Bronze ambition Found! A not-too-dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you’re familiar with two of my biggest beauty pet peeves. One is shimmer—at least when it occurs in copious quantities away from the eyes, lips or nails. Comme ça:

Kristen Bell Burlesque premiere UK Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

Another is the too-dark, fake-baking sort of tan. (See: Ashley Tisdale; Kim Kardashian.)

Kim Kardashian faux tan blonde hair Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

Where they scarily intersect is in the category of bronzer.

I am AFRAID of bronzer. This is not because I haven’t tried to be its friend. Apparently, though, it doesn’t want to be friends with me. I’m far too pale for most of what’s on the market—usually I end up with a dirty-looking face instead of a golden glow. (It’s a problem. Sabrina and I were talking bronzers, and she had to drive to BARRIE just to get a certain elusive, now-discontinued shade for her pale clients. It was DuWop, by the way and I may as well save you searching for it because I already did and came up empty-handed.)

Also: why is it they have to put shimmer in all of them?! It’s fine for evening, I guess, but I much prefer my highlights to be strategic, i.e. on the tops of my cheekbones, instead of all over my face. It’s just more natural-looking.

But don’t despair—I have some good news! There’s a bronzer that addresses all of these issues, and has just arrived in four new shade families, including a couple extra-light ones for us Caspers. Finally I can welcome the Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor-Made Bronzing Powder into the fold:

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 00 Nude and 02 Natural Blondes Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

The packaging is sick, as per usual with the Terracotta collections. (It’s supposed to mimic the feel of amber and of course, has that signature double G on the front.) Each palette contains four powder shades (for the four seasons):

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder numbers Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

Three of them are matte and one of them (number 3) has a tiny bit of shimmer. But it’s really not much, and because it’s in its own little quadrant, you can totally be strategic about where that goes. According to the instructions inside, we’re meant to apply them like so:

  • Winter: Mix shades 1 and 2
  • Spring and fall: Mix all four shades
  • Summer: Mix shades 3 and 4

Although feel free to be a bad-ass and do what you want.

There are six harmonies in total now, thanks to the four new ones. (The original 04 Blondes and 05 Brunettes remain, but I think are preceded by the word Moyen now, for “medium.”) I love that four of them are based on hair colour instead of the standard light/medium/dark thing that is part of why it’s so hard to find an appropriate bronzer shade these days. The other two are based on ethnicity; 00 Nude for “Asia” and 08 Ebony for “Ethnique” (French way of saying very dark skin).

Now, even though I am not Asian, the one that I’m most excited about is 00 Nude, which is the very lightest:

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 00 Nude Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

Here’s what it looks like on my skin.

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 00 Nude swatches Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

As you can see, shade 1 is non-existent—which I think is great, because then it works as a regular powder. (Convenience!) It’s hard to tell the difference between 2 and 4 but 4 is just slightly darker. And 3 is basically like a blush with barely-detectable shimmer.

The next lightest is 02 Natural Blondes.

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 02 Natural Blondes Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

Here’s how it looks on me:

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 02 Natural Blondes swatches Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

This one’s darker, obvi, and is more of a tone-on-tone palette since it doesn’t have that pink shade. It’s hard for me to tell the difference between shades 1, 2 and 4. I actually think 3 is the most wearable for me, since it’s the lightest and most golden. But seriously, they are all so sheer that you need to apply quite a bit to get this intensity of colour. A good thing in my books, because who else gets frustrated when the first swipe of bronzer paints a dark brown stripe across your forehead? Ew. With these, you’re guaranteed not to pick up too much pigment.

Pale people, are you excited for these two palettes? The other new shades are 03 Natural Brunettes:

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 03 Naturel Brunettes Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

And 08 Ebony:

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor Made Bronzing Powder in 08 Ebony Found! A not too dark matte bronzer in shades to match the seasons and your hair colour

I particularly love that bold blush in Ebony. So fun!

So now for the bad news; these are $95.00 in Canada ($75.00 in the U.S.) which I know is a lot. But if I do my Shiseido Facial Cotton math, it works out to $23.75 per shade, since you’re getting four in one. Right?

Tell me:

Are you scared of bronzer too?
Have you checked out these new Guerlain shades yet?
Got any other bronzer recos?

Get the products

21 Comments

Kate'shomesick
Monday, July 8/2013 at 3:12 pm

It makes me so sad that you don’t like shimmer. I myself am very, very pale…you could call it arctic white :-) and the only blush that I use, as (kind of) a bronzer as well, is MAC Powder blush Style (more peachy) or Springsheen (more rosy). They both have shimmer. I’ve tried everything matte I could find and afford. It doesn’t look right on my skin. Since I haven’t found any make up that I can wear for longer than a few hours (oily skin…sweating from ballet classes) I just use translucent powder and blend it in very well with the help of a little water or setting spray and after that using a matte blush or bronzer …it frankly looks horrible. Any ideas? The bronzers you posted look lovely but for my skintone they’d be much to yellowish.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, July 8/2013 at 9:40 pm

Well if they work for you then don’t listen to me! Haha. I just find personally that when I wear shimmer during the daytime, I’m not so comfortable with it. Depends on the product obviously, but when I catch myself in natural light and I’m wearing one with a lot of shimmer, it just bothers me that you can see the sparkles. Too obvious. (But this is because my daytime look, especially in the summer when you would wear bronzer, is not a lot of makeup at all. At night when it’s balanced by a stronger lip or an eye, and more forgiving light, it’s no problem.)

Are you priming underneath your makeup? I just started testing this primer and it’s pretty great for absorbing oil. http://www.sephora.com/ever-matte-poreless-priming-perfector-P378017.

I think if you use a cream blush and then set it with a powder blush on top, it will last longest. When I need my blush to last I use the Make Up For Ever one http://www.sephora.com/hd-microfinish-blush-P258100?skuId=1229764.

I also really like the Urban Decay oil control setting spray as a last step to the makeup http://www.sephora.com/de-slick-oil-control-makeup-setting-spray-P277222?skuId=1458181. (I would try this on top of your blush/bronzer instead of before.)

I wish I knew of other pale-people bronzer options! Physicians Formula could be an option although I still find them too dark for me. One thing you could try is just going a shade or two darker in the regular powder you usually use. I do this sometimes with these two products http://us.eminenceorganics.com/Antioxidant-Mineral-Foundation_p_476.html.

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Kate'shomesick
Monday, July 8/2013 at 10:19 pm

I don’t wear a lot of make up as well, so I hear you, though I actually don’t mind the sparkle that much. I tried priming but I still couldn’t find a make up, that was light enough and had the texture I was looking for, to work for me. Additionally I found the priming to be kind of clogging my pores and I have really sensitive skin and had a reaction with quite a few products…As a music student affording the perfect primer and make up and powder is almost impossible for me to do. So I decided to use the very cheap powder that works quite nicely for me and a better rouge and two concealers (it has always been dark-eye-circles-galore for me).

I actually use the setting spray in the end. Didn’t articulate myself properly there. Sorry! The one you recommended looks great but again I don’t think the price is something I can get over, at the moment…maybe in 10 years when, no if, I have started to earn some money (god I sound bitter…but that’s what the industry is like today).

Going darker sounds interesting. I’m just SO scared to do that. It took me ages to find make up/powder that’s nearly light enough for my skin, so I’m a little afraid to go back to the “dark” days :D.

Thanks for your ideas particularly the cream blush! The one you suggested would be impossible to get in Germany though, right? Any substitute ideas along the lines of Bobbi Brown or MAC or a company that ships to Europe?
Thanks for your help . I’m a hopeless case I guess ;-)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:50 am

I really like the YSL cream blush! The peach especially. Stila Convertible Colour is good too but not sure if you can get it there.

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Sneza
Monday, July 8/2013 at 3:27 pm

Woo! It looks great and I’m sure it’s fabulous bronzer (Guerlain!!), but you can get pale shades for much less money… a brand that rhymes with Musician’s Normula has some.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, July 8/2013 at 9:42 pm

I like Physicians a lot but I still find them too dark for me :( Although maybe I haven’t seen the one you’re thinking of – which one do you use?

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Sneza
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 11:27 am

Well, the Bronzer & Blush 2-in-1 Glow & Mood Boosting set in Bronze/Natural is pretty light and the Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin 2-in-1 Bronzer & Blush looks even lighter (though I haven’t tried it)… but I think you’re right when you say above that regular old face powder in a slightly darker shade than you would wear as a face powder is probably the best idea. In fact, now I feel like I shouldn’t have wasted cash on the Glow & Mood Boosting compact (so it’s not even keeping me in a good mood, lol).

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huw thomas
Monday, July 8/2013 at 11:04 pm

OMG!! you think you’ve got probs – what about a man. “Natural matte golden tan” – “Good morning liberace!”. I have studied endlessly and for natural, brownish based, not yellow, orange, glittery, orange russet, etc then these do the trick! In no particular order (PS always use big brush and apply very little by little then put a massive thick line under your cheekbones and top off with orange glitter (Joke – ooh I’ve split my sides!)
1 Xen tan perfect bronze
2Benefit Hoola. If you are v pale then a touch of benefit dandelion looks great – even healthy
3 Mac mineralize skin finish natural medium / dark (not actually a bronzer but v effective and natural – must have virtually nothing on brush always)
4 Laura Mercier matte bronze light pressed powder

Good luck bronzees!
Huw

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:52 am

Laughed out loud at this! I think I love you. And good point – a man would have even more trouble with orangey, glittery bronzers :)
Thanks for the recos!

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Beauty Vancouver
Tuesday, July 9/2013 at 1:57 am

Yes, I am afraid of bronzers too! This is a helpful article. Your writing style cracks me up! :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:53 am

Aw I’m glad! :)

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Nomadic D.
Wednesday, July 10/2013 at 9:24 am

This is really great news. I’ve always wanted to love those guerlain terracotta powders, given their cult status, but they were just waaaay too dark for me. These looks like they might actually be perfect. Totally going to check them out, thanks for the tip!

http://www.nomadicd.com

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:53 am

Come back and let us know what you think!

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Comment Avatar Vero Neek
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:31 am

I’m less afraid of bronzers as I am disdainful of them. I’m realllyyyyy pale and don’t tan naturally, so I find that I actually don’t look very good with anything “golden” on my face. I use blush religiously (usually peachy-pink), but bronzer looks silly on me.

I have to mention that I find it kinda strange when companies identify their colour palettes by hair colour, because I’m a brunette but with porcelain skin and I’m sure if I used Guerlain’s “Brunettes” bronzer I’d find it too dark (why would brunettes in particular be darker than blondes anyway? It makes no sense!)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, July 11/2013 at 10:55 am

That’s true! I’m sure they don’t mean us to take it too literally… I mean, I’m wearing the “Asian” one :)

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ana p
Thursday, July 18/2013 at 4:51 pm

Too Faced Matt Bronzer in Milk Chocolate is some kind of wonderful. Benefits Hoola and MUF matte bronzer are all super fantastic natural and not orangey! Just sharing. :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, July 28/2013 at 11:47 am

Thanks! Added to my ‘makeup wish list’ file!

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MyouBeauty
Sunday, July 28/2013 at 8:19 am

You should consider Harmony blush by MAC – it is PERFECT for pale skin. It’s a purple toned blush, but is a dull brown in the pan – it doesnt carry any orange or yellow or pink pigments, so it doesn’t make your skin dirty at all. I am REALLY pale, and it works to give you naturally defined cheekbones – and its MATTE!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Sunday, July 28/2013 at 11:48 am

Cool – would never have thought to try a blush! Awesome reco, I will look for it. Thanks!

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huw thomas
Sunday, July 28/2013 at 1:54 pm

sounds fab!! I’ll give it a go. I’ve been trying the liquid ones now and again (like clinique macho man bronzer for real men) – the mens is more natural than the women’s which is more orangey / gold – but its nailbiting putting it on, build up gradual, gradual,…. BLOB! on cheekbone, blend in for 40 mins and finally realise your face looks like a before and after on a shopping channel selling fake tan. Wipe it off, start again, have strop, rub everything off, march out of the house in a huff with neighbours whispering, “I always thought a woman lived there”…..

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Jane
Wednesday, August 14/2013 at 7:48 pm

Shiseido Bronzer in Light is perfect for pale skin, I use it all the time.

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