Cream Bronzers: Why So Pale?

Recently it seems cream bronzers are making a break in the beauty blogging world. I personally was drawn to them because I had assumed they'd last slightly longer than powders, that they'd give a more natural finish and well.. they're just different - what kind of a beauty blogger would I be if I wasn't curious? ;)

I think most of us can agree that this all started with the Chanel Bronze Universelle/Soleil Tan de Chanel. I too, was drawn to this and came to own one through a blog sale. However, I hardly touched it. Then a few weeks ago, I received the Sienna X Illuminating Cream-to-Powder Duo*. This, again, was left unused after a few trials.

The reason? They're just too light for me - an NC30, which is not a skintone I struggle to find powder bronzers for. This isn't a rant or a post of vengeance - it's a warning sign to other medium skintoned girls hoping to buy a cream bronzer, and it's a flashing neon arrow sign for brands about a market waiting to be fulfilled..

To explain what I mean, above are a few swatches. From the left you see Sienna X's bronzer, highlighter and then Chanel. Now they are completely competent of contouring someone of perhaps NC20-25 or lighter. However, the reality is that you blend cream bronzers a lot more, and frankly, these disappear into my skin. I've tried brushes, I've tried fingers, I've tried blending, I've tried patting. The Chanel is just too light, and the Sienna X just doesn't seem to build, and the amount of product I use to get a hint (if that) with either, just isn't worth it.

So what's out there for medium skintoned girls?
I did a bit of research and found that some cream bronzers have catered for darker skintones - these include the Hourglass Illume Creme-To-Powder Bronzer Duo (of which the packaging, can I just say, is exactly the same as Sienna X's?) and the Tom Ford Shade and IlluminateMAC also recently came out with Sculpting Creams in loads of shades. However, you are talking a whopping £55 for Tom Ford, and Hourglass at £40! So if you are a medium skintoned gal yearning for a cream bronzer, you're either gonna need a wad of cash, a whole lot of patience or an affinity for the MAC formula.

So a disappointing start for me, needless to say. But there's no denying that in terms of formula, both the Chanel or Sienna X would be great for lighter skintones - the Chanel is creamy and soft, while the Sienna X is smooth and dries to a powder finish - the highlighter is also very pretty and glowy, and the packaging is pretty badass.

Again, this wasn't meant to be a rant nor a wrathful word vom, but a slight nudge (and a long ass ramble). After two disappointments, I am sat on the edge of my seat, figuratively frothing at the mouth for a brand to come out with a darker and affordable cream bronzer. Cue neon arrow sign.

But maybe it's just me - am I using them wrong?
Perhaps I am.  If you've made either of these products work for a medium skintone, I'd love to know!

What cream bronzers work for you?
Have you ever had trouble finding something to suit your skintone?

*Sienna X received for consideration.


  1. I only own the Chanel bronzer and it shows up well on my NC25-30 skintone. Its subtle, but still noticeable in a natural kind of way. Maybe try a flat top or buffer brush. xx

    1. I've seen it work on others with NC25-ish skintones so I was really surprised it didn't work on me! I've been using a flat top buffer brush :(

  2. Have you tried the MAC Sculpting Cremes? I've got one and it's amazing - they also come in loads of different shades (many of them very dark and not as orange as the Chanel!) xx

    1. Nooo, been wanting the highlighter and a contour for that but haven't read many reviews so I talked myself out of it.. but now you're tempting me haha.

  3. I really want the chanel highlighter, but it's just so expensive!

  4. Thanks for the post. I thought about getting the Chanel bronzer, but Im NC35 so I don't think it would work for me.



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