What is it about the promise of radiant skin that gets us all sucked in?

This week, we're battling 2 of the best 'hydrating' foundations that have been featured on the 'Best Of' lists in a number of magazines since its launch – Chanel Vitalumiere Moisture Rich Radiance Sunscreen Fluid Makeup and Nars Sheer Glow Foundation. They both promise the illusion of a revitalized, even-toned complexion that blends effortlessly into your skin. The results are in. Please note that there is no exact match in Chanel with the Nars Sheer Glow in Medium Santa Fe. The closest Chanel Vitalumiere match as determined by our site is 35 Soft Bisque. You may be able to see the slight difference in the photo's.


Nars : U$$44.00 for 1 Fl. Oz/30ml

Chanel : US$55.00 for 1 Fl. Oz/30ml

Coverage and Blendability

Nars : A sheer formula that’s buildable. It feels a little more fluid than the Chanel and is more transparent on the skin on initial application. Building coverage is a little hard because of the fluidity of the foundation. It feels slippery and almost slides off if using too much. Best to wait a little to allow the foundation to sink into the skin before applying more product to get the desired coverage.

That said, the product absorbed into our skin well and we felt we could almost skip the concealer. It offered superb blendability and did not cake – no matter the amount of layers we put on!

Chanel and Nars Colour Sample

Photo Left: Chanel 35 Soft Bisque (left). Nars Medium 2 Santa Fe (right). *Note there is no color match for Nars in the Chanel range. The closest color, per our website is 35 Soft Bisque. Photo Right: Left side of face, Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Medium 2 Santa Fe. Right side of face, Chanel Vitalumiere Moisture Rich Radiance Foundation in 35 Soft Bisque.

Chanel : This product is a little creamier compared to Nars, but not a huge difference. It has more coverage on initial application. You can build coverage with this product, but don’t go overboard because it will look cakey. The finish is slightly more powdery and matte compared to its opposition, though not in a bad way. Blends seamlessly into the skin without much work to warm it in.

WINNER: Chanel – for its initial application.

Hydration and Radiance

One of our main concerns when a product uses the words ‘Radiance’, ‘Glow’, ‘Luminous’ or ‘Hydrating’, is that it has the potential to look oily or give off a sheen that is not flattering on any skin type. Also, foundations with moisturizing properties tend to oxidize once on skin. We’ve kept this in mind when testing for the claims of hydration and radiance by Chanel and Nars.

During The Day

During the day.

Almost indistinguishable that there are 2 different products on the face.

Nars : This product gave a beautiful radiance on application – not the oily look. It gave the right balance of dewiness on places where there needed to be light reflectance – the eye brow bone and the top of the cheek bone. All other places looked even-toned and not greasy. Did it hydrate our skin? No, but it never claimed to offer this. After a hot and humid day without touchup, my T-zone did look a little oily but not the oil-slick that I had anticipated. Very light blotting gave me the beautiful ‘glow’ back. This foundation had little to no oxidizing, so the color stayed true all day.

Chanel : This gave us a very subtle glow. We thought that once the product warms into our skin, we’d be able to see the full effects of this ‘radiance’. It evened out our skin tone and concealed some of our skin imperfections on initial application. It did not feel hydrating and after running around in the heat, I noticed my t-zone oily on both sides. I blotted it and found that the colour had slightly oxidized and the ‘glow’ was still quite subtle.

WINNER: Nars – the glow looked more natural.

Staying Power and Feel on Skin

Stay Power

Left: Nars Sheer Glow Medium 2 Santa Fe. Right: Chanel Vitalumiere 35 Soft Bisque

Nars : This one seemed to have rubbed off slightly more than Chanel, however considering it was such a hot day, I was surprised that they both lasted the way they did! This felt very lightweight on throughout the day and made the texture of my skin look good. Did not move into the fine lines or wrinkles.

Chanel : This stayed put very well through the heat, but it did feel a little stickier on the face. Although a lightweight formula, it felt heavier on the skin than its competitor and I found that by the end of the day, I could see some product settling into the fine lines.

WINNER: Nars for the wear throughout the day.

Shade Selection

Nars : 20 Shades - yellow based, caters for almost all skin colors.

Chanel : 8 Shades - pink based, not much selection for darker skin.

WINNER: Nars - yellow based formulas will flatter most skin tones.

Other Considerations

Nars : No sunscreen. Bottle is harder to use because there is no pump – if you want the pump, you need to pay an extra $6.

Chanel : Has more fragrance than the Nars, but it’s pleasant and not too over powering. We liked that this product has a little SPF, even if it is just 15+. More hygienic pump packaging.

MMM Poll

4 out of 5 girls that tested the foundations preferred the Nars.

Overall Thoughts

Both very good lightweight foundations for even coverage and a dewy look. Good for everyday use in summer and winter months. If we had to pick one, it would have to be the Nars for its healthy looking glow. We liked the way it felt on our skin throughout the day and the ease of finding a color match.