By now you've probably already read plenty of contrasting reviews of the new NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. I know exactly why some love it and others don't. It took me some trial and error before I was able to get it to work right on my skin. Hopefully my review today will give you some ideas on what you can do to get beautiful results on your skin, too.
According to NARS, this is their first high-coverage foundation. The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation was formulated to give you a full-coverage but lightweight finish that lasts up to 16 hours of wear. The product comes in a hefty, square frosted glass bottle with a pump dispenser (yes, a pump, thank you NARS!) and a matte black, tight bottle cap.
The color that I picked up is Punjab — a “medium shade with golden, peachy undertones”. It is the closest match to my current skin (MAC NC30 with yellow undertones). When compared to the the same shade in the Sheer Glow formula, it is obvious that the new foundation runs a little more yellow, as seen in the photo below:
The difference is less obvious once the foundation is applied on the skin. However, I have to be mindful of what setting powder I use on top. If I use anything of high pigmentation such as the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder (see review), my face will look too yellow and unnatural. So the first lesson learned is to use a proper setting powder, preferably one that doesn't add any more yellow tones to the finish. For now I am loving the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder the best (US$37 | Sephora).
The formula feels slightly liquidy, though not as liquidy as the MAC Face & Body foundation, and is free of scent and SPF (no flashback in flash photography). I will agree with NARS that it offers a high-coverage finish. In fact, it is ridiculous how incredibly pigmented the formula is! I have never used any foundation that only requires just half a pump to cover my entire face. Just a small drop is all I need to cover redness around my nose and mouth and acne scars and discoloration on the cheeks. I sense that this bottle is going to last me a long, long time! And don't forget to shake the bottle well before use!
If you have pretty good skin to begin with, you can get away with even less! Here's how much I normally use:
I have tried quite a few application methods — fingers, Beautyblender, brush — but I prefer the finish from fingers the most. It seems that the warmth from fingers helps the product glide on and blend in with the skin better. The liquidy texture turns to a slightly powdery finish instantly so I find that I need to work fast and in sections due to the fast-drying time. I start at the center of my face; dab, tap, and blend as I move outwards in small sections. It leaves a soft, semi-matte finish that isn't too matte but I wouldn't go so far as saying luminous as the name suggests. There is just a slight hint of glow here and there where the light hits to keep the skin from becoming overly matte.
It is hard to imagine a full-coverage foundation with a thin consistency that feels natural and lightweight on but this foundation is just that. Obviously it's not going to cover everything on you face but it's pretty close. I don't feel the need to follow with a concealer when I use this foundation but for days that I need a complete, flawless finish, I will do a little bit of spot concealing on problem areas.
Now for the part that will make you either really love it or… not so much.
In my experience, what I apply underneath is crucial. I have combination skin with oily T-zone. With most foundations, I can get away with “normal” moisturization but with this foundation, I have to amp up the amount of moisturizer used, or I have to use a thicker moisturizer. Anything less and it will cling on and accentuate every dry spot I have on my skin.
I would also try to avoid mattifying primers or any bases that give a powdery matte finish because they tend to make the foundation go on unevenly and exacerbate dryness and flaking. You can certainly build the coverage up but I wouldn't do so on drier areas of the face because it will emphasize the dryness even more and may result in cakiness. I truly believe that this foundation was made for normal, combination, and oily skin in mind.
Before and after
In the After photo below, you can clearly see that the right half of my face is brighter, smoother, and more even-toned. The redness around my nose and mouth is perfectly neutralized. Enlarged pores are blurred, fine lines diffused, dark circles disguised, all while still maintaining my skin's natural glow. The yellowness in the formula also lightens the redness on my skin blending the color on my face and neck to a seamless finish.
Though I haven't had a chance to wear it for up to 16 hours, I can confirm that it stays put without fading, separating, or flaking throughout the day. There is just a tiny bit of oil breakthrough on my T-zone in late afternoon but once I blot, it stays pretty matte again until evening. It does not oxidize on me, nor does it cause me breakout or any kind of skin irritation. It feels breathable on and stays breathable without the heavy feel as long as I apply it in moderation.
Overall, this is not the easiest foundation to use. It needs experimenting based on individual's skin tone and texture. Once you get the hang of it, though, I think it's truly one of the better full-coverage foundations on the market right now. If you can find a good match, have normal, combination, or oily skin, or live in a more humid climate, I think you will benefit greatly from it. :)