Summer bronzer round-up! Featuring Beautycounter, Physician's Formula and Mary Kay


Every time someone complains about their pale skin in the winter, I laugh a little to myself, mostly because they're at least 5 shades darker than me at their palest, but also because I am the same exact shade of porcelain all year round. I don't dislike this -- most of the time -- and if I really try, I can achieve a subtle glowing tan, but I prefer to stay out of the sun for the most part (and I believe that when I'm 50 and [mostly] wrinkle free, the sun-worshippers will be jealous of me for once).

All that said, there is something kind of wonderful about a summer glow, so I'm all about faking it with my favorite bronzing powders. On most days, I go for a subtle look that warms up my fair skin and makes me look that much more alive, although bronzers are also my favorite product to pull out for an evening look when I can contour it up and pretend that I have Cara Delevingne's cheek bones.

So which bronzers are my favorite? Right now, I have 3 in my makeup collection, each at a different price point, and each with a different reason to cherish it. Let's get started!

THE DRUGSTORE BRONZER
Honestly, I don't shop at the drugstore often, and that's mostly because the ingredient list for many drugstore brands is much too dirty for my standards (sometimes you DO get what you pay for). But I've taken a liking to a number of the products in the Physician's Formula Gentle Wear line (formerly called Organic Wear, but I'm assuming they got into some sort of trouble for making that claim). I use their setting powder on a daily basis, but have also used their 100% Natural Origin Bronzer in the shade Bronze Organics - Light Skin.

What do I like about this bronzer? A) The price - it's only $13.95 for .3 oz of product (and you can use a manufacturer coupon to get it for even less). B) It has a mix of two shades, so you can swirl it all together, or select a concentration of just one to get the look you'd like.

What do I not like? A) The packaging, while eco-friendly, is made of paper and after a while, the lid starts to separate from the rest of the package. It does have a magnet that'll hold it together if you place it carefully, but it means carrying it around in your purse is no longer a viable option. B) The color can pull a little orange if you're not careful. I use just a tiny bit and apply it with a stippling brush, which diffuses the color, so it works as an overall bronzer. I would not recommend this one as a contour color, unless you want to look like an Oompa Loompa.

THE MID-TIER BRONZER
Last year, I received a Mary Kay VoxBox from Influenster, and in it was their Bronzing Powder in the shade Light/Medium. This dewy-finish, slightly sparkly bronzer is the absolute perfect bronzer for the evening, or for when you want to look like you have fresh-off-the-beach, luminous skin. I don't typically like highlighters, because I have naturally oily skin and I get a glow on my own within 10 minutes of being outside, but this product gives me a subtle highlighting effect without making me look more oily.

What do I like about this product? A) The price! Only slightly more expensive than the Physician's Formula bronzer at $18.00, this is still pretty affordable, and you're still getting the same .3 oz of product. B) It lasts a LONG time. Although this bronzer's color is much more brown and doesn't pull orange like the PF bronzer, you still only need a tiny bit to achieve the color you're looking for. I've been using mine nearly daily for a year and have JUST started to hit pan.

What do I not like? A) The packaging. Although in this case, I don't like it because it doesn't come with any! Mary Kay makes you buy a separate compact (the options range in price from $17-19) to store your bronzer in. If you don't buy one, you're stuck keeping it in this ugly plastic container til you use it up.

THE HIGH-END BRONZER
If you've read my recent introduction to Beautycounter post, you'll know that I was recently introduced to a brand new, very safe beauty and skin-care line that claims to have the cleanest cosmetics on the market. And while my post talked entirely about their skin care products, I was recently given the opportunity to try out some of their makeup, too! (I'm just going to talk about the bronzer today, but there's lots more coming on this brand soon!)

Beautycounter sells their Color Contour Matte Bronzer in two shades, the first for light/medium skin tones and the second for medium/dark skin tones. Both are matte and come in a slightly larger size at .35 oz (so 1/7 more product, if I did my math right!).

What do I like about this? A) It's matte! Can we just shout that from the rooftops for a minute? For a gal with oily skin, a matte face product is like the holy grail. It means this bronzer can be used for the typical flush of color every day OR it can be used to contour my entire face. I like to contour the sides of my nose and my jawline sometimes, and doing that with a sparkly product just does not produce the result I'm looking for. B) It has a really cool ingredient called Porcelain Flower extract - their website says it's a Thai bloom known for its antioxidant benefits and that it helps moisturize the skin. Pretty neat to think you're getting moisturizer in your bronzer!

What do I not like? A) The price. Take a deep breath guys - it's $36. Ok, I know, it's a steep price, especially when I just talked you through two other options that are 50% (or more) less. I like to think it's more expensive because it's got higher quality ingredients, but at the end of the day, you can only afford what you can afford, and I understand if this one's just out of your price range.

And that's it - my three favorite summer bronzers! Do you have a favorite? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments below!

*Note that I received the Beautycounter and Mary Kay bronzers complimentary, but that does not affect my opinions or decision to include them in this post!

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