Sunday, December 12th, 2010

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Light Coverage, Soft Glow with NARS

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($42.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is touted as a “satin-finish foundation with sheer and buildable coverage.” It is also supposed to have “skincare benefits” when used regularly to “improve skin brightness, radiance and texture.” It is recommended for normal to dry skin types.

It is a light coverage foundation which can be built to light-medium coverage–definitely no more coverage than medium coverage at most. I wouldn’t describe it as sheer really; and if you have near perfect skin but are looking for a sheer all-over foundation option, I would keep looking. You could consider using it where and as needed, too, but for flawless or almost flawless skin, I recommend a tinted moisturizer over this, because I think this would be overkill.

I get about four to six hours of really great wear with this formula, but it does start to wane by the eighth hour. I think a little blot powder or pressed powder at lunch time helps to keep it working all day–I just wouldn’t describe it as a long-wearing foundation. Like most foundations, though, if you have drier skin, it may last longer than you. I’m normal-to-dry, and it’s at the eight hour point that I notice I look a lil’ oily and less even overall (a sign foundation is fading, disappearing, etc.). Oilier skin types are better off trying Sheer Matte, though, because the wear doesn’t last all day long, even on normal skin, and there is still an inherent dewiness from the finish that may accentuate oily skin in a not-so-flawless kind of way.

The consistency is thick without being goopy but not so thin that it applies too sheerly. I always apply it by using a concealer brush and dotting my face with the foundation, and then I take a foundation brush (MAC 109) spritzed with water to blend out the foundation to cover my entire face. The formula doesn’t dry down right away, so you have a lot of time to blend it in, and it seems a touch tacky after a few minutes, but it finishes its dry down after five minutes or so and completely settles by ten.

I was worried this was going to be too dewy for my liking. I prefer a matte or semi-matte finish in my foundations, and I was actually going to try Sheer Matte, but NARS sent over Sheer Glow–but the funny part is I didn’t even realize it was Sheer Glow until several uses later when I looked at the bottom of the jar for the shade name! It is a semi-satin, semi-matte kind of finish. There is a soft glow that emanates from the finish but it is subtle and natural. I didn’t feel like I looked shiny or oily at all after applying it, which can sometimes be the case with satin or natural finish foundations.

Overall, I really liked this foundation, and it’s something I reach for often enough. It photographs well (no SPF), and it evens out the skin quite beautifully. There is enough coverage for my skin concerns (some acne, slight unevenness in tone), and it blends really well. I’ve never had it look cakey or too much, and it does not feel heavy on the skin. I wish it wore longer, though, because that would make this a slam dunk foundation. I also would prefer if it came with a pump rather than as a $5 extra you can purchase. As a high-end, $42 foundation, I would expect an included pump.

If you need help finding your shade, I recommend The Foundation Matrix, which is actually how I found mine (Punjab)!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would recommend this for very dry to normal skin types who need light to light-medium coverage. If you tend to need medium or heavy coverage, I don’t think you would get enough coverage out of this foundation. Similarly, I think it has too much coverage if you are really looking for something ultra sheer.


See more photos & swatches!

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow
No Foundation / NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase Sheer Glow? How much is it?

NARS, $42.

Is it limited edition?


What shade did you use?


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100 thoughts on “NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review, Photos

  1. Would you recommend using a foundation brush? I’ve tried using MAC’s stippling brush and I find that it doesn’t work that well.

  2. Rachael

    I think this is my favorite foundation on you, it looks lovely.

  3. linda

    It never cake on me when I put it on myself, but it cakes like crazy when the Nars SA put it on me… weird…
    I’m normal to oily, and I use sheer glow. It doesn’t make me more oily than usual, so I’m fine with that.
    This is my daily foundation.

    • Kelly

      It’s probably just that the product used at the counter is a little bit dried up bit when you use your own it’s always fresh product

  4. Angie

    Hi Christine! Thanks for the review. How do you think this foundation compares to Burberry’s sheer luminous foundation?

  5. Kristie

    I personally love this foundation, i think it looks really nice on you as well :)

  6. This has been my HG foundation for over a year, I find it lasts well even on my slightly oily T-zone (I’m combination) and indeed it’s not too sheer nor too glowy.
    I know the pump issue bothers a lot of people but Nars actually did this on purpose: it’s a foundation that needs o be really well shaken, and people don’t tend shaking products that have a pump, plus the product that has stayed in the pump since previous usage won’t be well mixed. They now do sell a pump due to popular demand but it’s actually not the best way to use the product, as I understand it.

  7. Em

    What eyeshadows are you wearing? They’re beautiful! =)

  8. for color reference what is your MAC shade?

    i’ve read somewhere that Neutrogena healthy skin it’s great dupe for Nars sheer glow. Would you agree?

  9. I have very dry skin but I like foundations that have medium to full coverage. I bought the MUFE HD and I like it fine on days when my skin is really clear but if I break out, the coverage simply isn’t enough. Is the coverage of Sheer Glow comparable to MUFE HD? Can you recommend any fuller coverage foundations for dry skin?

  10. WaxWhiteRose

    I’ve been using this foundation for month and I love it. It really stays longer on your skin if you have dry skin. It starts to fade after 10-11 hours and can be touched up with a little bit of powder to make it look flawless again for another 3-5 hours if necessary.
    I also noticed that the powder you are setting it with plays a role in the staying power, I recomend using no powder or if necessary Mac MSF in your skintone, everything that’s mattening like blot powder shortens the time period

  11. I bought this foundation in Siberia from Sephora, and I am truly in love. I’ve been having the hardest time finding a fair foundation that didn’t look white and cake-y, with a little moisturizing quality. IT’S PERFECT! For anyone lighter than MAC’s NC/NW15, definitely give Siberia a try. :)

  12. lazeny

    You look gorgeous Christine =) I love the look that you did. What eyeshadow and lipcolor did you use?

    I have Sheer Matte in Santa Fe, I wanted to love it but the foundation tended to crack around my nose. Maybe I’ll have better luck using Sheer Glow.

  13. Sounds like a pretty good foundation but I need something that wears longer. I usually work 10 to 12 hour sifts with little time to touch up.

  14. Wow, it looks great on you!!

  15. I’ve been wondering about the Sheer Glow foundation from Nars. I was really sad to hear my favorite Chanel Foundation (Teint Innocence) was being discontinued. I thought I’d try the Sheer Glow next. Sad to hear it doesn’t wear longer…and it’s a bummer on the pump! Maybe I’ll check it out, but I’m not set on it yet.

  16. One more big plus for this foundation:
    the shade range goes fairer than just about any other brand (Illamasqua is the only one I’ve seen that goes as fair). The Siberia is perfect for my “too pale for MAC” skin- a great choice for folks that usually find they can’t get a match light enough.

    Also, I have say I agree with you- I think “Sheer” glow is misnomer for this formula. I almost didn’t try it, because I like Medium/Full coverage- sheer doesn’t cut it for me. Luckily, I did, because this gives beautiful Medium coverage on my dry-very dry skin (I wonder if your blending it w/ a damp brush sheered it out some because I definitely thought this was a solid medium coverage.)

    Anyway, just thought I’d add that in for all of the super-pale amongst your readers; this is a great foundation!

    • mila

      a very late reply – Have you tried Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich in Alabaster or any BB foundation on Alabaster?

  17. Annick Chantal L. H.

    I have it in Syracuse and Tahoe. i mixe them to have a perfect match. It’s a great light foundation. I will recommend it for dry to mixed combination (especially if you have 95 % of dry skin). You have red, orange and yellow undertones. Syracuse is for orange undertones, tahoe for yellow undertones. barcelona is for yellow undertones, deauville is for pink and yellow undertones, fiji for yellow undertones. so you can find your fave foundation easily…. voilà, voilà, bonne journée (that’s it have a nice day).

  18. Laura

    You look great, makes your skin look healthy and gives a nice glow without looking oily. Great review!

  19. Lauren

    I have combination skin. I find that this foundation does not last through a work day. However, I tend to gravitate towards this when I’m going out at night. It photographs well, lasts the 4-6 hours I’m out for, and gives a really healthy looking finish to the skin. I also never feel like I’m wearing a mask. It definitely is not a daily use foundation for combination skin.

  20. This is my favorite foundation. I have normal to oily skin but it doesn’t make me look greasy at all. I find it lasts about 6 hours on me with powder touch-ups. I think it’s odd your shade is Punjab! I thought you were darker in skin color than me, but that’s my shade as well.

  21. Nadia

    I first bought this foundation in April because of Makeup By Tiffany D’s recommendation. (I regularly watch her videos on Youtube) From the first moment, I started using this foundation, I absolutely loved it. When I was working (I am days away from giving birth to my second child), I would put this foundation on early in the morning (6:30 a.m.). I would look at my face at about 9:00 p.m. and the foundation still looked great on me as it had when I first put it on.

    This foundation is truly awesome for me. I used the one bottle I bought in April every single day from the start of April to October and noticed that my skin looked healthier as I continued to use this foundation. For me personally, I think this is the best foundation for me and is worth every single penny. I hope NARS never discontinues this foundation.

  22. Jennifer

    I recently purchased this in the color “Deauville”. I’m NC20 by MAC btw.

    I find the finish so pretty that I don’t want to put blush etc over it.

    I put it on with my fingers after I put a primer and some strobe cream on.

    I think more pink under tone skin tones will find it kind of hard to find a match, because most of the foundations in this line still run more on the yellow undertone side. I don’t think it is impossible, but yeah.

    Love this though.

  23. I found my shade of NARS foundation from the foundation matrix! I got the Sheer Matte version in Siberia which is light enough for my very pale skin.

  24. Claudia

    Christine, many thanks for the review ! I always wanted to use Nars Sheer Glow. How do you think this foundation compares to Diorskin nude foundation? I was in doubt which one to choose and went for Dior’s because I could test the shade here (can’t find Nars where I live). Thanks :))

  25. Rae

    Hold it. THAT’S what your skin looks like without foundation?! Christine, why on earth do you ever even wear it; your skin looks amazing!

    (Then again, Sheer Glow also looks *really* good on you…)

    • My skin is wayyy uneven – you can see how my cheeks look compared to the rest of my face!

      Admittedly, I was on a good skin week when I took these photos, though.

  26. Ann

    Between Nars SG and MAC Face and Body. These are my all time favorite foundations, and I have tried them all. I don’t mix the two. I really feel like it’s full coverage on me because I do not see any blemishes at all after applying this foundation. Only thing missing is a pump.

  27. Hilary♥

    The Foundation Matrix is the coolest thing EVER. Nice foundation, looks pretty on you!

  28. Anne

    My holy grail foundation!! Love it!!!

  29. Tawny

    Wow, it looks amazing on you, Christine. this foundation gives you the most natural glow; I might have to check it out.

  30. Yumi

    Hmm. This is as close as it gets to HG for me when it comes to foundations. I really like it and it’s the best foundation I’ve come across thus far, so I was really surprised that you only gave it a B+! Granted I haven’t tried that many. It just boggles my mind that there might be something better out there! Would you have any recommendations by chance? For reference, I also wear Punjab and I’m ultra oily in the summer but normal/dry in the winter. I tried Sheer Matte at first but found that to be FAR too dry for my liking, it literally flaked off my skin. I’ve tried a variety of foundations, including MAC, MUFE, Bare Minerals, Shu Uemura and some drugstore foundations, and I didn’t like any of them. I was thinking of trying Lancome’s Teint Miracle or Laura Mercier next…any suggestions by chance? :) Thanks!

    • Hey Yumi,

      Given that it doesn’t last more than 4-6 hours, that’s kind of a big deal, IMO. For me, it’s just a foundation I use if I’m only going somewhere for a couple of hours, but I wouldn’t wear it daily, because it’s not reliable.

      If it lasts all day for you, then I see no reason for you to change :)

      • Yumi

        I do think that it leaves something to be desired in the longevity department, but most of the time I wear it all day anyway because I’m too lazy to touch up or even blot. I just assumed that all foundations were like that.

  31. Meheen

    It looks really lovely on you, Christine! Similar to my Clinique Superbalanced.

  32. I have Sheer Matte (as I am combo/oily) and I love it. My color is Syracuse (MAC NC 42). I find with a primer, it lasts all day on me. It is my HG foundation!

  33. Mari

    This foundation looks amazing on you. It was horrible on me though =(. I have dry skin and no matter the method of application I used for this foundation it gave me dry patches which was weird because even though I g=have dry skin, my skin regimen is really good and without the foundation you would not think I have dry skin. But every time I used this it completely dried my face out. I am fairly new to foundation, this was my first one. Other than that one I have tried MAC Face and Body which I really like and Make up for Ever Face and Body and also liked it. Do you know how the Chanel Vitalumiere compares to these two?

  34. Marie

    I *love* this foundation. I simply apply it with my fingers, and dust setting powder over it, and voila it lasts all day.
    What I like most is that the shade Siberia is great for my very fair skin, and it doesn’t break me out.
    When I just don’t want to spend time applying foundation, I use it as a concealer. :)

  35. Ronja

    pretty . i wish i knew what shade i have. its hard to choose shade online :(

  36. Mollie

    Holy Grail foundation!!

  37. Natalie

    My HG foundation at the moment :) People have been commenting how great my skin looks after wearing this and I can’t seem to like my other foundations (MUFE HD, Shu, KohGenDo, MAC and Dior) anymore. I tried all different application techniques (brushes, fingers, sponges) and I did feel the foundation kinda shifted after 5 hours on my oily skin.. However, I started using it with a damp blending sponge and now it stays put and flawless until I want to remove it.

  38. vanessa

    I think this foundation gives medium to heavy coverage…..I have boats loads of acne scars on my face and this foundation has manage to cover it.

  39. Jess

    i used the matrix to find mine too and it was a perfect match. Thanks so much for creating it!

  40. Lulee

    christine do you prefer this to MUFE HD?

  41. Annie

    I’ve been using this foundation for a couple months now and I love the way it looks when I first put it on, but I completely agree about it not being long lasting. And with the weather now, it really accentuates my dry spots after 6-8 hours :(
    I bought the pump and think its really convenient, but you cannot use the cap anymore when the pump is on.

  42. Michelle

    Where did you buy the pump for your bottle?? I have looked everywhere, and people keep telling me Nars doesn’t sell a pump for their foundation bottles! :(

  43. stephanie

    Hey Christine! I have really dry patches on my skin and considering getting this after the comments below. How does it compare to Estee Lauder Double wear light?

  44. Jenny

    The “Sheer” in sheer glow doesn’t refer to coverage. they dont mean its sheer coverage. they use it as in saying the “utter glow” , like the very essence of glow

    does that make sense?,,,

  45. Tessa

    It looks really nice on you, Christine!

    I love Sheer Glow. I get much better results applying with fingers than a brush – it warms up the product and melts into the skin. Apparently this is how it’s designed to be worn. I have normal to dry, fairly clear skin with some redness and dark circles and this is a perfect medium coverage foundation to just use where I need it, rather than all over. I’m not really a full-face person.

    Another plus is that as a pale yet warm toned girl, there’s LOADS of choice of shades. In MAC I’m on the pale side of NC25, but MAC foundation never looks quite right on me. In Sheer Glow I’ve found Ceylan to be perfect most of the year, but Deauville also worked really well (I might yet pick one up for days when I’m looking less yellowy – my skin tone does vary slightly). And I could have “got away with” 2-3 more shades. Lots of options!

  46. its nice ..its looks so natural

  47. Phoebe

    This foundation does not work for me at all. It’s really weird. My skin is combination, a little oily on the T-zone but pretty much normal all over. This foundation accentuates every flaws that i didnt know i have. It made my nose + cheek area really dry and very cakey. My forehead on the other hand look very oily. I had to blot after an hour. I used every brush i have to apply this. I used MAC 187, 188, 109 and 190 and also sponge and my hands. Nothing works! I really dont know why other people love this so much. I was hoping i will love it but i was wrong.

  48. Anne

    Hi, I know I ask you once but I will ask u agian if you dont mine.
    Would you recommed this over Dior Nude foundation??
    I already have Dior Nude,also HD makeupfoever, but I been seen good revire on this one so i really temped to get one!!
    What is you suggestion??? PLASE……

    Thanks in advance


  49. I love this foundation. AS someone mentioned i also apply it with fingers and i find it sets better that way. I also top mine with Ben Nye translucent powder and then it lasts all day. I have two bottles: Punjab (for summer) and Fiji (for winter).

  50. shona

    It makes your skin look so great! Dewey but not oily or shiny!
    But I do have to say your skin looks like it has improved alot because it your face is looking great without the foundation….

  51. Jess

    I would definitely not say this is light coverage either, my skin is pretty bad and it covers quite nicely actually! if your oilier, i would say estee lauder double wear….i’m between that, this, and make up forever HD

  52. Deborah

    I purchased already but I live in another country, Im waiting to arrive. YES for $42 dollars I would expect a pump too. But I had to buy one =/, because I think it makes things MUCH easier, and I feel like with no pump, the foundation is more exposed to the air,etc! I cant wait to try. Im happy to hear that is light to medium, cause that’s what im looking for.

  53. Jasmine

    love, love, love Nars Sheer Glow!

  54. rebecca

    im quite pale i think im nw15 in mac and most foundations are too dark also i have pink undertones wat do u reccomend x

  55. love this foundation.. the buildable coverage is amazing! do you use a setting powder over this?.. do you find that it takes away from the “glow”?

  56. I have really bad acne scars and I find that this foundation is a solid medium coverage that is easily buildable to full over problem areas. It has more coverage than MUFE HD on me, but has the same thin or thinner consistency. It’s too bad I don’t have shade match in it.

  57. maxine

    hi christine! which do you prefer? laura mercier silk creme foundation or the nars sheer glow foundation?

    • I haven’t tried the Silk Creme.

      • shweta

        Hi Christine
        I have been following your website for quite sometime now..It is really helpful..I jus wanted to chek with u whether I should go for Dior Nude, Nars Sheer. For your reference m NC40-42 in mac with a medium Indian skin tone. And I want a foundation which has medium coverage and a dewy look. I dont want something which feels very heavy on my skin. apart from Dior or Nars if you have any suggestions would be of great help too. Also I wanted to ask you what setting powder do you recommend? IS Laura Mercier a good deal? or any other?

        • I’d go for NARS Sheer Glow over Dior Nude, as NARS Sheer Glow has more coverage, though neither are medium coverage foundations. I prefer LM!

  58. Finally bought sheer glow in Deuville… LOVE! I know it applies well because I’m a make up artist and use it on people all the time, but since Nars foundation got reformulated I had not used it on myself. I loved the way it went on so smooth (I applied it with my hands) it was like the foundation was becoming part of my skin, it feels so light! like I’m not even wearing foundation =D I will for sure be buying this again!

  59. Shamira

    Hi Christine,
    Great review. It helped me quite a lot. By looking at ur pictures, I realised I’m ur exact skin tone. Therefore I went ahead n ordered Nars Sheer Glow in Punjab. I did use the foundation matrix n it was good. I have a problem with the MAC store I visit cos the keep giving me darker shades to use. For example, my studio fix powder is NC41 n I feel so dark after using it. My concealer is perfect thoug – It’s NW30. Also for my mineralised skinfinish natural, they forced me to get medium dark. I’m v dissapointed but what can I do. Ive got to use it till it’s done. Anyway, I’ve ordered Punjab now. I hope it goes with my skin. My question is, I do have a bit of redness on my cheeks sometimes, so will Punjab still b ok? Also is the shade Santa fe lighter or darker than Punjab? Will it b better for my redness on my cheeks n also does it have a pink undertone? or u suggest Punjab is my color. My skintone is exactly like urs. Thanks a dear.

  60. TARN

    i have heard about nars sheer glow that it is really work ! i want to try this product so much but i would likw to know about how different btw deviell and ceylan color.. i am in mac nc20-25 . and i am asia.

  61. pratisha

    I went to sephora last week to buy a foundation that has a dewy finish. The representative recommended Nars Sheer Glow and Hour Glass Veil Fluid, but she said she prefers HG. She put HG on my face and I really liked it, i tried NARS on my hand but could not really tell the difference between two foundation. Both looked very natural too bad I did not try NARS on my face. Have you used hourglass viel fluid, if yes which is better?

  62. I got a sample of this and I’m surprised I actually like it! I’m an NC30 in MAC foundations and the Sephora Associate matched me to Fiji. It’s just a tiny bit lighter than my skin so would you recommend Ceylan or Punjab? Based on swatches I actually feel like Ceylan is lighter than Fiji.

  63. Jennifer

    I love this foundation but for some reason in Winter, it really accentuates my dry patches on my skin :(

  64. AdrianaGussoni

    I’m sooo confused with the foundation matrix… :(… I’m not saying its bad, is just that I see stromboli and  punjab in the karlasugar pictures sooo  different… I’m an NC30, with strong yellow undertones, but In my face I have pink undertones and discoloration… I’m scared that punjab will be too orange and not a bit yellow, and that stromboli will be good undertone match, but too dark :(… do you think that in a more pale skin punjab will look too orange? thanks! LOVE LOVE your reviews! Xxx

  65. minkoo

    hi , iam nc 20 which shade do u recommend to me in  nars sheer glow ???