PRODUCT WATCH: Bronzers for all skin tones

July’s beauty launches include a contender for Double Wear’s crown and a red carpet-worthy bronzer. Rachel Marie Walsh reports

Bobbi Brown ‘Peace, Love and Beach’

Taking a cue from the coast, Bobbi Brown has created a colour collection inspired by surfing, sand, and the sun.

Its low-maintenance look pairs fresh skin with shades taken from turquoise waves, sun-drenched shorelines and long balmy evenings at the beach.

The Peace, Love and Beach Eye Shadow Trio, €34, is a mix of metallic, shimmer, and sparkle eye shadows. Each palette features blendable, buildable shades of nudes, blues, and golds in a limited edition compact with beach-inspired fabric exterior.

The ‘Peace’ palette, done in oceanic shades, contains sea-foam green, sea-glass and crystal blue. Seafoam, ‘Surf Love’ is a grittier mix of oyster, silver and slate greys while ‘Sandy’ gives you a classic ‘golden goddess’ look if you use all three graduations of bronze to yellow-gold. The brand makes their Highlighting Powder, €44, part of the look and its pink-gold radiance is no over-addition to nude lips and Peace, Love and Beach eyes.

The collection also includes two shades of long-lasting Nail Polish, €15, to enhance a holiday look. Navy blue and sandy dune are a reliably glossy finish to your manicure.

The Benefit Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer, €24

Smart women, like smart men, wear concealer. Blemishes are distracting and while we all know there aren’t enough hours in the day, who likes to look as though their stretched to dark circles? Poor formulas actually spotlight flaws so I’m tougher on products in this makeup category than any other.

Boi-ing Concealer is one of Benefit’s older products and, in my experience, not fade-proof. This is unfortunate in a cream-to-powder formula, as sealing it with more powder causes caking. The texture is also of a thick, creamy variety that does not fit with the current vogue for full coverage makeup that feels like nothing. High time for an update.

Et voila: Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer, a cream camouflage that stays put. Available in three shades, the formula is free from fragrance and other potential irritants (especially important in a product used around the eyes) and provides sheer to medium coverage. The texture is somewhat brightening but non-shimmery, so not especially detectable even if you go foundation-free.

The ‘airbrush’ claim has merit, as it can obscure large pores, etc., with a light application. A three-shade range is not ideal but those available have flattering, redness-correcting undertones.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF30, €40

This is an exciting one: Ireland’s favourite all-day foundation has a new sibling. Double Wear Nude Water Fresh is hydrating, anti-ageing and set to be Joan Fontaine to the original’s Olivia (i.e., equally charming and fierce competition. But they are worth watching if you didn’t get that). We love the original for its reliable coverage, natural and vast shade range.

Two things I personally do not like about it are the demi-matte finish and the (too low) SPF10, which is why I was surprised Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Foundation, €48, the radiant SPF30 serum makeup launched in 2014, didn’t steal its spotlight.

Better the diva you know, I guess, but Nude Water Fresh is definitely worth a swatch. It has a brightening, non-shimmery look that minimises flaws and is just as fade-proof as its predecessors, thanks to a flexible polymer (silicone blend) that does not dry or irritate skin. The ‘Water Fresh’ effect springs from a trio of mineral and water-based gels that feel light but non-sticky.

Broad-spectrum SPF30 should be a feature of any foundation you wear daily and the sunscreen actives suit sensitive types. This formula’s antioxidant range, which includes hyaluronic acid and pomegranate, is more impressive, especially as the aesthetic effects of HA are both instant and long-term.

The 33 shade range is comparable to that of Perfectionist, so finding a natural-looking match is a cinch.

Kjaer Weis Organic Ravishing Highlighter, €49 (refill €29) and Dazzling Bronzer, €49 (refill €32) at

Danish makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer-Weis is a favourite among LA A-listers like Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow. With her brand’s commitment to veganism and organic ingredients, she does sound on their wavelength.

The products are also a glamorous as anything you’re likely to snap up at Barney’s, which is not always the case with organic formulas. Her new highlighter and bronzer come in gift-worthy sliding-fan compacts with red leather boxes. More importantly, the formulas are fabulous. Sheer and plant wax-based, they glide on like lightweight lip balm.

Both are fragrance-free and soften skin with almond and jojoba oils.

The bronzer is a universally-flattering biscuit shade with gold shimmer. This is not ideal for contouring (Kjaer-Weis disagrees) but it is pleasingly radiant, particularly paired with a peachy blush. Application is exceptionally low-effort for a bronzer: Finger-blending takes seconds.

The highlighter looks yellow-ish in the pan, which is off-putting, but the effect is champagne and glowing. The texture is similarly slip-on, so perfect for making the most of sun on your skin with minimal fuss. This subtle brightener is already a cult hit in the States and also comes in ‘Radiant,’ a pearlescent white.

Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Shine, €33

Brown mascara and moisturising lipstick are my desert-island makeup picks. Before this month, Giorgio Armani Beauty’s Rouge d’Ecstasy, €31.50, their ‘CC’ lippy, would have been coming in my carry-on but it has been well and truly usurped by Ecstasy Shine. I am crazy about this lipstick, it is a real if-you-only-buy-one-this-year release. The formula is so hydrating and yet wears longer than Ecstasy proper.

A glossy, naturally-plumped look is oasis-like after three seasons of mattes and drying liquid lipsticks. Ecstasy Shine is ultra-conditioning and has a mirror shine saturated with pigments, so you get an opaque and consistent colour pay-off from every swipe. The 18-shade range is mainly colour-pops of red, pink and coral, though 500 is a classic rose that is hard to resist.


Gerry Fitzgerald runs Bandon Books Plus in Riverview Shopping Centre, Bandon, Co Cork.We Sell Books: Turning over a new leaf from bank to bookshop in Bandon

As UK legend John Surman gets ready to play at Cork’s jazz fest, he tells Philip Watson about his well-travelled career and why he’s so angry about Brexit.Jazz legend John Surman on a well-travelled career and why he's angry about Brexit

Dr Naomi Lavelle answers a weekly science question.Fish live in water all their lives but does that mean that they never get thirsty or do they even drink at all? To answer these questions we need to look at where the fish live.Appliance of Science: Do fish ever get thirsty?

More From The Irish Examiner