Product Comparison: Nars Bronzers for the Pale Skinned!

Peaches Geldof recently said that she wears bronzer to prevent her from looking ‘dead’ and whilst I don’t normally subscribe to what Bob’s daughter has to say about anything, on the matter of bronzer- I think the young lady has a point.

Bronzer is one of those products that I used to avoid like the plague- if not done correctly- bronzer can be so very very bad, and when you are on the paler side of life the thought of putting some kind of browny orangey colour on your bright white face is enough to make you keep your distance from it. Permanently.

But I have recently become convinced that bronzer would like to help me, that it would like to be my friend and I have come to realize that if done correctly this could be a very good thing for me and may even stop me from looking dead (right Peaches?!) So why the hell not? Let’s do it.

Now the selection out there is enough to make even the most hardened beauty shopper break into a cold sweat so for simplicity I have stuck to one brand (Nars) and have road tested three different forms of bronzing/illuminating- the powder, the illuminator and the cream stick.

1. The Powder

Nars Bronzing Powder (Laguna) RRP $72

The Good: You can just keep layering and layering and layering this stuff on because the pigment is so strong which means you can choose between subtlety or making it as dark as you desire.

The Bad: Application. Hard. For. Me. I couldn’t get it even or to look the same on both sides of my face so I decided to combat this by putting more and more on, and then blending it in to the rest of my skin was nothing short of an ordeal. I tried a smaller brush, a bigger brush, throwing the powder in the air and then walking through it, but I just couldn’t get it right.

The Ugly: If you are not utterly hopeless like me and have even only semi-decent application skills then this product will not be a problem for you at all and will bring you much joy and happiness. I, however, somehow managed to make myself look like this…

2. The Illuminator

Nars Illuminator (Orgasm) RRP $69

The Good: You’re thinking ‘hey this isn’t a bronzer’ and you’re right, you are, but for the purposes of this experiment I wanted to cover lots of different kinds (well three) and bronzer is SCARY to me, so I had to start with baby steps. Plus this product has been so highly anticipated that I wanted to get in on the action. I wanted in bad!

Now…was I expecting too much? I’ll admit I went to the Mecca store three days in a row before I could buy some (it was selling out at a record speed) so maybe having to wait made my expectations way high. And yeah ok, maybe I was expecting this product to miraculously turn me into a young Sophia Loren, so it would be unfair of me to feel like this was anti-climactic (har har har). But…

The Bad: They say you can use this over makeup or under make up and I imagined that it was going to be a highly versatile product in what really is an iconic shade but it just didn’t seem to make any noticeable difference to me. It’s like in an attempt to be multi purpose I just couldn’t make it serve even one purpose for me. It’s probably my own fault (ahem- my inability even to apply something as simple as a powder bronzer- ahem) but I just didn’t really know what to do with it. I tried applying it all over my face or just to certain areas but…frankly, I got no real pleasing results.

The Ugly: I need to do some homework. I either need help with this product or I think I better master the art of using a brush. Then I will go out and by some powder in the colour of Orgasm because it really is a great colour.

3. The Stick

Nars The Multiple (South Beach) RRP $89

The Good: Where have you been all my life you sweet, sweet multiple stick? (Maybe in South Beach?) This was love on first use. It’s foolproof, it’s the perfect size, you don’t need to use a brush (just rub it on in) AND it’s a really great colour. It’s the perfect mix of bronzer and illuminator so you don’t feel like you’ve had a bad fake tan applied to your face. Instead its subtle whilst still giving you a little bit of zing- just tipping you over from dead to very much alive and kickin’.

The Bad: Nothing.

The Ugly: See above.

You can get any of the products mentioned here at Mecca Cosmetica

Review by Adriane, fellow ghosty-faced make-up adorer and possible catalyst for my first bronzer purchase…gulp.

Be well,



  1. GlossQueen says:

    I’m a bronzer klutz too, but I think I’ve finally got the hang of it. Clinique make a great bronzer for pale girls too, I find that it’s easier to use than Laguna as it’s a bit sheerer.

    I’ve never tried a NARS Multiple but I think I need to.

  2. Annette @ Wellness WA says:

    I’m so pale that I have extreme difficulty finding a foundation shade that doesn’t wash me out / look too dark let alone a bronzer… however I’m now equally keen to check out a Nars Multiple!

    I have the blush in Orgasm (bought it in the states!) and it’s pretty great, i really like the idea of being able to apply it with a creamy-ish stick though!

  3. kasey says:

    I might have to give this a go, i’ve been noticing that i’m looking very pale and almost dead in mirrors this winter!

  4. It’s good to read about someone else being application-inept! I should probably look into this further, winter tends to leave me a little dead looking too. Well, I probably wouldn’t have used such a phrase, but it’s probably not too far from the truth.

  5. Annette @ Wellness WA says:

    It seems like there’s a lot of us in the ‘almost dead’ boat! Hopefully these products can help us … I’m definitely going to get my hands on some of the multiple stick! 🙂

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