The latest from NARS is the All Day Luminous Powder Foundation ($48 for 0.42 oz/12 g). It's a super lightweight powder foundation that comes in 15 different shades. I was sent the shade Punjab (Medium 1) for review which is a good match for my medium with olive/golden tones. NARS also sent a press sample of the new Powder Foundation Sponge puff ($6.00) which can be used to roll or pat the product onto the face. For reference, I use the Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Punjab (swatches here) and the Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland (swatched here). The Powder Foundation in Punjab seems to be slightly lighter than the Cream Compact version but it warms up on the skin to adjust nicely without oxidizing or darkening as the day goes on. The description from NARS:
NARS Cosmetics introduces All Day Luminous Powder Foundation. Silky and ultrafine to the touch, this medium buildable foundation offers versatile coverage and shine control with broad spectrum SPF 24 that lasts up to 12-hours. NARS exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™ optimizes light reflection to enhance skin’s translucency while Luminosity Enhancing Technology – a blend of 17 amino acids, Vitamin C derivative and Marine Fennel – promotes cell renewal and helps reduce the look of hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles.
The NARS powder foundation comes in a square mirrored compact. It has a compartment at the bottom for a square sponge. The sponge itself is interesting because it has two different textures, one is more fluffy and velvety like a puff, the other side is a spongey texture. I prefer the spongey side because it picks up more product and applies smoothly on the face. I tested the separate round puff as well and found it gave more coverage with a buffed-looking finish to the face.
I am extremely picky when it comes to powder foundation. Many end up looking heavy or cakey, emphasize pores or dry patches or even end up breaking me out. I have tested quite a few and my current top two picks include Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100 and Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere Powder Foundation in 20 or 30 Beige depending on how dark/tan I am. Although powder foundations are often designed to be worn alone instead of a liquid/cream foundation, I almost always use my powder foundations over liquids or tinted moisturizer as a setting powder. Both the Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel have this beautiful soft velvety finish that blends very nicely on the skin. They both cover imperfections, stay put, look natural and don't darken. The NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation by comparison is quite a bit lighter in texture while still offering medium buildable coverage. I like that you can control the coverage easily.
A quick look at the packaging:
On the nails, Louboutin Miss Loubi
I tested the NARS several ways, alone and then also on top of different foundations. I also tested it with the sponge and also with a brush.
When used alone I found it performed really well with just moisturizer and primer. Right now, my current skin prep routine includes a layer of SK-II Cellumination Cream Illuminating Moisturizer or By Terry Cellularose Nutri Baume as moisturizer followed by a primer like the NARS Light Optimizing Primer. As a standalone foundation, I found it covered the skin nicely and evened out the complexion. There was no caking or seeping into pores. It is incredibly lightweight so you don't feel like you have anything on your face. I found it amazing at how it gave my skin a luminous glow even though there is no hint of shimmer in the powder itself. I found it did last all day from around 7:30 am through 7:00 pm without any touchups required. I found it applied best with the square sponge that comes in the compact or with the round puff you can purchase separately.
Over foundation it looked equally nice. I tested it over the NARS Radiant Cream Compact, Tinted Moisturizer and also over Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide. It applied smoothly with a fluffy brush over other foundations. With the sponge I found it was a bit too heavy-looking with the powder foundation + foundation combination. I do think your skin needs to be well-prepped and moisturized for smooth application, although I find this to be the case with any powder foundation in general.
Close up of the powder surface, it has a very soft silky texture:
After testing this for a few weeks I give this a huge thumbs up. There's no detectable scent and it's huge for me that I didn't get any breakouts or irritation or clogged pores from using this (many powder foundations don't work for my sensitive skin). Right now Punjab is the perfect match, it looks a bit peachy in the compact but it applies good on my olive skin. I like that it has enough yellow undertone so it doesn't turn pinkish on me. If you have olive or golden skin tones you know the pain of finding awesome formulas that don't match the skin color because they are too pink or warm. Bottom line it does last all day and it has a lovely soft luminous silky looking finish.
The NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation is currently available at NARS Boutiques, narscosmetics.com, Nordstrom and Sephora. The Powder Foundation retails for $48 and the round Powder Foundation Sponge retails separately for $6.
The powder foundation and puff was provided courtesy of NARS for review consideration.