So many of you have asked for recommendations on the best bronzers for pale skins… it’s something I’ve struggled with myself for years so I completely understand your frustration when the lightest shades available still look too dark on your skin. Summer 2012 launches have revealed a slight sea change, with a number of brands finally acknowledging that some of us would love a bronzer that provides a gently flattering golden glow, rather than a just-back-from-St Tropez tan.
I have several suggestions for you as part of my Summer Ready Series, from high end through to High St options. Combining them all together might get a bit cluttered, so I’m going to split them into several posts over the next week.
First up is one of the best high end options I’ve found, after much timing mooching around shops having swatchathons and getting strange looks from the Chanel girls (I found their bronzers disappointingly dark for pale skins).
Clarins Bronzing Duo, Light 01
I almost squealed when I first swatched this in Debenhams… I just couldn’t believe how perfectly pale it is! As ever, it comes beautifully presented in a substantial gold compact with a tortoiseshell lid and built in mirror, all encased in a velvet sleeve. Available in 3 colour options, Light, Medium & Dark, I was sent the lightest to swatch for you.
“White tea extract and 100% mineral sunscreen offer protection against the three main causes of ageing pollution, free radicals and UV rays. A combination of mineral and soft-focus pigments are combined with pearls which optically minimise fine lines and imperfections for a luminous, radiant look all day long.”
The lightest shade is matt while the darker tone has very fine gold particles which provide a subtle sheen rather than glittery shimmer. I love that the light shade is properly light and makes up half of the compact and is big enough to fill a large bronzing brush with, so that you can use it alone if you wish. This makes it perfect for uber pale girls, deepening foundation by a fraction, or Winter use when you want to hide a ghostly pallor without actually looking tanned.
Above, in direct sunlight. Below in natural light. I had to swatch heavily to get these to show up as I found my finger only lifted a small amount and a brush even less. Again, this is a bonus for pale girls.
Left - direct light; right - natural light.
I’ve applied it quite liberally for these pics… this wasn’t a case of a light dusting on the spots where the sun catches you - I need to apply quite a lot for it to show up. I’m also wearing a whisper of NARS Orgasm blush on the apples of my cheeks… I never wear bronzer alone as I just think my face looks flat without a touch of blusher. Underneath, I used Laura Mercier Crème Smooth in Warm Ivory. (My forehead always looks a bit red in blog pics - it’s not. If anyone knows a way around this please enlighten me!)
Hand on heart, this bronzer is a joy to use. The powder is densely packed and velvety - there is zero fallout. It applies really smoothly, evened out my skintone and gave it a slight glow, quite an accomplishment from a bronzer which is usually quite firmly in the completely flat matt or disco sparkle category. When I first applied it I messaged my sister to tell her how gorgeous it was… she was so excited (bless her) she popped in when she was passing by to have a look - and was equally impressed.
The deeper shade can be used on areas where the sun hits naturally, with a light dusting of the paler shade over the rest of your face. Alternatively, the deeper shade can be used for contouring, though this may not be ideal because of its slight shimmer. My favourite way to use it is with the two colours blended together. I found that it applied very smoothly and evenly with no edges or streaky bits.
It has an spf of 15 (every little helps!), wears well (I didn’t need to touch it up all day) and negates the need for an additional powder. I honestly can’t fault it.
Clarins Bronzing Duo costs £26 rrp, though the fabulous Escentual.com currently has it at £20.80 (all Clarins products on the site are currently discounted)!