Mine comes in dark, thick and lots of it.
You know that rosy look you get after being at the beach a bit too long, or "forgetting" to reapply sunscreen (I know, I’m terrible)? It’s what sets apart a natural sun tan from a fake one. The bridge of your nose, cheeks and hairline are rosier than the rest of your tan face space. They glow.
I happen to have the most devastating crush on that look. It suits me. Eight months out of the year, I trick myself into thinking I don’t need it (because in NYC, I don’t have a choice). My olive skin turns a pale, green hue, and I sulk. But those magical three or so months out of the year I can go to the beach, I’m chasing that ever so slight burn, with just enough wrong to make it right.
It just looks good. It brightens the face, makes the whites of my eyes brighter… I’m drooling just thinking about it! Luckily, it’s June, so I can let that thought marinate in my dome without crying.
Growing up in Dallas, everyone wanted to be super-tan. Girls at my high school went to tanning beds (what looked like) every day. There were literally 15-year-olds with deep brow creases. One salon was $5 for up to 30 minutes, with old-ass beds from the '80s that everyone frequented after school.
When I was 16 or so, I became that girl for two weeks and went every day before prom. Looking back on the photos, it was straight-up ridiculous. I did not look gorgeously sun-tanned, as I’d hoped, but more like Magda from There’s Something About Mary. At that point, my tanning bed days were over, but I desperately craved a realistic just-back-from-the-beach look.
What to do?
That’s when I discovered and subsequently fell in love with Benefit’s Glamazon liquid bronzer (RIP). A couple drops in all the right spots, swiftly blended in (repeat for added darkness) and follow with Benefit Hoola (still my favorite powder bronzer) and voilà! I had figured the secret to a tan life out! I could have the look I craved, errryday!
I eventually went off to college and developed and obsession with Edie Sedgwick, false lashes, and pale nude lipstick. Bronze goddess doesn’t come to mind when thinking about my girl Edie, so I took a break from my beloved Glamazon.
Sadly, during my brief separation, Glamazon was discontinued (WHY).
While researching my old staple, I read a review of the product where one woman was pissed Benefit had reformulated it, changing the hue to a rosy bronze instead of simply tan. That’s what I loved about it, yo! There are a million and one bronzers out there, but the rosy hue is what makes it look natural.
Where can I find another one, I thought, and why do makeup companies make a million products that do the same thing, but neglect obvious gaps in the market like a rosy bronzing liquid?!
I saw Josie Maran’s Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in some magazine back in April and was stoked to try it. I loved the idea of a liquid tint in a pot, or a "gel stain" as JM’s website describes it. It’s infused with 50% pure coconut water, with argan oil and vitamin E. No yucky stuff? Fabulous!
It was only after going on the Sephora website that I realized I could have something as life-changing as a Glamazon replacement on my hands. The website swatch for Honeymoon Honey looked rosy bronze, and I whipped out my card without a second thought and overnighted it. Bad girl.
The shoebox-sized package arrived and my sweaty palms struggled to cut the tape free. After digging through what seemed like feet of crumpled butcher paper, I saw the tiny box. I opened it, the rosy, bronze tub smiling (now this is getting weird) back at me. The cool-to-the-touch, flan-like gel had me trippin'. This sh*t is so right, yo!
This stuff truly is great, though. The hint of sweet in my nozzies and satin finish are just the icing on the cake of a long-awaited dream of mine. It’s the ideal consistency for a stain: cooling, soft, and moisturized, without a hint of stickiness. It's perfect for building up your rosy base, before you slap some Hoola on and run out the door being all Greek goddess and all.
That night, I took my empty bottle of Glamazon, kissed it gently (ew) and threw it away. As Tom Petty says, “It’s time to move on, time to get going, what lies ahead I have no way of knowing”--except that I will def be wearing my Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey.