Is Nars Light Reflecting Foundation Water Based?


Nars’s Light Reflecting Foundation is one of Nar’s latest additions that I have been using for about 5 months. It is a top-quality foundation that gives an instant luminosity and feels quite light on the skin. As a makeup artist, I use it on many of my clients on a daily basis. The product definitely has all the right to have the buzz that it gained since it was launched! You’ve probably heard all the buzz about NARS Light Reflecting Foundation and now you’re wondering, “Is it water-based or silicon-based?”

Nars Light Reflecting Foundation is water-based but it also contains some silicone derivatives in its formulation. A few silicon-based ingredients do not make it a silicon-based foundation as the base of the product is water. Its lightweight formula is enriched with water and hydrating ingredients, making it perfect for those who prefer a water-based foundation that provides a natural, radiant finish.

Why Nars Light Reflecting Foundation Is Water Based?

Nars Light Reflecting Foundation contains both water and silicon-based ingredients but the base of the product is water which makes it a water-based foundation. To better understand it let’s take a look at the ingredients, texture, and consistency and how your skin feels after using it.

Key Ingredients of Nars Light Reflecting Foundation

1. Water (Aqua/Eau): Water is the foundation’s primary solvent, providing a base for the other ingredients. It ensures the Nars Light Reflecting Foundation has a fluid, lightweight texture that spreads easily over the skin. This water-based aspect is crucial for hydration, making the foundation a great choice for maintaining skin moisture throughout the day.

2. Silicone Derivatives (e.g., Dimethicone): Silicones like dimethicone are stars in the foundation world. They give the Nars Light Reflecting Foundation that smooth, silky feel and help in creating an even application. Dimethicone, in particular, acts as a skin protectant and conditioner. It forms a barrier on the skin that can lock in moisture (thanks to its occlusive properties) and leave a smooth, matte finish, minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines.

3. Other Notable Ingredients:

  • Butylene Glycol: A humectant that helps retain skin moisture, contributing to the foundation’s hydrating properties.
    • Glycerin: Another powerful humectant, glycerin draws moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated and plump.
    • Synthetic Wax: Enhances the texture and consistency of the foundation, ensuring it glides smoothly over the skin.
    • Various Emulsifiers and Texture Enhancers: Ingredients like Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate and Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate help to stabilize and unify the water and oil components in the formulation.

As you can see, the majority of the portion of ingredients is water-based with some silicon-based ingredients.

Texture and Consistency

A water-based foundation is a bit runny and feels watery when you apply it to the skin. Nars Light Reflecting Foundation on the other hand is lightweight and very thin which indicates it is a water-based product. The small amount of silicon-based ingredients that it has provides it with a nice and smooth texture and consistency.

How The Skin Reacts?

When you apply Nars Light Reflecting Foundation on your skin, it will feel lightweight and natural. It easily conceals the blemish and dark spots of your skin. But it won’t cause any negative reaction or clog your pores as it contains mostly water.

According to copy assistant Niall of the Cult Beauty blogging team “Blurring and smoothing and concealing, oh my!I would consider myself a foundation aficionado, having tried and battled some of the greats — and this may become one of them. The key attribute I loved (and usually never believe) is that it really was buildable without becoming patchy throughout the day. Cue me dancing all through the night!”. You can tell from this how smooth the product feels on the skin.

How To Apply Nars Light Reflecting Foundation?

How To Apply Nars Light Reflecting Foundation?

Applying Nars Light Reflecting Foundation is pretty straightforward and can give you that awesome, glowy look. Here’s a casual guide to nailing the application:

  1. Start with a Clean Face: Make sure your face is clean and moisturized. If you’ve got a primer you love, now’s the time to use it. It helps the foundation go on smoother and stay put longer.
  2. Get Your Tools Ready: You can use your fingers, a foundation brush, or a sponge—whatever you prefer. Fingers are great for a quick application, while a brush or sponge can give you a more polished look.
  3. Dispense a Small Amount: You don’t need a ton of this stuff. Squeeze a small amount onto the back of your hand. It’s easier to add more later than to take off excess.
  4. Dot and Blend: Dot the foundation on your face—think forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Then blend it out. If you’re using a brush or sponge, use light, circular motions. With fingers, just gently blend it in until it looks even.
  5. Build Coverage If Needed: If you’ve got areas that need a bit more coverage, like redness or blemishes, go ahead and add a bit more foundation there. Remember, this foundation is buildable, so you can layer it up without it getting cakey.
  6. Set It (Optional): If you’re on the oilier side like me or want it to last all day, lightly dust some setting powder on top. But if you’re loving the dewy look, feel free to skip this step.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation vs. NARS Light Reflecting Foundation

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation vs. NARS Light Reflecting Foundation

When comparing NARS Sheer Glow Foundation and NARS Light Reflecting Foundation, several key differences are noteworthy:

1. Finish and Coverage

  • Sheer Glow Foundation: Known for its satin, luminous finish, it offers buildable coverage from medium to full. It’s designed to enhance your skin’s natural brightness and texture.
  • Light Reflecting Foundation: Provides a natural, radiant finish with medium coverage. It’s more focused on creating a smooth, blurred effect on your skin.

2. Formula and Ingredients

  • Sheer Glow Foundation: Contains ingredients that hydrate and help improve skin brightness and texture over time. If you have a dry skin type then it would be perfect for you.
  • Light Reflecting Foundation: A hybrid of skincare and makeup, this foundation is infused with light-reflecting particles and offers skincare benefits aimed at improving skin clarity.

3. Skin Type Suitability

  • Sheer Glow Foundation: Ideal for those with normal to dry skin, offering hydration and a glowing finish without appearing oily.
  • Light Reflecting Foundation: Suitable for a variety of skin types, including sensitive skin, due to its balancing formula.

4. Targeted Needs

  • Sheer Glow Foundation: Great for those seeking a boost in skin radiance and hydration with their foundation.
  • Light Reflecting Foundation: Targets those who want a makeup product that also improves skin texture and clarity over time.

In summary, while both foundations are from NARS and offer quality results, Sheer Glow is more about enhancing radiance with a hydrating formula, suited for normal to dry skin, it is mostly based on silicon but also contains water. Light Reflecting Foundation, however, leans more towards providing a natural, skin-improving effect, suitable for a wider range of skin types, it is mostly based on water but also has silicon-based ingredients. Your choice will depend on your specific skin needs and the finish you prefer.

Pros & Cons of Nars Light Reflecting Foundation

Pros & Cons of Nars Light Reflecting Foundation

Don’t jump the gun right after knowing it is a hybrid and not solely a water-based foundation. Take a peek at the pros and cons I have listed for you below.


  1. Skincare-Infused Formula: With 70% of its formula comprising skincare ingredients, it not only enhances the appearance but also contributes to skin health.
  2. Lightweight and Blendable: It seamlessly blends into the skin, providing a weightless experience.
  3. Medium, Buildable Coverage: It offers medium coverage that can be built up, suitable for those who prefer a more natural look but also want the option for more coverage.
  4. Natural, Radiant Finish: The foundation leaves the skin looking flawless and radiant, without appearing too heavy or cakey.
  5. Long-Wearing: It holds up well throughout the day, maintaining its integrity for about eight hours of wear.
  6. Wide Shade Range: With 36 shades available, the foundation caters to a diverse range of skin tones, promoting inclusivity.
  7. Suitable for Various Skin Types: It’s designed to be suitable for most skin types, including sensitive skin.
  8. Fragrance-Free: It is fragrance-free, making it a good option for those sensitive to scents in makeup products.


  1. Price: It is relatively expensive compared to some other foundations, which might not fit everyone’s budget.
  2. May Accentuate Dry Patches: For those with dry skin, the foundation might highlight dry areas or patches.
  3. Not Entirely Transfer-Proof: Despite being long-wearing, it’s not completely transfer-proof, which could be a concern for some users.
  4. Packaging Issues: I did not like the rubberized packaging of the Nars Light Reflecting Foundation.
  5. Limited Skincare Benefits: While it claims to offer skincare benefits, these may not be as noticeable unless used consistently over a period, and individual results can vary.
  6. Need for Proper Application Technique: To achieve the best results, a specific application technique or tool (like a dense foundation brush) might be needed, which could be a slight inconvenience for some.

My Personal Experience With Nars Light Reflecting Foundation

I was on the lookout for a foundation that is water-based yet won’t be too runny or liquidy for myself and for a few of my picky clients. After searching for months I finally found Nars Reflecting Foundation which is a hybrid foundation that is mostly based on water. It kind of gives me the best of two worlds, because while being mostly water-based I can get that lightweight ness yet it is decently thick as it contains some silicon-based ingredients. I get to choose from 36 shades which is amazing and it is just perfect for my oily light-toned skin. In my opinion, it is the best hybrid foundation for oily skin. I apply it in the morning and it does not appear patchy even in the noon, a little touch-up and it looks good as new! The smooth texture it provides is flawless.

Final Thoughts

If you came here with hopes that Nars Light Reflecting Foundation is silicon-based then I hate to break to you that it is a water-based foundation. It contains mostly water-based and some silicon-based ingredients. But look on the bright side, with this water-based hybrid foundation you can get the best of both worlds! You can reap the benefit of it being based on water while having some silicon ingredients. If you have super sensitive skin then worry not, as the NARS Light Reflecting Foundation for sensitive skin works perfectly as well.


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