NARS Makeup : The Ultimate Guide to Foundation & Base.

It can be a confusing place to be ; standing at a unfamiliar makeup counter not knowing where to begin with all of the bottles, pots and colours laid out before you. I’m going to start a little makeup series on my blog, focusing on brands a different sections of their makeup : bases, colour and everything else in between. FIRST UP: NARS foundations & bases. One of my go-to brands for all things makeup and I have A LOT of their products so here it is : a guide to the NARS bases including primers, foundations, concealers and face powders – my top picks and favourites and what’s best for what you need.


”If the skin looks beautiful, everything else will look great.” Francoise Nars

NARS do 3 (new) primers : Radiance, Pore & Shine control, Smooth and Protect which are pretty self explanatory in the name. Radiance (my fave) is a pinky-dewy finish, pore-refining smooths open pores and mattifies and the Smooth & Protect is for all skin types and has an SPF 50+++ protection. All of the NARS primers are oil-free FYI.

Tinted Moisturisers & Skin Tints

The Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF30+++ is one of my favourite and most-used NARS base products in my kit. It’s oil-free, has SPF protection AND still manages to make the skin look glowing, makeup-free-but-not and just that little bit better.

The newer base product is their Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF30+++  which I think still sits within the tinted moisturiser category as it is a lighter coverage than the NARS foundations ; it’s basically a matte version of aforementioned radiant tinted moisturiser but a more smoothing, pore-refining feel and a longer weight, semi-matte finish. Perfect for a combo-oily skin type.


Let’s start with ”that one” :  SHEER GLOW. This is the perfect medium-coverage radiant finish foundation, It’s a best-seller simply because it does what it says on the tin. A perfect foundation for normal-dry skin AND if your skin is already reasonably good. Heads up : if you have very oily skin/open pores, this is not for you unless you are happy to prep your skin and keep touching it up throughout the day. The shade range is really good for although leaning towards yellow based, as is most NARS.

ALL DAY LUMINOUS Weightless foundation = The newest foundation that is a longer wear and more semi-matte finish than sheer glow. It also feels lighter weight (it’s a sheer fluid) although imparts a heavier coverage – more of a medium-full if you build it up. Perfect for more problematic skin, oily-combo, high redness, acne or simply if you prefer a more matte finish. Promises a 16-hr wear. > Also a yes for festivals, holidays and warmer climates.

All Day Luminous Powder Foundation. Not as well-known as it’s liquidy counterparts but nevertheless a decent option if you prefer a more matte finish OR I love these dimply for handbag top-ups over whatever foundation/base you applied in the AM. This powder foundation doesn’t look powdery or cakey and it has a really silky and lightweight texture. I also like the fact it has matching colours to all of the above foundations so it’s easy to match and find your shade. SPF 25+++.

Radiant Cream Compact Foundation. Underated! I am a big fan of this foundation and it kind of combines all of the above foundations in one :  the ease and simplicity of a compact and the finish leaning towards sheer glow. I find these are best on a normal-dry skin and these have a beautiful finish if applied with a damp sponge.


We need to start with the infamous Radiant Creamy Concealer. A bit of a game-changer in the makeup world and these are really as good as everyone says (hence why I have the entire colour range in my pro kit!). These have a luxurious texture and a luminous finish, a light-medium build able coverage so they are perfect for using under the eyes and for highlighting.

Fancy something a little harder hitting? Then the Original concealer (the one in the twist-up stick) is yo friend! This has a heavier coverage than the radiant’s and is perfect for concealing blemishes, areas of redness & high colouring. They are quick and easy to use and if you dab a dot of eye cream with them they work perfectly under the eyes too.

The newest concealer to launch (just a few months ago) is the Soft Matte Complete Concealer (in the pots). I’m not as familiar with it as I am with both the above concealers but I do have it and have been using it : it’s a light oil-free texture that almost feels gel-like BUT has a full coverage. It has a blurring and smoothing effect, which the original one doesn’t….and it has light reflection. Perhaps going to replace the original concealer at some point? This one, due to the blurring powders and amount of coverage is REALLY good for acne-prone skin, open pores and oily skin – if you have problem with texture as well as wanting coverage.

Setting Powders

A few to choose from. NARS do both loose and pressed setting powders to perfect and lock your makeup on. My personal favourites are both the Light Reflecting Pressed Powder AND the loose version. Literally the same product but different presentation! These look white in colour but they are pigment/ colour-free so work on ALL SKINTONES which is why makeup artists, including myself love them. They also have light-reflecting particles to brighten and enliven the skin. These are also great for setting under eye concealer…very similar to the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder if you are familiar and more fancy than the LM translucent powder.

If you prefer your setting powder to have a touch of coverage (good for mid-day touch-ups) then the original Pressed Powder may be your friend – these are fine/lightweight but have a tint of colour and come in around 7 shades.

I’ve slipped in the Laguna Liquid Bronzer into the mix although this isn’t a base-specific or foundation product per-se , it’s a fabulous product to mix into your foundation if you want to custom the colour, warm up the skin tone or you perhaps want a deeper tone for summer, but don’t want to buy another foundation. I always have some form of liquid bronzer to-hand for this and the Laguna liquid imparts a touch of glow (but not too much).

So there is my guide to all things NARS foundation & Base. I hope you found it helpful if you aren’t that familiar with the brand, it’s also easy to forget anything else exists besides the Sheer Glow and the Radiant Creamy Concealer!
Please let me know if you found this helpful as I will be doing more brand specific posts like this and breaking down products to make it easier.