked on. I wear it daily, and people have commented that it looks as though I'm not wearing any makeup at all.
I have tried many foundations, but nothing gives my skin the glow that this foundation does. I think this may be partially due to having found a shade that actually matches my skin tone. This foundation comes in so many shades, that I can't imagine anyone not finding their perfect match. Overall, I definitely recommend trying this foundation.
***UPDATE: After wearing for a month, Ive noticed that this foundation makes my skin break out. I didn't want to believe it at first because I really loved the way this foundation looked. But now after over a month of use, I can't chalk it up to my moisturizer or hormones anymore. After wearing for a few hours it makes my skin feel a bit irritated, and I tend to breakout shortly thereafter.
..the search continues.
i am very surprised by the low reviews! i purchased sheer matte in barcelona and i am SO happy with it! i have been wearing chanel perfection lumiere in shade 40 (was a tad too light for my NC42 skin but the 50 was way too dark). i love my CPL but this Nars really keeps the oilies at bay much longer! i am southeast asian, yellow undertones, VERY oily and this really gave me fantastic light/medium coverage (i just like to even out my skin tone) and kept the oilies away much longer than chanel PL. this actually gives just a smidge more coverage than chanel. i am switching over. good stuff and i wish i had tried it sooner. i kept putting it off due to low reviews. if you have DRY skin, this is not for you! so its unfair to give a review saying this dried your skin out-of course it would. its a matte formula! my skin is so oily, i dont think there is any foundation out there that will completely keep the oilies away 100%, but this has come pretty darn close. im giving 5 stars because its the best foundation i have used thus far and i am 37, so there's been a lot :)
Here it goes. The first time I bought this I wasnt loving it because it was streaky and didnt have lasting power. But that was when I haven't discovered face primers & I used very little and used Sonia Kashuk's Multipurpose Flat Top which was small and tended to streak my makeup.
The second time around I am actually loving it. I use one complete pump to cover my face using a F80 brush. Its has a matte powdery finish with sheer medium coverage. This on me lasts through a 9hr work day. It a bit harder to spread when blending compared to Revlon whipped foundation which spreads like butter so prime your face well. My gripe with this foundation is that you have to purchase a pump separately & it doesn't come with a top/cover. I find that every time I pump foundation the extra foundation at the top left from yesterday dries up and is the first thing that comes out. continued >>
I was kind of hesitant to try this foundation because I had read many reviews and watched lots of videos with less-than-positive comments. The claims, however, sounded exactly what I was looking for in a foundation: soft matte finish, oil control, light-medium coverage, and a great range of yellow undertones.
I fell in love with the sample I got at Sephora and bought a full-sized bottle. I've had this for 6 months. I'm still in love with this foundation! I think that it might be important to address the common issues of this foundation and how I worked around them. Firstly, I've heard how it's hard to get out of the bottle without a pump. I would DEFINITELY prefer one, especially for the price I'm paying ... but I've never had much of a problem getting the foundation out. I just shake the bottle a few times and it seems to take little effort to come out afterwards. I also heard how cakey it can look. I really think that this IS meant to be a light to light-medium coverage foundation. I don't find it very buildable, at least not as much as the Sheer Glow foundation (which I will review sometime later). So, it's best to use as little as possible. My main skin issues are moderate acne and mild hyperpigmentation, and I think this foundation covers them well. I will agree with others when they say that this can be tricky to blend. I've tried using a flat top brush, stippling brush, Beauty Blender, standard paddle foundation brush, and my fingers. I like the results best when I use a paddle brush: pure perfection for me!
I'm still trying to figure out how to get this to last longer for me, but I do get about 6 hours with the combination of products I'm using. I'm quite oily, so I moisturize with some Clean & Clear Advantage moisturizer (grey bottle). Then, I prime my skin with Rimmel's Fix & Perfect PRO primer. I think the texture of this primer helps the foundation blend more easily. Lastly, I set the foundation with ELF HD powder. I plan on getting one of the NARS powders to see if those would do a better job of mattifying. Once I try that out, I'll update this part of the review.
In my opinion, NARS has an amazing range of shades especially with women with yellow undertones. I like that they just don't cater to one type of yellow undertone. Not every yellow-toned person is olive, peach, golden, soft yellow, warm yellow, etc. As for me, I'm very warm toned and I have primarily yellow undertones. I'm NC27ish (I probably veer into one of the C shades; I'm not sure anymore) and Fiji is absolutely perfect for me. I have also tried a few other shades in this line. Deauville is the most neutral shade that I tried, but it still leans slightly yellow and is probably a good match for NC20s. Ceylan(NC20-25) is primarily yellow, but not as warm as Fiji. I would call it a cooler yellow shade. Punjab (NC30ish) is a shade that I could get away with if I blended it down into my neck, but it leaned slightly pinkish-orange at times. My cousin, whom I estimate to be NC37ish, wears this in Stromboli (a very yellow shade that leans slightly green). All in all, I don't see any "unrealistic" shades in NARS foundations ... so a huge thumbs up for me!
This foundation, along with Sheer Glow, are my new favorites. I am still trying to test the claims of its skincare benefits. I'm usually skeptical, but this has definitely not made my skin any worse. An A+ for NARS, for sure! continued >>