Saturday 20 January 2018

Bronze Age - the top five bronzers

We tend to bronze badly, says our expert, but the panellists' five bronzers are foolproof picks

Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact
Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact
L.O.V The Delightful Bronzing & Illuminating Powder in Bronze Glow
Clinque Blend it Yourself Pigment Drops
Tom Ford Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflects Gilt

Sarah Caden

Our tricky relationship with the sun can be seen in how lobster-coloured we go as soon as it comes out, but also in how we fake bake. Traditionally, the Irish rule of thumb is: the paler the skin, the darker the shade of foundation, fake tan and bronzer we choose. We are blind to tide marks and muddy go-faster stripes, and call our efforts 'sun-kissed,' but to everyone else it's delusion.

Now well-educated in the damaging effect of the sun on our skin, we are a little bit smarter about sun protection. This means we are a little more pasty and keen to cover up that fact. Bronzer is the easy way to do it. It cleanses off, so there's no patchy fading and no commitment. Further, a summery look is easily achieved if you pick a colour close to how you'd tan naturally. Not that you'd dare tan any more.

Best Overall

Clinque Blend it Yourself Pigment Drops, €34, Clinique counters nationwide

Clinque Blend it Yourself Pigment Drops

Since the launch of last year's Blend it Yourself foundation, there has been demand for a bronzer version. So here it is, a pigmented solution, drops of which you add to your moisturiser or other skin care. You can achieve limitless effects according to how much you add, and what you add it to. Drop it into a winter shade of foundation, or into your SPF for a hint of a tint. "A game-changer," said one panellist. "My summer make-up sorted in a single bottle."

Best Glow-Getter

L.O.V The Delightful Bronzing & Illuminating Powder in Bronze Glow, €10.95, Shaws; selected pharmacies nationwide

L.O.V The Delightful Bronzing & Illuminating Powder in Bronze Glow

This product is composed of peachy-pink and mid-brown stripes, like a tan caught through a slatted fence. Both shades are subtle and matte on the skin. You can use them separately, in a contouring style, or together for a peachy-tanned effect. Use a big fluffy brush and draw a figure of eight on the face for a lightly tanned pick-me-up. "This is really flattering on my pale skin," a panellist said. "It's not too tanned-try-hard, but the winter is gone from my face."

Best Matte Mate

Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Bronzer in Saffron Sun, €58, Brown Thomas

The compact is half the selling point of this product; it's all matte-black ridges and a satisfying weight in your hand. It feels impressive and, yes, it would want to. The bronzer is luxurious and velvety, with intense pigment, and the matte finish feels properly Posh. You could nearly convince yourself that you get close to her complexion with it. "This is nicely blendable, which is good because there's decent colour impact," a panellist said. "Intense, but not in a muddy 1990s way."

Best Tropical Tint

Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact, €47, Clarins counters nationwide

Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact

Clarins's annual bronzer release tends to offer several shades of terracotta-to-earthy in a single large compact, and this year's is no exception. With its pattern of jungle fronds, this limited-edition bronzer tends to the warm tones, with sections of different shades, starting with a pale orange and finishing up a deep tan. "I brought this away with me and enjoyed the versatility of varying the shades as the week (and the tan) progressed," a panellist said. "I started with the lighter ones and ended the week using the darker."

Best Multi-Tasker

Tom Ford Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflects Gilt, €67, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork

Tom Ford Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflects Gilt

We know it's dear. We know. Does it help at all if we say that you can use it dry or wet - the latter for more intense pigment and more gleam? Or how about if we tell you it works brilliantly as eyeshadow, too? Cuts down on excess luggage in your holiday suitcase? No. Well then, some of you will settle for the fact that it's gorgeous, and try to square the expense with yourself. "This is not too brown, and it lends an evening beach-bar glow," one panellist said.

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