A solid, high-coverage, matte-finish concealer that blurs away imperfections in the most natural way possible.
I knew Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer was going to be good the minute I dipped my finger in the pot. I was backstage at the 3.1 Phillip Lim show, getting a sneak peek of the product, which wouldn’t launch for months.
I desperately wanted to take one home with me, but they were so new, some of the shades didn’t have names yet. Some weren’t even in final packaging. (There are 16 in all, from Chantilly, a true ivory, to Dark Coffee, a deep brown with olive undertones.)
Three weeks later, I was backstage at J.W. Anderson during London fashion week. I was working on a story where I got to play makeup artist for a day, trying to execute the fresh-faced look makeup artist Mark Carrasquillo created for the show — on living, breathing models.
Our key products? A pinkish-nude lipstick and the Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer. Making the models’ skin look beautiful was our key objective, and thankfully, the thin-yet-creamy, matte-yet-velvety formula made it easy — even for someone who had no right putting makeup on someone else’s face for a fashion show that probably cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Fast-forward to January 2017, when the product finally launched. I quickly hoarded all the shades that were even remotely close to my skin tone (which include Vanilla, Crème Brulee, and Cannelle).
I needed them ALL. And I’ve needed them all ever since — sometimes applying one shade on its own, sometimes mixing and blending two of them depending on how red or sallow or tan my skin looks that day. They’re an integral step in my everyday makeup routine.
The formula is truly genius. It’s a solid cream concealer but has the slip and blendability of a liquid.
That means that not only can you use it to cover zits — I use a tiny concealer brush and paint it on the blemish, then press the pigment in with my fingertip — but you can also use it to conceal undereye circles, shadows along the bridge of your nose, or redness around your nostrils, on your cheeks, and in the crux of your chin.
The key is to use a large concealer brush (like Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Concealer 57, also a Best of Beauty 2017 winner) or a fluffy shadow brush, swirl the bristles in the pot, tap the excess on the back of your hands (you can use this later), and buff it lightly onto your skin.
It’s literally like watching a blurring tool come to life, airbrushing away any imperfections before your eyes. (Fingers also work just fine, if you’re feeling lazy.) It’s so blendable and pigmented, sometimes I’ll skip foundation altogether, using this instead and just keeping it focused on the T-zone area.
Because it’s matte, many makeup artists (and the brand) say you don’t have to set the formula with powder. While this might be true for a lot of people, my T-zone gets so oily throughout the day that I set it with a thin layer of very finely milled powder for extra insurance.
And while the word “matte” might make you think dull and cakey, this concealer has a velvety finish that, when blended, looks as close to your skin’s natural texture as you can get with makeup.
It doesn’t settle into pores (and I should know, the pores on my nose are almost as big as the seeds on a strawberry — gross, I know) or fine lines; the formula seems to stretch and move with the creases and folds of your face.
I had to wait patiently for months and months to add this to my makeup kit. If you’re in the market for a new concealer, what the heck are you waiting for?