Fans couldn't get enough of the product's buttery cream formula, which blended into the skin seamlessly to create a believable glow, not to mention the luxe packaging. Then, in 2020, Chanel updated the cult classic, renaming it Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream and – horror of horrors – changing the formula. Beauty bloggers were quick to compare the two products, with many noticing that the updated version was lighter and slightly warmer toned. A new ingredient was also added to the mix: hydrogenated coconut oil, for 'glide-on' application. However, lots of people have since claimed it clogs pores and aggravates acne-prone skin. There were other, subtler tweaks, too. The chic shallow pot is identical to the original except for a beige (instead of gold) CC symbol on the lid, and it's packaged in a beige (rather than black) box to match the entire Les Beiges collection, which includes a range of highlighters (amazing), tinted moisturisers (which sadly do not come in a range of inclusive shades) and blush sticks.
Black women and women of colour were particularly disappointed that the updated product yet again came in only one shade: Bronze Universel. Universal for whom, exactly? We all want a healthy, bronzed look whether we're fair or dark-skinned so when I tried the Bronze Universel myself, I was disappointed to discover that the shade matched my skin tone exactly and felt more like a BB cream. I'm light-skinned and while it gave me an overall glow, I didn't reap the bronzing benefits. It was clear to me that Chanel had not made this product with my dark-skinned sisters in mind. We all deserve to be represented in the luxury beauty space and I wasn't alone in calling for Chanel to extend its shade range. It appears Chanel listened. Now, the brand is launching a second shade called — drum roll, please — Soleil Tan Deep Bronze.
The new shade, which launches this June for £43, is warmer than the Universel shade and designed to provide an even deeper, bronzer glow. The cream-gel texture is exactly the same as the original and has a very subtle radiance when you slowly buff it into the skin: that famous velvety, non-sparkly finish. It was a lot easier to work with and more forgiving than I expected. After I applied my skincare, SPF and foundation, I rubbed my kabuki brush over the satisfyingly smooth formula and gently blended it into my cheekbones to give myself a contoured look. It was a lot darker than I anticipated and I realised I'd used way too much! On the other side of my face, I took a lighter approach and built up the coverage instead. I was super pleased with the results. A little goes a long way and it blended beautifully, giving me a 'healthy glow' as promised.
However, I will always have my dark-skinned sisters in mind so I called my friend over to test it on her skin. Just as the original Universel shade blended into my cheeks like a BB cream, the Soleil Tan Deep Bronze blended into her much darker skin. "I could use this as a light foundation in the summer," she told me as I buffed the formula into her skin. It did give her a healthy glow and evened out her skin tone but there needs to be a much darker shade in order to achieve a more bronzed look.
For now, the new bronzer is doable for Black women and women of colour if you want to look like you've stepped off a plane from a week in the south of France. That said, Chanel will need to be more shade-inclusive if they want to convert us to this luxury beauty space.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream, £43, in Soleil Tan Deep Bronze pre-launches on Chanel.com on 28th June.
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