Bronzer was, for a long time, my least favourite makeup item. I never really understood how to use it because people kept giving contradictory instructions: “apply to the higher points of the face, where the sun naturally hits you”, they say, while demonstrating that you should apply on the temples, under the cheekbone and on the jawline. WTF?
I’m sorry, but my temples are not a high point of the face. That would be the forehead, bridge and tip of the nose, and cheekbone. That’s what gets sunburned.
Words aside, the temple-cheekbone-jawline thing is actually the way to go, I find. Once I made amends with the technique and managed to get myself flatteringly tanned, the collection grew. And here we are.
Like in the last collection post, the ones marked with a ♥ are my most used favourites.
I’m including contouring products in here as well, because they’re not that many that would grant their own post.
-  Prestige Bronzing Compact Powder in Sunrise ♥ – This is a very smooth, neutral coloured bronzer that’s very forgiving when applying because it’s light and sheers out easily. It was one of the first I ever got and I would use it a lot giving how hard it was to mess up.
-  Shiseido UV Protective Compact Foundation in Medium Beige – this is a powder foundation that came in a set and it’s too dark for me. Because it’s so pigmented, it works wonders has a bronzer, and it has a skin-like matte finish. And I appreciate the SPF30.
-  The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 04 deep matte – this is a very forgiving powder, the color builds up slowly and blends out nicely, and the texture, although a bit powdery, is very smooth. They have very light shades if you’re very pale and struggle to find a bronzer that suits you.
-  Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Sun-Kissed– I mean, the sun kissed you and it was wearing red lipstick. This is unsuspectingly red undertoned: it looks cooler on the pan, even in swatches, but on my face, it’s quite red – think more pink, less orange -and it’s very pigmented. It’s still wearable and good and I’m being overdramatic, it’s just that it’s not a bronzer for heavy handed girls in spite of the demure appearance.
-  NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny– where has this brand gone? It used to be regularly featured in beauty videos/blogs, but I haven’t seen it in recent years. This bronzer was a cult favourite for a while, and I can understand why: it’s blendable, soft, surprisingly pigmented – be cautious.
-  Sephora Bronzing Powder in 1 light ♥ – a cool toned, rosy based bronzer that soft and blendable (I’m sensing a theme here. A theme that blends into most of my bronzers). It’s very loved and used because it’s what I bring with me when travelling. It’s compact and easy for me to replace if by any chance it breaks during the delicate baggage handling at airports.
-  Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder in 01 Natural ♥ – this powder is so smooth. It also kicks up a lot of powder when you dip a brush in it. The colour is very light, so it is indeed a very natural bronzer. Smells like coconut. Me likes.
-  Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in Sunkissed Bronzer – another very smooth bronzer. Feels like velvet. This actually shouldn’t be in the “matte” section because the finish has a certain glow – not shimmer! – that looks very satiny, even though the pan doesn’t translate that. This is an easy one to use: soft, very neutral colour, not extremely pigmented. Has a sweet scent as well.
-  Lancôme Star Bronzer in 01 Natural Doré– ugh, one of the worst I’ve ever tried. It’s overly powdery, and it’s not as much sheer as the powder actually doesn’t cling to the skin so it’s like you’re applying nothing. It claims it’s long lasting and it lies. The scent is the only nice thing about it.
-  Sephora Sun Disk Bronzing Powder in 02 medium – compared to the other Sephora bronzer (number 6), it’s not really darker as it is warmer. This has a yellower undertone, instead of pink. The quality is just as good, except it’s 30g of product instead of 9g. The scent is musk and talc and all kinds of awesome.
The ones with a satin or very slight shimmer finish
-  MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden – it’s not the most pigmented bronzer, but that actually makes it easier to use. It’s easily blendable (I’m gonna wear that word out) and I reached for it a lot when I was still learning how to wear bronzer. The colour is very yellow based and the finish is satin, with very very small shimmers that add a bit of interest to the shade.
-  Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder in 03 Naturel Brunettes– this is a more recent acquisition, so there’s not yet much to say. You can see an abundance of minuscule gold shimmers on the pan but none of then translate to the skin. The colour is a neutral brown leaning warm, and the texture is smoother than Terra Nerolia (17) but stiffer than the Guerlain 4 Seasons (14)
-  Bourjois Délice de Soleil Bronzing Powder in 12 Fair – I like this one better than its popular sister, Délice de Poudre (number 15). The powder is less smooth, but the finish on the skin is more natural. The colour is very warm, very orange based, so it might not work for everyone. It has tiny, nearly undetectable specks of gold running through it.
-  Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons bronzer in 00 Nude ♥ – I love it as a 2-in-1 blush/bronzer product, because the pink shade (that’s very slightly shimmery) gives it that rosy, blushy tone. The powder is incredibly smooth, not powdery at all, and makes your pores ou any other type of skin texture disappear.
-  Bourjois Délice de Poudre Bronzing Powder in 52 – I tried to love this but it wouldn’t let me. The powder creates this hard pan very easily with softer brushes, the only way I can avoided it is if I use a very scratchy brush, and that’s not pleasant. The colour is a warm toned medium brown with very tiny and wearable shimmer particles that would otherwise suit me very well.
-  Burberry Natural Bronzer in Warm Glow ♥ – this was the only favourite for a long time. Very orange, but orange looks good on me. I’m a very yellow person. The powder has this very skin like, soft finish, it’s moderately pigmented and very easy to apply. It’s a no-brainer go-to.
-  Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer in Terra Nerolia – being a Guerlain fan, I had to have at least one of the limited edition Summer bronzers they always do. Terra Nerolia is huge and big enough to use the bronzer separately from the blush. The powders are pressed firmer into the pan then my other Guerlain bronzers, but they’re still pigmented and easy to use. This one had a golden overspray that disappeared with the first brush swirl.
-  Kiko Essential Bronzer in 03 Sand Mélange – This was one of my first bronzers ever. It was a limited edition and I was very into the whole baked/mineralized formula. It’s very powdery and way too glittery for everyday wear. The specks of gold are plenty and evident, so I would only use it for a party. That’s why it’s one of my least used.
-  Lancôme Bronze & Glow in 01 It’s Time to Glow! – …sure. Let’s call it a bronzer. This is highly shimmery – highlighter level shimmery, only it’s a bronze colour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful and I love it, but it’s a top-of-the-cheek-only product (forget the temple and the jawline), otherwise it will look to unnatural. Like a highlighter, it’s highly glowy when the light hits it, and it darkens to a rosy brown when not. I believe it was part of last year’s Summer collection.
-  MAC Mineralize SkinFinish in So Ceylon ♥ – I got this from one of those people that used to go to the Estée Lauder warehouse sales and then sold the discounted items online. Sounds shady, but at the time it was the only way a girl who lived far from a MAC store could get limited edition MAC items. Turns out I love the colour, it’s a rosy brown with so much richness and that typical baked powder sheen.
-  elf Warm Bronzer – A very shimmery, glowy bronzer that’s soft, pigmented and a bit powdery. Because of the high shine, it does accentuate skin texture.
-  The Body Shop Baked to Last Bronzer in 01 Golden Bronze – I’m referring to the one on the right, because the light one on the left I actually described on my highlighter post and I didn’t even realize I put it here until I was editing the photos. Sneaky powder. Anyway, the actual bronze, darker shade is packed with larger particles of shimmer – not quite glitter, they’re discreet enough not to be “party exclusive”, but still very much present. It’s not the most wearable bronzer.
-  The Body Shop Shimmer Waves in Bronze – it’s a highly shimmery bronze shade. Not as intense in shine as the Lancôme Bronze and Glow (19), but close. It’s also less powdery and more pigmented.
-  Becca Sunlit Bronzer in Maui Nights– I got it on sale and I knew it was meant for darker skin than mine. It doesn’t work as a bronzer for me, it’s too red and too intense, but the rosy, berry undertones were what pulled me in because they reminded me of So Ceylon (20). It would probably be better in the blush drawer.
The ones for shading
-  Stila Contouring Trio – I got this a long time ago on another discounted makeup website. The LEDs around the mirror used to light up. I thought at the time I needed contour products but didn’t really knew how to use them, plus the glittery brown shade “flash” makes no sense to me, and the contour shade is too warm (looks more like a bronzer). So this has been very much unloved. But the texture is incredibly smooth, I might have more success if I try it as eyeshadow.
-  NYX Blush in Taupe – aah, another cult favourite from way back. This was everybody’s drugstore recommendation when it came to contouring back in the day, and for good reason, because it’s smooth, blendable, and the colour is very adequate for shading, although a tiny bit too cool toned for my yellow skin. I like it as a blush as well.
-  Marc Jacobs Light Filtering Contour Powder in 20 Dream Filter – I don’t do much contouring, but when I do, I grab this duo. The powders are smooth and very blendable. The “highlight” is more of a setting powder to me because I’m too pale, but it’s one of those powders that’s useful to diffuse your blush or contour when you apply too much.
This was a swift, quick, speedy González type of review of each product, ’cause they are too many and I’m not trying to compete with the bible. If you, lovely, mystery human that’s reading this, want more details about any of the bronzers, or even a dedicated review, please don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll do it. Really. I pinky (bronzy?) swear.