NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Powder Foundation SPF 24 is largely true to its marketing claims, and highly recommended. It offers light coverage that is buildable to medium and doesn't feel heavy or cakey on skin (unless you really layer it on). The satin matte finish leaves skin looking smooth and polished, not dull or over-powdered.
As is the case for most powder foundations, this is best for oily to combination skin types—those on the dry side will likely prefer a more moisturizing liquid or cream formula. Those with acne-prone skin, take note: This is a formula that will likely work well for you, too.
The fragrance-free formula offers a broad-spectrum SPF 24 thanks to its combination of in-part titanium dioxide (8.3%) sunscreen. While you're not likely to apply this liberally enough to rely on it as your only defense against the sun's rays, it's a nice way to "boost" your primary sunscreen, especially later in the day (although we wish the SPF were above 30).
Packaged in a sleek, heavy black compact, there is a lower compartment for the included sponge and a mirror that is useful for touch ups.
Now, to the fun: All Day Luminous Weightless Powder Foundation is a pleasure to use, blending seamlessly over skin with a sponge or brush (the enclosed sponge is handy for quick touchups, wet application or when you're seeking a higher degree of coverage). When applied with a wet sponge, the result is an immediate medium level of coverage, whereas used dry provides lighter coverage that can be layered for a bit more.
You'll find this foundation covers redness and minor discolorations, but those with more pronounced red marks or brown spots will find a concealer is still necessary.
Applied with a brush, which allows for lighter layers, this formula could absolutely work as a setting powder over your foundation or tinted moisturizer. The finish retains a natural appearance without appearing dry or settling into fine lines.
For those with combination skin, the All Day Weightless Powder Foundation will likely last your work day—those with very oily skin will find some degree of touch up is necessary and visible shine peeking through after a few hours.
As is the case for many of NARS foundations, this excels with its shade options. There are 15 available, with choices suitable for the very fair to medium-deep complexions, but none for those of deeper skin tones. The color range handily mirrors that of the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation liquid, but it does differ in both name and shade from their older foundations (and their tinted moisturizer).
Bottom line: If you are unfamiliar with the latest NARS shade options, try this in store before purchasing.
This foundation earned its high rating due to its sheer, but buildable coverage, natural-looking finish, and beautiful shade range. Though this is on the pricier side of foundations, it's a worthy candidate for a splurge beauty product that isn't likely to disappoint.
Note: This product was recently downgraded from 5-stars to 4-stars due to its less-than-optimal SPF rating. Although this does provide sun protection, it's less than SPF 30. The problem? Health experts and medical boards around the globe agree that SPF 30 or greater is best when it comes to providing a reliable defense against the damage the sun can do. Yes, a foundation with less than SPF 30 is acceptable if your daytime moisturizer is rated SPF 30 or greater, but we wouldn't want anyone thinking an SPF under 30 is the best for skin. See More Info below for details.
Sunscreens Rated Lower than an SPF 30: An extensive body of research and a growing number of medical organizations around the world have determined that a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater is mandatory to ensure adequate sun protection.
Although a sunscreen rated lower than 30 will provide protection at the SPF number on the label and may claim broad-spectrum protection, we always point out when it does not have a rating of SPF 30 or greater because that's so important for the health and appearance of your skin.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Oncology, September 2016, ePublication
Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, August 2014, pages 212–219
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, September 2012, pages 18–23
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2008, Supplemental, pages S149–S154
Frenchman Francois Nars has been painting the faces of New York's top models since arriving in the United States in 1984. Their images and his handiwork have been seen on the covers of countless fashion magazines, most notably Vogue and Elle. As the story often goes for the talented makeup artists who have become celebrities in their own right, Nars became frustrated with the state of available makeup and, surprise, another cosmetic line was born.
Beginning (as Bobbi Brown did) by launching a small collection of lipsticks in 1994, the clamor for the colors was incredible, and demand for more NARS products from the artist grew. Shortly thereafter an entire product line followed, gaining attention with vibrant, deeply pigmented colors, sleek, tactile-enhanced packaging and risqué shade names.
As an overview, NARS makeup has many strengths—it reaches its zenith with blushes, tinted moisturizer, foundations, brushes, and lipsticks. If you’re a fan of bold colors, you’ll find them here, and the brand offers consistently impressive foundations and concealers. NARS consistently impresses when it comes to offering a wide range of shades to suit nearly any skin tone.
Where NARS often falls short is in the amount of fragrance added to many of their skincare formulas. In some cases, the amount and specific fragrance ingredients chosen outweigh the potential benefits, so be sure to double check their review before buying. Overall, NARS offers a lot to love, and if you don’t mind splurging a bit (as their prices can be on the spendy side) there are quite a few makeup picks that come with our highest recommendations.
Strengths: Superior foundations and foundation shade options; excellent blushes; splurge-worthy lipsticks; beautiful bronzers and consistently impressive color products.
Weaknesses: Can be expensive; a few skincare formulas contain high amounts of fragrance.
For more information about NARS, owned by Shiseido, call (888) 788-6277 or visit www.narscosmetics.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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