Nars light reflecting foundation review: A glowy finish that wears well

buy now £30,

  • shades: 36
  • Finish: Medium buildable coverage

formula and packaging

If you’re familiar with Nars’s foundations, we’d describe this as the glowy cousin of the natural radiant longwear (£37.50,, and with a dash more coverage than the sheer glow formula (£28, Lookfantastic .com). If you’re not, that translates to a medium coverage formula that’s buildable, but natural-looking. Available in 36 shades (which is decent enough, but could be improved), it claims to deliver “make-up that looks like skin”.

Aside from its coverage and glow-giving finish, the main selling-point here is the skincare-led formulation. With 81 per cent of the ingredients being naturally derived, Nars says that this formula improves your skin with every wear.

Biomimetic oat works to calm and clarify the skin, while peptides and milk thistle tackle the effects of blue light and protect against environmental damage. There’s skin barrier-strengthening properties that come via Japanese lilyturf too (we’d never head of it either). Plus, the formula is vegan and claims to be suited to all skin types.

Readmore: 14 best tinted moisturizers for a natural, glowy look

We were surprised to see the omission of hyaluronic acid – a favorite ingredient in the radiant foundation stakes – but were impressed by its innovative-sounding features elsewhere. The formula includes “photochromic” technology, which in laymen’s terms, means a powder that shifts in tone depending on the intensity of light.

According to Nars, this results in your skin never being washed out, making it an impressively reactive complexion product. The brand takes this dynamic formula further with a complex that reflects light “like a prism”, giving the skin that lit-from-within radiance and aiding the natural finish.

Packaging wise, the brand has stuck to its roots, with a glass bottle embossed with the signature logo, a sleek black lid and a slimline pump for easy dispensing. Priced at £37.50, it costs the same as Nars’s natural radiant longwear formula, but is pricier than the rest of the brand’s foundations, which may be down to its skincare ingredients.


On application, the foundation feels lightweight, but not watery, gliding across the skin with an immediate glow. It buffs in with ease and covers imperfections with one coat, but we had hoped for a bouncier finish to the skin, much like Charlotte Tilbury’s new “beautiful skin” foundation (£34, It certainly gives a healthy-looking luminosity that adds dimension, but we’d like that feeling of plump-ness from a skincare-led formula.

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Both cream and powder products sat well on top of this foundation, and despite setting this formula with a powder (as we normally would) the radiance shone through without looking overly shiny, or greasy.

As someone who has a fair amount of texture and blemishes, we usually prefer a full coverage finish, but we weren’t put off by this medium formula, as it offers the best of both worlds: delivering coverage without being cakey or heavy. Instead, it feels weightless on the skin, and we love how light bounced off it, adding a subtle radiance that looks natural.

The formula wore well throughout the day, without dulling down on the glow stakes, but we did notice some slight fading around our oiler areas including our chin and around our nose, and texture on our cheeks began to peek through. With that said, we’d expect this sort of wear from a medium foundation on oily skin, and liked how it maintained its fresh, hydrated look throughout.

Readmore: Dior’s new foundation has reignited our love for full-coverage make-up

As for the “photo-friendly” technology, we did some serious investigative journalism here by taking selfies both in natural light and using flash. We didn’t experience any flashback with the latter, and natural light caught the skin naturally, living up to its luminous claims.

However, we’d question the foundations’s skin-blurring claims, as our texture was still slightly visible with one coat. This formula is buildable though, so this might not be an issue if you don’t mind building up coverage in problem areas.

The verdict: Nars light reflecting foundation

This glowy offering is a great addition to Nars’s foundation roster, sitting nicely between its sheer formulas and heavier options. Our heart still belongs to Nars’s natural radiant longwear formula (£37.50, but we’d definitely reach for this on minimal make-up days.

We can’t speak to its long-term skincare benefits but we’re certainly excited by the appeal of a foundation that offers healthy-looking coverage while working behind the scenes on improving skin health. We love how buildable the formula is and it’s one of the glowiest medium coverage foundations we’ve tried, without looking at all greasy.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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