The Best Bronzers for Pale Skin

This post was meant to go up last Thursday, but I didn't get around to writing it. But this works out nicely because I feel like it's a good followup to my review of the Glossier Invisible Shield from yesterday - they just did a post about bronze-y looks yesterday on Into the Gloss, too.

If you've met me/seen a picture of me, you'll probably know that I'm super pale and also quite pink-toned (those Irish genes though). If I don't put some kind of color on my face, I tend to look sick/dead, so I always make sure to use a blush or bronzer or both when I'm wearing makeup. I feel like it's been easier to find flattering shades of blush (especially when I've got my favorite Glossier Cloud Paints to play with), but bronzer is a different story - it's too dark, too orange, too yellow, too muddy. I've finally found a few that I love and that mimic the look of catching a little bit of a tan without even needing to go out into the sun.

The Warm Ones

I have to be careful with warm tones - if I go too far, it's really easy for me to go into Oompa-Loompa territory. A super blendable formula that's not too deep is perfect here, because you need the ability to add just a touch of warmth without going overboard. I've loved the Guerlain Terracotta 'Joli Teint' Bronzing Powder in 00 since I got it last fall. It's a nice shade that adds just a touch of color to the cheeks, and I love swirling the blush shade into it, too, to add a bit of a flush. A stunning and spendy option I couldn't resist was La Mer The Bronzing Powder - it's quite a bit warmer than I was expecting, but it doesn't cross the line into unwearable for me. This is one of the most stunningly blendable powders I've ever tried. I love that there's different sections to mix together - sometimes I avoid mixing in a lot of the second shade to tone down the warmth. If you've been wanting to treat yourself, this is a must for sure. Do be aware though that both of these options are quite fragranced, in case your skin is sensitive to that.

The Neutral Ones

Because of my cool tones, neutral bronzers are the easiest for me to wear. They still add warmth in comparison to my skin, but it never verges on orange. I'm always drawn to cream products, so the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer in Baked is one of my favorite bronzers. It melts into the skin and blends out super easily with fingers or a brush, so it's perfect on the go. A new addition is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Nude Bronze Light - this is their new shade meant for fair/light skintones. It adds such a lovely luminous look to the skin, so it's the one I always reach for in a rush. It really eliminates the need for extra blush and bronzer, and it just makes the skin look "done" in one swipe. A foolproof option is the Make Up For Ever Pro Bronze Fusion - they're quite sheer, so it's virtually impossible to go overboard. They have so many shade options, too, so it should be easy to find a good match. I have the shade 15I, which is the lightest luminous one, and they have matte choices as well (they have an M in the shade name).

The Red Ones

Hear me out - you'd probably think you'd want to steer clear of red tones, but if you're pale like me, you might tend to go a little red rather than tan. So a bronzer with more of a red tone is really the most natural-looking option. I've been singing the praises of the Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Sunkissed since I got it last summer - not only is the compact beautiful, but the product inside is as well. This is the one that turned me on to red-toned bronzers. It gives my skin the most beautiful, just-got-back-from-the-beach flush. My favorite of them all, I think, is the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder. Again, there's many shades in the line, but I have Elvis Duran. This is also specifically formulated with red tones to emulate the most natural tan. Again, it's actually super flattering on my skin and leaves me looking sunkissed rather than sunburned. The formula is beautiful, pigmented, and blendable as well.

What are your favorite bronzers? What kinds of shades are you normally drawn to?


Falling for Bright Blush

Maybe it's because the weather is warming up, or maybe I've just been inspired by the Glossier Cloud Paint promotional images, but I've been all about brighter blush shades lately - who even am I? I've been such a diehard "no blush" blush girl for such a long time. My cheeks tend to get a little rosy on their own throughout the day, so I was always afraid of accentuating that. However, I realized how flattering and awakening it is when the color is placed behind the apples of my cheeks (on my face, anyway), and I feel like a whole world has been opened up for me.

The products that sparked this, of course, were the Glossier Cloud Paints.* Leave it to Glossier to get me to try something out of my comfort zone. I was thinking I would only use Dusk, the nude shade, but I've actually been getting the most use out of Haze, the berry color, and Puff, the cool pink shade. These are just beautiful, and they way they blend into the skin makes it look like a natural flush. Once I realized that a brighter, cool-toned blush actually suited my complexion and helped me look more awake, I started digging back through my collection and dusting off some old loves, as well as picking up a few new favorites.

I still gravitate towards cream products most days, as they're quicker and easier for me to apply. I've fallen back in love with the Estee Lauder Genuine Glow Blushing Creme* in Sweet Cheeks - it's a lovely, balmy formula that blends out super easily and leaves the most beautiful flush. It really perks up my skin and makes it look well-rested and glowy. Another stick formula I'm always reaching for are the Bite Beauty Multisticks - Mascarpone is my go-to when I'm wanting a more vibrant pink. It's a warm salmon shade that's super flattering and brightening. This formula also works on the lips and eyes if you're wanting to make a monochrome look out of it, too. I've also started using the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose. This is a little more neutral than the other blushes here, but since it's deeper than I normally wear, I figured it still counted. This formula is beautiful and easy to apply - I really need to try more from Bobbi Brown.

When I do want a powder blush, I've got two gorgeous shades I've been alternating between. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat is an old favorite - I gave it to my sister a while ago, and then when she decided she didn't want it anymore, I took it back. I couldn't be happier to have it back, because this one really makes me look the healthiest out of all the options here. It's the prettiest pinky-coral shade with a touch of glow, and it seems to be the exact shade my skin turns when I blush. A newer one I got recently is the Givenchy Le Prisme Blush in Vintage Pink - I assumed it would be a more brown-y pink color, but it's quite bright on the skin. Swirling the four sections together creates such a lovely shade, and the formula of this is unreal - I'm not sure if I've ever felt a softer powder product.

Do you like brighter blushes, or are you more into neutrals and bronzers? What's your favorite blush?


If You Buy One Thing This Month | Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder

Given my penchant for barely-there makeup looks, I'm so surprised it's taken me so long to try anything from the queen of natural-looking makeup herself, Bobbi Brown. I had tried a couple lipsticks here and there, but a couple weeks ago I was on the hunt for a new bronzer that wouldn't look like I had rubbed dirt on my face and for some reason happened to be drawn to the Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Elvis Duran.

I'll start by saying if you're as pale as me (I think I'm about NW15-ish in MAC terms), jump on this shade ASAP because it's limited edition. The shade is described as a warm terracotta brown on the Bobbi Brown website, but it doesn't read orange whatsoever - coming from someone with skin so pink that everything looks orange, that's saying something. The Bronzing Powder comes in eight shades, which is quite impressive, as usually bronzers only come in two or three. All of the shades are formulated with red and brown tones rather than the usual yellows and oranges, since those are the colors the skin naturally produces when tanning. The result is so natural that you really look like you've just come back from a 2-week beach vacation. It's absolutely impossible for me to tan, so it's nice that I can actually fake a bit of a glow now.

The powder is ultra finely-milled, so while it's pigmented, it's super easy to blend into the most natural-looking tan. I apply it either on the high points of my face to look more tanned, or in the usual "3" shape on the sides of my face for some everyday definition. I've noticed I've been getting a lot less "You look so tired!" comments since I started applying this every day. It's just healthy skin in a compact.

If you're in the market for a new bronzer and love the natural look, definitely check out the Bronzing Powders from Bobbi Brown - I've got my eye on one of the Illuminating Bronzing Powders next.

What's your favorite bronzer?