4 weeks ago

Tried & Tested: We’ve Tried Many, Many Bronzers, And These Are The Best


From new launches to old reliables, we share the best bronzers of 2020 …

It’s the time of year when lots of glamorous bronzer compacts launch. But, just as with foundation, if you’ve already found your favourite, you won’t easily divert. It’s not always easy to track down the one that perfectly suits your skin tone. And we want those almost imperceptible benefits: the perfect bronzer will just warm your skin a little and make you look glowing with health, even if you’ve barely left the house. Far from a temporary and frivolous summer fling, a bronzer should be a hard-working staple element of your make-up bag.

During the past few months, many people I know have jettisoned the majority of their usual make-up. I for one haven’t worn mascara in months, and have pretty well forgotten how to put foundation on (if I ever really knew). As for eyeshadow, I’d actually feel a bit self-conscious – all dressed up and nowhere to go. But bronzer? More important than ever. As we’ve adapted to Zoom calls, we’ve realised that a bit of bronzer goes a LONG way in making us look more awake, healthy and together. “I’ve been wearing Chanel’s Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base,” says one bronzer aficionado. “I find that because it isn’t powder, it doesn’t sit into wrinkles as much. I also like Nars Laguna, especially as it doubles as eyeshadow too; I also find Benefit Hoola good as there’s no orange in it.” Another says she’s wearing Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow Flash “all the time, even when walking the dog, plus a bit of the Cheek to Chic blusher, which is more like a bronzer as you can swirl it about; it lifts my very dull tired skin and gives it a little bit of life.”


For me, the best and most natural one for all day, every day, is Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder. I’ve been a Les Beiges devotee since it first launched back in 2013: the only bronzer I’d worn before that was Wonderglow, a sparkly bronze powder that everyone wore in the eighties to emphasise their cheekbones in a deeply unsubtle way, inspired by Sheena Easton. But in this decade, Les Beiges was love at first dust – it just warms your skin without looking like make-up, somehow. The effect is subtle and natural. My favourite was the original version with SPF15, as  an instant skin protector too – the original brush and go. Now I alternate between using the powder, or the new Les Beiges Soleil Tan Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, an update of enduring Chanel favourite Soleil de Tan. It’s great. A solid formula, like a creamy block of colour the texture of suede, it buffs effortlessly into skin (use a firm kabuki-style brush) for a seamless finish.

Other favourites include Nars’ Paradise Found, which has a pretty streak of gold to add sparkle for evening. I’ll probably never use it, but it does have an Ibiza nightclub vibe to it. I also return regularly to Saffron Sun, from Victoria Beckham’s Estee Lauder collaboration, a trusty formula in the glammest chunky compact. If you prefer an oil-based cream formula, go for RMS’ much-imitated natural, organic and cruelty-free version, based on coconut and other seed oils; it’s good for sweeping onto eyelids too. Finally the new Charlotte Tilbury Bronzing Powder (in four shades) comes in a ginormous compact and I like the fact it’s refillable (refills €35, rather than €50 full price), though I’ve only tried the Fair shade which is more like a mattifying face powder for me.

My one caveat with bronzers is that I don’t like the idea of wearing talc on my face all day; most bronzers are made predominantly of talc. Is this not bad for your skin? I asked Eavanna Breen, founder of Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic in Dublin 2, who notes that “talc in itself is safe to use on the skin … The majority of products that contain talc are safe if used as directed and not applied to skin when the lipid barrier has been compromised. If you are concerned about the use of talc in your make-up, look for alternative ingredients – rice powder, corn starch or silica are good options. The Jane Iredale mineral make-up range is talc-free.”

Whatever you wear, the best idea is to make sure you double-cleanse at the end of the day. At this time of year, you should also be wearing an SPF daily, so good evening cleansing is especially important to remove all traces. “I recommend to my clients that they double-cleanse at the end of every day,” advises Breen. “First with an oil-based cleanser that will bind to make-up, particulate matter and sunscreen better than a regular cleanser, and then with a milk, foam or gel-based cleanser (depending on your preference) to remove any residue of oil. This will ensure you are removing all the debris from the day, and allow your nighttime skincare to do the work that it needs to do.” Akina’s online skin consultations are €50, redeemable against product, and involve an analysis of your skin and any concerns you might have; www.akina.ie.

How to choose a good bronzer, by make-up artist Leonard Daly

A light dusting of a good bronzer will not only enhance your cheekbones but will also give your complexion the look of being in the sun for a week without the sun damage. Along with blush, it’s the quickest way to make yourself look healthier and more alive. As when choosing the perfect foundation, you need to shop around – the wrong bronzer shade can make you look mighty orange or even grey. Since it’s hard to try on bronzers at the moment, consider these four tips: 1 Bronzer should be matte in finish when using on your face – the aim is to mimic actual sun tan and our skin does not glitter. You can add your highlighters etc but your bronzer should be matte. 2 Ensure that your bronzer is not too warm in tone, and avoid anything that looks super orangey. 3 Make sure that the product blends well ­– there’s nothing worse than lines of unblended bronzer. 4 The bronzer should be about two-three shades darker than your skin tone.

Are you applying your bronzer properly?

To put on bronzer perfectly you will need a big fluffy brush – this ensures beautifully blended sunkissed skin that looks natural. Focus on the ‘high points’ of your face: cheekbones, temples, forehead, tip of nose and chin. Apply the bronzer where the sun would hit if you were to stand in the sun at midday.

The make-up artist’s choice: Leonard Daly’s top four

I have tried multiple bronzers over the years from every brand – here are the ones I always return to: 1 Bobbi Brown’s Bronzing Powders, €37, have been a staple in my kit for many years. Available in six shades, working with the palest skin tones to the deepest, it blends beautifully and a little goes a long way, so will last a long time in your make-up bag. Another bronzer that I always buy is 2 Chanel’s Soleil Tan Healthy Glow Bronze Cream, €43. In the tub it has a cream/gel like finish but when blended on the skin gives a velvety finish. It is such a shame that it only comes in one shade, which works well on sallow caucasian skin tones but can look orange on very pale skin tones. 3 Charlotte Tilbury’s new Airbrush Bronzer, with four shades, €50, is infused with hyaluronic acid that will help hydrate your skin, and it also has smoothing and pore-blurring ingredients. There’s also a retractable brush (€40) that is the perfect size for bronzer; its crisp white hair bristles are incredibly soft. Finally this year’s Summer Bronzing Palette from 4 Clarins, €44 (limited edition), is sheer perfection. Within the compact there are three shades of bronzer, perfect if you use self-tan as you can adapt and use the shade that suits you on any given day.


Chanel Soleil Tan Healthy Glow Bronze Cream, €43, at counters nationwide



Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, €50, at www.brownthomas.com and www.arnotts.com



Clarins Summer Bronzing Palette, €44, at www.clarins.ie



Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, €37, at counters nationwide


Far from a temporary and frivolous summer fling, a bronzer should be a hard-working staple element of your make-up bag.  


Nars Mini Bronzing Powder in Laguna, €19.38 at www.feelunique.com 



RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer, €30, at www.SpaceNK.com



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