I guess this post was inevitable: the minute I saw these brand new NARS concealers, I knew I had to try them. Not that I need a new concealer, but since so many of you guys requested a review on my Instagram - I figured it was my duty to get my hands on one and give you a proper feedback. If you are a concealer-junkie or #NARSissist just like moi, then this review is for you!
Product Overview & Claims
Soft Matte Complete Concealer line was launched earlier in January and this might be the brand's first concealer, which comes in a pot. What I love about NARS is that they are very inclusive and I am glad they have created a whopping colour range (everything from fair to deep).
The brand claims that this concealer will do the following: look natural / give you a high coverage / smooth imperfections / remain long-wearing, non-drying and comfortable. You also have 0.21 Oz or 6.2 g of an actual product here, which compared to other pot-concealers, is more than what you normally get. For example compared to my favourite Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealer - the one by NARS has 2g more and costs 2 USD less. In other words - you get a good amount of product for the price.
Packaging & Formula
Soft Matte concealer comes in a rounded pot and has a signature NARS packaging. The cap is rubberised and if you own any other NARS face products - you know this one will get quite grubby over time; I don't mind it getting all fingerprint-y, because it's just make-up at the end of the day.
The formula is very unique and I haven't tried anything quite like it. Just like the name suggests, this is a creamy and matte texture at the same time - meaning it applies like a cream, but has a distinctive matte finish to it. Compared to other concealers, this one almost feels powdery and still is very lightweight and smooth.
Although you get 16 wonderful shades - I must admit that I struggled when I was looking for my colour-match. And this is something to do with undertones. Normally I go for the second or third lightest shade in any range, however, all of the lightest shades in the Soft Matte line have a distinct pink undertone. So if you are looking at the first three colours like Chantilly, Vanilla and Creme Brulee - they all are pink-based. Next shade called Cannelle is already a peach-toned shade and the only yellow-based colour here is Custard, but it was already too dark for my complexion (NC20-25).
In other words - good news if you have pink undertones in your skin; bad news if you are fair with yellow undertones, because there is not really a shade that would perfectly match you. Thankfully there are way more beautiful dark shades in the range, which is something I really appreciate.
So I ended up getting Vanilla, which looks quite neutral in the pan, but when you compare it to other colours - you will see that it's a tiny bit pink. Now my skin tone is neutral, so thankfully I can pull off both yellow- and pink-based concealers. But I can't pair it with yellow-toned foundations, because they clash. The only foundation I have, which works perfectly with Vanilla, is my Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation in the shade 1.5 Cream; since this colour is very neutral, Vanilla blends perfectly on top of it and I absolutely love using these two products together.
Swatches & Shade Comparison
So here are the swatches to back up my little explanation above. As you can see, Vanilla looks kind of pink-ish, compared to other shades I use. I can still wear it, but with any shade you choose - try it first at the store, then step outside of the building and check how well it matches you under a natural daylight (colours can differ at the store due to artificial lighting). When blended Vanilla looks seamless on me, yet I still wish there was another (even more neutral) shade in the range. Pretty please NARS!
For the sake of a helpful review, I did not alter brightness/saturation of these swatches above. This is pretty much what they look like in a natural daylight. Also bear in mind that my hand is darker than my face. To see what other concealers are swatched here, please click on each image.
Application & Wear
As with any other pot-concealers, I prefer using a flat synthetic brush (the same you see on the image below). Considering your brush is clean, this seems to be a better/hygienic way to get the product out. To prevent your concealer from its premature death (aka drying out) make sure to close it tight after every use.
Soft Matte looks absolutely beautiful on the skin, but I believe it still has more of a medium, rather than full coverage. Of course you can layer it when needed and it will deliver. Since this concealer has somewhat a powdery finish to it, I would say it sets instantly. You can blend it with a Beauty Blender to achieve best results. This concealer is quite long-wearing and on me it lasts up to 6-7 hours before fading (but always gracefully).
There are a couple of things worth remembering when buying this concealer:
a. Even though Soft Matte works on every skin type, it's a bit too much for a dry under eye (but it won't crease, which is great);
b. If you tend to experience some texture, this concealer might accentuate that; since this is a "matte" formula, I find that it does cling to drier patches and makes them look more noticeable (it doesn't accentuate pores as much, which is good);
c. If your under eye tends to get oily throughout a day - this concealer might be your new favourite, because it doesn't crease and will look very natural (never cakey).
My skin is dry, so I already know that I have to properly exfoliate before applying it. When you have a "smooth" skin day, this NARS concealer will truly be your best friend. It works well for spot-concealing and I find that even without a colour-corrector - it does cover redness pretty well (such as around the nose for example). Peachier shades will work well as correctors for those of you with oilier under eye (especially if something like Tarte CC or Becca Colour Correctors are too dewy for you). If you like creamy bronzers, you can easily use darker shades for that natural and seamless bronzed look - but again, this technique will work best on combination/oily skin types. For my beauties with dry skin - save this concealer for covering spots and any other discolouration (redness, sun spots etc.).
I think Soft Matte Complete Concealer is a great product and it will look amazing on ladies/gentlemen with normal, combination and even oily skin. It works really well for someone with a dry skin too, but will definitely need some preparation (such as exfoliation). Even on my dry skin - I don't find it drying, cakey, "obvious" looking or anything like that. My biggest tip would be to really take your time to find a good colour match, especially since there are so many different undertones available. I am still dreaming about the day when NARS adds a fair, slightly more yellow-toned shade, because it is a shame not to have one. Other than that, I think one pot like this will last you a long time, because less is more with this guy and I can't wait for summer to come to really give Soft Matte a good humidity test!
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