Jan 242013

Nars Translucent Crystal 1a

Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34/ 0.24 oz) has just become available on Sephora.com. This compact is a generous size (the compact is roughly 3 1/2 inches by over 2 1/2 inches), also slim and sturdy enough to fit into a clutch.

Nars Translucent Crystal 6

The compact comes in a protective fabric pouch with an elastic closure (no brush, but any face powder brush will do).

Nars Translucent Crystal 7

There’s a little white flat applicator that slips into its own individual pocket in the cloth holder:


This product is fascinating to me– here is the company’s description:

NARS Light Reflecting Complex utilizes a blend of pure ingredients that work in synergy to transform light like a prism. Light-active micro-prisms are combined with algae extract and Polynesian seawater to optimize light reflection on the skin.

The photograph-friendly Photochromic technology reduces the “washed out/chalky” appearance that can occur when makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography. This unique powder assures a healthy, natural-looking complexion in any light. When makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography, the powder actually becomes darker to prevent the complexion from looking washed out. The Photochromic technology is a hybrid powder developed from Shiseido’s Advanced Ceramic Technology. The hybrid consists of both Titanium Dioxide (which is white in color) and Iron Oxide (which is red in color). When exposed to sunlight, the UV rays have an effect on this dynamic and the darker shade from the Iron Oxide becomes more pronounced—resulting in the powder taking on a more natural tone and not looking washed out or chalky. Once out of the sunlight, the powder will revert back to the original color.

For me, this product is “photoshop” in real life. It blurs imperfections without changing the color. Although if you look microscopically close in a mirror (Liz and I do that squinting!), you’ll see the powder ever so slightly in real life, but back even just a bit and it disappears, along with lots of the textural imperfections (pores, fine lines, tiny scars) of our complexions. It diffuses and makes our foundation last longer throughout the day. Another interesting thing is that the powder doesn’t feel (or look) dry– the product description says that it contains glycerin and antioxidant vitamin E to help guard against dryness.

Nars Translucent Crystal 10

This finishing powder is completely clear, adding no color. Although a slight shimmer is perceptible in the pan, Liz and I agree that this does not translate to the face when applied.

Nars Translucent Crystal 5

Here’s a quick comparison of Liz, taken while were were testing out some lip products. In the earlier picture, we were getting a bit of glow from her Chanel Vitalumiere liquid foundation (you can see it on her forehead with the flash image on the left). After we changed the lips, she brushed on Nars Light Reflecting powder. These pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other. This isn’t a scientific comparison (the clouds were moving and the light was changing quickly, and I adjusted the flash and lens), but I think it shows the difference (the Nars powder was used on the right, no powder on the left).

Nars Translucent Crystal Comparison

You can see how the powder softens the “glow” from Chanel Vitalumiere’s foundation and the overall texture of Liz’s skin. It photographs beautifully. Incidentally, Liz is wearing the blue shade from Nars Spring 2013 Mad, Mad World eyeshadow duo under her eyes.  Her lip color on the left is Chanel Rouge Allure in Eclatante (reviewed here, where you can see Liz wearing the powder also) and on the right is Chanel Rouge Allure Suidisante (reviewed here).

Nars Translucent Crystal

Overall, I believe we have a winner. I do not want my picture taken without this powder.

Nars Light Reflecting Setting Pressed Powder in Translucent Clear is available now on Sephora.com. Review of the loose powder is here on Beautylish.

Ingredient list (from Sephora):

  • Reflecting Complex™ (Sea Water, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Barium Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Aluminum, Iron Oxides): Transforms light like a prism; optimizes light reflection on the skin.
  • Glycerin/Vitamin E Mineral Powder (Glycerin, Tocopherol, Silica): Allows for targeted release on the skin; gives a soft-focus effect on the skin; guards against dryness and leaves the skin feeling comfortable; offers antioxidant benefits.
  • Advanced Smooothing Blend of Spherical Powders and Polymers: Gives a perfect glide, easy blending ability, and silky feel.
  • Photochromic Technology (Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide): Alters the tone of the complexion according to the intensity of the light.

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see “About Cafe Makeup”) 

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  30 Responses to “Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder in Translucent Crystal Review”

  1. How do you think this will hold for those with oily skin?

  2. I’m highly tempted by this product, but find the lack of a brush or puff baffling. I don’t carry makeup brushes along with me when I go out, so this reduces it to useful only at home. Perhaps I can find a very slim puff to tuck in.

  3. Very impressive pictures, Amy. It would be interesting, though, to see pictures of Liz with the same pose, lighting, camera settings, etc. In the picture on the right, although her complexion looks more homogeneous, the plains of her face look much flatter. Since pictures tend to do that anyway (one of the reasons MA’s like to contour and highlight for photography), I’m not sure I’d want a powder that was exacerbating that one dimensional effect. Perhaps it’s just a question of learning how to use the powder. I think we can all remember and laugh at the ridiculous mistakes MA’s made with HD powders when they first came out–all those poor celebs with their white raccoon eyes. LOL. NARS has obviously developed a way of getting around the white flashback properties of conventional HD powders (which is good) but has flattened the plains of the face (which is bad).

  4. Wow I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for such a comprehensive review. I would have been afraid of the shimmer but I trust you!

  5. Wow, thank you for the excellent review. I’d love to try this. Is Liz wearing the pressed or loose version in that picture? Do you find the two versions to be different in any way once applied? Thanks!

  6. I’ve been anxious to read your review of this powder. Eileen mentioned it in her comment; one of my biggest concerns about these powders was the flash effect that HD powders have. I held back buying the MUFE product for this reason but I think I’m going to give this one a test drive. Thanks for the thorough review – much appreciated!

  7. This looks so great! xxx

  8. It looks beautiful on her! I have read in other reviews that the pressed powder only works if used with a sponge since a brush will pick up absolutely no product, but you do mention that any brush can be used. Is the pressed powder texture so hard that one has to really sweep the brush on it, or can product be easily picked up?

    • Hi Irene, we used the Burberry Face Brush No. 2 to apply. It never occurred to me to use the enclosed sponge–that’s how conditioned I am against using included implements. I didn’t notice that it was difficult to pick up–it’s really sheer though so maybe it isn’t showing on the bristles. Again, we’re just reporting our own personal experiences/opinions.

      • Thank you! I dislike using sponges for powder so I thought I’d have to pass for this one, but now I might check it out, it definitely seems like a great product.

  9. So then does this powder negate the effects of foundations that are supposed to give you the “glow”? If I wear NARS sheer glow foundation, will people still see my “glow”?

    • Hi Sally, adding a powder to your foundation does change the surface texture. In my experience, this powder does remove some of the glow depending on how heavily you apply it. I think it’s going to be best for you to give this a try in a store. I usually wear my typical foundation and bring a brush with me to see whether I will like the effect (unless you are in a nicely-staffed department store where the sales associate will loan you a brush).

  10. How do you think this compares to Guerlain’s Meteorites?

    • I think this one is designed to handle photography very specifically. If I were going to a wedding or something where I know cameras will be flashing, this is the one I’m wearing. Both will soften imperfections. The Meteorites that I have seem to add a bit of glow of their own, and perhaps a touch of color. This Nars powder is super neutral–it doesn’t add any color.

  11. I ordered this on the spot thru your link. I’m doing a wedding in a couple of weeks and I NEED this for the bride. Utter perfection! Great pictures and review.

  12. I’m intrigued! Did you find that the loose powder version have the same effect?

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  14. Thanks for the review. Looking forward to read your impressions on the loose version. 🙂 I prefer loose over pressed, so I hope it performs as well!

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  17. I cant wait to try this out, but as a woman of colour I’m a little apprehensive. The white cast of old was enough to scare me off a lot of these products:(

    • Did you see CJ’s review linked in response to her comment, above? (video linked here) She is a woman of color who is also testing out the product. These might give you more information. The other thing is to purchase from a place where it is easy for you to return, or test it at a counter before you buy.

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