A Somewhat Deceiving Name: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review

I’ve always been a NARS fan. I find the line to be high quality, and I love that they carry a wide range of gorgeous colors. NARS has created many of the cult favorites in the beauty world–Laguna Bronzing Powder, Turkish Delight Lip Gloss (Kim Kardashian’s favorite), and of course, their Orgasm Blush. I have my own personal favorites, like the Eyeshadow Duo in Madrague and the Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red, and many clients I work with tell me about their NARS must-haves too.

As you might know, I get a lot of my recommendations from the Pixiwoos. I have watched all of their YouTube makeup tutorials and when I see something they use that I think looks good, I give it a try. I find them beyond talented and they have a lot of product knowledge, so it’s like taking a product recommendation from a trusted makeup artist friend. Sam and Nic have used the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in several of their tutorials, so I felt good about trying it.

I ordered the shade Fiji, which is for light skin with yellow undertones. I like that these foundations are classified by undertones, because that is the system I have gotten used to with my Make Up For Ever HD Foundations. I was ordering online, but I am certainly light-skinned, and sometimes so yellow that I think I have jaundice, so Fiji seemed like the right choice.

Let’s start with the packaging. I love NARS’ simple, sophisticated packaging, and the Sheer Glow Foundation is no exception. It comes in a glass bottle with a black cover, and boy, does that cover stay on. Once you twist it so it lines up with the shape of the bottle, you can feel confident that it is not going anywhere. Once open, the foundation is poured through the mouth of the bottle, which I don’t really care for. I prefer a pump foundation, which makes it easier to control the amount of product. With pour foundations, I often end up dispensing more product than I need.

The first time I tried it–approximately 30 seconds after I opened the shipment–I used a foundation brush. I had moisturized an hour or so before, but had nothing else on my face. My first impression was “Wow! This is good ish!” (I actually said that out loud, while I was by myself.) The color match was great, and my skin looked flawless. I put some concealer under my eyes, and nothing else on top of the foundation. I wanted to see how it felt and how long it lasted.

It felt like very lightweight. This could be because I am used to wearing and trying different foundations, but I have used some that felt heavy, and this definitely wasn’t one of them. It lasted for the remainder of the day, and that was without a primer. We were off to a good start.

The second time I tried the foundation–a few days later–I had a different experience. I thought that it looked cakey in areas, and considerably more yellow than it did the first time. I tried applying with my hands and mixing in moisturizer, but it still looked cakey and almost powdery in some spots. Determined to make this foundation work, I used a trick I learned from the Pixiwoos–I sprayed my face with MAC Fix + (I will blog about this wonder product soon) first, then applied the foundation, using a brush. I applied it little by little, and with that kind of damp base underneath, the foundation did not cake at all. It even somehow looked less yellow. So that’s the trick, at least for my combination skin type. This would also be a good technique for those with normal to dry skin.

As far as this foundation being sheer…it’s not. I found it to be medium coverage, nothing like a Face & Body or similar sheer foundations. I have freckles on my cheeks, and this definitely covered a majority of them–something a truly sheer foundation can not do. It does give a glow to the skin though, which is unusual for a medium coverage foundation. It was somehow matte and glowy at the same time, which I like. Because of the potential for cakey-ness, I can’t say I’d recommend this foundation for very dry skin, but it is suitable for normal, normal to dry and combination (using Fix + first) and normal to oily skin.

When applied correctly, this is a nice foundation and one that I will keep in my personal makeup kit. You can buy it at NARScosmetics.com, Sephora and Sephora.com, or type your zip code in that field in the “Locations” link on the NARS website.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Face & Body Foundations: MAC and MUFE F&B Reviews

As much as I love makeup, there are some (okay, many) days when I don’t have the time to do a “full” look. But I also want my skin to have a little bit of coverage, so I reach for either a tinted moisturizer, or one of my Face & Body foundations.

Face & Body foundations can be used on the face and on the body (duh), and they are sheer and buildable. Since they are made for the body, they usually don’t transfer onto clothing. They are water based, and therefore very liquid-y (much different consistency than most regular face foundations).

The two Face & Body foundations I have are MAC Face & Body and Make Up For Ever Face & Body. Just like we all learned in elementary school, let’s compare and contrast.


1) With one layer, both are very sheer. If you don’t need much coverage, but like something that evens out the skin tone a little, these are great. I think the MUFE F&B is slightly more sheer.
2) They feel very lightweight. You truly can not feel these on the skin once they absorb.
3) Neither have SPF. This is good for photography, not so good for everyday wear (but you can always apply an SPF underneath).
4) They both give a dewy finish. If you have dry skin, you’ll love the feel and finish of these foundations. They don’t cake up or catch on dry spots. I would say the MAC F&B gives a dewier finish though.
5) They need a good shake before applying. The formulas do sometimes separate and can be a bit clumpy if you don’t shake the bottle first, so just make sure to do that before application.
6) Both are buildable, but they don’t look visibly thicker as you build.


1) The packaging–MAC F&B comes in a plastic bottle, MUFE F&B comes in a glass bottle.
2) The color range–MAC F&B foundations are categorized by Cool (C) or Neutral (N) shades, MUFE shades are categorized by undertones in the skin (Pink, Yellow, Beige, and Olive).
3) The size–MAC F&B is 4 oz, MUFE F&B is 1.69 oz.
4) The price–MAC F&B is $33, MUFE F&B is $38.
5) The way that you build coverage is different. With the MUFE F&B, you apply a layer, let it dry, then apply another layer to get more coverage. With the MAC F&B, you apply one layer and the more you work it into your skin, the more coverage it gives. It’s really quite unique for a foundation to do this.

They are overall both great products. I think the MUFE F&B may be more suitable for someone with combination skin, as the finish of the product isn’t overly dewy. On a combo or oily skin, the MAC F&B can be quite shiny if not set with powder. Once it’s set though, it is fine, and I’ve used it without a problem in both film and photography.

I think the best part about the MAC F&B is that you pretty much get two foundations in one (generously sized) bottle. To get a sheer application, apply with a brush or lightly with fingers, and blend lightly with a brush or sponge. To get a heavier coverage, apply with fingers and rub into the skin (or buff in with a brush). If you use your fingers, you’ll actually feel the foundation getting thicker as you work it into the skin.

I like both of these products and will continue to use and recommend them. I think Face & Body foundations are great if you don’t want to wear a traditional foundation, but want something with a little bit of coverage. They are even more sheer than some tinted moisturizers on the market, so I think they are the perfect choice for foundation-phobes. I hope I’ve helped you get a general idea of what these products are like.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


You’re All I Need To Get By: MUFE HD Foundation Review

My makeup kit is full of products. There are products I like but don’t get to use often, there are new products that I’m trying out, and there are my staples. The HD Foundation by Make Up For Ever is one that I cannot live without.

I’ve never written a love letter, but if I did, it would be to this foundation. Why do I adore it so much? Because….

…It gives great coverage, which you can build up by layering, or sheer out with moisturizer.

…It feels like nothing on the skin. Even my foundation-phobe clients have commented on how lightweight it feels.

…It photographs beautifully. Check out my website, http://www.AllisonBarbera.com, for photographic proof.

…As the name implies, it was created for HD (high definition) filming. Since most of the television and film projects I work on are filmed in HD, this foundation is a must.

…The HD Foundation line carries a wide range of colors–25–to suite all skintones. (Many lines carry 8-12 foundations, and very few for deeper skintones.) I’ve yet to encounter a skintone that I couldn’t match with this foundation.

…It blends well. Whether you use your hands, a foundation brush, or a sponge to apply, it blends without a problem.

…It stays on. Even without a primer, the HD foundation can easily stay on for 8 hours.

…A bottle lasts a while. As a makeup artist, I go through a ton of foundation, but even the colors I use most usually last me 2 or 3 months.

If I somehow showed up to a job without my HD foundations (this is the kind of thing I have nightmares about), it would be a bad day. The HD Foundation is definitely the best medium-full coverage foundation I’ve ever used and I’m borderline obsessed with it.

Want to see for yourself? Take a trip to Sephora and ask to try it. I think you’ll love it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I recently got a request to do a Christmas Wish List of beauty products (thanks, Erika Milliun!). Great idea, right? I’ve included essentials that I’ve mentioned over and over again, awesome products that I use but haven’t talked about, and ones that I’ve heard great things about but haven’t tried yet.

Here we go!

1.)  Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer: I won’t put eyeshadow on a bare lid because it usually won’t stay. I consider eye primer to be an absolute essential, and this is the one I reach for most often. It helps shadows and liners stay on, stops shadows from creasing, and covers any tiny veins or discoloration on the lid.

2.) Illamasqua Liquid Metal Eye Color in Solstice: This highly pigmented cream shadow is perfect for the holidays. It’s hard to find a gold shadow that’s pigmented and long-lasting, but this meets both important criteria. If you want to try something new and fun for a holiday party or night out, but are afraid to go for a bright color, you’ll love this.

3.) NARS The Multiple in Copacabana: Use this shimmery pearl highlighting stick on eyes, lips, or cheeks (just not all at once!) for a pretty glow.  I love doing a holiday party look with red lips, silver eyeshadow and Copacabana on the cheekbones.

4.) Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers I haven’t used this product, but I heard a positive review from a trustworthy source–and I adore this company–so I’m going to recommend it.  It’s a white mascara-like product that you apply before your mascara.  It lengthens and thicken the lashes, so the mascara adheres to that.  And who doesn’t want bigger lashes?

5.) MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack: Consider this black gel liner to be like your favorite pair of jeans.  It’s a classic that you can wear with lots of different looks. It goes on smoothly, stays put and the little jar will last you a while. Just make sure to close it tightly each time so it doesn’t dry out.

6.) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blackberry:  This is the time of year to go for berry lipcolors, so give it a try! I’ve found this shade to be flattering on most people and you can’t beat the price. So if darker lipcolors are out of your comfort zone, at least you can try it on the cheap (and if you buy it from CVS, just return it if you don’t like it–they accept even opened makeup returns).

7.) Tarte Cheek Stains: You know that flushed cheek look you get from being outside in the winter?  Well, you don’t have to freeze your ass off to get it. These gel blushes give you that same look, with a variety of shades to choose from. And since you only need a little bit, it lasts for a long time.

8.) Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Foundation: This is a great one for your wish list because not only is it the best foundation I’ve ever used, but it’s a little pricey and I know it can be hard to justify spending money on yourself during the holiday season. So let someone else get it for you! This liquid foundation gives amazing coverage, feels like nothing and photographs and films beautifully.

9.) Dior Diorshow: My name is synonymous with two things: Biggie Smalls and Diorshow. So for me to not include my favorite mascara on this list would be blasphemous. Basically, it’s the bomb. Long, full lashes, no smearing, flaking, or smudging.  Just get it alreadyyyyy.

Hopefully you’ve been a good girl this year and you get everything you ask for. Because if all you get is coal in your stocking, I can’t help you.  Kohl liner, however, is a different story…

Happy Holidays! Have a beautiful day 🙂

I Love You, Always Forever: Make Up For Ever Products Review

Every once in a while, I develop a makeup crush. The new object of my affection is the entire brand, Make Up For Ever (MUFE). I’ve been using a few of their products for a while, but I’ve gotten more lately and I’m officially in love. Here’s what I have:

5 Camouflage Cream Palette: This was my first MUFE purchase.  I bought it in No. 1 because I wanted the green color corrector. I scraped that one and the peach (Golden Beige 15) completely to the bottom of the pan.  More about those below. The skintone concealers are fabulous too–very creamy and they provide great coverage.  They also do a great job of staying on the skin.  I find that all of the camouflage concealers work best when I dab them on my hand first to let my body heat melt them down (sounds weird, but it works) then I apply with either a brush or my fingertips.

Camouflage Cream in Golden Beige 15: This is actually a peach concealer and it works wonders on dark undereye circles. Because it’s a thick product and the thin, slightly bumpy skin under the eyes really shows caked-on makeup, I apply a little moisturizer under the eyes first. Then I do the warm-the-product-on-my-hand trick, apply it to the area with a concealer brush and blend with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. The first time I ever used this on a client, the response was great. “Wow! What is this stuff? It’s amazing!” Yes, it is that good.

Camouflage Cream in Green 17: This is the product in my kit that scares people the most. It’s not tinted green, or green-ish brown–it is straight up green.  Many people have said to me “You’re going to put that on my face?” (but my favorite was the actor who said “Cool! Can you do the Celtics mascot on my face?”). I always tell clients how green products cancel out redness and will be blended in and covered with foundation before they can say “shamrock.”  This product is excellent for correcting redness from rosacea, as well as the slight redness many people have around their nose and/or chin. The Camouflage Concealer in Green 17 is absolutely a kit essential for me.  I’d be lost without it.

HD Invisible Cover Foundation: Hallelujah! Whoever created this foundation deserves some kind of award.  It goes on smoothly, gives great coverage, feels like nothing, lasts all day and comes in a variety of colors.  It is a medium coverage foundation, which I like, but it might look a little strange to you at first if you’re used to a more sheer foundation or a tinted moisturizer.  Not strange in a bad way, but if you’re used to seeing your freckles or color variations on your face, you’re going to be surprised.  I have freckles and while it doesn’t completely cover them, it definitely hides them a lot more than lighter foundations. On some people, it can look the tiniest bit cakey right after you apply it, but after a couple minutes it completely settles into the skin.  I promise. If you can’t tolerate those few minutes, simply apply a moisturizer to your face first using a foundation brush, then use that same brush to apply the foundation. The moisturizer left on brush will thin out the foundation a little. Or, if you’re a I-use-my-hands-to-apply-foundation person, simply add in a tiny drop of moisturizer to the foundation. This foundation is made for high definition television, so it gives a gorgeous, flawless finish. It also photographs beautifully.

Smoky Lash Mascara: You can love different products in different ways, right? Because I love Diorshow with a passion…but I love Smoky Lash just as much. I love them both, but for different reasons. Diorshow is a great every day mascara. It gives length, volume, and a smooth, never clumpy finish.  This is my mascara of choice for any polished look. Smoky Lash is like the badass sister of Diorshow.  They’re both excellent at what they do, but their personalities are different. Smoky Lash is more intense, thicker, and more obvious than Diorshow.  I don’t want to say it’s clumpy, but it’s got a little texture to it.  I especially love it for layering on top of my Diorshow and for my bottom lashes.  I like thick, not long, bottom lashes, and this does the trick.  I’m pretty obsessed with this one.

Aqua Eyes Eyeliners: I want to give the disclaimer that I tried these liners when they first came out and they may have been re-formulated since then.  First, the good. I love the color payoff of these pencil liners. My favorite is the Turquoise 7L, which shows up on the skin as vibrant as it looks. These pencil liners are waterproof and they certainly do stay on. I don’t think they show up or stay on the waterline very well, but I’ve heard other people say they are great on the waterline, which is why I think they may have been re-formulated. Because of that, and the fact that I love MUFE, I am going to buy some new ones and  give them another try.

I’m trying out a few other MUFE products right now, so more reviews are on the way. I’m looking forward to trying more of their products.  They’re an awesome brand, and their high quality products are good people, man.

You can find MUFE products at Sephora, and they have stores in LA, New York and Dallas.  If anyone else knows of another place, please let me know.

Have a beautiful day 🙂