Me & My Bronzers – The Journey
It’s been quite a productive weekend so far, 2 Holiday Collection posts up – read here & here. Washed a bunch of my makeup brushes.. Yea, spent a full hour by the sink last night! Packed some of my makeup and found some forgotten makeup that I picked up some months back. One being the YSL bronzer powder, which inspired me to dig out my bronzers for a picture on Instagram. Yup, it’s the picture below..
Rather than just simply posting this picture up onto Instagram for one of those very popular and well-liked type of group makeup shots, I thought I would bring it here to my blog and talk a little bit more about my experience with bronzers especially when it’s evident from the picture that I do use all of them, with the exception of that YSL one because it’s brand new but forgotten somewhere in my stash (oops).
So I’m not going to just talk about how much I love each and every photographed product, don’t get me wrong, I love them all, some more than others.. duhhh.. we all have our favourites, but I wanted to share a little more about my journey and how I discovered and learned to really love using bronzers.
Let’s go back to 2005, that was when I was still living and working in Singapore and constantly shopping and partying with my bestie who is a huge bronzer addict. Mind you, she’s Indian, so I never really understood why she was obsessed with bronzers. Nonetheless, I picked up my very first bronzing powder from Bobbi Brown. I threw it out 2 years ago (yes, I had it with me for SO LONG). At that time, I simply used it as a contour, although I never really grasped the concept of contouring back then because maybe 9 years ago, I had more baby fat on my cheeks and cheekbones were virtually non-existent! All the more I should have contoured ya? But nope, because I didn’t know how to!
Because the Bobbi Brown BA recommended me to use the bronzing powder as a contour, I always thought that contouring and bronzing were the same thing, just terminology differences, but trust me, they are not. I learnt that several years back when I first started blogging. Will get to that in a bit. So ya, I had the bronzing powder but never really knew or saw the benefit, so it very quickly found it’s way to the bottom of my cabinet.
2006 – This was the year I moved to live and work in the UK – Scotland to be exact but I was flying down to London almost every week for work and spent a lot of time combing Oxford Street, Bond Street and Selfridges. One day, this BA at the Benefit counter tested this box bronzer and highlight on me – it’s called 10, which is discontinued and it came with a little squarish brush that seemed to create cheekbones in one swipe. Of course I bought it.
Again, that’s not really a bronzer per se, but that was kind of how I got started. Mind you, I used to think that bronzers are for fair people who want to look tan and since I was an NC30, I probably wouldn’t need to enhance my tan with bronzers… Boy, I couldn’t be more wrong.
Fast forward to 2011, I picked up the NARS Laguna bronzer from Australia along with the Ita brush. Initially, I was using Laguna as a contour but over time, after I picked up the Chanel Notorious and Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder, I found myself using Laguna as a true bronzer rather than a contour because I finally found the beauty and real benefit of a bronzer and how it’s so different from a sculpting or contour powder. Yes, you can and should use them together but they are NOT THE SAME.
The next bronzers I added to my collection after Laguna were the Chanel Soleil De Tan and the Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Bronzer. I used and loved these 2 for a long time, and I do still use them today, which leaves me wondering how in the world did my collection exploded in just 2-3 years.
Types of Bronzers
Unlike sculpting powders, bronzers come in various finishes and textures – cream, stick, powder, shimmery, matte, the possibilities are endless because it all boils down to how you work with them. You can use them to colour correct a too-light foundation shade, use them to sculpt (although I recommend a sculpting powder with a grey undertone for that), and of course, you can use bronzers to fake that sunkissed Ibiza glow.
Matte Bronzers are great for the perimeter of the face to “darken” or colour correct a foundation that is way too light, especially after a beach holiday. I have been using bronzers to “naturalise” my foundation after becoming 1-2 shades darker after my Maldives trip. The Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Bronzer is a very good matte bronzer that can be used all year round.
Bronzers with micro shimmers are the ones I normally go for because very often, these shimmers are undetectable on the face but yet, they give the face a radiant lift. This is an essential step for my daily cheek routine where I would apply some bronzer kind of in between the hollows and the highest point of the cheekbones but nearer to the hairline. I find that this acts as a very good transition for my contour and blush. I have a video here on how I do it.. Some favourites that I always reach for are Giorgio Armani Sun Fabric in 100, Burberry Summer Glow, Chanel Les Beiges in No.30 and Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Palette.
Glowing bronzers are the ones where you can pretty much wear them alone without blush or highlight and look like you just got back from Ibiza! My current favourite in this category is the Laura Mercier Baked Blush Bronzer in Ritual. It’s so easy to wear, just pop some onto where you would normally place your blush and highlight and viola! Sunkissed glow 😉
9 years on and many many bronzers later, I would have to say that bronzers will always have a special spot in my heart and my vanity. I don’t think I can live without a bronzer – yep that’s a pretty bold statement but it’s TRUE!
Leave a comment below and let me know what’s your favourite bronzer and if you would like to see me do a look or dive deeper into any specific bronzer shown in the pictures in this post. Here’s a sneak peak to an upcoming LOTD with blue smokey eyeliner.