Reviewed: Nars' Sheer Glow Foundation is a Lightweight Must-Have

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NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Nars Sheer Glow Product Shot

Donecia Pea/Design by Cristina Cianci

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Buildable coverage

  • Transfer resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Does not include pump

  • Expensive

Nars' Sheer Glow Foundation is just the right tool to have in your makeup kit. Just one coat gives you all the coverage you need, and it hits nearly all of the marks I look for in a good foundation. Just be sure you can spare a few more bucks for a pump.


NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Nars Sheer Glow Product Shot

Donecia Pea/Design by Cristina Cianci

We put Nars' Sheer Glow Foundation in the shade Deep 4 Namibia to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

Forget mascara, blush, even lipstick. Foundation has always been the MVP of my makeup arsenal, the one part of my routine I can’t leave home without. Truthfully, my fixation with foundation is more necessity-based than anything else—I wear it for the sole purpose of covering up the imperfections that I don’t want anyone to see. You know, like those annoying acne scars and hyper-pigmented areas.   

Fortunately, finding a foundation that matches my dark brown skin tone is much easier now than it was even 10 years ago, when, at best, most brands only had two or three brown shades to choose from. So I was excited to try out Nars Sheer Glow Foundation to see if it would be a match made in foundation heaven. Read on for my full review.

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

Best for: Giving your face the appearance of an even skin tone with a lightweight, natural-looking glow.

Byrdie Clean?: No; contains PEG-10 dimethicone. 

Price: $47

About the brand: Nars Cosmetics was founded by French makeup artist and photographer François Nars in 1994. The brand is known for its daring makeup, with vibrant finishes and a colorful array of pigments that serve makeup lovers of every shade.

About My Skin: Warm brown and combination

My skin color is warm brown with gold undertones. I have combination skin with a few blemishes and scarring from my occasional hormonal acne breakouts. Plus I live in the South, where heat and humidity are the norm. So I love a foundation that doesn’t feel heavy or leave my skin looking oily and shiny by the middle of the day. The more lightweight the foundation, the better.  

I especially like a foundation that gives great coverage and naturally evens out my discolored areas caused by hyperpigmentation. My all-time favorite go-to is Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 430. In addition, the Il Makiage Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation in 220 is a new fave. For the purpose of this review, I replaced those foundations with the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Deep 4 Namibia.

How To Apply: A little goes a long way

The first thing I noticed is that this product comes in a glass bottle with no pump or nozzle to squeeze out your desired amount. So I shook the bottle over the back of my hand until at least a dime-sized amount came out, hoping not to over pour. 

The directions say to use your fingertips to apply the product directly to your face. I totally understand that there are people who prefer to use their fingers to apply liquid foundation, but I am not one of them. So while I initially applied the foundation with my fingertips, after a while I shifted to my blending brush, which gave a much smoother, even application.

I started with my forehead and then repeated the steps when applying to my cheeks and nose, followed by my chin, jawline, and upper neck area. Overall, it only took about two dollops of the foundation to get the amount of coverage I needed, which was pretty impressive.

The Results: Light, but not quite right

Nars Sheer Glow Before & After

Donecia Pea/Design by Cristina Cianci

The good news: I love the feel of this foundation. It nearly checked off all of my boxes: Lightweight? Check! Full coverage? Check! Matte finish? Check! A slight glow, minus the oily shine? Bonus points.

I especially loved that the coverage still appeared as fresh and dewy by midday as it did when I first applied the foundation. Even better, it didn’t seem to rub off on my hands, clothing, or anything else. 

I was provided with two shade options for this review: Namibia Deep 4 and Iguacu Deep 3. The Namibia shade appeared lighter on me than the Iguacu shade, but both shades were too dark for my skin tone. I would have loved to have tried just one shade lighter (the shade New Caledonia, which is described as being best for deep skin with yellow undertones). Nars does offer an AR-powered matchmaking tool on its website, however, and if your selection isn't a match, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days.

I do have one qualm. Considering the price tag on this 1 oz. bottle, I feel like they really should include the pump with the product instead of selling it separately. Otherwise, this could easily become my new fave. 

The coverage still appeared as fresh and dewy by midday as it did when I first applied the foundation.

The Value: Comparable to the competition

Nars' Sheer Glow Foundation is $47 for a 1 oz. bottle, which puts it on the slightly higher end of the spectrum compared to other popular brands like Fenty Beauty and MAC. Unlike those brands, Nars sells the pump for this foundation separately for an additional $6.  

Out of all of my makeup products, I tend to spend the most on my foundation, which can fall anywhere within the range of $35 and $50 depending on the brand. So, overall, Nars Sheer Glow definitely hits my target price range, minus the pump. And given the prestige that comes with the brand name alone, I’m not surprised by the price point.

Similar Products: You have options

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation: Il Makiage's Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation ($44) comes in 50 shades for a variety of skin tones, is lightweight in texture, and offers medium-to-full coverage with a natural-looking matte finish. In addition, it’s loaded with anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin E and hyaluronic acid.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation: Make Up Forever's Ultra HD Foundation ($43) is a longtime favorite that also comes in 50 shades. The product is popular for its coverage, which is so smooth and flawless that it looks invisible.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation: No need to spend $40 or more for a good foundation when you can find a high-quality alternative for under $10. Maybelline’s ever-popular Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation ($5) comes in 40 shades and is comparable to the higher-end brands, leaving your skin with a flawless matte finish.

Final Verdict

This foundation provides just the right amount of coverage without feeling heavy, and it gives my skin an amazing dewy glow without leaving it oily and shiny. I didn’t particularly love that the shade was too dark for my skin tone, nor the fact that even with such a hefty price tag, you still have to pay extra to get the pump. However, aside from all of that, I would say Nars' Sheer Glow Foundation is almost as close as it comes to foundation perfection.


  • Product Name Sheer Glow Foundation
  • Product Brand NARS
  • Price $47.00
  • Color Deep 4 Namibia
  • Full Ingredient List Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene, Glycol, Glycerine, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinal Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethylhexanoin, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Dis-Butydimethicone Polyglyceryl-3, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sodium Glutamate, Sorbitan, Sesquiisostearate, 1-Methylhdantoin-2-Imide, Phenoxyenthanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Polusilocone-2, Serralysin, Curcuma Longa, Glycuosyl Hesperidin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Tocpherol, [+/- (May Contain): CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)].

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