Swatch & Review: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Bali Brown

The story again takes us back to my makeover at Bobbi Brown this summer. My best friend HM was there with me, and at some point she pointed at something and asked the SA:” could you try that on her?” I had never ever used a bronzer before, partially because I was pretty satisfied with my skin tone (I used to go to the beach in Taiwan to get tanned. And man, I could get SO tanned. Living in Belgium has made me a lot paler though), and partially because most women I’ve seen with bronzer on look orange, and that profoundly unsettles me. However, HM has known me for 9 years and she’s got a good eye for the type of makeup that would work for me (she was the one who nudged me into trying gel liner. Honestly I can never thank her enough for that), so I stayed quiet and let the SA do her job. She picked a color, and half a minute later when I looked at myself in the mirror, the only thing I could think of was:” holy c***, don’t I look all bronzy, beachy, healthy, and happy now!” The amazing product turned out to be the Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Bali Brown. I was pretty sure I’d make Bali Brown part of my collection right there and then, but decided to hold it off for the upcoming trip to the US. 3 months later when I made it to New York, I was still determined to hunt it down (yes, it left that much of an impression on me). When I got to the counter at Macy’s on Herald Square, I asked the SA to try it again on me just to make sure.

You see, my ex housemate T was there with me. He knows nothing about makeup, but when we were walking around in CVS a few days ago, he stared at the Milani bronzer ad and exclaimed:” what is this? Why is she orange?” And he was right, the model in the photo is pretty… orange. As a result, when he heard I’d like to try a bronzer, he was a bit skeptical. When the SA was done with it however, T looked at me and announced happily:” you don’t look orange! You just look tanned!” Coming from someone who has known me for long enough, that was reassuring. I asked the SA to throw Bali Brown into the fast-expanding pile and went home with it.

Bali Brown looks like a brownish orange in pan, but I’d venture to say the undertone is rather neutral. When I swatch it on my hands, especially if I sheer it out, it ceases to look “orange.” Instead, it just adds a bit of credible tan. The texture is very fine and not at all powdery. The pigmentation is very decent. It’s not pigmented to the point that you would instantly make a fool of yourself if you don’t watch out, but it’s definitely pigmented enough and you can build it up. It also has some sparkle, which means if you’re looking for a bronzer to contour your face with, you might have to look somewhere else. The sparkle is actually pretty discreet though, and it plays well with light. I’ve worn it a couple more times, and I don’t have the impression that the sparkle makes my face look like a disco ball. In the swatch pictures you can see how it looks both swatched heavily and sheered out.

Since it’s the first bronzer I’ve ever owned, I wouldn’t call it my HG yet. I’m also just learning how to do it properly. However, it was a love at first sight for me, and I’ve heard it works well for those with cool undertone, too. If you’re looking for a bronzer, you might want to take a look at Bobbi Brown!

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