Summer is actually over here in the Pacific region, the monsoons are supposed to be checking in any day now. I’m actually dreading those first three weeks of August that always seem to bring in heavy, torrential onslaughts of rain…wreaking havoc, making floods rise, while keeping people indoors and children away from school. However it’s been alternatively sunny this mid July, with random showers or downpours here and there, the heat still has not left us, global warming is rubbing it in, the continuous rains are usually in by June but they’re not here yet. I find it kind of late in the game that I’ve suddenly fallen head first (literally) into an area of beauty that’s never interested me, and given that the idea of actual fake tanning was a juggernaut of a commitment to make… (waiting to naturally be fair again is blech, plus unnaturally adjusting my personal pigment scares me a bit) makeup was the answer for now.
CLOCKWISE: MAC (Ltd. Edition) Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder in Soft Sand, Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder in 00, Makeup Factory (BGC HighStreet) Mineral Compact Powder in #6, and Diorskin Nude TAN BB Creme in 002 (Ltd. Edition S/S 2013)
I’ve only dabbled in contouring, never fully with bronzing which carefully sculpts plus adjusts your complexion as a whole. I was scared of the earthy stuff, but it intrigued me no end to see my mother hit pan on her bronzer compacts time and time again…she hates blush but loves her bronzers. Plus the numerous anecdotes of makeup noobs committing to only use bronzer, lip tint, mascara and nothing else while still raking in compliments really had me stumped. Makeup minimalists more often than not use a bronzer. I’ve always appreciated the compliments on how naturally fair I am, but I was bored with that. I had to get the “white edge” off and get a bit of joie d’ vivre rubbed into my face, to get that you just had to look like the sun-kissed child who’d been to accumulating destinations. I discovered that bronzer was able to do exactly that for women like me. In a span of about two months I’ve collected three bronzers (one was an unexpected gift) plus made use of a mineral powder that was too dark for me in the same way, that makes four. They’re my new favorites. I was suddenly appreciating and enjoying the possibilities my fairness presented for the first time, for when you are fair you can choose to go dark and in increments that please you, and that’s exactly what I’ve been up to. To present these to you I slapped on my most recently purchased truly matte foundation (more on that some other day hehe) so they’d glide on more seamlessly. Read more to see why I like these four products and how I randomly use them, please note this won’t be a complete lesson on contouring but some tips will be mentioned.
We can begin with the most popular and common form of bronzing, I present the powder bronzers. Let’s do this chronologically in order of acquisition. It all started with this one which isn’t really a bronzer but I knighted it a few weeks ago. I bought this Makeup Factor Mineral Compact in #6 knowing full well that it was 2 shades too dark for me normally…but I had tanned last summer when I purchased this, so it worked as a normal compact powder for awhile, so to speak. I loved that it was the same finish as MAC MSF Natural powder but had a warmer yellow undertone that matched my own better.
When my fairness and natural complexion returned after losing my tan I randomly began using this Makeup Factory compact in #6 as a contour/bronzing powder.
Here’s what it looks like beginning with a non-bronzed before shot which I will use for every example in this post, at this point the effect is hardly noticeable because I’m not talking about a real bronzer. The effect was sublime, inconspicuous, but had an overall sculpting effect that was more believable than using a chocolate toned contour powder, after all it was only 2 shades darker than my actual skin tone and when blended out at the edges disappeared effortlessly into my natural skintone. I don’t just use it on the hollows of my cheeks I dust it over my nose and the apples of my cheeks very lightly and do the runway of my forehead as well, the point is I don’t want my face to be just one color because of foundation. Some people complimented me when I would use it as a subtle contour or “blonzer” and would say they couldn’t explain it but someone actually asked “Does your skin always look like this? I can’t put my finger on what…basta, I wish I could do that, you can’t say what but it’s there…” What’s wonderful is when they can’t pinpoint what with words within the moment, then you know you did something right. Next up is something I picked up at a recent Luxasia warehouse sale. It was my chance to purchase my first wave of Guerlain products at a major markdown buffet and I scrambled out alive waving this cult favorite Guerlain Terracotta bronzer in 00 (plus a few other bits).
“Whether dark or fair, blonde or brunette, Terracotta powder perfectly creates a natural-looking tan, whatever your complexion. Its unique texture has always been Guerlain’s best-kept secret. It leaves no lines or marks, only a natural, radiant luminous tan. Its formula enriched with moisturizing ingredients doesn’t dry out the skin and ensures long-lasting comfort. Formulated WITHOUT: Sulfates, Phthalates, GMOs, or Triclosan.”
This is a worldwide favorite, which is why I’m reallyyy happy I was able to get it for Php1000 and not Php2250 which is the regular retail price. It’s supposedly a universally flattering terracotta toned bronzer that comes in various shades for both blondes and brunettes…00 (mine) is actually the first one for blondes, I wanted 01 which is the first shade for brunettes but it wasn’t available..(why is the Philippines stocking the terracotta shades for blondes…please answer). Anyway 00, the shade I got, is a little more rosy than 01 would have been. Don’t let the sparkle completely scare you away (the price should), it doesn’t really register once it’s on your face. This one among the 4 bronzers I own is the most like a “blonzer” blush / bronzer since the terracotta shade is a little more ruddy and doesn’t just deepen the complexion but provides a natural flush like a rush of blood to the head…which I’m sorry these pictures don’t show…I WILL own a DSLR one day I promise myself.
I was super skeptical prior to getting Guerlain Terracotta but I took a leap of faith and now I really get why it’s a worldwide favorite. It doesn’t splotch your face instantly, the pigment is gentle but buildable and most importantly…believably natural. When I slap this onto my cheeks forehead and nose and check in the mirror in the middle of the day, it looks like I pumped 100 at the gym or watched a football game with a really cute guy. Again my camera can’t completely do this product justice…but I did my best. The next product came from a bit of a mix up abroad, I was actually asking my aunt to buy me the Dior Nude BB Cream in Fair 002, natural skintone base slash sort of a jazzed up tinted moisturizer. She tried, tested, and selected the correct product (we’re the same shade) but upon checkout the UK saleslady accidentally reached for the wrong box in the new stock pile. So I wound up with this, Dior Nude TAN BB Creme in 002 which is no less of a fantastic product.
“Dior has infused its original BB Creme with a natural bronzing agent. The exclusive Tan Beautifier complex works in combination with the sheer Complexion Corrector to enhance and prolong a natural, healthy glow. In addition, the cream features hydrating ingredients including jisten, mauve and hibiscus, as well as green, red and white tea extracts to offer the same skin-illuminating effects as the original Diorskin BB Creme, now with the added benefits of SPF 15.”
The Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme is a tinted creme bronzer with a soft dewy finish and you know how it is with Dior products, they don’t just look good on, they feel good on the skin and smell great. It has the same texture and finish as the original Dior NUDE BB Creme, so I’m glad I sort of have a preview. Once I began putting this on across my cheekbones and on the high points of my face, I began bringing it with me everyday in my bag, that’s how convincing it was. I still want the original Dior BB Creme which has been quite “elusive” given the circumstances, my friend in Singapore said only the Dior Snow BB cream was available at the airport. I’ve now finally purchased the correct Dior Nude BB Creme from StrawberryNET thanks to the 10% of all Makeup Sale ongoing right now added to my 7.5% loyalty discount, which brings the price down to the Sephora retail price (and makes it under $50 so Makati Post Office won’t tax me silly).
The description on the Nude Tan BB creme product confuses me a bit, it suggests that it contains a natural “bronzing agent”, to my knowledge bronzing is different from tanning in the way a bronzer differs from an actual tanner because it’s supposed to give “the appearance” of a tan and not actually tan your skin. It seems possible, thanks to the description, that this might contain a mild tan enhancer or maintainer (which might probably explain why I was getting unusually dark…doh!? No, it’s from waking up late next to the window). Whatever the case it looks good on, it’s practically the cream version of my Guerlain Terracotta and when I don’t want to faff around with powder products and want to look more fresh and dewy, I use this. Last but not the least is my limited edition MAC Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder in Soft Sand, just purchased yesterday, and Mom wowed and oohed over the pretty compact.
It was Phoebe of Phoebeann.me who first showed me hers from the range, her deeper shade was the sellout Nude On Board, great for medium tan skin tones. Temptalia, the mega beauty blogger of the US had every positive thing to say about the MAC Pro Longwear Bronzing powders, her fave is Nude On Board as well since she has a medium tan complexion. Almost every shade of this has practically sold out in MAC stores, except for this one, Soft Sand, which just happened to be my exact bronzing match and the second to the last one in stock at MAC Cosmetics SM MOA, it costs Php1400 and here’s what it looks like.
At the moment this MAC Pro Longwear Bronzing Powder in “Soft Sand” is my new baby, I super like it, plus I keep eyeing the compact as Mom does coz it’s quite pretty. I’m guessing that the powder is the same tone that Guerlain Terracotta 01 (for brunettes) would have been had it been available locally so it’s an eensy-weensy bit less warm or rosy than the Guerlain terracotta but still warm enough to suit an oriental complexion like mine, plus the shimmer in it is not bothersome or distracting and behaves similarly to the sheen in the Terracotta Compact, it’s a better candidate for shading or contouring but still works well across the high points of the face thanks to the golden, earthy chic warmth it gives. There is one compact of this left at MAC Cosmetics SM MOA, I’m not quite sure about the other MAC outlets.
Whew, this has been a bronzing marathon, I began writing at about 230pm I can’t believe it’s already 53opm, the day has turned dark! LOL, I’m sincerely curious to know who among you prefers bronzer over blush or do you do the whole blush, bronzer, highlighter armada? I, frankly, don’t have the patience to do all three unless it’s a special occasion, right now I’m not sure how long this bronzer phase will last with me. Who of you can’t live without your bronzer or do you know someone like that? Let me know in the comments about anything bronzer related. To inspire further here is an old video of Lisa Eldridge’s about Bronzing from Summer 2010 in which she applies bronzer looks on four models with different skintones from light to dark.