Monday, February 18th, 2013

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder ($34.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “weightless, translucent powder” with a “soft matte finish that looks luminous in any light.” It has the exact same description as the Pressed Powder.

I actually found the two to look surprisingly different when swatched. The Loose version is a similar stark white, but it looks nearly matte with very, very fine shimmer sparsely found when blended out–but nowhere near the same sheen as the Pressed Powder. As a result, this mattified skin better and had a very subtle sheen–really barely-there. Like the Pressed Powder, the Loose version softens the skin’s appearance; texture and lines blur, while pores soften and smooth out. Can you really tell the difference between the two? At a glance, no, definitely not, but if I look at myself in the mirror, I like the way there’s a noticeable but natural sheen to the skin all-over that the Pressed seems to generate more so than the Loose powder. I think if you have oilier skin, you may prefer the Loose.

Since it is a loose powder, the texture feels different, as it is an extremely finely-milled powder that’s soft and blendable on. I found it was easier to apply, because you’ll have no trouble getting enough product on a brush or pouf with this. I recommend only opening a few of the holes in the powder, because it will be easier to contain the excess that you aren’t using. Of course, because the pot tends to expose more product than you need, it can be easy to over-apply the product. The Loose version is more like Hourglass Diffused Light, though Diffused Light has a warmer tone, so it is also a color corrector.

The Glossover


Translucent Crystal


The Loose version is easier to apply, as the texture is less particular. It did seem, to me, slightly more matte, though, which may or may not be what you're looking for.











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NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder (left)

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose (left) / Pressed Setting Powder (right)

NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
Foundation Only (Guerlain Parure de Lumiere) / Loose (left half of second photo), Pressed Setting Powder (right half of right photo)

Product & Review FAQ

Where can I purchase it? How much is it?

Sephora, $34.00.

Is it limited edition?


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83 thoughts on “NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. kristanna

    Hey Christine,
    How do these compare to MUFE HD powder? Is it the same idea or something new?

  2. LK

    Does this compare to MAC setting powder (pro)? I really want to try this!

  3. Tornadogirl

    Hi Christine,

    I’ve been looking at both the Nars Crystal Light or the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder for my very fair skin. I’m not a fan of overly shimmery powder but still like to look a little “glowy”. Between the two, which one did you prefer? Thanks!!!

    • If you prefer loose, then NARS’ Loose, but if you prefer Pressed, then I’d go Hourglass (but of what I’ve tried, Diffused Light and Mood light are more matte). I really don’t think you could go wrong either way :)

    • Amy

      Well, I think they’re two different kinds of products completely. The NARs powder is a setting powder that sets and locks makeup, while the Hourglass is a finishing all-over face powder for added glow and possibly color correct. Hourglass Ambient Powders are not meant to set and lock the makeup.

  4. LJ

    It looks fantastic on your skin, I think my favourite on you of the three you’ve tested since yesterday.
    I ordered this yesterday, so glad I did! I’ve got oily skin so this version, more matte as you say, will suit me much better – relieved I chose this one over the pressed. Just can’t wait to try it out now!

  5. Base products are one of my most favorite types of makeup, I’m kind of obsessed with products that help create a flawless-yet-natural canvas. I absolutely love the effect of this powder. I don’t think I can tell the difference between the pressed and loose, but both really give a beautiful finish to skin.

  6. Clare

    Really enjoyed this review!! There are so many powders out there I find it almost impossible to know which are worth the price tag. Do you think you will review the Bobbi Brown retouching powders? I’d love to know your thought on them x

  7. What is the difference between setting powder and finishing powder?? They both seem very similar to me.

    • Setting is supposed to help your makeup stay in place better/longer, and finishing tends to be more like the softening, blurring, light sheen, etc. – that finishing coat to polish off a look.

      • everytomorrow

        Do you think it’s worth using a setting or finishing powder if you’re using powder foundation anyway? I’ve been eyeing the Hourglass powders and now also these NARS ones but I’m not sure they’re something I’d get use out of.

        • I don’t wear or test a lot of powder foundations, but I think it would depend on if your powder foundation does any soft focus/blurring effects on its own merits. If it doesn’t, then a finishing powder could still be helpful :)

  8. Oooh, here is that review already, yay 😀 Looks good, I think I like it better than the pressed version. I might just pick this up on my next Sephora purchase!

  9. t_zwiggy

    I had such a hard time deciding between this and the pressed version. Now I’m pretty sure I made the right choice by ordering the loose powder for my oily skin. I’m actually really impressed by the oil control aspect of this. I rarely have any luck with most setting powders, I’m still oily within the hour, but this one keeps it under control for 5-6. Now I just hope I can keep using this every day without breaking out. No problems so far.

  10. Danielle

    I’ve been on the lookout for a good loose powder & I do love NARS!

  11. So glad this got an A+. I”l be adding it to my shopping list. In other news, you are a very naturally pretty lady, Christine!

  12. Mariella

    Well, heck – now I just want them BOTH! Oh for goodness sake, I’m going to need a bigger house soon just for all my makeup!

  13. Veronica

    *sigh* I feel owned by NARS anymore. Nearly a 1/4 of my to-buy list is all them. I’ve been mulling over which version to buy, but seeing your review, I think I’ll go with the pressed. I don’t have oily skin, and Guerlain’s Mythic powder actually gives me a similar look to the loose.

    BTW, you look beautiful with light makeup! I didn’t realize you hadn’t any eye makeup on until I scrolled back up. Your brown eyes are really striking on their own! :)

  14. Chelsey

    I’m really torn between this and the laura mercier loose powder. Which do you like better?

  15. These look great but I think I will still w/MAC’s Prep & Prime loose powder. I have super oily skin and don’t need ANY reflecting qualities in my powder 😛

  16. Well, you made my decision so much easier for which powder to buy!

  17. Becky

    Thanks for the awesome in-depth review! Its unbelievable how helpful and useful all the side by side pictures are in my decision-making. Thanks for putting in all that work! Just a quick question regarding the NARS product vs the Hourglass ambient powders. If I were to use the Hourglass powder (say, Dim) for luminosity, in addition to the Nars light reflecting powder for its line-blurring abilities, which one you advise to put on first?

  18. Erica

    I bought this over the weekend after being ambushed by a NARS sakesclerk hanging near the Laura Mercier section at Sephora ( no joke – Sephora Times Square NYC ). Only to be told they ran out of the loose powder version (lol). I purchased the loose powder at a more user friendly Sephora. It does what it says, but it left a pale cast on my nutmeg NC 55 skin. I also noticed a distinct smell that would certainly become annoying after long term use. Back to the drawing board for me…sigh.

  19. Morgan Spratt

    Hello, I’ve been trying to decide between Guerlain Météorites, hourglass ambient light powders or the nars as a setting powder that still give me the “glow” wich would you suggest? I’m nc44 with dry skin slightly oily t-zone, the nearest place to me that sales Guerlain is about 5 hour drive so u can’t really compare the three.

  20. Patricia Penna

    Hi Christine!
    It can be used in all/any skin tone??

  21. Shin

    Hi Christine! Between NARS Translucent Crystal Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder and
    Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which one do you prefer? Thanks! :)

  22. Carolyne

    Is this powder safe for flash photography? Or would it be better to stick with a slightly tinted loose powder like Chanel’s?

  23. alexis

    How would this look on dark skin will it leaves a white cast on the skin ?

  24. Christine, thank you so much for reviewing this, I already have MUFE HD Powder and I don’t really like it because it creates slight white cast upon application.
    Which brush do you use to apply this? I think it should work nicely with MUFE HD powder as well.

  25. n8ivebeauT

    Hi Christine,
    I was very curious. In reading your review you mentioned the application was easier in this loose form than the pressed, yet the rating was 4.5 (same as the pressed). What would you consider a 5 rating then?

    • Easy to get far more product than you’d like, just because of the nature of loose powder :) Only a few brands seem to have nailed packaging enough where they make it easy to only get a little out at a time (by memory, bareMinerals’ has only a few holes for the product to come through and you can click it closed).

  26. Ivy

    Which one is better for mattifying? Laura mercier loose setting powder, vs mufe super matte loose, vs mac prep+prime loose setting powder, vs this product?

  27. blueraccoon

    I bought the pressed version of this but now I’m wondering if I should have gone for the loose version instead with my combo/oily skin. But I generally prefer pressed powders, I tend to overdo it with loose powders.

    On a different note, I’m wondering how the Hourglass ambient powder brush would work with either the loose or pressed versions of the NARS powder. Anyone have a thought? (Yes, I caved and bought the brush. I own three Hourglass brushes now and I think my goal is to own them *all*. Softest things I’ve ever used and so much better than my previous brushes!)

  28. Lucia

    Hi Christine, would you mind posting the ingredients for this product? Are they the same as the pressed version? As somebody with an ingredient allergy, I find having the ingredients posted as part of a review to be extremely helpful =) keep up the good work!!

  29. n8ivebeauT

    Hi Christine,
    In reading your review it read that application for this was easier than the pressed form. That would lead me to assume the rating for application would be higher then. However this loose and pressed form were both rated 4.5 for application. I was curious as to what characteristics of a product would then deem it a rating of 5??

    • The packaging NARS uses in the Loose powder still allows for a ton of excess product to come through, which means it’s too easy to overload your brush with product.

      • n8ivebeauT

        I think when companies make a loose powder eyeshadow, foundation, finishing powder, etc. they all pretty much use the same packaging. Bare Escentuals, MAC, Laura Mercier, Tarte, L’Oreal, Maybeline, the list goes on…… So it’s all in the user’s experience and knowledge of how to be careful with these loose powders.

        • Actually, bareMinerals is different for sure :) Just because that’s what’s out or what’s popular or the best that’s available doesn’t mean that it’s couldn’t use improvement, IMO!

  30. Jenny

    I have this and have been using it for a few weeks. Overall, I am satisfied with it; my only complaint is the odor. It has a very strange smell that is hard to describe…almost like cornstarch, maybe? Anyway, I only noticed it during application and not afterwards, but if someone is sensitive to smells they may want to note that.

  31. Jennifer

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without eye makeup. Beautiful eyes, either way.

  32. Steph

    What brush did you use to apply this?

  33. Rachel

    I’m debating over the Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder (not the translucent version) or this! I’ve dry skin!

    What do you think of LM’s?

  34. V

    Christine, what brush do you recommend when using the loose powder

  35. n8iveBeauT

    Hi Christine,
    I was curious about something. In reading your review you indicated that the application on this loose form was easier than the pressed. Yet, the application rating for this loose form was the same as the pressed, a 4.5. What application characteristics would then make a product a 5 rating????

  36. Alexa

    In the half and half pictures, is the pressed powder on your right side when we’re looking at the picture, or the actual right side of your face?

  37. Joan

    Had already purchased this loose powder & the pressed/compact form prior to your review. Your review is consistent with what I believe to be true, based on my first hand experience with it.

  38. Sandra

    Hi Christine. First let me say, I love your blog and have been reading it for some time now. I am curious what foundation you are wearing in these photos? Your skin looks amazing! Also, how would you say these compare to Mac’s MSFN? I love the dewy look, as matte just makes me look dull and aged. Thanks for all your reviews and wonderful advice!

  39. Marianne Vitug

    Hi, Christine!

    Do you think that these NARS Setting Powders photograph well overall? No white cast or color alterations in pictures? If so, which one do you think would photograph better? Thank you! :)

  40. Ellen

    Have you tried Bobbi Brown’s brightening powders? The two that are pressed, Porcelain Pearl and Nude? I was encouraged to buy the Porcelain Pearl for my very fair skin. I’ve been having a problem with my loose setting powder (Clinique’s Blended Face Powder in Transparency Neutral). It seems to make my foundation look yellower. Unfortunately, I believe that the same thing happens with the Porcelain Pearl, despite how white/green it appears on a cotton ball. I don’t see much glow, but it does exagerate fine lines a little. Do you think the Nars loose powder is the answer to the problem, or do I need a traditional setting powder?

    • I don’t think I’ve tried those – I know Bobbi Brown released new loose ones recently, and I have those (but I haven’t photographed, so I also have tested or swatched!).

      I think NARS’ Loose should work for you, though! It definitely shouldn’t emphasize lines.

  41. Arlene

    Bought this powder after reading your review and I love it! My under eye concealer was creasing really bad with other powders (rimmel stay matte, mac skinfinish natural) but since ive been using this it hasn’t. Thanks for the review!

  42. Azreen Bhai

    Hi, would you mind telling me which brush you prefer to use for this powder? The SA at the NARS counter tried to sell me the NARS powder brush but I want the best possible applicator! Thanks for this review by the way.