I don't write about bronzers because I so rarely use them. Sometimes, I'll dust on a little bit of Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer from Too Faced and think "I should do this more often," because I love the touch of warmth and dimension that it gives my skin (but then I'll forget about it for another month).
I stay away from bronzers because they're typically too dark to look natural on my fair skin. Like, come on, I live in Wisconsin, I'm not gonna be tan in March. The Milk Chocolate works for me because it's basically as light as you can get while still adding natural warmth.
Many bronzers include shimmer, which is an automatic deal breaker, because IF, by chance, I do want any sort of sheen, I'll want it from my highlight and nothing else. And, of course, nine times out of ten, bronzers are powders and we all know how I feel about those.
CUT TO spring 2016, and everyone is turning out liquid highlighters! Truth be told, I'm still not jazzed on bronzing, but I'll mess around with anything if they put it in a liquid form so I wanted to try them all and see if they were worth getting excited about.
Here I am, made up, but not yet bronzed:
Now, let's start with the one that has everyone talking...
Hoola has been everyone's favorite matte bronzer for a while now, so it's pretty exciting that it's available in liquid form!
Dew The Hoola is very creamy, almost the consistency of a tinted moisturizer. As bronzers go, it's is on the lighter side with no shimmer. It's great if you're fair-skinned like I am, but not ideal for richer skin tones which is surprising and kind of a bummer, since everyone seems to be so wild about Benefit. It's also lightly scented, but the scent almost totally disappears when it dries. I actually find the scent to be summery and quite pleasant, but I'll leave that for you to decide.
Though the liquid bronzer appears opaque, I was surprised at how easily it sheered out, making it pretty cooperative when applying. One thing that did surprise me is that — though the original Hoola bronzer has a little grey in it, making it more universal — the liquid formula is warmer. I hesitate to say "more orange" because that sounds so shady, it's just not as cool toned as it's big sis.
Anyway here it is on my face.
I applied it the same way I apply basically everything, tapping it onto my face and blending with a Beauty Blender. I did so sparingly because bronzers still sort of spook me. A couple of small dots on the tops of my cheekbones, temples, hairline, and bridge of my nose, and my face was taken from spring to summer just like that.
I think the creamy texture is awesome for blending it into whatever product you're putting it on top of, or just adding some warmth to your bare skin.
Now for something completely different...
The bareMinerals serum foundations are already a favorite, and they really came through with their serum bronzer. In terms of consistency, it's the most thin of the bunch, but also the deepest, so it can give you just a hint of warmth or help you look like you just got back from a week in Barbados.
Personally, I think the serum formula is kind of genius. It's very forgiving, applies beautifully, and is one of the only products that I wouldn't advise applying with a sponge. When I blended it using a sponge, even when I thought it was all seamlessly blended, there were a few spots that looked like the bronzer had been stamped on. I grabbed the bareMinerals Face Perfecting brush and went back over it and then it looked perfectly airbrushed onto my face. Any brush would work, it even looks great when applied with fingers, but do you.
You can see how the bronzer is a little deeper, leaning more brown than bronze straight out of the tube, and I think that helps to create a more natural, flattering bronze glow, on my skin at least.
bareSkin Sheer Sun is also free of any shimmer, but it does give your skin just the faintest hint of glow which is really beautiful. It's not even all that noticeable, it just works to make your whole face look healthier.
And now it's liquified!
Nothing makes me feel like I have my shit together like NARS makeup does for SO many reasons. The products. The colors. The packaging. They just make me feel like I've made it, like I'm doing something right.
The NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is amazing on the skin. It feels like a liquid-to-powder formula, and feels like velvet when you're applying. The shade is right in between the Benefit and bareMinerals products, as is the formula and consistency. The one main difference with the Laguna Liquid is that it does have a bit of shimmer.
While that would usually be a deal breaker for me, it isn't (this time around) and here's why: Though there is shimmer, there's not a lot of it. The shimmer that is included is so finely milled that it makes the product glow when it's applied, rather than having sparkle on your face like you'd find in a shimmering powder bronzer. I didn't notice any sparkle when it was on my face or swatched on my arm. Instead, it just diffused and bounced light around and made my skin look better.
NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer is a great middle ground. It's easy to work with, it builds up and sheers out nicely, and it's deep enough to be versatile on many skin tones but not so deep that it will start to create a shadow.
Here are swatches of all three:
I really can't pick a favorite because they're all unique and their differences are what make them each stand outs in their own right. Have you tried any of these liquid bronzers? Let's chat in the comments!
Tynan is a bronze goddess on Twitter @TynanBuck