NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

This is a legacy post that has been given a slight facelift (don’t worry, content and opinions are the same). NARS Sheer Matte is a discontinued product I don’t miss. Continue reading to see why!

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Punjab
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Punjab

After a battery of swatches, samples, and wear tests I wound up using NARS Sheer Matte foundation for my bridal makeup. Prior to self-tanning (which I wasn’t going to do originally so I didn’t have to buy something new), I was already too dark for my, ‘pasty,’ foundation…so I decided to self-tan. I went to get color-matched once I established my desired color.

Getting Matched

It took a few trips to get it right. Unfortunately, the ColorIQ device was used improperly (I was flushed from the heat); I was initially EXTREMELY pink foundation. The foundation looked fine under the fluorescent lighting, but I stepped outside and was pink. (I have neutral-to-yellow undertones.) Pink wasn’t a good look for me. On the third trip, we finally nailed a color match – NARS Sheer Matte in Punjab. And it wasn’t just, “close enough,” Punjab was my skin color at the time. I was delighted – before, it had never taken three tries to pick a color; usually I do a ton of homework so I usually have a good idea what is going to work. This time, since my skin was not my usual color, I took a chance and threw myself on the mercy of the sales associates.

Excited for my first NARS product (eye pencil sharpener does not count) went home, tried it in the sunlight – still perfect! In weird lighting, in front of my Jerdon lighted mirror, and on camera – yes! Awesome. No SPF which meant no flash-back or washed out pictures.

I worked with it a few times before my wedding day so I wouldn’t be surprised about how it behaved not only during application but also during wear. Once it was on, it looked great – but in short? I would never, ever repurchase NARS Sheer Matte.


Sheer Matte does not come with a pump on its own – it is a standard screw-top bottle that you pour out. Nars has a pump that you can purchase separately for $6. Drugstore options have been coming out with pumps for years now; I just feel like if I’m paying $43 for a bottle of foundation…it should have a pump already. I should not have to accessorize a prestige product that comes with a prestige price-tag.

More than a Feeling

Although Sheer Matte was a flawless match and wore beautifully, I was not thrilled with it. I’m not a fan of thick foundations in the first place and this one is crazy thick. Thicker than, for example, honey–by a lot. If you tilted the bottle upside-down, capless, it would take a while before it poured out without additional coaxing. My skin is was decent, I wear medium coverage at most but this product is medium-to-full, depending on how you build it.

I was willing to deal with it for my wedding day (again, it did look nice) but it was definitely very, very opaque; don’t let its name–NARS Sheer Matte–fool you. I could absolutely feel this foundation perched on the surface of my skin (a feeling I loathe) in contrast to, say, Urban Decay Naked foundation or MUFE HD Invisible Cover.


Aside from feel, the other big downfall to being thick and full coverage meant it took some elbow-grease to blend onto my skin. I started by dotting it on my face, then stippling it and buffing it in with my Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki (which I sang the praises of here; 2017: I still use this brush but am open to replacements after I had a ferrule go bad on one). I am thorough about buffing on a normal day – so a day where hundreds of photos will be taken? Exhaustive. With my normal foundation, I never need to break out additional tools to help me blend… but I not only needed to grab a second flat-top brush but I also needed to grab a damp BeautyBlender to help me get the job done (and no, I definitely did not apply too much product).

It made me crazy. Even after three or four applications prior, I was still stymied by the application of this stuff. Perhaps a trowel would have been more appropriate? Once blended, it looked fantastic. The finish wasn’t too so matte that I looked dehydrated, but it did seem that if you do not thoroughly exfoliate and moisturize prior to application, you’re gonna have a bad time. I applied it over a combination of Benefit PoreFessional (nose area), and Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and set with Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.

The Bottom Line

I went and read reviews of NARS Sheet Matte after the fact (living on the edge again) – my thoughts are not isolated. Sephora has the product at 4 stars; not sure how because there are 2- and 3-star reviews for days if you read. Reviews praised the color range but scorned the lack of pump as well as the thickness and difficulty blending. Reviews indicate that it lacks shine control and that it cannot hold up to heat or sweat. Others confirmed that is unforgiving when it comes to flakes; perhaps I should change my suggestion of thorough exfoliation to aggressive exfoliation. We cannot know what prep these customers used, but the frequency of these complaints about NARS Sheer Matte substantiates my own.

Those who are willing to fight and spend 10+ minutes just on blending will be rewarded with a lovely base. I cannot justify that amount of time on one step, though. Ultimately, I would only recommend NARS Sheer Matte foundation if you match it exactly and need special event makeup. I do not feel that this is appropriate for regular/daily-use.

1 thought on “NARS Sheer Matte Foundation”

  1. I don’t even know the way I ended up here, however I thought this post was once good.

    I do not know who you’re but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger if you are
    not already. Cheers!

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