NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation: The Rundown

I apologize, dear readers, for my prolonged absence.  But trust me, this review is part of the reason why I’ve been AWOL. Why?  Please do keep reading…

A few months ago when this product first came out I bought it out of sheer curiosity.  It was creamy and definitely a no-no for my super oily skin. But like the good makeup addict that I am I bought it and stashed it away until the winter.  Frankly I had no intentions of seriously using it.

That is, until I caught a case of peorial dermatitis from a MAC concealer  AND had an allergic reaction one of those infernal EOS lip balms.  It is the reason why I haven’t posted any facial shots for the past five months.  And that’s a whole ‘nother blog post for a nother time…

NARS Pure Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea (Med/Dark5)

NARS Pure Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea (Med/Dark5)

NARS describes this foundation as:

“New NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation brilliantly evens skin with a lightweight, luminous finish. Combining the supple feel of a cream foundation with the sleek ease of a portable compact, the Advanced Emulsion Technology formula may be applied wet or dry for artistic versatility. Blending seamlessly with weightless medium buildable coverage, skin feels soft and comfortable with moisture levels boosted by 80% after 12 hours, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing skin’s radiance.”

My perfect shade is New Guinea (Med/Dark 5 –Dark with Red Undertone) but as usual, dark foundations for skins with  blazing red undertones are not carried at the likes of Sephora. I bough mine directly from the NARS website but this color is also available at Nordstrom.com and Beauty.com.

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Face done with NARS Radiant Cream Compact foundation–before allergic reaction

Unlike with NARS pressed powder foundation, for this product you can purchase the foundation + sponge separately from the mirrored compact made for this product.  The compact has a long mirror and vented holes in the bottom of one compartment where the foundation sponge . can sit.  The product applies easily and provides sheer to medium coverage.  If you have dry skin the sponge probably applies the product just fine but if you have oily skin like myself with acne scars, the sponge does okay but it’s obvious how splotchy the finish is. The best way to apply this foundation is to use a kabuki brush (preferably retractable) and buff the product onto the skin.  I found this method much better for covering my acne scars than simply using the sponge (is this sponge latex free?).

Various shades of NARS Radiant Cream Foundation...except my precious New Guinea :(

Various shades of NARS Radiant Cream Foundation at Sephora…except my precious New Guinea 😦

Now, back to the allergic reaction.  The case of peorial dermatitis that I caught had my upper lip area from my cupid’s bow to the tip of my nose itchy, irritated with scaling skin.  As the skin healed I could not use my oil-free NARS foundation to cover it at all as it would dry out the skin and make things even worse.  NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer did help a little but what melted into the dry, cracked skin crevices and made it look human for awhile was this foundation.  It did not make my skin itchy and was quite soothing so in the end I am very glad I purchased this to have on hand. I’m much better now but I can honestly say this is a nice foundation to have if you are prone to eczema and eczema-like skin conditions on your face/neck.

I can’t say the sponge is really worth purchasing–especially if you have oily/sensitive skin.  Load up your compact with disposable non-latex cosmetic wedges you can purchase from Target.  Simply use one/two and toss away.  Better control to apply in hard places like the nose bridge and tear duct areas of the face.

If you have very dry to normal skin this foundation is a very good value for the money.   I don’t like how the compact is in the left side and when I hold the compact I tend to pop the foundation out as I’m holding it in my left hand. Wish this was on the right side instead.  For oily/sensitive skin I would only use this in the winter and then only in dry patch areas.  Oiler skins are better off using NARS Sheer Matte (my gold standard for oily/sensitive skin foundation) or NARS Tinted Moisturizer finished with NARS Pressed Powder Foundation.

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NARS Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea–great for eczema-prone or peorial dermatitis-affected skin!

What I wish NARS would really do is make this same compact but with the pressed powder foundation for oily skins.  Now THAT is something this beauty geek would love to have in her stash.  Please, NARS? Pretty Please?

NARS Radiant Cream compact foundation refill retails for $38.00 USD for the refill and the refillable compact retails for $10USD.  Both products are sold separately and available at freestanding Sephora and Sephora.com stores. Again, the New Guinea shade is available at Nordstrom.com, NARSCosmetics.com and Beauty.com

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique: The Rundown

I am so in love with this product I went back for the lighter (and better match to my Winter/Spring skin) shade in Martinique!

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique

Martinique (which is an island in the Caribbean and yes I was geeky enough to look it up) is described by NARS as a medium-dark with red undertones.  If you wear NARS Sheer Matte/Glow in Cadiz or New Guinea, or NW40 – NW45 in MAC foundations or Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ in 70 – 75, this shade is a good color match.

If you’ve read through my review of NARS Tinted Moisturizer in the Polynesia shade, you know how impressed I am with this product. While I loved Polynesia, it really is too dark for my Winter skin (though it did give me a gorgeous summer bronzed look!). After a trip to my local Sephora where they’d just gotten these in stock, one of the sales associates picked out Martinique for me straight away. I took a sample home and was so impressed how well this shade matched my skin that I bought the full size.

For reference, Seychelles was too yellow in tone though the shade did match and Malaga was also very yellow and obviously too light for me. Cuba was also too light. Also while these colors were too light, the yellow tones were more apparent and the color didn’t look ‘ashy’ on me–just an undertone mismatch.

So let’s get to some picspam of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique!

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Back of the container with sunscreen active ingredients and usual cosmetics warnings

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique, swatched on NW43 skin (no flash/HDR)

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Martinique swatched on NW43 skin w/flash

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Martinique swatched w/o flash (overhead light)

By now you’re probably wondering how Martinique compares to Polynesia and of course, I’ve got you covered there.  Polynesia is more of a dark chocolate as compared to the milk chocolate color of Martinique.  The picspam speaks for itself.

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Side by side comparison of NARS Pure Radiant in Martinique & Polynesia

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Swatches of NARS tinted moisturizer on NW43 skin from left: Martinique, Polynesia (w/ flash)

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I mixed Martinique with Polynesia and got the PERFECT shade!

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From left: Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Pure Radiant in Martinique, NARS Sheer Matte in New Guinea

I’ve had Polynesia for about a month and Martinique for about two weeks and my impression of this product has only gotten better. I’ve noticed (and other people have too) how my skin is improving with the consistent use of this product. A few acne scars that I had been covering up with concealer have begun to fade noticeably and I’ve got this nice glow going on!  Another added benefit is this product has no artificial fragrance and neither is the natural fragrance overpowering.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is now available at NARSCosmetics.com, Sephora.com and Sephora stores, and of course at Nordstrom.com and Nordstrom stores.

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique - Swatches & Ingredient information

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers in Martinique & Polynesia