Spring-to-Summer Bronze and Glow

June 2, 2014

I shared my favorite bronzers and illuminators with you last year in my Summer Glow post. There are a number of new bronzers and glowy products out this year that I’ve been testing lately that I wanted to share with you. Two have made the favorites list again this year. I’ve split this year’s post into two categories: glow and bronze. For me the two aren’t necessarily separate, I like to mix, blend and layer products to create a custom natural bronze or subtle glow. All of these work well with my normal combination sensitive skin (no break outs or reactions to these).

  • RMS Living Luminizer is one of those cult classic products. I’ve long resisted because after feeling it a few times in stores thought it would be too greasy for my normal/combination skin. I finally caved after a few friends demanded I give it a try. It is one of the most dewy and glowy highlighters I own but it does miraculously give a natural healthy sheen. It has barely any color on my medium skin and isn’t too pale to give a sharp white contrast. It just gives a subtle sheen. I like this under blush or over it to add a bit of glow. I dab it on very lightly with fingers.
  • NARS Illuminator in 413 Blkr (review here) is a lovely champagne colored highlighter that isn’t too pale or too yellow, it’s gorgeous mixed in with foundation or used as a highlighter
  • Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow is one of my holy grail highlighters, it’s perfect for medium-tanned skin beauty lovers who are looking for a good neutral highlighter that isn’t pale, I use it as an eye base, on the cheeks, on the temples, I’ve hit pan on this twice, it’s a must-have with gorgeous shimmer and non-greasy finish, it’s perfection
  • NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand is new for summer, also limited-edition, I had to wait several weeks for this one, it sold out at all the counters near me so I ordered online, if you haven’t checked this one out, I recommend it, it’s a unique gorgeous peachy shimmer that dries down to a non-dewy finish (so it stays put)
  • Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust is repromoted this year, it sold out in the blink of an eye last year, if you missed out the first round, you have a chance to buy it this year (but with a white cap), I’m about half-way through mine from last year, it’s extremely pricey but worth every penny (review last year here)

  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light made the list again this year, it’s a sheer glowy powder with tiny micro sparkle particles but looks very natural on the skin, I recommend using a cream base (highlight or blush) underneath to help the color adhere better, once it does you get a lovely natural glow (also available in the palette/trio reviewed here)
  • Chanel Les Beiges Multi-Colour No. 02 (review here) if you’re looking for something new this summer, this is the bronzer to buy, it’s soft and natural and for me, it’s back-up worthy
  • Chanel Blush Creme in Cheeky is a new blush creme from the summer collection, I thought it would be too similar to Destiny but it proved to be more pink and neutral
  • Armani Liquid Summer Bronzer (review here) is a nice darker liquid bronzer, if you like a layerable fluid bronzer, I recommend this one (although if you have the classic Bronze Universel by Chanel, you don’t need this one because the color is similar)
  • MAC Extra Dimension Bronzer in Aphrodite’s Shell and Delphic are both part of the Alluring Aquatic collection (both limited-edition). These are on the more subtle end of bronzers with a unique satiny-matte texture. They are buildable and with a slightly harder texture which makes these easy to layer on softly. They also adhere well to the skin and don’t budge once applied. I adore both shades and prefer Delphic because it’s more dramatic but they are both gorgeous. I would highly recommend acting fast with these, I’m surprised they are still available online and at counters.
More close ups in case you want to see the texture and shimmer in more detail:

There are a number of classic products such as NARS Multiples, Armani Fluid Sheers and all sorts of bronzers and highlighters that I adore. These are some that have been on my radar for a while (new ones along with tried and true).

What’s in your beauty rotation right now for bronzers or highlighters?

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  • Joanne Sherrell June 2, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    There's nothing I love better than bronzed and glowing dewy skin. All of these products look absolutely amazing! Especially the new Mac releases. I'm going to have to invest!

    Blogdesherrell.com, x

  • Kica June 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    First of all thank you so much for your in-depth reviews, bot they and you are very much appreciated. My goodness, both the EB and TF illuminators are gorgeous!

  • ErinElizabeth June 3, 2014 at 12:58 am

    I really want to try the liquid NARS illuminator, but it makes so nervous because of the liquid-ness.

  • Scent Hive June 3, 2014 at 3:48 am

    How does the NARS Hot Sand compare to the Koh Gen Do Illuminator? They look a little similar. I have the Koh Gen Do and I really love it, but am looking for something along the lines of Becca's Opal, but I can't stand the smell of that product unfortunately.

    • Sabrina June 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

      I'll double check today, making a note to myself to pull out the two to compare. I don't think I've ever found anything similar to Becca Opal.

    • Scent Hive June 5, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks Sabrina! Becca's Opal is so lovely, I just wish they would make it unscented. I gave it another try recently as I received a sample of it, but the scent never dissipates. A deal breaker for me 🙁

      On the positive side, I am just loving the Koh Gen Do Illuminator. It is beautiful! I love to mix it with bit of liquid blush like the Hourglass Aura Cheek Stain, or YSL's new Baby Doll Kiss & Blush. So pretty!

    • Sabrina June 6, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Hi – just pulled both to compare, they are pretty similar but the NARS is lighter in finish. Send me an e-mail at [email protected] – I'll explain in more detail.

  • MochaGirl262 June 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Oh these look gorgeous! I'm still obsessed with Mac's Soft and Gentle and The Balm's Mary Lou Manizer. xo Kelly msdioraddict.blogspot.com

  • Bella June 3, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for this post, I am kind of bronzer crazy myself now! At the moment rotating GA Sun Fabric 200, Guerlain Terracotta no 5, Chanel Les Beiges no 40 and multicolour, Hourglass Radiant Light.
    For the glow I have Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone, the lightests shade of les Beiges Multicolour, the glow I get from using my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes which I ADORE. I'm not such a highlight person, I have Kevy Aucoin, Nars Albatross, Edward Bess Afterglow, but they seldom see action.

  • darlingdee June 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I need the EB and Hot Sand. How amazing!


  • SJ Sellers June 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    You have me sooo curious about the Edward Bess. I love EB and this highlighter looks lovely.
    I have been using the ByTerry Tea to Tan this month and Holy Cow I love it. It is kind of a pain to apply but worth it for me. I am extremely fair and it is hard to find a bronzer product that doesn't make my skin look dirty. This is gorgeous. I feel GLAMOROUS when I wear it. It's very hard to describe but it is stunning. I'll be buying backups (just in case 🙂 )

  • Ellen Rennie June 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Nice post. Totally loving bronzers at the mo, they are lovely for summer.

    E, x

  • Vi Huynh June 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    For bronzer I've actually been indulging and getting organic spray tans from Aviva Labs to not only even everything out, but also to get a sunkissed look without having to use too much product on top of it! I add a little bit of NARS Illuminator to my regular Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and then pat some RMS Illuminizer on my cheekbones and down my nose. With my oily skin I was hesitant to use it but it really is so great for a natural glow that doesn't look like an oil slick!

  • Caitlin June 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I just ran out of Living Luminizer and I am chomping at the bit to re-order, I think it is the best dewy highlighter that looks as though it is one with your skin and not sitting on top of it. I am on the fence about the Chanel bronzer, trying to decide if I really need it or not, it looks so beautiful. Beautiful and informative post as usual!

    Caitlin Confidential

  • Sybil Mae June 3, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Tom Ford Fire Lust looks stunning in the packaging! I love those MAC Extra Dimension Bronzers as well, they are amazing! 🙂


  • Abby Evans June 3, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I love the way the Nars Luminizers look, definitely want to try them out!


  • Dovey June 4, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Hi Sabrina,

    Gorgeous post!! I admit I'm a bit envious of how these summery bronze-y shades complement your skin! I would LOVE to have picked up 413 BLKR and Hot Sand, but I have a feeling the undertones would be hard for me to pull off. I think NARS O illuminator is probably as warm as I feel comfortable going on an everyday basis!

  • Behindthepillar June 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I can thoroughly recommend TF's Fire Lust. I find it to be a very versatile product – as a highlighter or mixed with moisturiser or matte foundation for glow and a little goes a long, long way. I am still on the fence re Chanel's les Beiges No 1 – I want to love it more than I do but it's really not performing (poor pigmentation and longevity) Susan, London

  • Lucia Nora June 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Love this article! I'm about to look for some perfect bronzers for summer, and I wrote a post on my LIST! Check it here: http://www.fabpeonies.com/make-up/the-best-bronzers-of-20132014



  • Claudia Fox June 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    That's it I give in, I'm buying the hourglass powder. Radiant light looks perfect for me 🙂
    Recently Posted by Claudia Fox|My Skincare Kit

  • Luzia Broger June 5, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I love this Post !!
    The Chanel Le Blush Cheeky is a LE one???
    xoxo Luzia

    • Sabrina June 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

      It has been listed as limited-edition on the product sheets.

  • asianhomie101 June 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    These look so PRETTY. I've been lusting over the Nars illuminator for awhile now… I feel it looks so beautiful on my skin!

  • Judy June 7, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Wow!!! So many products to choose here for bronze or glow. I wanna try the MAC ones. They seem to have a good coverage.

  • Ellen August 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Got Aphrodite's shell on your recommendation. Its fair, even on my very fair skin, but great consistency and easy to layer a brighter color over it tto get that light golden glow with a pop co color. As for highlighters, I never was a fan until I tried the warm pink one that is one quarter of the Sharon Osbourne mineralize skinfinish duo. Its perfect. I had purchased MAC's Lightscape thinking I needed the lightest highlighter possible since I use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Ethereal Glow as an allover powder! But it doesn't seem to do anything for me. Once I saw your swatch of Hourglass Luminous LIght, its pink tones may be close to the MAC LE product I love. I swatched Soft and Gentle in the store and it did not seem to have the warmth, just a lot of shimmer, but it may be better than Lightscape. I also tried Estee Lauder's pink gelee highlighting blush, which doesn't come out as cool a pink on my skin as it looks in the pan. It may be my replacement for the MAC LE Refresh highlighter if I find nothing else. Maybe I'm not applying it correctly, a mini lesson would be great. You seem to do very well with these glowy porducts! Thanks for your invaluable swatches, they allow me to compare products in minutes that would otherwise take multiple shopping trips, if available at all!

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