These days, my pores run the show. They drive the car. They’re the CEOs of my face, and every face-related product I use, from foundation to primer and powder, like the one I’m wearing here, new NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder, has to keep the CEOs happy.
And $36 NARS Soft Velvet does.
What is it exactly?
Honestly, it’s a loose powder. It does not exist to bring about world peace, but it will, however, set your foundation and concealer (and it does so without appearing thick or heavy), blur those pores (yea!), smooth the texture of your skin, and soak up that pesky oil patch in the middle of your forehead. You can wear it all by itself on bare skin, or on top of other products.
My skin always gets dry this time of year, so this isn’t the best time for me to assess an oil-controlling product, but I’m guessing that if I were in one of my oily skin phases, like when I could fry egg rolls with the grease on my forehead (throughout my teens and early 20s), this would have laid a decent smack-down, although it probably wouldn’t have gone home with the championship belt.
Before NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder
And after NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder in Beach
Now, please don’t tell the makeup police…but a lot of the time I skip powder, unless I know I’m going to be taking pics.
It’s just another step, and my skin has been so dry lately, so I haven’t felt like I needed the extra oil-control power. When I’m going to be taking pics, though, I do like to use it because it softens the whole face makeup effect and brings my bronzer, blush and highlighter together.
Soft Velvet, which, by the way, is not the name of a dirty Prince song (as far as I know), is totally user friendly. NARS must have done something different with the sifter on the cap, because unlike most loose powders, this one works great. When I use it I don’t end up with powder all over the place.
To apply, I usually dip a big fluffy brush (or a powder puff, or a smaller fluffy tapered eye brush, if I’m using it to set concealer) into the jar, tap off the excess, then lightly dust that on my forehead, nose and cheeks.
It’s available in eight shades ranging from fair to deep. Look for Snow and Flesh for fair skin tones; Desert (light rose undertones), Eden (yellow undertones) and Beach (deep yellow undertones) for medium skin tones; and Mountain (a deep reddish brown), Heat (a deep true brown) and Valley (a deep neutral) for darker skin tones.
NARS also sells another loose powder, a translucent Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder. It has a similarly silky formula that melts right into my skin, but if I had to choose between it and Soft Velvet, I’d go with the latter. The translucent version looks great in real life (it has that magical skin softening quality), but it can be problematic in pics, especially when there’s a flash up in the mix (I get that ghostly white cast).
I got 99 problems but this powder ain’t one, LOL! It beautifully sets foundation and concealer, looks natural and photographs well. It’s getting a place right beside my current (and long term) loose powder love, Chanel Poudre Universelle (I wear shade 40 Dore in Chanel).
I think both of them are great, but my NARS shade, Beach, is slightly more yellow than Chanel’s, which has a little more red.
I’ll probably end up alternating between the two of them, depending on what my skin’s doing on any given day.
PRICE: $36 for a 0.35-oz. jar
AVAILABILITY: Available now online and at NARS boutiques, and coming February 1, 2015, to Sephora and NARS counters
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B+/A-
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,