But the comparison I'm making here is with Armani's famous Luminous Silk Foundation, considered the ne plus ultra of foundations for as long as I can remember. Just about every makeup artist uses it, whether on set or on the red carpet. (Want proof? Read the Melanie Inglessis Q&A—she won't touch anything else.) I remember when I was just starting out as a newbie beauty editor, and bottles would mysteriously go missing whenever we'd bring them on a shoot... it's THAT coveted.
And it is. I have a feeling this NARS stuff will be a huge hit, because it has many of the same features:
- It gives the skin that elusive luminous quality—but isn't dewy or greasy.
- It's full coverage, but looks very natural (a next-to-impossible feat).
- The undertones of the shades are all yellow-based, not pink. (Pink foundations are a huge pet peeve of makeup artists.)
The difference is that this formula is thinner (more fluid, less creamy), and I'd say closer to Armani Maestro, YSL Fusion Ink, Maybelline Dream Wonder et al—that new generation of high-pigment liquid silicone foundations that feel weightless on the skin.
Except it's higher coverage than all of those. It is, in fact, one of the highest coverage foundations I've tried in a while.
Here's how it dispenses, out of a handy pump:
And here's the texture, unblended. (Make sure you shake the bottle well first—otherwise you'll get a bunch of oil coming out.)
I spread it out so you can see how liquidy yet pigmented it is:
And then blended in:
It looks natural when you get it on, but if you're nit-picky like I am, then you'll see that it does sit on top of the skin a teensy bit, and isn't 100 percent seamless. But I don't know if that's even possible in a full-coverage foundation anyway. It probably won't bother anyone that is looking for this much coverage... I just say this as a person who prefers sheerer formulas. (But then again, I've been known to wear too little, not too much makeup.)
I think you'll get the best results if you do all of the following:
- Make sure your skin is well-moisturized, and even primed first. This foundation seems to cling to dry patches.
- Use just one drop for your entire face, starting at the centre and blending out. It's so pigmented that a little goes a loooong way. It's very easy for this stuff to start looking heavy if you apply too much.
- Use a brush to apply it. A finger application seems to make it too concentrated and unnatural-looking.
Once you get it on, it does indeed feel weightless, and you look sort of glowy—yet still semi-matte, not shiny. Pretty cool. It also stays put amazingly well without fading, at least four hours in my test. I haven't worn it for longer but the claim is 16 hours!
There are 20 shades in all, and I was sent five for my test-drive (why does my skin look BLUE here?!):
What's great is they've got options for a wide range of ethnicities, from ultra-pale to dark espresso.
However, you should know that these shades are very much yellow-based—in fact, even the ones that aren't described that way are yellow. Mont Blanc (Light 2) is my closest match, and it's supposed to be "light with pink undertones." But I wouldn't really describe it as a neutral, let alone pink—I can just about get away with it, but find it's still slightly too yellow for my skin tone. My next closest match would be Deauville, but as a "neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones," that would be even MORE yellow.
If you're not sure of your colour, NARS has a foundation matrix that matches you based on your shade number from other brands, such as Make Up For Ever and MAC.
What's interesting about the ingredients (and possibly off-putting for some?) is that dimethicone is listed first. Most foundations have water as the first ingredient. But at least it's alcohol-, fragrance-, oil- and paraben-free:
Dimethicone, Water, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glycerin, Boron Nitride, Propanediol, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol Crosspolymer, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Isostearic Acid, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Decyl Isostearate, Isododecane, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone/Peg-2 Soyamine/Ipdi Copolymer, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/Polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Isostearyl Isostearate, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica, Polysilicone-2, Tin Oxide, Tocopherol, [+/- (May Contain): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499)].
This is, undoubtedly, a very good foundation. If you're looking for full coverage, an oil-free formula and your skin tone leans yellow, then I think you'll absolutely love it.
For me, it's a strong like—but maybe not quite love. For those of us with neutral-to-pinky undertones, the yellow shade selection is slightly frustrating. I'll probably keep this foundation in my "special occasion" category. On a daily basis my personal preference is for sheer coverage—I don't want (or need) something that completely wipes out my skin tone, like this does. So I'll stick with my trusty MUFE Face & Body, which also creates a bit more of a seamless, second-skin effect.
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