Sunday, 29 May 2011

Beauty LAT 102: Nars Sheer Glow and my broken heart

NARS Sheer Glow… has broken my heart. I’ve never had such a painful affair with a foundation in my life. I will elaborate.

Over the holidays I decided I wanted to try a high end foundation (something in the £30 area). Mainly I wanted to do this because I was fed-up of drugstore foundations being the wrong colour. I’m pale and I’m neutral with slightly pink tones and it was just irritating how all my foundations were terrible on me. Now to my credit, I researched the heck out of what choices were available. I’m fairly sure I read the whole internet. I looked at swatches, I read reviews, I did everything.

NARS Sheer Glow caught my attention because of the sheer number of reviews (geddit?) that were around and how glowing they were (really I’ll stop it now). I can’t count the number of people raving about how this was their Holy Grail (i.e. perfect) foundation, and I was pretty convinced it would be mine too. In fact, I bought thinking that it would be, and was imagining our beautiful future together… until it arrived.

I can’t get it to work on me. The first time I used it? It looked cakey, and after about an hour was blotchy and horrifically bad. I was unbelievably upset. One, I thought I’d made a very expensive mistake, but two, and even worse… it’s the perfect colour on me. I have Siberia, the lightest shade, and it’s beautiful. It matches my neck perfectly and I’m not constantly thinking ‘it’s just not quite right’. So my perfect shade and yet everyone else’s HG foundation didn’t work on me. 

I went a bit crazy with my obsession over it. I was determined I could make it work, that I must be doing something wrong. I made excuses for it. Now yes I was having the worst skin week ever when I first got it. Yes I’m not the most accomplished applicator of foundation (I couldn’t think of a better word). But that said… I shouldn’t have to make these excuses. One of the best things I read recently was Lipglossiping’s thoughts on foundation (read here, and she is absolutely right. It should work whatever I do, on bad days as well as good. Even knowing this, I went on a mini trial, even trying it at 3am some nights to see whether I could make it work. The results?...

Application with fingers: This is how the NARS leaflet in the box tells you to do it. I don’t like it. I’m honestly rubbish at applying bases with my fingers, because it just looks unblended. And trying the NARS like this proved my suspicions correct. The only way I’m getting it on is with a brush.
Application with GOSH foundation brush: I love this brush, but no. Cakey, not blended properly, tendency to apply too much I felt? Again a no.
Application with Sigma Flat Top Kabuki: I ended up at this out of desperation, because I so wanted it to work. I got the brush a week ago (it had to be ordered from America, and so was a last ditch attempt) and the results from 2 applications?... It looks better. Not quite perfect, but much much better. I’m pleased.

So the positives from this experiment/car crash… the colour is fantastic and I think the range is fairly good from what I can see. I’d actually say the coverage is more like medium to high, it’s not really sheer. It is beautiful at evening out and covering up blotchy, blemished skin even without concealer on. It’s beautifully presented, and I’m not actually bothered by the lack of a pump
The negatives… the price. It’s a lot for the same amount of product as a standard drugstore brand. Lasting power (on me at least) is rubbish. I wasn’t expecting anything miraculously long, but even with a lot of powder and a primer this isn’t going to be my choice for a long busy day. The high coverage also means when it fades off you are going to notice it.

I don’t quite know how to feel about this product. On the one hand logically I ought to have returned or sold it ages ago, because it’s been more trouble than it’s worth, especially as I ended up having to buy an expensive brush to make it go on half decently. But I can’t let it go. I just can’t. I can’t get it out of my head that now the application is better, I can make it work for something, although I can’t really think of any situation it’s going to work that well for. My final thoughts are these: by all means read reviews. If a product does well for a lot of people, that means it generally is good. But don’t assume it’ll be a HG product for you just because it is for everyone else. Really try for a sample or at least a swatch before you buy. Don’t fall in love before you’ve tried it properly. It’ll only end in tears.

Anyone have any hints for me where I’m going wrong?

UPDATE: Yes sorry I know this is the longest review ever! I’m thinking I might sell this. It just isn’t useful enough for me, and if I can’t wear a foundation out of the house because I’m terrified of it melting, then frankly, why bother owning it? I’m considering going off to the Estee Lauder to get the Double Wear (which they also do in very pale shades), buying that, and selling the NARS and another foundation to cover it if I like it. Sorry NARS, I’m feeling brutal.

Rating for colour: 10/10
Rating for formulation/heartache: 3.5/10


  1. I really think that if it's not right for you after trialling it it's never going to be worth what you paid for it! Double Wear, in my opinion, is absolutely fab and does. Not. Come. Off. It's also a good £5 cheaper than Nars so I'd definitely recommend it :) xxx

  2. Yeah I know :( Just need to be brutal! Aha I went to the Double Wear counter today, going to do a post later on my colour matching experience:) Might be a bit too dark though so we'll have to see! xxx

  3. try a sponge. I could only wear MUFE HD with the Beauty Blender... there's a cosmo one in Superdrug that some people rate even more highly than the original version xx

  4. Try a damp sponge or the beauty blender!!! My YSL Teint Resist works no matter how I apply it but L'Oreal True Match works way better with my No7 foundation brush than with any kind of sponge (or fingers). Also, do you use a makeup base?

  5. Lipglossiping- I didn't know about the Cosmo one! :O I'd been randomly googling the Beauty Blender and Sonia Kashuk version, but both were too expensive for me. I am definitely on a mission to hunt this down tomorrow! xxx

    Rosanna- see above for Lipg's comment, definitely going to find a sponge :) I find it all a bit of a nightmare trying to remember which product works best with each application method! I don't use much of a base- I have the GOSH primer but it's too silicone-y for me, and I think I tried this with the Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse and they hated each other! I have ordered a BB cream today which I'm looking forward to. xx

    Oh and in generally- I took the plunge and it's on eBay (although I'm fighting inside to take it down). My biggest problem was how long it lasted in the end xx


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