NARS Radiant Cream Foundation Review and Video

Above: The NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation.

Upon hearing the news last month that NARS would be releasing a cream foundation in August, my curiosity was immediate piqued.  Couple my insane love for foundation with an ultimate preference for portable cream versions and my local Sephora couldn’t get this formula in stock soon enough!  I was able to pick it up, right before departing for my road trip to Wyoming and began the testing period immediately.

Scroll on for product description and images, my experience, a VIDEO review and images of the foundation on my face in various lighting situations…

Above: The contents of the compact and foundation, pre-assembly.

In order to get the full and complete experience, one must procure the foundation ($38) and compact ($10) separately.  This arrangement, while a bit unorthodox for NARS base products, allows the compact to have future utility since it can refilled in perpetuity (each foundation unit comes with a fresh sponge).

Above: The compact features a generous mirror and separate ventilated sponge compartment.

I was pleased with the generous, yet stremlined size and shape of the compact…the mirror is substantial and the compact opens easily and closes securely.  The foundation unit snaps easily into place and doesn’t require any adhesive to stay put…in turn, the compact is well-crafted, truly reusable and definitely worth the extra $10.

Above: The sponge that accompanies the foundation refill comes in an hygienically sealed packet.

As aforementioned, each foundation unit includes a sealed sponge that fits perfectly in the separate ventilated compartment in the compact…although I like having a sponge with my foundation (for touchups and application on the go), I found foundation application with the sponge to be uneven and patchy…I much prefer a dampened Beauty Blender to ensure the most seamless application process!

Above: Each foundation refill holds .42 ounces of product, totaling much less than the 1 ounce amount typical for most foundations.

I selected the shade Fiji, which is an excellent match for my NC 25 skin tone…in fact, it is as superbly matched to my face as my beloved Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Foundation in Natural Beige (although I prefer the KS CP’s formula much more overall!).  It doesn’t oxidize and remains colorfast throughout the day.

Above:  A closeup of Fji…a yellow-based beige for light to light-medium skin tones with neutral and yellow undertones.

The texture of the foundation is inordinately creamy and emollient.  It glides on effortlessly and, when applied with a dampened Beauty Blender, I can achieve a skin-like finish that is simultaneously perfected and glowing.  The good skin honeymoon, however, is rather short-lived for me.  Because this formula is rather sheer, it can only be built to medium coverage before the foundation begins to look obvious on the skin. Certainly, this is fine for those not requiring full opacity, however, individuals seeking a more powerful coverage situation will want to pursue other options.  Also, touchups are are a bit of a challenge…adding more product later on in the day disrupts the seamless finish and demands intense blending to keep it looking natural.  In contrast, I don’t experience the same touch up trepidation with the Kanebo Sensai CP or Hourglass Immaculate Foundation!

The lasting power is acceptable but not noteworthy. If it is not humid, I find that I can get about six hours of wear without needing to touch it up, especially if I set it with a light dusting of powder.  If there is indeed excess moisture in the air, I begin getting excessively glowy and a bit uneven in three to four hours.  Consequently, I will likely prefer this formula more in the cool, dry winter than the warm and humid end of summer season of which I’m currently in the midst.  From a sensitive skin standpoint, this foundation is fantastic…it does not contain fragrance and hasn’t irritated my skin or resulted in any clogged pores.

Above: The full ingredients list.  This has not irritated my sensitive skin in any way whatsoever!  It is also does not contain fragrance. 
VIDEO Review (watch in HD!)

Below: The following images reflect the NARS Radiant Cream Foundation on my face in various lighting situations and times of day…

Above: Freshly applied (in indoor lighting).
Above: Freshly applied (in indoor lighting).
Above:  A few hours into application.
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Freshly applied (in direct sunlight).
Above: Eight hours after application in natural lighting.  The glow is fairly serious at this point. 
Bottom Line: The NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation is lovely when initially applied, however, in my experience, the radiance increases exponentially, transforming from an etherial glow to potentially unflattering sheen over the course of wear.  The formula is emollient and hydrating but offers only sheer to medium buildable coverage.  Upon trial, I discovered that it cannot be built up to full coverage without appearing incredibly conspicuous.  Additionally, touch ups are not seamless and can disrupt the smoothness and harmony of the makeup.  In turn, the formula is beautiful and glowing (and friendly to sensitive skin), however, the aforementioned caveats make this an occasional choice in my foundation rotation rather than a daily necessity.  
Have YOU tried the NARS Radiant Cream Foundation?  Thoughts? 

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Comments (12)

  • Anonymous Reply

    I love your blog! We seem to look for the same things in a foundation, and the fact that we are close in skin tone really helps. I bought this foundation a couple of weeks ago (I am pretty tan now though so I got this in Santa Fe and Stromboli, and both shades seem to work pretty well. Like you, I find that it looks really lovely when first applied but tends to get pretty glowy after a few hours. I am forever looking for the perfect cream foundation – I think they are really convenient and are wonderful for touch-ups. But for some reason, touch-ups with this do not provide the same effect as the original application. I am hoping I will do better with this when summer is over and it is less humid.

    August 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Drzeka,

      Thank you so much!! I am happy you found your way here and am glad that our preferences for foundation are similar! Your experience with the NARS Cream Foundation definitely resonates with me…you explain the effect well. Starts off so pretty, but gets too glowy and touchups are far from pretty ; ) I'll be waiting for the humidity to subside before giving this formula another try as well! Have you tried the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick? As a cream product goes, it is wonderful…I just used it yesterday in extremely warm and humid weather and it held up like a champ!

      xoxo and have a lovely week,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm
  • Unknown Reply

    Oh how I needed your review today, Rachel! I was on my way to space nk to buy this new NARS offering straight after work. You have saved me ££. Thank you. Unfortunately, I am still unable to get hold of the lightest shade sample of KS CP. Harrods and Selfridges customer services have not been helpful. I wonder whether one of the fair ladies here may have personal knowledge of the Kanebo Sensai Cellular Perfection Cream Foundation in its fairest shade and how it compares to YSL B10 which is THE BEST match for my face/neck/chest. Please, anyone? Thank you and lots of love xx

    August 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply


      I am thrilled that this review came at a timely moment for you! I've been working on it since earlier this month and was so glad to be able to post it this morning…it makes me happy to know I've helped you to save some money ; )

      I know that ordering from the US can be complex and potentially expensive, but have you thought about contacting my Kanebo Sensai specialist, Kimmie? She has helped many of my readers from all over! In case you feel you've exhausted all other possibilities, her number is: (949) 759-1900 Ext. 2121.

      Take care and talk soon…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm
  • Lynn127 Reply

    hi B.P, very pretty finish but a bit too glowy, even for me! You know my love for luminosity runs deep, but when I swiped it in Sephora,I felt it wouldn't be buildable to full coverage. I too am glad I saw your review. Maybe like you & another reader said, it might be better in the cooler months over something like Kanebo. Itoo find myself reaching for that often. Waiting for Napolean still & been experimenting with what I put under my kanebo. Usually peau vierge & jouer tinted moist. Have you checked out the IT cosmetics Tightline mascara/primer?? Sounds like an interesting concept. The wand is supposed to get close to your lashline & lashes & give a liner like effect. Your thoughts? xoxo

    August 29, 2013 at 3:34 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lynn…yes, I know you are definitely my "glowy finish girl" and I think it says something if you found this formula to be too luminous! I am planning to try it again when it gets colder and dryer and perhaps my experience will be different. I haven't tried anything from IT Cosmetics yet, but have read a lot of favorable reviews of the lines offerings. I like Tightline mascara/primer concept and may have to take a peek online since I don't think the line is sold at any stores in my area ; )

      xoxo and talk very soon!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm
  • Kainita Reply

    Dearest B.P,

    Thanks for another great review. I must say that I recognized only too well the unflattering sheen that comes from an overly dewy foundation (having being there too many times myself), although you can definitely pull it off! Concealer wise, I am going to try the Giorgio Armani Maestro as I can go in store for a shade fitting and decided to try the Peau Vierge (squealing) first, so that I can then purchase the matching concealer if I'm happy.I will definitely keep you posted!

    Take care and talk soon xoxoxxo

    August 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure, Karen…sometimes, what can be passably dewy in a picture crosses the line in a major way in person ; ) Glad you can relate! I am so excited for your future LMdB and Armani base product purchase and hope you love Peau Vierge as much as I do (I'm on bottle #4!). Please keep me posted on your experience!

      xoxo and talk soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm
  • voodoogirl @ The Stepford Witch Reply

    Thank you for this detailed & honest review! 🙂

    August 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thanks you, Stepford Witch!

      I am glad you enjoyed the review…honesty is key in blogging, no?!

      xoxo, lovely lady and talk soon!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm
  • Sherry Reply

    I actually purchased this and had the same eventful happenings here in the heat of Texas! However, also purchased the new Lorac Cococino cream compact and am in love ;). On my way though to try the Hourglass foundation you reviewed and have had great success with their products. Have a lovely rest of the week!

    August 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Very interesting, Sherry…thanks for sharing your experience! Sometimes radiant + humid heat = dreadful! Thanks for mentioning the Lorac Cocosino Cream Compact…I am now compelled to take a peek at it the next time I'm at Sephora. If you are in the market for a long lasting, matte finish foundation, you cannot go wrong with the Hourglass Immaculate…it is amazing!

      xoxo and enjoy the weekend,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm

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