REVIEW | NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

I’ll be honest, I actually tried NARS Sheer Glow for the first time a couple of years ago and absolutely hated it. Back then, I was recovering from a terrible breakout which left me with horrible scarring and was recommended this foundation by a woman at Sephora. I never heard about it before, but tried it out anyway. Long story short, the foundation did not play well with my skin at all and I decided to return it. Fast forward to the present day, I still hear constant ravings about this product. I tried to resist because of the first impression that left a bad taste in my mouth, however many things have changed since I first tried it (i.e. my skin’s appearance and skin type), so I caved and gave it a second chance. Did Sheer Glow fool me twice, or did it become a winner? Keep reading to find out!nars sheer glow stromboli


This foundation retails for $57 CAD and is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Murale if you’re in Canada. I got mine from Murale (a Shoppers Drug Mart affiliated beauty store) during their points redemption event, so I essentially got mine for free. I picked up the shade Stromboli, which is described as a “medium with olive undertones”. The description for this foundation given on the Sephora website says the following:

A glowing, satin-finish foundation with sheer and buildable coverage…This Sheer Glow Foundation enhances, without masking, your overall natural complexion. The weightless formula hydrates the skin while complexion brightening properties improve skin brightness, radiance, and texture, leaving skin with a luminous, sensual glow…Suitable for normal, normal-to-dry, dry, and very dry skin types.

NARS sheer glow stromboli

Stromboli matches my skin perfectly when I’m the most pale, which is during the winter. I am matched as NC40 from MAC, however I’ve also heard that Stromboli matches individuals who are a little lighter as well (NC35-NC37). The packaging is nice and sleek, however a major problem with this foundation is that it doesn’t have a pump. You can buy one separately from the NARS website, however spending more money on something that’s already expensive to begin with and should’ve been included doesn’t sit well with me. Luckily I’m pretty good with pouring foundations out of the bottle without making a giant mess, but if pumps are very important to you, Sheer Glow may lose some major brownie points.


Application & Wear

A lot of people are under the impression that Sheer Glow is a dewy foundation since it is recommended to those with dryer skin types, however I found that it is actually borderline matte. It is described as having a satin finish, which I would say is accurate, however it is much more matte than I expected it to be. It does feel very hydrating and since my skin is much more dry during the winter, it’s something that I really appreciate. Sheer Glow is definitely not sheer in the slightest. It’s more of medium coverage, however it can certainly be built up to a fuller coverage without it looking cakey. It blends really well into the skin, doesn’t cling to dry patches and it doesn’t accentuate lines and pores. I’ve applied this foundation using both a Beauty Blender and a buffing brush (specifically, the Sigma F80 brush), and found that using a brush gives the foundation more coverage whereas using a sponge still gives decent coverage, but is slightly more sheered out. I wore a primer on one side of my face to see how the foundation applied on bare skin, and I would say that a primer is not necessary to achieve an even and flawless application.

bare skin

Before application. Left side: with primer. Right side: bare skin


nars sheer glow stromboli on NC40 skin

After application. Left side: with primer. Right side: no primer

As for wear, it holds up quite nicely throughout an 8-hour work day. My skin starts to get oily in the T-zone despite my best efforts, and for a foundation geared towards drier skin types, I found that it didn’t really exacerbate my oiliness.  By the end of the day, I noticed that the side of my face which I applied primer to did look a little better, and by that I mean that the foundation didn’t sink too much into my pores and fine lines, but it didn’t make an immense difference.

NARS sheer glow foundation stromboli NC40

Finished look. NARS Sheer Glow in Stromboli on NC40 skin

Final Thoughts

I’m so happy I decided to give Sheer Glow a second chance, because I absolutely love it. The shade, the coverage, the formula, the finish, everything about it is just amazing in my eyes. I’m not sure if I’ll love it as much in the summer based on my previous experience with it. When I had oilier skin, I noticed that this foundation did separate on my face making me look like a blotchy mess. At first I thought it was because I was using a silicone-based primer, however I’ve been using the foundation with a silicone-based primer recently and have not had any issues with it. So if your skin leans more oily (anything oilier than combination skin) I would not recommend this foundation. Instead, try the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation, which I previously reviewed! To sum it up:


  • Natural looking foundation with great coverage and longevity
  • Great shade selection
  • Perfect for drier skin types
  • Does not accentuate fine lines and/or pores


  • Does not include a pump
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Will separate on oilier skin types

Note: This post contains affiliate links referring to the product.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s