Here, I had a preview post on the new Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation (currently available here at Sephora, Nordstrom, and also on Nars Cosmetics online). I’ve had some time to experiment, so I wanted to do a follow-through post. After visiting the store and speaking to some Sephora sales associates, I’ve learned a lot.
Once I learned to work with this foundation, I absolutely loved it. After experimentation, it gave me a complexion as glowing and youthful as I could ever hope for. My honest-to-a-fault husband proclaimed the Nars Radiant Cream Foundation as good as–if not better than–some of the Chanel foundations. So, in my opinion, this is worth investigating.
Note that the compact is sold separately for $10 (also available here at Nordstrom. Although this adds a bit to your first purchase, this is a well designed, sturdy compact with a huge mirror and convenient go-everywhere shape. Once you own it, you won’t be re-buying the compact as the refills pop in and out so easily.
Each foundation tray is $38 for 0.42 ounces. The glowy, gorgeous formula does come with a caution. That it, it is important to keep in mind that Nars recommends that you retain the lid that comes with the foundation on the product while you have it in the compact-in other words:
How to store:
Because of the unique texture, this formula is air sensitive. To ensure the integrity of this product, close inner lid of compact securely after each use and store away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
This shows how the foundation refills come, and how they can be popped into the compact:
I’m speculating, but I wonder whether the fragility of the formula is the reason that the pan size of this Nars Radiant Cream foundation is smaller than the amount that fills jar-filled cream foundations. For example, the Nars is .42 ounce for $38. By comparison, Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Foundation is $50 for a 1 ounce glass jar, and Giorgio Armani Designer Shaping Cream Foundation is $65 for 1 ounce. It makes sense that this unique formula–which might be susceptible to drying out–must be kept sealed, and can be quickly replaced at a low cost (rather than charging double for a full larger size, which could go bad if you don’t use it every day).
The Nars Radiant compact formula is dewy and very lightweight, particularly compared to any other cream foundations that I’ve tried. Many cream foundations just feel heavy, a price you needed to pay to get fuller coverage I suppose. Any weight is a little tough for me, I can practically feel my pores clogging. So I avoid them.
Nars Radiant Cream feels a touch moisturizing but not at all heavy. This would work beautifully for dry to normal skin, it gives a touch of a glow that is just gorgeous. As the Nars description states:
Blending seamlessly with weightless medium buildable coverage, skin feels soft and comfortable with moisture levels boosted by 80% after 12 hours, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing skin’s radiance.
Close-up, Nars Radiant Cream foundation minimizes pores, imperfections, and adds a flattering sheeny-glow. It gives a bride-worthy glow—it’s really gorgeous. Because the formulation is moisturizing, those with oily skin should still feel free to use it (oily skin needs moisture too). If you find that those will oily skin are getting too much glow, you will want to use a powder (such as any favorite, or try the Nars Translucent Setting Powder).
I found that Deauville was absolute perfection for my NC15/Chanel Ivoire skintone. Here are few comparisons with other color foundations that I have in my drawer–Mac Pro Longwear NC15, Make Up For Ever HD Liquid #118, Chanel Lift Lumiere Ivoire, and Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose:
I got some samples of other Nars foundations to test whether the shades are consistent within the line. Here, I found that the colors were almost dead-on identical. Here are the Nars Radiant Cream foundations in Mont Blanc (compared with Nars Mont Blanc Sheer Matte), Nars Fiji Radiant Cream (compared with Fiji Sheer Glow), Nars Radiant Cream in Sante Fe (compared with Nars Sheer Glow in Sante Fe), and Nars Radiant Cream in Tahoe (compared with Nars Sheer Glow in Tahoe). Although I didn’t test all 20 shades, this spot-check gave me confidence that Nars has worked to ensure that you can find your Radiant Compact shade pretty easily if you know your standard Nars shades. I love a consistent line, don’t you?
I played with my application technique for several days. First, I gave my skin very good preparation–serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen. If you skin doesn’t look it’s best when testing out a new foundation, you won’t be able to tell the quality of the foundation. I then added concealer to problem areas. Armani’s Maestro concealer and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer give the best all-day longevity these days. Here’s what I found:
— I could get sheer coverage by using just a touch of Nars Radiant Foundation with a standard flat foundation brush. This worked well when I did a good job with my concealer. The Nars Radiant Cream foundation is highly build able–I could go all the way to full by adding layers.
— Using the included Nars sponge gave me medium-to-full coverage very quickly. I don’t like a full coverage look on me (especially during the day), so I’m unlikely to do this very much.
— The brush that gave me the best control was the Louise Young LY34 Super Foundation Brush ($41). I’ve seen this brush featured in so many British and UK videos that I was surprised to find that it is sold on Nordstrom online. The size and shape of the brush head gave me almost-perfect control.
Here’s some pictures of the brush.
It looks enormous (it is in reality), but the softly rounded bristles allow you to get in every little tiny area of your face.
The Louise Young Super Foundation brush is handy for other compact and cream foundations as well.
As this review is already becoming over-long, here are some highlights:
- Yes, the Nars Radiant Cream Compact foundation is an exciting new addition to the makeup line. It is fabulous, and makes my skin look glowing and amazing.
- The Nars Radiant Cream is moisturizing, and minimizes textual imperfections.
- Properly prepped, the formula is very flexible and buildable. Choose your tools accordingly for the coverage that you like. If you like a lighter coverage, just prep your skin well and maybe spot-conceal if you need it. Then add a sheer layer of the Nars Radiant. The enclosed sponge gives full coverage right out of the pan. Other tools (like the Louise Young Super Foundation brush) can help you customize your coverage (and vary it in different areas of your face).
I had to laugh when I heard a random Sephora sales associate exclaiming about the beauty and versatility of the Nars Radiant Cream foundation as I was in a store the other day. I quite agree.
Nars provided the Radiant Cream foundation to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This review contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).