Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Santa Fe and Barcelona - swatches and first impressions


I wrote some comments on this foundation in my last sachet city post and promised I'd be back with swatches and first impressions, so here I am.

I must say, I was surprised to discover that I quite like it - purely because I haven't had much luck with Nars bases before (the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser being the exception), plus this is full coverage and I'm not about that life so I thought I'd hate it. I don't. It's good.

Indeed, probably the only thing I don't like about this is that my shade (Santa Fe) comes with a peach undertone. I don't know what it is about Nars bases, but for some reason my closest shade match (in terms of depth) always has a bloody peach undertone. I'm yellow. Peach looks plain wrong.

I can live with that for my aforementioned Nars tinted moisturiser in Groenland because that's slightly on the pale side so I can swing it towards yellow when I add in my darker mixer, but this shade is bang-on so I can't use that mixer and I don't have anything else on hand to fix the peach problem. 

Still, it's a good product.

Heavy and blended swatches of Santa Fe (Medium 2) and Barcelona (Medium 4), direct sunlight:

Indirect sunlight:

Natural light (outdoors):

Natural light (indoors):


This is a great foundation, and this is coming from someone who was expecting to hate it so that's saying something.

It's described as a revolutionary foundation that defies expectation by combining sixteen hours of full-coverage wear with a weightless feel and radiant finish. It's apparently designed to enhance the natural look of skin without masking it, and it should blend well while making skin look naturally flawless, luminous and polished.

I must say that I generally agree with those claims (minus that whole 'revolutionary' rubbish: that term is overused these days) and I like it so much that it might even be on my list of potentials, if only I could find a  yellow-based shade that matched me better than Santa Fe does. Perhaps one exists but I only received these two shades as samples so for now I don't know.

It's a liquid foundation that's thinner in consistency than I'd expected and doesn't have a strong scent - something I was looking out for after trying the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint and having to wash it off almost immediately because the stench was unbearable.

What I like about it is that it sheers out really beautifully so I've been able to get a sheer, light and medium coverage with this - something to keep in mind if you avoid full-coverage foundations like I do. Some of them don't sheer out well unless you add oil to them, but this one goes on very lightly if that's what you want. 

It has a satin finish that doesn't look unlike skin, and while it's not the most natural foundation I've used, it's certainly not a paint-like one.

I also love that it has a very smoothing, soft focus effect and it doesn't sit in pores or fine lines - so it does provide a coverage that makes your skin look more even and reduces the look of textural imperfections. 

Both the Nars Sheer Glow and Velvet Matte Skin Tint sit in my pores and look horrendous on me (very mask-like), so I'm pleased to say this one doesn't. I can definitely tell I'm wearing foundation but it doesn't look like a complete mask so that's a plus.

Also worth noting is that it does wear very well and while I don't get a full sixteen-hour wear from this (it's faded by then), this is partly because I have young kids who have their hands on my face a lot so nothing lasts well on me these days anyway.

The final thing to mention is that I've used Santa Fe a few times in the Nars Sheer Glow formula (I kept winding up with sachets of it via Mecca orders) and that's a good deal too pale for me, whereas this shade is bang-on. So if you're a Santa Fe in one formula, I wouldn't assume you're a Santa Fe in the other - and perhaps that applies to the other shades, too.

Overall, I think this is a really lovely foundation and I recommend it. I probably won't buy it because of the Santa Fe peach problem, but if I come across a yellow-based colour that matches me well then this is definitely on the list.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

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