NARS Sheer Glow foundation in Barcelona review

Before I can say anything positive about NARS Sheer Glow foundation, I have to get this out of the way: What nerve must a company have to charge $44 for a foundation that does not come with a pump? And then selling the "optional" pump for $6? That makes me quite angry:

But now, I'm going to take a deep, healing breath and tell you that this foundation is pretty great. I wear the shade Barcelona, which was one of my matches using the Sephora + Pantone Color IQ system. Barcelona is described by NARS as medium with a golden, peachy undertone. When I first tried it, I thought it was too yellow, but it settles down significantly once blended into my skin.

Upon first application, I was blown away. I had to use the tiniest dot for my entire face, and I looked radiant. Even where it didn't cover my hyperpigmentation completely — this being a buildable, medium coverage formula — it had a blurring effect that caught the light perfectly, making my blemishes less obvious. It was my skin but better.

First time using the formula
The wear time is average. I have to blot or powder in the middle of the work day because it starts looking greasy. Primer helps. There are 20 shades to choose from, with pink, yellow or a mix of undertones, so my very pale friends and darker-skinned girls aren't left out as is often the absurd norm. (Note that the Sephora website lists only 17 of the shades, which is why I linked to the NARS site.)

I've tried applying this with all my Real Techniques brushes and the Beautyblender. I may have mentioned before that I tried the Beautyblender and it didn't blow me away, but I think that is my favorite method for applying Sheer Glow. The foundation is so fluid that using a brush requires extra effort so you avoid visible brushstrokes. Below, I've applied it with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush, with no primer. The left picture is my bare face, and the right is after applying foundation but before doing anything else.

Left: No makeup. Right: With NARS Sheer Glow foundation in Barcelona

It looks more cakey on places where my skin is dry. That's counterintuitive, because I know anyone with oily or combination skin is wary of products that advertise themselves as making you "glow." However, I think you do need to be well-moisturized for this foundation to do an optimal job for you.

Would I repurchase? Perhaps. The lack of pump and prohibitive price give me pause, but it's a good everyday foundation and I have mixed it with my beloved baby Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, with nice results. I'd restock if I had a discount code. 

If you're curious about what other products I'm using in the top photo, I've got on MAC Diva matte lipstick, did a hasty powder with my Guerlain Meteorites, my go-to winged liner and my Bobbi Brown corrector under the eyes. A review on that is coming soon, I think — I really really love it!

Would you or have you tried NARS Sheer Glow? Let me know what foundation you're loving for winter in the comments!


  1. Wait... to get a pump for this you have to pay $6?! What the hell kind of shit is THAT?!

  2. Some ignorant-bitch-shit and swindled-and-pimped shit is what it is!

  3. That foundation looks flawless on you!!

  4. For some reason this foundation works amazing on my skin. I guess it's ideal for my skin type. it wears long and looks great. The lack of pump is ridiculous indeed x

  5. She's right. It looks great on you. You mention that it's one of your Color IQ matches. Can I ask what your number is?

  6. Thank you! My number is 2y08.

  7. Hey i was wondering since we are the same shade in barcelona are their any other dewy foundations you recommend and what is your shade?