Streamline Your Makeup Bag with NARS Powder Foundation

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

nars powder foundation review

The holidays coming! The holidays are coming!


I can hardly believe it’s mid-September already, and that means the holiday travel season isn’t far away.

One of my biggest travel challenges is packing light. I think I’m naturally predisposed to overpack, as if I biologically need 10 different shades of pink lipgloss; maybe it’s a primitive urge to gather?

But after a traumatic airport incident a few years back (a TSA agent almost confiscated a baggie filled with Chanel and MAC, NOOOO!), I’ve gotten better at streamlining what goes into my makeup bag.

Nowadays, I’m all about bringing products that multitask. When space is limited, the more steps and products I can eliminate, the better.

NARS Powder Foundation ($45), my latest foundation love, totally fits the multitasking bill.

Portable and flexible, with a natural finish

Forget hauling a separate liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer and powder. Housed in a sleek, portable case, this flexible pressed powder foundation does it all, evening out tone and wicking away shine from morning ’till night. It does it, too, without looking too thick or too much like a mask. Added bonus: It contains SPF 12.

I apply it in layers until I reach a level of opacity I’m happy with. If I know I’ll just be chillin’ with the fam, I’ll go with one to two layers applied with a kabuki brush, one like the MAC 182 Buffer ($45). It delivers natural, light-to-medium coverage. For a more opaque look, I’ll smooth it on with the included sponge.

mac cosmetics ny fashion week spring 2010 vena cava lip 5
Wearing two layers of NARS Powder Foundation applied with a Kabuki brush

Whatever the coverage, NARS Foundation Powder always feels lightweight on my skin. It’s so comfy that I sometimes forget I’m wearing it at all!

Tips on choosing a foundation color

With 18 shades to choose from, there should be something for almost everyone. I use Sahara, which the NARS website lists for “medium red-based complexions.”

When choosing a foundation color, I usually enlist the help of a sales associate or makeup artist — someone to serve as a second opinion. If you’re on your own, though, here are two tips to try:

  • Have you heard the trick of matching foundation to the skin on your wrist or jaw? Try this instead: Find a shade that matches the color of the skin located at the point where your chin and the base of your neck meet. I think it serves as a better example of your natural skin color because it doesn’t get a lot of sun.
  • Foundation oxidizes and darkens within five to 10 minutes once its applied, so if you’re torn between a lighter and a darker shade, opt for the lighter one.

I learned both of these tips from a Chanel artist a few years ago, and they’ve saved me from buying the wrong color many times since. πŸ™‚

The bottom line

Even though it’s pricey, NARS Powder Foundation gets big points for portability, flexibility and a natural look that’s never flat or heavy. Big ups to Francois and Co. for turning out another winner in my book. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A

Glee — what am I missing?

How was your night? I stayed up late reading that Sookie Stackhouse book… as usual. Now I’m a little sleepy.

Did you happen to catch the premiere of Glee? Have you heard about it? I’d heard it was supposed to be a really funny comedy/musical/drama about a group of high school misfits in glee club.

Great premise, right?


I’m always *totally down* for awkward teens showing the rest of the world what they’re really made of via spontaneous song! — but something about the show seemed a little off to me.

I dunno… I’ll give it another chance.

So how are you on this lurvely Thursday?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. nikki says:

    those are great tips on picking foundations!
    i always seem to have difficulty unless the lovely ladies at MAC help me:)

    as for glee i lovelovelove it!
    its quite hilarious and wonderful, and everyone on there has amazing voices

  2. tali says:

    I do like the Nars powder foundation as it blots shine! Perfect for a beach bag!!!
    .-= tali’s last blog post… Dystopia, Glitter & Sweet Retail Therapy! =-.

  3. Hafsa says:

    Awesome review Karen! I’ve never considered powder foundation. Back in high school I used to wear cream compact foundation, and had such a bad experience with it (heavy cakey coverage, thick feeling on the face) that I stay away from it like the plague!

    Up until a year ago, I was using Bare Minerals because it was so light on my face. But two things happened: 1. it oxidized on my face and made me look so dark by the end of the day and 2. because it’s loose, it kinda looked cakey on me at times. Oh! one more thing, it was hecka oily on my skin, I was forever blotting!

    Question for you: have you tried bare minerals, or some other type of mineral foundation, and would you consider this NARS foundation to be better in terms of coverage, feeling light on the skin, and keeping away the oilies?

    On another NARS note, I heard they came out with a new liquid foundation that is supposedly good for your skin, as it apparently perfects your skin over time. Have you checked it out? I would love to get your feedback on it, esp the Matte formula one.

    Thanks dear!
    .-= Hafsa’s last blog post… Another Dawn: Night to Day Gradient =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hafsa,

      Great questions! Okay, here goes.

      I tried Bare Minerals once, and it broke me out. πŸ™

      As for other mineral foundations, I used MAC’s loose mineral foundation for a month when it came out. It’s pretty good, but I don’t like the packaging so I rarely touch it.

      I’d say that this NARS foundation has better coverage… if you’re very oily, though, you might need to blot with blotting papers throughout the day.

      Re: the new liquid foundation, I haven’t tried it out, but it’s on my lust list. I’m hoping to pick up a bottle soon!

  4. shontay says:

    I spotted this online a few days ago. I really want to try this. I was doubtful they had my shade because they never have before (as far as I could see), but I will try this out.

  5. Trude says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been searching for an alternative to Bare Minerals, since it’s just not doing it for me like it used to. NARS hasn’t let me down yet, so I think I’ll give it a shot. πŸ™‚

    And Glee is awesome. Even if you never did choir, its hilarious, if only for Jane Lynch. They let her get away with murder, every line is funny! You just have to go with the cheesiness, that’s what makes it loveable.
    .-= Trude’s last blog post… Anatomy of a Purse, Parte Dos =-.

  6. Indian Girl says:

    I wrote about Glee just this afternoon ! I am beginning to like it a lot especially for the songs ! They are on youtube – super fun ! Everybody on the show can sing !
    Come to think of it , it does remind me of Bollywood movies where people break into song n dance πŸ˜‰
    .-= Indian Girl’s last blog post… Illamasqua Nail Varnish – Muse : Review & Swatches. NYFW SS2010 Trend It – The Teal Deal =-.

  7. amy says:

    I used to use MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation for a few years, but found it quite drying and powdery the last 2-3 years so I stop using it and use MAC MSF Natural instead. I love the convenience of powder foundations being that it can be worn dry or wet and dries to a matte finish. I am going to have to check this out at the Nars counter. I haven’t bought anything at Nars in a long time.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… John Masters Organics Shine On Leave in Hair Treatment =-.

  8. amy says:

    PS I found Glee very charming in a kinda cheesy way.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… John Masters Organics Shine On Leave in Hair Treatment =-.

  9. sher says:

    thank you for those awesome tips!!
    .-= sher’s last blog post… Lipstick Overview: GOSH Lambada =-.

  10. AndreaMarie says:

    Great foundation tips! I have been sent home with the wrong (too dark) foundation many times…

  11. gn. says:

    Ooh, this looks interesting. I always have a hard time with foundations since I’m an oil mine and break out easily. So I go for mineral make-up but then it’s too messy to keep in my bag. Ehh.

    Same reaction as you with the TB Finale. After the Godric episode, it kind of went all over the place. But for the finale, it went downhill after killing the maenad, AND I was half expecting that Sookie would see Eric from the mirror!

    As for Glee, I saw the first two episodes and it was painfully funny to watch. I always thought that they were poking fun of the whole cliche-high school-dramadey that it feels sarcastic and satirical. But then, it might be just me. Haha!

  12. Jill says:

    I love your website and I love Glee too! =)

  13. jessica says:

    did you start from the beginning with glee? this week’s episode wasnt quite as funny as the first couple. try to catch up online and maybe that’ll help. i know we’re not quite there yet, but have a good weekend! =))

  14. Tanya says:

    Can’t say much for the Nars powder foundation (I do fancy the pressed powder, though!! Loved the powder, but didn’t love the price- $30!!), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE GLEE!!!!! It may not be for everyone, I do admit that. But as a former Band geek- this speaks to my directly to my heart.

    The show is a bit quirky, and you can’t take it too seriously. I love that it kind of makes fun of itself at the same time. Of course, I love the music πŸ˜€ These kids can really sing- and I love that they choose kind of off-the-wall songs to feature in the show (For example, last night’s episode: This is How We Do It!? I wanna Sex You Up?!). I guess it’s just like every new show, though. Some still need to test the waters with it πŸ™‚
    .-= Tanya’s last blog post… CVS Rocks My World =-.

  15. this foundation suits u perfectly. I love ur lips in ur picture!! u looks super lovely!!
    .-= Blovet Beauty’s last blog post… JAPAN SKINCARE & COSMETICS & RANDOM HAUL PART 2 =-.

  16. Jaime says:

    Karen, can you do a tutorial on how to apply foundation with a kabuki brush? I’ve always wondered how to do that! πŸ™‚

  17. Beth says:

    Glee has great premise, great potential, but might be falling a little short of what it is trying to do. It is obviously inspired by High School Musical and Camp Rock. But more subtly inspired by Arrested Development and maybe even The Office with it’s “uncomfortable moments”. There’s where it falls short just a tad. I can see what they are trying to do, create hilarious ironic uncomfortable situations but sometimes it just isn’t that funny (last night shop teacher who cut off his thumbs returns to work and they give him a cake with 2 hands with thumbs up on them). I can’t pinpoint WHY Arrested Development and The Office are so spot-on and perfect in this area, but they are. Glee is clearly aspiring to this level, and may reach it as their writers become more comfortable with the characters and of course the actors become more familiar with them and each other. I think a lot of times we write off a show too quickly without giving it time to “gel”. Have you seen early episodes of Seinfeld? Perfect example. You can see what they are trying to do, but they just don’t have it….YET. But eventually, they get there. I am enjoying watching Glee get there, if they will get the chance!!!!

  18. Dana Cronin says:

    How is the Nars foundation if your really dry? My skin is really dry so I always stick with liquid. My favorite is Clinique super moisture foundation – it’s dewy and feels really light to me.

    Everytime I have a sales person pick one out for me I look like a freaking ghost !!!! The lady at MAC yelled at me about the bottle of Clinique foundation that I had just purchased but I love it and I asked lots of people after that and everyone said I look natural and not to dark so I’m sticking with my shade πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dana,

      I have some really dry patches around my mouth and nose and found the NARS Powder foundation very comfortable. In terms of moisture I generally find liquid foundations more moisturizing than powder ones, though. Maybe give this powder one a try at the counter and wear it around for a day to see if you like it/

  19. Marisol says:

    Awesome review! I am Glee fan. Really enjoyed it. =)
    .-= Marisol’s last blog post… SoCal Visit =-.

  20. Akane says:

    Hi Karen,
    I also used Sahara foundation for my wedding and loved it.
    Unfortunately, this shade is no longer available…
    Could you advise an other shade that would be similar, from Nars or an other brand ?

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