THE YEAR 2019 has been marked by many as a year for consciousness – consciousness for our wellbeing, our beliefs and our bad habits. With more and more people opting for skincare over sun tanning and more and more people taking an active stand to stop flying in order to reduce their carbon footprint and support the climate crisis, it is no surprise that as a result, fake tan and bronzing products are booming.
The attempt to achieve a sun-kissed glow has not waned, however, but the process to achieve one has. In a bid to discover the best, and most natural, tanning cosmetics I tested three different forms of bronzing makeup. The first was a traditional bronzing powder with shimmer; the second was a contour palette with matte and highlighter options to enhance and sculpt; and the final bronzer was in the form of a gel that can be applied before or after foundation.
The Terracotta powder by Guerlain has become a cult product in the make-up industry. The formula, enriched with moisturizing active ingredients, and the deep and long-lasting colour provided means it remains at the forefront of bronzers. As someone who has pale and red skin for the majority of the year but tans deeply in summer months, I chose shade 02 Natural Blondes. This has served as the perfect transition from pale to tan, and its ability to expertly pair with each of the three foundations that I rotate between is impressive.
Also, to my surprise, the bronzer can be applied beautifully without foundation or any makeup base underneath it. With the help of the Guerlain Kabuki brush, the application is seamless and warms up the face without any pesky patches or stark discolouration. Although I use it predominantly as a general bronzer to warm up the face, if you pinch your brush and apply the bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks you can also achieve more precise contouring. Available in eight shades for all skin tones, and offering both shimmer and matte version, this bronzer has all bases covered, pardon the pun. It’s impossible to get it wrong!
Dior Backstage Contour Palette, £36The Dior Backstage Contour Palette was the product that surprised me the most of the three bronzing products. I have always found palettes, excluding eyeshadow, incredibly fiddly and difficult to use. I also find that there is usually one or two shades that I enjoy and that the others go wasted. With this in mind, I swatched each individual square of the Dior palette, two beige and bronze highlighting powders and two ultra-fine matte sculpting powders, to determine which I could see myself enjoying.
To my surprise, I fell in love with each square of the palette at first swipe. And when I applied it to my foundation base the rich pigmentation and smooth texture wowed me so much that I now never leave the house without it. It’s no wonder that this item is every Dior make-up artists’ secret weapon to effortlessly sculpt and define the face with professional customised intensity. Inspired by the energy backstage at the runway shows, the Dior Backstage Contour Palette offers shades that suit all skin tones in buildable matte and iridescent textures.
Finally, I chose the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel in the hope that it would teach me something new about my makeup preferences. Cream-gel bronzers have always intrigued me but I have never been daring enough to try them. This Chanel version, however, has completely won me over. It is incredibly easy to use, buildable and lightweight and it glides on leaving a velvety finish. One of the main reasons for my love for the product is the fact that it can be worn either on top of or under your usual foundation.
Bronzer before foundation? You may ask. I also questioned the same concept but found that when doing so a subtle glow and a natural finish is achieved like never before, one that enhances the contours of your face rather than distorting them. I have also tried their suggestion to buff the bronzer all over my skin, targeting certain areas in particular, as the first step of my makeup regime and this has also been surprisingly successful and worked well for days with less foundation.
Composed of mineral waxes for a smooth application, and mineral powders for a mattifying result, the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel is the perfect addition to your make-up bag. It is great for sensitive skin, it is extremely adaptable and can be used alone or with foundation, and finally and most importantly – a little goes a long way. Meaning this product can be relied upon to last.
by Lily Rimmer