They say that, the minute you stop looking, that's when you find "the one" — and I’d been looking for the right bronzer for a very long time. I knew exactly what I wanted: a product that would give me a natural and warm summery glow, but not dot my skin in sparkle, turn it orange, or make it look like I was fresh off of a mud run.
At first, I had all the confidence in the world that I could find such a thing. For that, I blame Shu Uemura, and its now-discontinued pressed-powder bronzer that I had stumbled upon circa 2009. When I wore it, people didn’t compliment me on my makeup — they asked if I had just gotten back from a tropical vacation. With a precedent like that, how could it not become the bronzer to which I measured all others?
But as I tried dozens of powder, liquid, and cream formulations, my hunt for a replacement went from weeks to months to years; oddly, not a one had passed what I thought was a reasonable litmus test. In a particularly cruel trick, some options that appeared sparkle-free in the pan somehow managed to leave teeny flecks of shine on my face. So, to spare myself further disappointment, I gave up on the search entirely. And guess what happened as soon as I did? The perfect bronzer was born, and found its way into my life.
The new Make Beauty Bronzing Brick first caught my eye because of its beautiful packaging: at once minimal and graphic, but with a little detail on the interior that keeps the design from being predictable. I also love that each of the three shades is named for an artsy place in the American Southwest. (Taos, Marfa, Joshua Tree — it’s all very on trend.)
But then I got to the stuff inside. These babies manage to impart a silky finish without so much as one shimmery fleck, thanks to jet-milled powders that are baked on terra-cotta clay tiles. The dusty pink shade (Joshua Tree) injects a bit of health into my vitamin D-deprived complexion; the terra cotta shade (Marfa) gives me a deeper faux tan without looking orange, ruddy, or fake; and though the darkest color (Taos) is too deep for my skin tone, it has reddish undertones that intensify the blue in my eyes when worn as an eyeshadow. Plus, all three are free of talc, a controversial ingredient that can cause breakouts and itchiness.
Suddenly, I’m not only feigning tanned skin and a sharper jawline, but I’m easily pulling off monochrome looks (that match the tones in my hair, no less) in mere minutes, too. The bronzer is so good that I’m already panic-stricken for the day that it may no longer exist. So you better believe that I'm seriously considering stockpiling extras... even though it was just released a month ago. Because if a perfect bronzer only comes around every 10 years or so, then it’s never too soon for me to create an emergency stash.