Friday, August 12, 2011

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Ceylan (Light6)

          I'm the proud new owner of a bottle of NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Ceylan (Light 6). Finding a foundation that I can trust on my sensitive skin is an arduous process. I must have tested my Sheer glow samples for almost a month before committing to a color. In this review, I'll describe my thoughts on the formula, packaging, and color of my NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Ceylan.

          I chose NARS Sheer Glow because it has a large following. When it comes to foundation, popularity is a reasonable measure of quality. A big concern of mine is skin sensitivity. Fortunately, I didn't find many negative reviews from people with sensitive skin. So far, I think this foundation agrees relatively well with my skin. It doesn't give me cystic acne or bumps all over my face, which are reactions that have happened to me before. When I tested the samples, my skin was relatively comfortable. I can't say with absolute certainty that there is no reaction because my face is currently unhappy. I think it's likely due to my new primer, setting powder and/or hormones, however I can't completely rule out the foundation.

         NARS Sheer Glow doesn't have sunscreen. This is a big plus for sunscreen sensitive people like me. Nowadays it's difficult to find good foundation without sunscreen. Sheer glow also photographs incredibly well.

          NARS has two foundation formulas: Sheer Glow and Sheer matte. The names are self-explanatory. Sheer glow gives a natural glowy finish, while sheer matte gives a matte finish. Sheer Glow is the more popular of the two. I've tried both and I prefer the finish of sheer glow. If the word "glow" has you running for the hills, you're not alone. I was hesitant as well because "glow" is often a euphemism for shiny or oily. I'm pleased to report that the "glow" in Sheer Glow is an actual natural glow. It's reminiscent of the nice glow I get from Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. Online reviewers often suggest that people with oilier skin should avoid Sheer Glow. However, I disagree. I think Sheer Glow has a good capacity for oil control. Normally, my T-zone can get quite shiny, especially in the summer. Chanel VA is great for me in the winter, however it gets slick really quickly in the summer. It takes a lot longer for oil to show on my Sheer Glow foundation. With powder, the foundation can last several hours before requiring blotting. Furthermore, Sheer Glow can look a little dry on my clean skin when first applied. I would guess that people with dry skin should avoid Sheer Glow more than those with moderately oily skin. I've read / heard a few reviews that corroborate this idea.

         The color range of NARS foundations is thought to be quite comprehensive. The colors lean slightly more yellow than other ranges. I find that the color of my NARS Sheer Glow does not oxidize greatly over time. (Foundations oxidation drives me nuts).

         NARS Sheer glow foundation comes in a glass packaging a rubberized plastic cap. The rubberized cap can come off to reveal a small screw-on cap. When I received my packaging the screw-on cap wasn't tightly capped, so there was some foundation on the inner lip of the bottle. I thought this was a one-time problem, but it may be an issue every time. Even though I screw the inner cap on tightly, there is inevitably foundation left on the inner sides of the cap. This may be because I shake the bottle before use. Foundation on the cap runs slightly down the inner sides of the cap and transfers to the bottle lip when I close it. This is a minor issue with little mess. Has anyone had this experience as well?

          There NARS bottle design receives a lot of criticism because it lacks a pump. Because of this, and the cap issues above, it can get a little messy to use. I talked to a SA about this, and she says she uses hers without a pump because the bottle needs to be shaken beforehand. After shaking you can cover the opening with your index finger and invert/shake the bottle. That way, you'll have a "finger-full" of foundation, which is enough to cover a significant area of skin. I usually need two "finger-fulls" of foundation to cover my face. I imagine you could do a similar thing with a sponge. Pouring this foundation seems like a bad idea. Less is more. There is a pump sold on the NARS website. I'm considering purchasing it, although I could live without it.

          Finally, I'll compare swatches of the two colors I tested. NARS Sheer Glow foundation in Ceylan (Light 6) and Fiji (Light 5). They're consecutive colors in the NARS color range. Fiji is for light skin with yellow undertones, while Ceylan is for light to medium skin with yellow undertones. I initially tested Fiji but found it was too dark yellow/orange on my skin. After reading reviews online, I decided to go with Ceylan. By number order,  Ceylan is supposedly darker than Fiji. However, you can see from my swatches below that this not the case!

          I'm happy with Ceylan as a fit for my skin. In some lights it looks the teeniest bit too yellow. You can see my skin has a slight pinkish cast in my swatch below. However, this is splitting hairs. I prefer to look slightly more yellow than slightly more pink or orange. It looks healthier. If all goes well, I plan on sampling Deauville (Light 3) or Gobi (Light 2) when it becomes winter.

         Overall, I'm happy I found a photogenic, SPF-free, skin-friendly foundation. Let me know if you've tried this one and have any thoughts. I'd love to hear them! Thanks for reading =)

Love, Dovey.


  1. I've always been curious to try this foundation. I think I will purchase it because the range of shades seem to be nice. I like that they lean toward yellow :) It does look healthier than being too orange or pink. Also, I love that it doesn't have SPF, although while it doesn't bother my skin, I always feel they should focus more on the quality of makeup than the SPF in it. Great review! :)

  2. I love this foundation! I used to wear Ceylan, but after all the sun exposure in Oman, I'm now Punjab Medium 1.

    When I fade, I'll have to check out Fiji, because Ceylon will still be too light for me. Thanks for the swatches!

  3. Because of the issues NARS has with their packaging that really bug me at their price point, I've been avoiding them. I think I will have to go try this foundation though, because I also have sensitive skin and am always hunting for some good coverage that won't make me bumpy. I'm not so worried about the oil control despite being oily (blotting papers can fix that!), and I completely agree that a natural sheen or glow can look good even on shinier-skinned girls. Thanks for the in-depth review!

  4. I really want to try this! I've only heard good things about it.

  5. awe, it looks so yellow on the swatches.

    Can I invite you to join my GIVEAWAY-Korean BB creams , thank you ^^

  6. Your pictures are of such great quality! I love the look of this foundation. I always like to have some yellow tones & this one looks like it might actually work for me! Will try it the next time I'm at the NARS counter :)

  7. So informative! Great post on a favorite foundation of mine. I have samples of both Sheer Glow and Sheer Matte. I use to stay away from Sheer Matte because of my oily skin but I actually like it just a tad better than the Sheer Glow! Yeah I don't mind that it doesn't have sunscreen because I would wear it on top of a primer with SPF.

    I use to hate the fact that it doesn't come with a pump. But after your explanation, it makes sense.

  8. RD&L - it sounds like we like the same sort of things. Even before I new about my SPF reaction, I couldn't understand why it was necessary in everything!

    Jamilla- I know you do! I think Punjab is such a nice balanced shade (not too yellow). I think it would match me really well if I was at the peak of my tan (or lived in Oman like you).

    Sarah - I agree that the packaging is such a downer. However, I hate skin reactions more than I hate bad packaging! =)

    Kelly - yes yes yes!

    Lina - thanks for stopping by =)

    Makeup Magpie - I'm glad you liked my review! I think it is worth trying; it has such a nice look in photos.

    Lexi- I'd love to check out sheer matte too, seeing how much I like the results from this. I'll have to pick your brain for more specifics!

  9. Hello. In the pictures it seems Ceylan is lighter but they say in the website that Fiji is lighter than Ceylan. Since you tried both on your face what do you think? Thanks

    1. Hi Susana, Thanks for the comment. I agree with you, Fiji does look 'darker' to me than Ceylan. However I also think it is a matter of undertone. If you wear a foundation with the wrong undertone, it can look 'darker' or 'lighter'. Fiji has a good deal more warm yellow undertone than Ceylan, so it looked really out of place on my neutral to cool skin.

  10. I have about the same skin color as you! I love to mix those 2 colors and then to match my uneven tan i use a bronzer that is similar to the taness on my arms. works perfectly.

    1. Hi Anonymous! Awesome! I'm getting more into mixing my foundations lately; it's nice to have a couple shades :)

  11. I wish I could see a photo of you wearing it...

  12. Get the pump - its really worth it and its only £3!! and you can transfer it to your next bottle. My Nars sheer glow lasted a year ( I apply with a brush not a sponge or fingers - much better coverage and uses less product) and with the pump no air is getting to the product so it stays fresh!


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