May 2016 Birchbox Review #4: Benefit Hoola Bronzer

There’s a reason this bronzer is a lot of people’s Holy Grail.

Confession: before this Birchbox, I’d never tried Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer. I know, I know. This means I’m practically in the dark ages when it comes to makeup.

Back in high school when I was very interested in makeup, I didn’t need to see the reason to use bronzer, because I’m already pretty tan. Of course, this was before contouring was introduced into everyday makeup (thank the Kardashians for that). Then, I had this giant period where I was anti-makeup throughout college and my early twenties. So as I dipped my toes back into makeup in my mid twenties, bronzer still wasn’t my favorite product to try.

It’s been a few years since then, and thanks to the internet beauty community I now understand just how versatile and wonderful bronzer can be. And I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer (USD $29.00, full size). It’s suppose to be this miracle bronzer that works on multiple skin tones.

I was really intrigued, but never bit the bullet and bought it. Luckily, Birchbox came through with this sample.

I want to note that I love all of Benefit’s deluxe sample packaging. They’re pretty generous with the sample size (I’m not running out of this bronzer any time soon) and the packaging is well made.

As someone with medium tan skin tone, I have two issues that I face when picking out a bronzer.

  1. The shade will be too light to truly warm up the face.
  2. The shade will be too orange and I’ll end up with Oompa Loompa syndrome.

If I can find a matte bronzer that doesn’t do either of these things, I get very excited.

What I was most intrigued by was the claim that this shade was cool toned enough to actually use to contour. Every makeup artist out there has said that you don’t use bronzer to contour, so to find something that works as both is really great.

I had an event to go to and decided to try this bronzer when I was testing out looks for it. I did use it to both bronze and contour.


The above pictures show me before bronzing, after contouring and bronzing, and with a full face of makeup.

Oh. My. God. The hype is real people. Hoola IS the miracle bronzer. I started off by just bronzing the perimeter of my face and was absolutely loving what I was seeing. My face had added dimension and warmth without any orange glow.

I decided to try and contour.


Contour approved!

Man, oh man. The winning doesn’t stop with this!

I’d say the Hoola bronzer is great when you want a “contour light” look. You want to define the face a bit more, but you don’t want to go full Kim K chiseled look. I love using my Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit when I want to look super snatched. But most days, I’m too lazy to go through all that. Hoola provides a great contouring shortcut.

The bronzer also wears well throughout the day. Some powder products can go patchy as it fades, but this doesn’t. It does last several hours, but as the bronzer fades they do so in a flattering way.

$29 may seem pricey for a bronzer, but to me this is worth every penny.

Now, having said all that, is there anyone this wouldn’t work for? I think those with extremely fair, cool toned skin will need to be a little wary. Even though it’s not an orange bronzer, I can see this going “orangey” and slightly too dark on someone with extremely fair skin. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t see this bronzer working for anyone with skin that’s deeper than tan skin. Other than that, it should work for a broad spectrum of shade ranges, both as a contour and bronzer.

Bottom line: I love it when online “holy grails” live up to the hype. The almost $30 price tag is justified as this bronzer is a great investment. The product will last you quite a while. The coloring on this bronzer is really unique and wears incredibly beautifully on the skin. If you have this bronzer in your collection, you won’t need to buy any other.

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(P.S., Small shoutout to the lip color I’m wearing in these pictures. If you’re looking for a beautiful “every day” red lip, check out ILIA Beauty’s Lip Conditioner in Bang Bang. It absolutely blew me out of the water.)


March 2016 Ipsy Review #2: TEMPTU Warm Glow Bronzer

A lot bronzer, not ideal packaging.

Liquid bronzer has made its comeback this summer. Almost every brand is coming out with a liquid version for all of us to enjoy. I love powder bronzer, but I’m always down to try a different form of makeup favorites.

Ipsy has sort of given us a taste of this trend by including a sample of the TEMPTU Warm Glow Bronzer(USD $35, full size + spray gun). Now, this is not a regular liquid bronzer. This is meant to be spray on makeup. I understand that Ipsy can’t include a “sample” airbrush machine along with the sample, but honestly, I think they should have put the sample in an aerosol can so we can truly get the “airbrush makeup” effect. Still, onward and upward.

Liquidy goodness.

This spray bronzer is suppose to give you a very natural look. No faked bake look here. I have to say that the swatch was really promising. Sheered out, the bronzer gave a nice tan effect and had just enough iridescence to give a glow without making you look like you’d been glitter bombed.

That glow tho.

It was time to put the formula to the test. Again, it would have been much better to get this sample in a spray can so I could test just how well the particles landed on the skin and how much control I had over application versus with a powder.

I treated this like a liquid bronzer and used my various contour brushes to apply. To give some dimension and warmth to the face I applied it around the perimeters with a big angled kabuki brush. Then, I took a small contour brush to apply some under my cheekbones, and a compact contour brush down the sides of my nose.

Natural glow, indeed!

On initial application, I was super pleased with how well this formula blended out and sat on the skin. It melted in and made it look as if I had a little color boost without looking too orangey. This was actually a good color for my skin tone to do very mild, natural looking contour.

I was ready to be sold on this when at the end of the day I noticed that the formula was breaking down in patches. By the time I was removing my makeup the patches were incredibly noticeable. I was really bummed by this! I have a feeling this is because the sample wasn’t applied the way it’s suppose to: as a spray.

I was just about to toss the rest of the sample when I decided to try it out as a foundation color corrector. I had my Jouer Matte Moisture Tint sitting around, because it was two shades too light for my complexion. I mixed in the TEMPTU and BOOM. The foundation was darkened to just my shade and I had an added color boost. The formula of the Jouer tint also wasn’t altered. It still had the same wear time and did not, I was happy to see, break down into patches.

I’m really happy I found a way to use this sample.

Rating: Undecided. I don’t think it’s fair for me to give a final rating, because I didn’t get to really see this product perform the way it was suppose to. I did see a lot of promise. The shade was great and didn’t leave the skin with an orange tinge. It also wasn’t overly glittery, instead giving a soft glow. I would have loved to see this perform as airbrush makeup, but sadly the sample packaging prevents this.

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