That Time Again – 2017 Favorites

I sat down to write about my 2017 Favorites and ended up laughing at myself. I went back and checked the previous year’s favorites to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently writing the same post and … wow, I definitely almost did! I still love and use everything from that list a year later. I even still use the now-discontinued Gimme Brow; I’m on my last tube, sadly. Maybe next year will feature a new brow product. Maybe I’m set in my ways.

Rather than repeating myself, check out what I had to say on these items last time:

2017 Favorites

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day SerumDrunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80

Buying an $80 consumable skincare item even at 20% off was a huge risk for me. I enjoy prestige makeup, but I was worried that I was:

  • losing my mind
  • buying into hype
  • going to hate it or be unimpressed and have wasted money
  • going to love it WAY too much but not find it a sustainable purchase
  • losing my mind

Although I was obviously hoping I’d like it, I was shocked by how much good it has done for my skin. It is my single largest beauty expense, but I am gladly forking over the money twice a year.

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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.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift because who doesn’t want to be warned about shockingly bad foundation? Opinions are the same, but is formatted and edited for easier reading and flow.

I wore Nars Sheer Matte on my wedding day, and while it photographed beautifully, it was heavy. I felt it all evening. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation came out earlier this year (2015) and, as it often happens, the blogger and vlogger world was abuzz. I saw a lot of positive feedback about the product (go figure).

I didn’t put any stock in it because it seems when a notable brand comes out with something new, everyone is hyped over it. Oh, and unlike its sisters Sheer Glow and Sheer Matte it has a damn pump – so that’s nice. I hadn’t seen amazing results on other people, though, so I ignored it.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless FoundationNARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Skeptical Match

Fast forward to June, I had a wedding to attend to and a faux tan thanks to self-tanning…and no foundation that matched. I ventured to Sephora, did the silly ColorIQ thing and spent a lot of time with the ladies there trying to sort out my shade. I told them I prefer MUFE HD and UD, but could do NARS Sheer Matte. Instead, they matched me to NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation because I didn’t have a shade in the others. She assured me that it was fine for oily skin, can be applied with a brush or sponge without issue, photographs well, etc.


I applied the product with a Sigma F80 flat-top kabuki on top of Benefit Porefessional; fairly standard procedure for special event makeup. I noticed that although it did not have the consistency of the Sheer Matte, NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation was on the heavier side. It also required significant effort to blend…and like the Sheer Matte, I had to bust out a beautyblender to help me do so. I set with translucent powder (Rimmel Stay Matte, what I always use) and Urban Decay All-Nighter – again, standard procedure for me for makeup that needs to last.


The ceremony was outdoors at 5PM (about 15 minutes after I finished painting my face), and brief; the weather was pleasant, not raining or even stiflingly humid. My husband and I headed in for the cocktail hour and he noticed that the foundation was:

  • Breaking up at my jawline
  • Beaking up between my eyes and
  • that it was making a dry patch (that I usually have NO ISSUE with) near my nose awkwardly visible.

I checked it out, and it wasn’t looking good – all the things my husband noticed were definitely the case, and more; it had settled into my smile lines and the lines on my forehead. I tried to blot it, thinking, “Maybe I’m just a bit on the oily side today,” nope – I’m wasn’t, a ton of foundation smeared and lifted when I blotted. I remained blotchy. What the hell?!

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PSA: NARS at Ulta

Just before the holidays, we got to see NARS at Ulta. Initially, they had only four shades of blush, the Multiple, and Laguna bronzer. Since then, they have expanded to a range of sixteen products, several of which have multiple shades. Unfortunately, they’re all online-only at this time; I’m uncertain about plans to move them to stores. I can only assume such a move would depend on the brand’s performance at the mixed-range retailer.

NARS at UltaNARS at Ulta

I picked up a blush before the year ended, but I’m delighted to see they’re carrying my favorite eye pencil and the ever-popular Radiant Creamy Concealer (not the full color range, yet, but I imagine they’ll get there). NARS fans will be happy to see a NARSissist palette, Sheer glow, and the Audacious lipsticks stocked, among other things.

My NARS experience is limited to the aforementioned concealer, eye pencil, the foundation I wore for my wedding, and now a blush. They don’t carry the foundation in question because it has been discontinued, but the other products, so far, are absolutely worth the hype – which isn’t something I often get to say.

Are you excited to see NARS at Ulta? The online-only range is only expanding! Or did you prefer the slightly more exclusive nature it had before? Accessibility is good as far as I’m concerned.