NARS Sheer Matte


301 reviews

47% would repurchase

Package Quality: 2.9

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 2.9

Price: $$$


Water, Phenyl Trimethicone, Triethylhexanoin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Dipropylene Glycol, Silica, Talc, Dimethicone, PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate, Isostearic Acid, Bentonite, Stearic Acid, Behenic Acid, Batyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, 1-Methyhydantoin-2-imide, Behenyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Potassium Hydroxide, Cellulose Gum, Ethylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Serralysin, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Trisodium EDTA, Glucosyl Hesperidin, [may contain: titanium dioxide, iron oxides, iron oxides]

on 12/26/2012 2:13:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Relaxed, Medium

Eyes: Black

Oh NARS, how I wish I could love you.

The PROs:
- NARS has a really good colour selection, especially for yellow toned people like me (I'm Asian, just in case you're wondering). Punjab suits me perfectly in the Australian summertime when I get about 2 shades darker than my usual skin tone (probably about NC27 if there is such thing...)
- it does a decent job at glossing over my enlarged pores and doesn't make me look any grosser than usual
-photographs reasonably well in flash
- matte without being mask like and your skin still looked like skin!

The CONs:
- got a little darker towards the end of the day but it was by no means the dreaded Oompa Loompa look.
- very very light coverage. After using Estée lauders max coverage foundation for many months, this was like using a tinted moisterizer. Generally, I prefer medium to full coverage foundation for my acne scarred face. However, for people with reasonably good skin, this would look good on you!
- the price. Although it is a decent foundation, you can get much better for the $70 AUD (or $45 USD I believe, at Sephora). Bourjois healthy mix is actually preferable to this and that's more than half the price!
- a bad look for dry spots. Also, you have to work fast with the foundation so it doesn't set too quick. Just do parts of your face at a time and you should be fine.
- packaging is typically annoying. It should be law that all foundations come with pumps.

Although, I can't really recommend it, it's a solid foundation for people with combination to oily skin that is not terribly problematic. People who are used to tinted moisturisers or are starting out on foundation would suit this.

EDIT! EDIT! 2/1/13: I've changed my mind! I can now confidently give this 4 stars because i've figured out what i've been doing wrong. APPLY WITH FINGERS! It makes an absolute world of difference. The coverage is better and more natural, there's no patchy spots and it stays on for a lot longer. I usually hate the feeling of putting on foundation with my fingers, but it really works with this formulation.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 12/17/2012 5:51:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Black

I have combination skin with occasional dry patches, and I have some acne scars and visible pores that need to be covered. With that being said, I need a foundation that has at least medium coverage, and wouldn't dry out my skin.

NARS sheer matte foundation has very light coverage, it's not for someone who's seeking medium-full coverage. I wore it for 7 hours and when I got home, my skin looked gross. My pores were huge and you can see my face turned orange.

I wouldn't recommend this foundation, it's pricy and it doesn't do anything I want! And if you wear it for more than 5 hours, you'll find your face darker/more orange at the end of the day.

The packaging is not good either, the bottle opening gets really messy after a few use. And the bottle cap is full of finger prints of mine. I'm very disappointed in this foundation, since I've always been a NARS fan.

on 11/17/2012 2:32:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I had been a huge fan of NARS Oil Free foundation and wore it for years. I have sensitive, acne prone skin with rosacea on my nose that can flare up if I use the wrong thing. My t-zone gets oily but I also get surface dryness from skincare products (finacea and differin) that I exfoliate away once or twice a week or when needed. Most of the time my skin looks pretty good.

I thought this would work for me since I have an oily t-zone. I tried several times. Sadly, each time, no matter how much I exfoliated, it accentuated any dry flakes I had, even when none were visible to the naked eye. It's like it wouldn't quite blend in to the skin but was sticking to things on the surface. It was very apparent I had foundation on as a result. I had to return the foundation to Sephora today. I exchanged it for the Sheer Glow and am hoping it will work for me instead. I'll never understand why companies mess with a good thing. Their original formulas were fine. I'll report on the Sheer Glow after I try it. But this one certainly disappointed me. I thought it would be the closest to their old Oil Free. Sadly, it was nothing like it.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 11/16/2012 9:09:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I first tried NARS Oil-free back in circa 2009, and it became my HG. It had a very unique thick and dry consistency that at first that was a bit difficult to use, but once I got the hang of it, it went on beautifully, was easy to build, gave me perfect, flawless complexion and looked so natural. Stayed on all day and night without caking. Unfortunately its been discontinued and replaced with the Sheer Matte. The Sheer Matte is still a great foundation, but it's has a different texture than the old Oil-Free. It goes on thinner and lighter and resembles other liquid foundations in consistency. The coverage is light but buildable, especially with a light dab of powder (I use Makeup Forever powder, they work great together). I find Sheer Matte doesn't spread as evenly though, sometimes it leaves streaks. Still, NARS is the only brand that doesn't get cakey, oily and gross on me by the end of the day, so it's still the best foundation for me. Wish it came with the pump though, I've never gotten around to buying it (it's sold seperately). I have light skin with neutral-to-yellow tones, and Gobi is the best match, though Deauville is very close as well. It lasts forever and a bottle goes a long, long way. But I'd give anything to have my dear old NARS oil-free back. Sigh... this will do for now.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Finally bought this foundation after much indecision. It's nice, gives me the coverage I need, but it isn't waterproof or resistant, so when my eyes water it leaves a streak I have to blend in. Great color match; Siberia matches my skin perfectly. Feels a bit heavy to me though. Gonna use the bottle and then try to find something else.

on 10/29/2012 2:52:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium Brown, Cool

Hair: Black, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I was keen to try Sheer Matte, after being a huge fan of the Sheer Glow counterpart but wanting something more oil-absorbing. First thing that struck me about Sheer Matte is that there is a slight colour discrepancy compared to Sheer Glow. I am NC43 in MAC and Syracuse is PERFECT for me in Sheer Glow, however is a shade too pale in Sheer Matte.

I didn't find this foundation long-lasting at all. I prefer low-coverage foundation, and while this provides it, it doesn't look that great when you start to build it up. It's also quite hard to work with and blend in, and has misshapen my favourite foundation brush!

Overall, NARS is still the best in terms of great colour matches for those of us with yellow-toned skin, but if you have oiler skin you might be better off using Sheer Glow with a good primer, or blotting powder.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Other, Tan, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

For reference I'm NC40/42 and in this foundation Barcelona is a terrific match for my skin tone. First and foremost, if you're going to buy this foundation and use it on a regular/semi-regular basis, do yourself a favor and purchase the pump that goes with it. For me, that makes all the difference in the world regarding ease of use and package quality. You can either use the cap or the pump but once you insert the pump, you can't use the cap (unless you remove the pump). I have combo-oily skin with a t-zone that likes to grease out. Many years ago I tried NARS Oil Free foundation and it was not a winner for me but NARS Sheer Matte foundation IS :) I get just a tad bit oily mid-day and need to blot but just once and that's better than my usual 1-2x with many other foundations. Yes the name is Sheer but I consider it light coverage that is easily buildable. I would repurchase and highly recommend. Oh, and get the pump!!

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 10/17/2012 6:23:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

I had a love hate relationship with this foundation for about a month, but now it is just HATE. I regret ever wearing this foundation. It was like a makeup disaster for me. For reference i have VERY oily & very acne prone skin (almost always have an active breakout). This foundation has zero staying power with my oily skin. It seems to separate and make patches of my face look dry and crusty. Part of that may be the combo of my moisturizer and this foundation because i use an oil based moisturizer and this is water based. Water and oil do not mix. My shade was also much too light for my skin tone, oh using this was a month of makeup malfunctions. Please just do yourself a favor and dont waste your money on this.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 10/16/2012 12:54:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I'm loving this foundation. A friend recommended it to me, and I was hesitant to try it because of the not so great reviews here on MUA. But I went to the Nars counter and the ladies were so kind to give me a few sample bottles of some shades to try. I've been wearing the samples for the past two months, to try and find my shade (they'e lasted me quite a while), and I've fallen in love with how Santa Fe looks on my skin.

I have combination skin, and usually by the end of a day of wearing foundation, all you see is shine and my foundation turning a strange colour as my facial oils penetrate through it. But this foundation has amazing staying power. I apply it once in the morning at 8am, and by 8pm my skin is still looking fresh and oil free. It has the perfect amount of coverage to cover my many skin imperfections, without looking too heavy or caked on. I wear it daily, and people have commented that it looks as though I'm not wearing any makeup at all.

I have tried many foundations, but nothing gives my skin the glow that this foundation does. I think this may be partially due to having found a shade that actually matches my skin tone. This foundation comes in so many shades, that I can't imagine anyone not finding their perfect match. Overall, I definitely recommend trying this foundation.

***UPDATE: After wearing for a month, Ive noticed that this foundation makes my skin break out. I didn't want to believe it at first because I really loved the way this foundation looked. But now after over a month of use, I can't chalk it up to my moisturizer or hormones anymore. After wearing for a few hours it makes my skin feel a bit irritated, and I tend to breakout shortly thereafter.

..the search continues.

on 10/4/2012 5:36:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Tan, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

i am very surprised by the low reviews! i purchased sheer matte in barcelona and i am SO happy with it! i have been wearing chanel perfection lumiere in shade 40 (was a tad too light for my NC42 skin but the 50 was way too dark). i love my CPL but this Nars really keeps the oilies at bay much longer! i am southeast asian, yellow undertones, VERY oily and this really gave me fantastic light/medium coverage (i just like to even out my skin tone) and kept the oilies away much longer than chanel PL. this actually gives just a smidge more coverage than chanel. i am switching over. good stuff and i wish i had tried it sooner. i kept putting it off due to low reviews. if you have DRY skin, this is not for you! so its unfair to give a review saying this dried your skin out-of course it would. its a matte formula! my skin is so oily, i dont think there is any foundation out there that will completely keep the oilies away 100%, but this has come pretty darn close. im giving 5 stars because its the best foundation i have used thus far and i am 37, so there's been a lot :)

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Back to Top