New bronzers abound this season but the product is hot all year round. TooFaced founder Jerrod Blandino likens it to a favourite pair of jeans and is almost as versatile a a great pair. Depending on application, shade and finish, it can make you look slimmer, younger or like a post golfing-holiday preppy. As with jeans, however, the number of options makes choosing more hazardous. No one wants to believe their favourite brand would offer a dud but designer pre-frayed capris exist, don’t they? Here are the best of the new bronzers.
Natural light does not bestow an even colour and it is perfectly possible to wear bronzer without looking made up. Certain celebrities make a habit of it. If Reese Witherspoon has been doing her own makeup these past few weeks I’m impressed. Molly R. Stern, her long-time makeup artist in real life, is philosophically against contouring and works to make natural beauty shine. She has twice recommended Chanel’s Soleil Tan cream to me. The French brand re-launches it this month with the new name Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, €43 at brownthomas.com.
It has an extremely light gel-cream texture and holds the rare distinction of flattering skin of any age. Shimmery bronzers tend to highlight dryness with light-reflective pigments that gather in large pores or creases. Healthy Glow not only skims over uneven skin but improves the skin’s surface over time with water-binding plant waxes.
“Sheen over shimmer, cream over powder,” is usually a good rule of thumb when choosing bronzer for dry or mature skin. Charlotte Tilbury breaks it with her new Airbrush Bronzer, €50 at brownthomas.com. Based on her popular skin-perfecting Airbrush finishing powder, it contains the same pore-blurring, micro-fine perfecting powders. The bronzer also features coconut oil, soft-focus silica, and mica. It has an incredibly silky, buildable texture and a subtle glow. It is worth noting that the hyaluronic acid in the formula is of little benefit to skin -the fibres are not made to penetrate pores-, this product is only superficially anti-ageing.
Contouring can make you look like a star and sharper cheekbones are slimming. It is a game of light (highlighter or a foundation two shades fairer than your skin) and shade (matte bronzer) and you don’t need to copy a Kardashian to play. Makeup legend Kevyn Aucoin pioneered the look in the late Nineties and his advice in the bestselling Making Faces is still good. Apply foundation and then stroke highlighter on your forehead and cheekbones and down the middle of the nose. Next, brush bronzer on the jawline, hairline, sides of the nose, and into the hollows of the cheeks. This looks bizarre but after you blend and smooth out the lines, the contrast makes your cheekbones more prominent and your nose looks positively regal.
: Beyond poor blending, a bronzer in the wrong shade or finish is most likely to muss contour up. Muddy or orange shades and even a hint of shimmer really spoil things. Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Amber, €32 at boots.ie, softly defines your face with minimal blending. Based on the Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte SkinStick of the same shade, it light and easy to blend with a water-resistant formula that’s ideal for the season. NARS has also updated its classic contouring fare for the summer. NARS Matte Bronzing Powder, €38 at brownthomas.com, is enriched with a luxurious blend of botanical oils and extracts known to help protect and soften the skin for non-drying, all-day wear. It is richly pigmented but sheers out well. New shade “Vallarte” looks especially good on fair skin.
If you save bronzing for summer and associate buffing with shoes then you’ll want a formula that makes you look outdoorsy and sun-kissed. Balm and gel bronzers are your natural matches, they are easy to apply quickly and give the skin a dewy glow.
The fast-growing clean beauty sector favours bronzing balms, probably because the formulas are talc free and easy to pack with plant fats. Weleda and Italian beauty editor-favourite Olio E Osso both offer nice options but my pick is BYBI Baby Balm Bronze, €16 at boots.ie. This vegan blend of shea butter, calendula and co-enzyme Q10 soothes and improves dry and sensitive skin. You’ll get a glowing finish and a subtly touch of colour.