Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Of Bronzing Bases

If you don't usually rock a rich, bronzed look the entire year, summer is the one time where it's worth considering. It is much too hot to slather on heavy foundation and in scenarios where you know you're more likely to get a little sweaty, you're probably better off skipping powder bronzer. A bronzing makeup base is one option you could explore.

After playing with a tube of Too Faced Primed and Poreless Bronzing Primer, I thought I'd pick up samples of a few liquid bronzers for the face. At Chanel, I got a sample of the Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid in Sunkissed and the Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base in Bronzing. From Guerlain, I brought home samples of the Terracotta Teint d'Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer and the Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation in Blondes.

Of which one is best, it really depends on your purposes. It depends on your skin. But just to help you pick out something that might work well for you, I'd like to describe my experiences with each one.

The Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid in Sunkissed turned out to be very sheer indeed. It adds virtually no color but there's definitely a little shimmer and that's about it. I don't know if this works wonders on a particular skin tone but it doesn't do much for me. I want some color and less shimmer. This begs to be layered over a real bronzing product.

The Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base in Bronzing (pictured above) definitely adds color. It's a cream and it is easy to blend. You could conceivably build your tan with this. It's not shimmery so it works very well as base makeup and looks completely natural if blended out properly. I like this product best for creating contours on the face though. I prefer a liquid for use all over. However, as it can be used for any and every bronzing purpose, with or without an applicator, on top of or under foundation. This seems to be the most versatile of the bunch that I tried and it's what compelled me to buy a full-sized jar. I think it will last forever.

Heavy Swatch of Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Base Makeup in Bronzing

The Guerlain Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation is not so much a bronzing base but an actual foundation, or so they say. The shades are limited to two, however, which isn't all that impressive for a "foundation." Pick between the lighter more orangey Blondes or the darker, more tan Brunettes. I went with 01 Blondes and it created a lovely, bronzed goddess finish on my skin. I was truly one shade darker after using just a pinch of product, which I blended all over my face. The texture reminds me of Armani's Face Fabric. Definitely silicone in there. There's no coverage so I really can't justify them marketing this as a foundation. I would say this is more like a bronzing base with a semi-matte finish. If you have beautiful, even skin, it would look wonderful. If you don't, you'll look the same way you did, just darker.

Guerlain Terracotte Teint d'Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer in Blondes (left) and Brunettes (right)

The Guerlain Teint d'Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer has, again, just two shades (pictured above). So this time I took home a small jar of each. However, this stuff is potent! I really didn't need the second shade as 01 Blondes creates a me that's two to three shades darker with a mere pea-sized drop. I like the texture of this better than the foundation but have a hard time controlling the depth of color. If you want to darken your winter foundation, this may do the trick. With a runnier consistency, it should be simple enough to mix with any liquid foundation but moderation is key. It is remarkably easy to overtan yourself with this formula. But if I had to pick a runner-up (among the four items I tested), I'd say this is it. I like the texture of it better than the Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation and it is more versatile as it can be mixed with other liquid formulations without problems.

The bronzed look is lovely for a weekend. It's easy to slap on a bit of bronzing makeup and lip gloss for your pout and not think about it all day. But after weeks of doing just this (and maybe a pop of mascara here and there), I actually missed wearing foundation and the more perfect finish that it gives me. You could certainly create even skintone while wearing bronzing makeup but that requires adjustments. Like mixing a little of the bronzing potion of your choice with your concealer or foundation. Or you could go with a bronzing base and use a foundation that is one shade darker than the one you normally wear. There's more than one way to do the bronzed look but only one season where it looks totally right, I say. That season is now.


  1. I was thinking of getting the Chanel sheer illuminating fluid and using it as a highlighter. I have to check it out in a shop and make sure that it could look nice on my fair skin.
    I bought the Chanel bronzer base about 6 months ago and I really don't like it, though. I find that it doesn't blend well on my skin and the color doesn't look natural on me, either. I think it has to do with me having fair, cool-toned skin, so it looks both too dark and too orange. http://theblogonastick.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/beauty-misfit-of-the-week/

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. I think that the Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid would work as a highlighter. It's sheer and shimmery. I wanted something with a good bit of color so I preferred the base but it took me awhile to figure out how to use it.

      What works for me: I swipe a thin stripe on the hollow of each cheek, the hairline and jawline, then blend it out quickly with a brush dipped into my regular foundation. The foundation neutralizes the color a little and helps make it blend out better. The end effect isn't a full-on bronze but I get a little color and contouring. The procedure isn't as quick as slapping on a liquid bronzer with your hands though. For that, Guerlain worked out much better for me. If only they had more shades.

  2. Yes, I tried this technique, too, but it didn't work out for me. I tried it both as a base and as a bronzer over foundation (because this is what I saw the Pixiwoo sisters and Lisa Eldridge do in videos). But I think I was unlucky: according to these videos, and to your testimony, it seems that it works well for a wide range of skin tones.

    1. Awww that's too bad. I hope you find something that works out for you. I like the tutorial that Lisa Eldridge did but applying it with the brush she used (the Chanel kabuki-style one) doesn't work for me. And it messes up the brush.

  3. nice review Mylinda, this is very helpful, now I'm more confident to buy the Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base :)