Thursday 23 March 2017

Beauty - The Panel: The Bronze Age

Our changeable climate makes it too soon to tango with a tan, but a bronzer will tide you over

Sarah Caden

Pictured, from left, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Highlighter in 14; Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick in Tawny; YSL Les Sahariennes Sun Kissed Blur Perfector in Ochre; Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush in Video; Clarins Aquatic Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact
Pictured, from left, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Highlighter in 14; Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick in Tawny; YSL Les Sahariennes Sun Kissed Blur Perfector in Ochre; Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush in Video; Clarins Aquatic Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact

It was an unpredictable spring; summery one minute, wintry the next. Sartorially, many of us were caught unawares by the weather, skipping around in our short sleeves as hailstones arrived suddenly, or overdressing on days when the sun split the rocks. It was a reminder that the seasons really mean nothing in this country and, further, that we shouldn't rush into thoughts of sun and summer too soon. So put aside for now any ambitions to get tanned - fake or for real - and play with a bit of bronzer instead. It goes on easily and comes off easily too, for when the weather contradicts your golden glow.

Stick, gel and fluid bronzers are all fabulous, but powder still has its place. A big brush is what you need to fluff it over the points on your face where the sun would hit naturally. You could also apply it more carefully, for a contoured Kardashian effect, but that effect is suddenly looking old. And it will look even more so in the bright light of summer. Sticks, gels and fluids should be applied to the same points of your face, and should blend to a natural-looking finish with the warmth of your fingers. Which, one hopes, won't be the only warmth to hit your complexion this coming summer.

Best Overall

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Highlighter in 14, €45, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork

There are a slew of shades of Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer that do everything from colour correcting your complexion to giving you a lit-from-within gleam. The bronze end of the line will give you a hit of highlighter as well as a touch of tan. If you can cope with glow in your foundation, add a drop of this to a pale shade to provide a seasonal adjustment. No matter how you use it, a little goes a long way. "I love it," said a panellist. "It's also great on collarbones and bare shoulders. Winter wan, be gone."

Best Brick Work

Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick in Tawny, €44, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16

Bobbi Brown's brick palettes have always been big summer sellers, and with good reason. These multi-shade highlighters are a holiday must-have product, as you can use the colours individually on eyes, face or body, or you can just fluff a big brush over the lot and get a gorgeous glow. The Tawny is a really pretty mix, tending towards pink-beige, rather than bronze, and thus proving kinder to paleness. "I like glow but never glitter, and you get that from these bricks," one panellist said. "The pink works as a lovely blush on its own."

Best Matte Magic

YSL Les Sahariennes Sun Kissed Blur Perfector in Ochre, €31, YSL counters nationwide

It looks like a cream, but to the touch it's more velvety, and that's the 'blur perfector' bit. This is a seasonal successor to YSL's Touche Eclat Blur Perfector, which works more as a base for make-up. The bronzer version comes in seven shades, and is ideal for those who don't want any glimmer in their touch of tan. "This is brilliant if you tend to look sweaty or oily-shiny in summer," said one panellist. "And the matte is natural looking."

Best Bronze Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush in Video, €28, Debenhams; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16

This comes from a line of really nice blushes that range in colour from startling purple through pretty pink to this more bronzer-like shade. They're calling it a "soft nude", with rosy undertones. I'm saying it's like a light, gentle tan. Like all the shades in the range, this has a finely milled texture that makes it very velvety, with lots of pigment and loads of staying power. "This is a hint of here-comes-summer on your skin," said one panellist. "I didn't feel try-hard with it on, but I did feel a seasonal shift."

Best Big Sweep

Clarins Aquatic Treasures Summer Bronzing Compact, €38, Clarins counters nationwide

There's something satisfying about a huge compact like this. It feels decadent and 1970s; very Princess Margaret in Mustique. The product itself is divided into quadrants, each one a slightly different shade of bronze, so you can blend them for sun-kissed, or use them individually for subtle contouring. "Old-school in the best possible way," said a panellist. "Applies like silk and gave my whole look a summer lift."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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