NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder: I Got 99 Problems But This Powder Ain’t One

Published in: Collections, Face, NARS, Product Reviews

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder

The new NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powders ($36)

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.

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder

$36 NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder

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

The before shot: Wearing NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation on my face

The before shot: Wearing NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, but without powder.

And after NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder in Beach

The after shot: I'm wearing the the shade Beach

The after shot: now with powder. The shade I’m wearing is called Beach.

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches for the Fair shades from the left: Snow and Flesh

Swatches for the Fair shades from the left: Snow and Flesh

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches for the Medium shades: Desert (light rose undertones), Eden (yellow undertones) and Beach (deep yellow undertones)

Swatches for the Medium shades: Desert (light rose undertones), Eden (yellow undertones) and Beach (deep yellow undertones)

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches for the Deep shades: Mountain (deep reddish-brown), Heat (deepest true brown) and Valley (deepest neutral)

Deep shades: Mountain (deep reddish-brown), Heat (deepest true brown) and Valley (deepest neutral)

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

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 18 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Agata says:

    I can definitely tell a difference in these pictures and I like the way this powder looks on you. I agree, Chanel powder is my favorite loose powder too (although I also love my Urban Decay Naked one). Your hair looks so pretty and full in these photos!
    Agata recently posted … Ulta Beauty Sightings

  2. fancie says:

    I rarely set my foundation but I still kinda want this lol. It looks very natural today
    fancie recently posted … NYX Spring Sneak Peeks!

  3. Charlene says:

    Thanks for this! I unfortunately am a pressed powder gal – just applying with a brush. Using Bare Minerals Ready Veil because it’s a close match and it has the spf that the LM foundation doesn’t have.

  4. angie says:

    is it going to replace the old NARS Loose Powder, Karen?

  5. astou says:

    I’m more comfortable with pressed powder, i have just 1 loose powder.
    But i love the fact that there’s a large range of shades.
    Thanks again for the tip 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    I’ve been using one of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders (Dim) to finish off my looks these days, but you’ve got me curious about this one now….*adds to Sephora Love list*
    Lisa recently posted … Game Changers: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage

  7. Icequeen81 says:

    nice natural look love it

  8. Natalie says:

    Your skin looks great! And in your experience what does actually take the championship? Just curious for a reccomendation!

  9. Nicole says:

    Would you classify this as a finishing powder? Or is this similar to Chanel’s Vitalumiere Loose Powder?
    Nicole recently posted … Can we chat for a sec?

  10. I’ve been experiencing some dry skin myself, perhaps due to the cold weather, so I’ve been a little shy on layering up the powder. The right setting powder can work wonders and ensure that your foundation and concealer stays put for the day but I’ve just never come across anything that’ll work for my oily/combined skin. I haven’t got much to lose – other than the money – and I’ve been loving Nars’ 2014 releases so watch me run to Sephora come February.
    A Lady In White recently posted … Rimmel London Wonder’Full Mascara

  11. The powder looks really good.. it looks perfect in pictures.. <3

    You are so right about translucent powder and flash.. they are like enemies and could spoil the look! 😛
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … HerbaLife Skin Soothing Aloe Cleanser and Instant Reveal Berry scrub Review, Swatches

  12. Ade says:

    Hi Karen, which one of these that has the best oil control for oily skin:
    – NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder;
    – Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder; or
    – Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre.

  13. Iris says:

    This looks like a great product. Flesh looks like it’d work out for me.

  14. I might give Eden a try. I dropped my pressed NARS powder yesterday morning 🙁 Reminder to self: doing your make-up on a Saturday morning at 6AM is never a good idea.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … It’s tricky living on the darkside: wearable smokey eyes with the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette

  15. Sara says:

    Thank for this post.
    Is Snow pink or yellow undertoned?

  16. Awww… and I was really set on buying the light reflecting powder. I mean, I’m happy with my current HG – Chanel loose powder. But with all the good things I’m hearing about the NARS powders, I want to try them too! Will probably go with the Soft Velvet because I don’t want to look ghostly in photos. 😀

    It is a bit pricey, though, don’t you think? $36 for 0.35oz while the Chanel powder is $52 but you get 1oz of product. But, who am I kidding? I’m pretty sure I’m still going to buy it. Lol!
    Alyssa Melanie recently posted … Chanel Angelique Blush

  17. Kim says:

    I have a Tarte pressed powder that I almost never use but, lately when I reach for powder (which is not often), I grab my Hourglass Ambients. 🙂

  18. JamieM says:

    Hey Karen,

    How would you compare this to the NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation? I know that one has light to medium coverage. Does this have any coverage at all or its just tinted and better for setting?

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