Saturday, October 27, 2012

Like Skin

One of the foundations that I suddenly became very eager to try after my experience with Make Up For Ever HD foundation was NARS Sheer Glow. I watch a lot of Pixiwoo (and a bit of Tanya Burr), and I've seen numerous videos where NARS Sheer Glow was the foundation of choice. Two videos that mainly pushed me over the edge were this one, where Sam describes NARS Sheer Glow as her "current favourite foundation" and this one, where Sam lists NARS Sheer Glow as one of her top five foundations (along with YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat, Shu Uemura Face Architect, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich). She later names Illamasqua Skin Base in a separate video. I was a little underwhelmed with MUFE, but purchasing it essentially upped the limit I was mentally prepared to spend on a foundation, and I consequently felt liberated to spend an equal or higher amount in trying out more expensive brands.

I bought Sheer Glow in the US, where it retails for $42. With tax, it came to about $46. In Australia, it'll set you back $68. There was only one bottle of Fiji left in the Sephora that I visited, and I didn't even notice until I'd already purchased it that there were foundation marks on the black cap. Someone must've opened it up and tested it. I don't really know how the store's return policy works, but I'm hoping it isn't the case that you can buy a new product, use it a couple of times, return it, and the next day it's back on the shelf for the next person to purchase. I also set my sights on Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, but I left it until the last moment thinking I'd buy it at the airport duty free, only to find that they didn't have the shade I was after.




As many have noted, the main point of annoyance about Sheer Glow's packaging is the lack of a pump. It makes it inconvenient to have to unscrew the lid and essentially pour a bit onto your hand each time. When it's new and you haven't used much, it's not so much a problem because after shaking the bottle, a layer of foundation will kind of collect at the entrance, and you can dip your finger into it to get a sufficient amount, rather than having to tilt the bottle and pour it out. But I'm envisaging it might be a bigger problem once the foundation starts running out. It's just not as sanitary or easy as a pump.





The instructions state that you're supposed to warm the foundation in the hands and apply it with the fingers. I first started testing out Sheer Glow while still on holiday in the US, using a small amount applied with the fingers, mainly around the edges of my nose and corners of my mouth, then spreading whatever remnant amount was left onto the rest of my face. The thin layer really made a noticeable difference in brightening up my complexion and evening out my skin tone. Back home, I need more coverage in the mornings in less time, and I now prefer using Sheer Glow with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I don't find there's that many issues with the foundation not melting into the skin because of the lack of warmth from the fingers. I use the buffing brush mostly in circular motions, but sometimes I stipple it as well, and if there's still the slightest streakiness, I go over parts of my face with my fingers to smooth any unblended lines out.




There are a lot of things that I like about NARS Sheer Glow. It's not as temperamental as Make Up For Ever HD foundation, in that you don't need to make extra special effort to moisturise and exfoliate and prime for it to go on smoothly. That doesn't mean that it effortlessly flatters imperfect skin. I still find that it can cake and emphasise dry patches (especially if you want more coverage) if the skin underneath isn't smooth and well moisturised. The finish is glowier than MUFE in a lit-from-within, subtle way, which is a big plus. I powder my T-zone after applying this in the morning, but still find I need to do a major blot after about 2 hours, which then makes me sufficiently matte for the rest of the day. I think Sheer Glow photographs better than MUFE, as the latter has a more matte finish. It feels comfortable and lightweight on the skin. I'd say it has medium coverage, in that it evens out skin tone and redness and covers mild blemishes, but I'm not sure about anything more than that.

Is this foundation necessarily better than lower end ones that I've tried? It's a good shade match, the finish is beautiful, with powdering and blotting I can control oiliness, it is fairly long lasting, and a little goes a long way especially when spread with the fingers (with a brush, you do have to use more). All those aspects make it a superior foundation to say, Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (I need to mix #52 and #53 to get my shade, it starts to seriously fade by the end of the day) or Revlon PhotoReady (too glowy for everyday wear, extremely shiny after 1-2 hours, cakes on me for inexplicable reasons). But at the same time, I'm finding that I have been making more of an effort to improve my skin, namely using serums and oils, moisturising well, and regularly exfoliating and using masks. Without those steps, it's likely that a foundation, no matter how potentially impressive, would probably not work as well on me.

57 comments:

  1. i think when it comes to foundation, for me the shade much is number one priority. and then its formulation (will it hurt my skin, etc) and its lasting power (will it cake). I havent tried that one but i think the color, based on you swatch and photos, is a good match w me. i better try it from the stores. :D

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    1. You're right, colour matching is so important when it comes to foundation. It's one thing that I try to get right, otherwise it's very difficult to wear a foundation on a targeted part of your face because it's not going to blend with the rest of your skin tone. I think the shade lighter than this (Deauville) was way too light for me, and I didn't try the darker shade because Fiji seemed to be a good light. It also leans a bit more yellow rather than olive or pink, which suits me. Hope you manage to try out this one in the shops - let me know what you think :)

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  2. Im a big fan of NARS Sheer Glow. I like trying new foundations but I always go back to it and Im in Fiji too:)
    Sara xx

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    1. Good to know that this is the one that you come back to - it must be doing something right! :)

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  3. I've never used any high-end foundations before because I'm quite pleased with my Bourjois ones but this review makes me curious to try... :) I like the way it looks on your skin and the coverage. The YSL Touche Eclat foundation also intrigues me! Might have to invest in one of the two... :P xx

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    1. Ugh, I want to try the YSL one as well, I tested it at Sephora and it melted into my skin. It was uber impressive. Granted, I only tried it on my hand, but still :p I wish I could get myself a tester or something. But I'm trying to be reasonable and rationalise I already have 2 higher end foundations now that I really need to use up before I buy anything else. I do love Bourjois still - but I've been using mine less now I have the MUFE and Sheer Glow. But Bourjois is still lovely and I like that I can now mix my shade since I have both #52 and #53.

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  4. i've never tried foundation from Nars before, i'm not actually interested in any other Nars' products apart from their blushes and bronzer but this foundation sounds really great :) the coverage is really nice too, although there's not much to cover on your face really. i think your skin is flawless, i love your complexion! :) thanks for the great review, it's really helpful <3

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    1. I'm new to the NARS brand too - I only picked up this foundation and their Orgasm blush while in the States. Both are my first NARS purchases! I do want to try Laguna but I opted for Benefit Hoola instead :) My skin is far from flawless, trust me! :p Glad you found the review somewhat useful :)

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  5. What a coincidence that I bought this a week or two ago and waiting for it to come in the mail :) I can't wait to give it a go now after seeing how lovely it looks on your skin. Luckily for me though, I was able to grab this for only $32 online over at hqhair.com :D

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    1. Oooh, great price! Never ordered anything off HQ Hair but I contemplated buying my original Naked palette from there earlier in the year (I went for BeautyBay instead though). Hope the order arrives safe and sound soon! Let us know what you think of it :)

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  6. thank you! the concert was amazing! lovely blog! xx

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed Bon Iver! I haven't been to many concerts at all, that's something that I do want to change. Thanks for popping by :)

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  7. Great review! It looks great on your skin, it doesn't look too cakey and matches pretty well!

    http://letskisstomakeup.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! I think it looks a bit light in these photos because the camera picks up illumination as white, but in less bright light it's more yellow and a bit darker :)

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  8. Hey, thanks for the comment on my blog! :)
    I love how this looks on your skin- it's probably one I would get if I wanted to spend $$$ on foundation haha. Jealous you went to sephora- we're going to the U.S next year so I'm def. going to spend up on makeup!

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    1. It's a total wonderland there, go wild! :)

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  9. You don't know just how much I want to try this!!! I think you've convinced me even more!
    I would be really annoyed though if I'd seen that mine had been used, shame you couldn't exactly take it back either!!
    I might end up getting this at some point, I just know it!

    xoxo

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    1. I know, I was so disappointed and a bit disgusted, but I just couldn't be bothered to go back especially as I was on holiday :p Thankfully I don't think they used much, if any at all, but it's hard to tell because the bottle is completely opaque. I can't for the life of me see how much I've used.

      Sorry to be such an enabler :p I'll be looking forward to your review about it if you do end up caving in ;)

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  10. I actually was going to get this but instead I got the MUFE. I was matched to the shade Santa Fe :) At first I liked it and I know a lot of people did the first time they got the NARS Sheer Glow then afterwards they hated it. So I hope it all goes well for you!

    I tried it 3 times, once whilst at Mecca Cosmetica in Melbourne (I liked it the first time and was considering of getting it) and another time at Myer Sydney and then Mecca Cosmetica at Bondi. The third time round I didn't like it, felt cakey and just left my face feeling oily.

    After purchasing MUFE I felt happy and was glad with my choice. I'm hoping that when I use up my MUFE (which is currently around half way?) I'm going to get the Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation. Love that foundation!

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    1. When I tried it in the store (literally by helping myself to the pump and spreading some on my face, lol), I did find that initially it looked really nice, but after about 2-3 hours when I looked in the mirror, some parts of my face where I'd applied it had caked (e.g. around my nose and forehead).

      Now that I've bought it, I don't think caking is a huge issue. It cakes very slightly around the nose, but it's negligible for me. Oil control is admittedly a bigger problem, in that you need to have moisturised skin for it to go on nicely, but at the same time, it does get oily after a while, probably not helped by the pound of moisturiser I put on beforehand. But I think oil control is one of those inevitable issues with liquid foundations - I have the same issue with MUFE as well. The only foundation I don't experience oil issues with is my Laura Mercier mineral powder, but I find that too fiddly to use and it doesn't give me my desired coverage.

      Having said all that, I do like MUFE and have warmed to it tremendously. I actually find NARS Sheer Glow and MUFE very similar, but the MUFE is probably a touch more coverage, and I need to use the Real Techniques stippling brush to apply it. Were you using the Armani before? Never tried their foundations, maybe one day :)

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  11. yeah, Aussies are always paying too much for cosmetics! thanks for the really detailed review. your skin looks great with it on- very glowy and fresh. I have the Bourjois one you mentioned and it doesn't really slide off that much, but maybe because I put BB cream underneath? which is probably too many layers I know :( but like you said the more important thing is taking good care of your skin, rather than finding the holy grail product!

    metallicpaws.blogspot.com

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    1. Agreed, taking care of the skin underneath is key. Never tried using a BB cream underneath a foundation - that must be quite a bit of coverage! Which BB cream do you use? I find my BB creams are always on the oily side, and the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum can get a bit oily as well, so I think I'll look like an oil rig if I tried that :p Your skin always looks amazing in your photos so I'm sure it's working for you :)

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  12. Thank you so much for this review! I've had my eyes on this foundation for a while now and this review has finally made me decide to get it! It looks beautiful on you, I hope I have the same luck! xx

    Ferdies-place.blogspot.com

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    1. Hope that you like it when you do decide to get it! Would love to read your review :)

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  13. Wows, that's a lot more face than you usually show in photos! I'm envious of your skin! Sheer Glow sounds like it's definitely worth all the screentime it gets- I love the way you put it as 'lit-from-within', which is exactly the right kind of glow. It's a bit of a bummer than you couldn't get Vitalumiere Aqua- that's the one high end foundation that I'm truly interested in, though I think it costs about one hundred dollars here and there's no way I'm paying that. I did buy the LM mineral powder so I guess that's my first high end foundation. It's great that you're finally content with the Bourjois colour match by mixing the two shades- I wish I'd done that earlier in the year when I wasn't as dark! Thanks to a bit of a bus fiasco I walked about 4km more than usual that day, so I think I've tanned enough to use 53 and be content with it matching the rest of me. I've never been inclined to try Sheer Glow because I always felt it was more for normal/dry skin types, but your skin looks lovely and dewy, so Sheer Glow's definitely getting something right, even if you do have to powder. Do you only powder when wearing this foundation? I remember you saying you didn't powder in the past.

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    1. Hahaha, I made sure that I strategically cropped so as not to give away too much ;) I try to get a picture in if I'm doing a review that shows how a product looks when worn, except sometimes it just doesn't work out or I'm just too lazy, or a combination of both (often the case with blush and eyeshadow).

      Vitalumiere Aqua costs $100 here? Meeep. That is so not right. It cost $42 in the US I believe, before tax, which is the same as MUFE and Sheer Glow. I heard that it is very similar to Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum however, which I have two bottles of, so maybe it's for the best that it was sold out :p

      Funny you should write that you bought the LM, because I literally was on your blog's wishlist last night and I saw you'd crossed out the LM! Did you get it off SNet? Do let us know what you think of it when it finally arrives and you get to play with it. Did you end up with Real Sand or the shade darker?

      That bus fiasco sounds like an adventure. 4kms, wow, that's some intense exercise! I hate to be in the sun without sun protection because I'm always paranoid I'll tan and get darker. I remember when I was the Australian Open earlier this year, I think I went two shades darker from my week there. It's taken the whole year to recover LOL.

      Sheer Glow might not be the best for oilier skin types. I don't know where my skin's at in terms of dryness/oiliness. If I don't moisturise properly beforehand, it doesn't go on well. However, moisturising beforehand does probably contribute to it getting quite oily after a while, and having to blot. But after that, I find that it's fairly matte for the rest of the day, except my nose can get a touch shiny in the late afternoon. But I can deal with that. I've started to powder as the final step in my routine. I don't even know if it makes that much of a difference, but it's become habit now, so I do it anyway :)

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    2. Ma bad, Vitalumiere Aqua ONLY costs $77 instead. Eh... I don't want to say I would never pay that much, but sheesh that's a lot.
      I'm so excited about the LM! Yes I got Real Sand from SNet and I picked the courier delivery service/registered post but nobody was home so we've got to pick it up from an Aus Post office some way off- I've asked Mum to get it tomorrow. I don't want to have ridiculously high hopes for it in case it lets me down. Real Sand is supposedly an NC25 and I was swatching some Studio Finish concealers in MAC and realised that I am not an NC30 so I took your advice and got the lighter shade instead of Natural Beige.

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    3. I'd probably say that Real Sand might be a touch light for you - if you say #53 is a good match for you in Bourjois. I find Real Sand a touch light for me and #53 much too dark, especially since it oxidises on me (when it first applies, colour match is fine, later in the day, face is different colour to rest of body). But anyway, I hope it doesn't let you down. The main amazing thing about it is oil control - you literally don't get greasy all day, anywhere. And $77 is still a fortune - pass!

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  14. i really like the sheer yet glowy finish of this foundation!
    but you do have nice skin to begin with and i totally agree that improving the skin condition allows us to have wider selection of "good foundation". ;)

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    1. Sheer yet glowy - I guess it does live up to its name haha ;)

      My skin can get temperamental, thankfully I haven't had any breakouts recently. I don't know what I'm doing, but hopefully it's something right :p

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  15. Wow for that price I would expect it to come in better packaging, it sure looks fancy with that big cap but it's not very convenient and like you said not much hygenic. I don't really have my eyes set on any high end face product, but I wished we had here more variety at the pharmacy. Revlon costs an arm and a leg here but they don't bring the entire product range. I'd happily pay that high price for the whipped foundation everyone raves about because I think would work great for me, but I don't have that option and it's so frustrating! I'm glad you were able to try something you wanted for so long (I watch Pixiwoo too and have added so many things to my wishlist after I dicovered them is not even funny) and I'm ever more glad it was everything you hoped it would be ^^

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    1. I love Pixiwoo - though I'm evidently partial to Sam (I do love Nic as well!). Yes, they use some amazing products, I still want to get a Tom Ford lipstick and MAC Harmony blush and Avon eyeliners/lipsticks/blush and so many other things they feature :)

      I've been curious about the whipped foundation too. I had a chance to buy it at the drugstore for $15 or so, which is about half the Australian price (it retails for $37 here I believe). Still crazily expensive! Revlon is ridiculously overpriced in Australia compared to the US, which makes it even more remarkable I didn't go absolutely crazy with the Revlon purchases during my time there.

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  16. I also have heard a lot of this foundation , and I am somehow kinda relieved that I only have online access to NARS products. lol
    The packaging is a bit pain in the ass, without pump.. We almost always have pump here in Europe..
    But I like how your skin looks like with this foundation, it looks radiant! ;D

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    1. Yeah I think if you want to get a pump you have to purchase it separately off the NARS website or something? A little silly!

      I remember you said in a previous comment you were thinking of getting this foundation. I think it's a fairly good choice if you have normal/dry skin, for oily or combination skin it can probably still work, but you just need to make a bit more effort in terms of oil control. But I know you're pleased with your existing foundation (the Clarins one?), so you probably don't need this ;)

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  17. Oh, I am so glad you showed this! Very thankful for it because NARS is coming to my country this November, and this is on my shopping list. However, my skin reacts to all the "cones", and when you show the ingredients list, I couldn't help but strike this off my shopping list. I am sticking to my BB creams I guess. Way too many foundations that every girl raves about is not for me because they contain one type of silicone or another.

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    1. Oh really? Does your skin react poorly to silicones? I have absolutely no clue what the ingredients even mean, but I'm glad that you found the inclusion of them helpful! :) It would be so interesting to learn more about chemicals and what goes into a foundation and what effect the ingredients have, especially as a point of comparison. At least you can strike this one off your list and hopefully find something better suited to you :)

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  18. I'm happy that this worked out for you! I don't understand why i turned so oily when I used this!! Maybe I should've gave it extra chances with blotting, but then again I buy foundation for a slightly different purpose and wasn't too impressed with the extra work lol I love the way this foundation looks on you! And if you're wondering, Sephora has a super awesome return policy - so if it's still bugging you about how your bottle was opened/used before you bought it, go ahead and exchange or return cause I returned mine even though I clearly told them I used it, and wasn't happy with it :)

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    1. Haha, nice to know :) Yes, I thought so, but I was wondering more about whether they just put back on the shelf stuff other people have returned? Cos I'm thinking that probably shouldn't happen, so maybe someone just went all grabby hands and touched it and opened it, and then put it back. I can't return it anymore though, since I'm about 16,000km away now and there's no Sephora in Australia either :p

      I find all foundations get greasy on me after a while, not that my face gets super super oily, but that my skin starts to feel a little bit tacky and not matte (in terms of being able to physically feel it)? If that makes any sense. And I could just leave it as is, but I just get a tissue and kind of pat my face, especially my nose, the sides of my nose, corners of mouth, forehead, sides of face. I do get quite a bit of transfer, but then after that I don't find I get any oilier. So that's what I meant by one major blot will leave be sufficiently matte for the rest of the day. I think with oilier skin, Sheer Glow might be a bit more problematic. But honestly, I get oil control issues with every liquid foundation I've tried, and Sheer Glow is relatively better than some others (Revlon PhotoReady, I'm looking at you).

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  19. I like it on you. I also wear Fiji. It used to look beautiful on my skin in the past, but I have been disappointed on how it looks on me lately maybe because my skin condition changed or something. My pores are emphasized and it gets greasy after a while. I really wanted to like it as I did before:(

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    1. Oh no, I hate when that happens! When you love a foundation and then inexplicably and seemingly suddenly, it starts to change on your skin. Sorry to hear that it happened with Sheer Glow! Hopefully I don't experience the same thing :S

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  20. Great review and blog! Would you like to follow each other on bloglovin and gfc?

    ang-closet365.blogspot.ca

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  21. thanks for this review!! i've been lusting for this foundation for the same reason too (pixiwoo)! I have chanel vita lumiere aqua and i love it so so so much! i think you've convinced me to pick this up though :3

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    1. Haha, it's funny how we turn to YouTube gurus to validate our product choices (or to influence us to buy it in the first place!). Do you have Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum by any chance (or have you tried it) - I've heard that it's quite similar to the Chanel. I really do want to try the Chanel one day, though I need to use up a lot of foundation first :) Hope you have a good experience with Sheer Glow if you do decide to get it!

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  22. I've always heard great things about this foundation! Glad you finally got to test it out. :) I guess, if your skin improved even more with the additional serums, moisturizers, etc., you wouldn't even need foundation at all? Good to know your thoughts on it, though! :D

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  23. oooh, this seems pretty nice! I've always wanted to try this but I just don't like their packaging! I really prefer a pump bottle like shu's but if it works great I think I can deal with the packaging =)

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  24. You said it very well in your last line! I agree~ without proper skincare routine, it's hard for any foundation to look good on the skin! (Since skin is like the "base" for foundation). I watch tanya's videos from time to time on youtube too! (she's such a pro ~!!) LOL i'm always tempted to go buy that foundation too. I think it looks quite nice on your skin! Glad to hear it is decent in terms of oil control! That's always one of my main concerns for myself.

    Joyce @ carouselstreet.com

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  25. That glow is beautiful! But for such a good and expensive brand, I would have expected their packaging to be better.

    ~ Yun

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  26. I've read only good stuffs about this foundation! I'd love to try it now because Nars finally arrived in Chile :)
    hugs!

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  27. I really want to try this foundation :) Great review, it looks lovely x

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  28. Your skin, I'm in awe! It looks so flawless and smooth, totally wish mine was as nice! I've always thought about NARS Sheer Glow, but it'd be stupid for me to grab it when I have such issues on my face that need a full coverage. NARS does have a foundation pump you can buy online, just put the foundation in your shopping cart and I believe it shows up :) xx

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  29. Thank you for the review! Your skin looks AH-MAZING! I love your eye makeup as well :)

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  30. Been wanting to try this foundation , just don't know what shade will suites my skin tone,I'm using Bourjois healthy mix as well, but the shade I got is one shade darker than my skintone.

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  31. Thanks for the review, this foundation sounds wonderful! Unbelievable how the foundation was already opened and perhaps used when you bought it though :( The texture looks very thin and easy to apply too!

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  32. I really want to invest in this foundation, however, I'm finding the foundation colour match to be the most difficult process! I've been into Mecca Cosmetics and was matched to three different shades (on three different days with different MUAs). First it was Punjab (but most certain that it's much too dark and yellow for me), then Mont Blanc (seems to be okay but maybe a tad too pink), and Gobi (quite light for my skin complexion). But I went to try Fuji recently and it seems to be better - not entirely sure since I'm bad at personal judgements.. Just wondering though what Fuji is like? Do you think it's a fair balance between Punjab and Mont Blanc?

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    1. Mont Blanc I believe is the shade down from Fiji? Fiji might be better for you as it's more yellow-toned. Punjab is darker than Fiji and Gobi is lighter - I heard Gobi is more suitable for Asian skin tones. I think Fiji is about 25 NC for MAC? That's just a guess. It's close to Revlon PhotoReady in Nude (004) and it's a bit darker than Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in #52 Vanille. Maybe you can try it next time you're at Mecca? :)

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