NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Is a Lightweight, Long-Lasting Jill-of-All-Trades

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation ($48, available in 20 shades)

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation costs $48, and with a $48 foundation, you basically want that scene from When Harry Met Sally. Like, you want to feel that way when you use a $48 foundation, and then you want the lady next to you to say, “I’ll have the foundation she’s having.”

I mean, I wouldn’t actually pretend to have a big O in the middle of Sephora or anything, because hello! — we live in a digital age of smartphones and video, and knowing my luck, I’d blurt out “It feels like I’m hardly wearing anything at all! Yes, yes, YES!!! It’s so natural looking on my skin!” inevitably, some pervert would be filming me, and it would get around on the Interwebz, and my mother would see it…


The way NARS describes this foundation, you’d think you’re reading about the invention of time travel in Scientific American. With new “Even Tone Technology,” one drop/pump is supposed to deliver 16 hours of weightless, oil-free full coverage, and with long term use, it’s also supposed to make skin tone appear more even.

It’s an all-encompassing Jill-of-All-Trades foundation without SPF (meaning that it shouldn’t produce a white cast in pictures with a flash), and it’s available in 20 shades.

So, how well does it really work?

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Pretty well. It’s not the CERN of foundations or anything, and the claim to offer full coverage from a single pump seems like a stretch to me, but you can build it up for more coverage (with a caveat, which I’ll get to in a minute).

I’d say it has one foot in the medium-coverage pool, and the other foot in the full-coverage pool. Of course, “full coverage” is open to interpretation, and one person’s full coverage is another person’s medium. My definition might be skewed by Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fluide, one drop of which covers every. Single. Thing on my face.

One pump of NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation gets rid of any redness around my nose, cheeks and forehead while unifying the skin tone all over my face, but I still have to do some spot concealing on the freckles around my eyes, and I can still see the patch of skin above my upper lip that appears gray on camera unless it’s fully covered.

You can build the foundation up for fuller coverage by using more product, but then that interferes with its natural-looking mojo…

Being a curious kitty with an inquisitive nature, I’ve tested this in a number of ways — atop one primer, atop two primers (which is what I usually do with Laura’a Flawless Fluide), by itself, with a powder on top, applied with my fingers, applied with a Beautyblender, applied with a foundation brush, and at the end of the day, the simplest way works best. Just the product all by itself applied with fingers on bare skin (well, bare skin prepped with my skin care). That’s it.

Before NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Stromboli…

Before applying NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Stromboli

Before applying NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Stromboli

After NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Stromboli…

Wearing NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Stromboli

And after applying Stromboli

NARS also makes some other liquid foundations, like Sheer Matte foundation (which I haven’t tried), Sheer Glow (which is the one that everyone seems to love, but I’m not too crazy about because it looks like a hot mess on me and settles into my pores) and Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, which, while technically not a foundation, I think of as a liquid foundation due to its high coverage (although it’s slightly lower coverage than All Day Luminous).

For me, ranked alongside all of those, All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation comes in a close second to Pure Radiant, but I think both are great.

With a lightweight formula, good coverage, excellent wear time and a velvety finish (it’s not full-on matte), I also think NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation stacks up well against things like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk.

Now, for the pink/yellow elephant in the room…does it have a lot of yellow in it?

Yes, it has some, and it’s pretty evident in these “before” and after pics. I’m wearing Stromboli, the shade that most closely matches my neck.

In the “before” pic, see how my face and neck are two different colors? That’s because I’m a big fan of exfoliating products (keeps the pimples away, yo!), so my face has a lot of pink in it, but the yellow takes over when I apply Stromboli.

I think that without the other accoutrements I like to wear — bronzer, blush, highlighter and, of course, concealer, none of which I’m wearing in these pics — the yellow-ness makes me look like I spent the last month in bed writing emo love songs.

There’s something a little off about it…but with my usual bronzer, blush and concealer routine, the effect is much more natural and better.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Swatches, Light Shades

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Swatches, MediumShades


NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Swatches, Med/Dark Shades

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation Swatches, Dark Shades

Bottom line, I like $48 NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, despite it costing…

  • Your first born and your soul for your next three lifetimes
  • Three kittens and a chubby tabby
  • Two unicorns and a pot of gold

PRICE: $48
AVAILABILITY: Available now at NARS boutiques and and coming February 1, 2015, to Sephora and NARS counters

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 28 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Debra says:

    Love the consistency of NARS foundations; hate the shade of Whatever on me. I really wanted to love Sheer Glow but pink is not a NARS thing. No biggee. There are plenty of other companies that offer “pink” undertones.

    NARS foundations really have great finishes though. Most of the time you get what you pay for – and NARS gives a lot of quality for the money you pay!

  2. Tiffany says:

    I have been DYING for you to post about this foundation!! You always come through with great swatches. I really want to try this, everyone seems to love it.
    Tiffany recently posted … A Year of Birchbox

  3. astou says:

    Looks great.
    I always want to try Nars foundations but never did !
    I have to take a look at sephora …

  4. Agata says:

    Thanks for the review, Karen. I love Sheer Glow foundation but the TM never appealed to me and didn’t work out. I feel like foundation is such an individual thing. One person will live it, another will hate it.
    Agata recently posted … How To Chase Away Winter Blues With Blue Makeup

  5. Ashleigh says:

    I appreciate you putting this foundation through the ringer to figure out what method works best! I cannot wait to try it out.

    And maybe the people testing the foundation who decided the pump amount for a “full face” had itty bitty faces!

  6. Kristi says:

    Hi Karen, long time reader, first time commenter 🙂

    Is it me or does it seem like nars just doesn’t have a range of foundation with cool undertones?

  7. Thanks for such a detailed review dear.. I really think it would work for me as it has yellow tones and I like such light weight foundations providing good coverage… I have been lusting over Chanel vitalumiere… But this Seema to give a tough competition..

    Can u please help me compare it’s coverage with Mac face and body.. I expect this Nars provides more coverage.. What’s ur take ??
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … 10 Best Lip Liner Brands In India

  8. Your skin looks so amazing with this foundation! You look radiant.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Make-up look | Getting an A+ in mattematics with an all-matte make-up look

  9. Lancy says:

    Your skin looks fresh and even toned with the foundation Karen!! Yellow undertones are SO me! This definitely sounds like a great product. Thanks for the review!
    Lancy recently posted … Random Haul Vol.1 : Baby Products, Drugstore Makeup, Flowers and Toys

  10. Kim says:

    I’ve only tried NARS Tinted Moisturizer and I didn’t care for the consistency (same issue I have with Laura Mercier’s) – not slick enough for my taste. But, as you say, everyone is different about what they like for texture and coverage.

    Honestly, I never would have noticed the color diff between your face and neck until you pointed it out. Now I’ll be checking mine in the mirror! HAHA!

  11. kim says:

    It is hard to get excited about a $48 dollar foundation when you just raved about a $13 dollar drug store foundation. I will definitely be checking out the Lumi, and skipping this.

  12. Ruchita says:

    Thanks for the detailed review and swatches! I’m always on the lookout for a great foundation. I’m willing to pay top dollar because it can be difficult to find one that matches my skin tone and gives me that “your skin but better” look. I’m still loyal to Makeup Forever HD and Mat Velvet, but I might give this a try!

  13. Estefania says:

    I really love the NARS Sheer Glow, but lately it seems to only last a few hours on my skin, even with primer, powder, and setting spray! I might have to give these a shot.

    I actually love NARS because Punjab is a PERFECT match for me. I have your problem, Karen. My face tends to be red and pale compared to my neck, and the extra yellow in Punjab really balances me out. I also like that NARS keeps their shades straight across the board; it makes it easy to try new formulas without worrying about the shades matching.

  14. hanna says:

    I’ve been looking for a new foundation and I feel like I need this one in my life. However it’s expensive enough that I know I’d buy it and barely ever wear it.
    hanna recently posted … How to Look Edgy in a Cardigan

  15. fancie says:

    The formula sounds promising and it looks like I’ll be able to find a match too. I may have to try this soon. I just love my Sheer Glow and Pure Radiance TM
    fancie recently posted … Milani Matte Orchid Color Statement Matte Lipstick Review

  16. gio says:

    This looks great on you, so fresh! I think I need to give it a go too.
    gio recently posted … Product Review: Rouge Bunny Rouge Arcadia

  17. Tatiana says:

    Wanted to love Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fluide, but couldn’t find a good match for my uber pale skin. The undertones just weren’t right and after 30 minutes it went orange on my skin. I haven’t really had a good match with any of the NARS foundations either, but I’ll probably check this out for curiosity’s sake.
    FYI, I like the foundation match to your neck. It’s a little paler than I’m used to seeing your photos, but you don’t look ill or anything. Looking at the way you applied this foundation, it looks like it’s in the medium coverage spectrum for me.

  18. Tatiana says:

    I just took a look at your review for Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation in Chai. I have to admit I like the finish of it on your skin slightly better than this one. Just saying.

  19. shadowy_lady says:

    I own Nars Sheer Glow, Sheer Matte and their tinted moisturizer and love all three. I recently ran out of my TM and sheer matte and this will be my next purchase. I’m confused by the shade selection though as they are more diverse than sheer glow. What would NW25 (light medium, cool undertone) wear in this formula?

  20. Charlene says:

    I’ve used the Sheer Matte and it’s ok, not the holy grail but a decent foundation – the thing many people don’t get is that with maybe one exception, Nars foundations are all meant to apply with the fingers.

    I am now using the LM Flawless Fluide and I really like it. Thanks for this review, although I don’t understand you complaining about the price at such length when you didn’t do so about the LM foundation, which costs the same amount.

    I was wondering mostly how it compares to Flawless Fluide, but I have a feeling that I’m going to stick with the Flawless Fluide despite my overall love for Nars. I like Flawless Fluide’s matte finish and it too lasts all day, with pretty decent oil control, given the primers I’m using now.

  21. NARS Sheer Glow is also a greasy mess on me. I mean, I wanted to love it but it just didn’t work out. I was so glad that they released this one which looks to be more for me than SG. But since you mentioned Laura Mercier Flawless Fluide, I will check that one out first before I run to the nearest NARS counter. 🙂
    Alyssa Melanie recently posted … Chanel Angelique Blush

  22. Dalila says:

    I just tried this in Deauville and I found the shade was really yellow/orange on me. I also didn’t like that it settled into the pores on my nose, but I’ll be trying it again with a stippling brush and makeup that will work better.

  23. Olga Goltsova says:

    Dear Karen, thank you for the review! I am so sorry I have only seen it today – otherwise i wouldn’t have bought Nars All Day Luminous Weightless foundation! You and I have very similar skin tones, and I have also chosen Stromboli for myself – and literally HATED the yellowish finish it left on me. Having now read your post, I see that it’s now just me who feels that the yellow finish is way too much!

    Greetings from Moscow! Your friend from Intagram, Olga with the Japanese akita inu dog :))

    • Karen says:

      Hi Olga!

      Bummer that it didn’t work for you. Thankfully there’s so many great foundation options out there. You might like Diorskin Nude Air Serum (I wear 040 Honey Beige); I’ve been wearing it all summer and LOVE it. Get a tester if you can because it has some red tones that may or may not work for your skin.

      One foundation that I’ve been trying lately is YSL Fusion Ink. It has a similar texture to Diorskin, but there’s more color options for gals with yellow undertones. I have BD 50 Warm Honey. So far so good!

      Say hi to the pup for me, and have a great day. *Waves hello from sunny Northern California*

      • Olga Goltsova says:

        Thank you for the advice, Karen! I will check out Diorskin Nude Air Serum and the one by YSL!! I am currently using Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation and i love how it really blends with the skin! Among the heavier textures I loved Dolce and Gabbana Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation in 144 (Bronze). I used to own it a few years back and the color was amazing and the coverage perfect, but somehow it felt too heavy for everyday use and caused breakouts on my very acne-prone skin.

        (btw sorry for the misprint, in the previous post I meant to say “it’s NOT just me who feels that the yellow finish is way too much”). :)) I also hate the way this Nars foundation emphasizes every single pore on my face! ))

        Have a great day too!! Give Tabs a hug from me! :-*

  24. Gemma says:

    Ahh I’m the same re: colour, although I actively try and find one that does match my neck. I’m amused how I also have the same Nars shade but use a different MAC shade from you!

    Anyway. This is my new favourite foundation, but I am wary it will let me down when I travel again to the Philippines for a holiday. I find that whatever I put on my face slides off when I’m there! Would this perform well? Does Studio Fix or Pro Longwear do well in that hot and humid climate as well? And seeing your comment above — how does Nars do compared to YSL Fusion Ink (which I am also thinking as my alternate)?

    Oh, and just to annoy you more (sorry!), have you tried Bobbi Brown’s Skin Serum Foundation?

  25. Hi love, I’m actually a new blogger in cruelty free beauty, just stumbled upon this review-from when it was released a year ago-and I’m deciding on a new foundation so glad I found it-I always love your reviews so I’m glad I found it. Thanks for sharing the coverage, the tones, for the swatches. I’m a bit of a NARSissist addict, I use their concealer, brushes, blushes, shadows, haha I could go on, so this gives me a lot of good info. I also do love Cover FX for base makeup-when I go powder I use their Pressed Mineral-not full coverage, btw their Click Sticks, the Cover(basically their Total Cover Cream Foundation -a great one for full coverage btw, it’s now in a stick) And the Correct, you choose your shade of Corrector ie green peach, it’s based on tone/undertone, and they have Enhance/Highlight Clicks. I’ll have more on my Instagram, but I have more on those featured in my last Insta(cfluxefabbeauty) This foundation might work with some Color Correcting. BTW wanted to ask you: Have you tried the newest, the NARS Velvet Matte? I’m also looking forward to trying the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation. XO Thanks!

  26. Maggie says:

    I’m torn between the shade Stromboli and Barcelona. I feel like you and I have very similar skin tone. I was matched with Syracuse at Sephora but it made my skin look like a fake tan. I’m scared that Barcelona would make me look gray and the Stromboli would emphasize the yellow. What do you think?

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