When I first heard of the Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Creme Bronzers, I was both intrigued and skeptical. On paper, they read as a drugstore alternative to the widely popular Soleil Tan de Chanel (formerly known as Bronze Universel), yet they perform much like creme blushes. Long-lasting, versatile, and perfect for warmer weather, I confess that I'm a pretty big fan.
|Available in two shades: Warm Tan, on the left, and Rich Bronze, on the right. (source)|
As I was browsing my local Target for these, it became pretty clear just in the packaging that Warm Tan was clearly the lighter and more orange-toned of the two shades, though this is the specific product people have been claiming is a dupe of the Chanel bronzer. I'm a fan of cream consistencies, and I knew I wanted a bronzer that I could use to warm up my already tan complexion and to subtly contour. In the packaging, Rich Bronze looks milk chocolate, but despite its intimidatingly dark color it swatches out warmer than you would think.
The above swatches are drugstore, cruelty-free bronzers with a bit of shimmer. As you can see, Rich Bronze comes out very pigmented and requires blending. For clarification's sake, it isn't a mousse and I don't see how this would be used under foundation. The consistency is less thin and therefore has less slip than either the NYX Rouge cream blushes or Stila Convertible Colors, both of which include plenty of oils and waxes in their formulas. I've found, then, that this is best used on top of liquid foundation by applying the product with your fingers in order to warm it up and then blending it all out with a duo fiber brush. I've seen way too many people on YouTube using foundation brushes (seriously, the expert face brush!?!) with this product and that seems like a sure-fire way to cake on a cream product and end up with either a muddied, caked-on face. I use the this Rite-Aid Renewal duo fiber brush, which works just as well on cream blushes and is perfect for those who want to keep things subtle. If you use the right tools, you can build up the product to either an all-over glow or a go back and deepen a contour (as the brand claims).
Let's talk packaging, since I have a love-hate relationship going on here. Encased in bronze, mirrored plastic the bronzer comes packaged pretty luxe for what it is. The rounded compact is conveniently magnetic and the product, a 0.18oz pan, lifts up to reveal the included applicator sponge and mirror:
Again, convenient if a bit flashy. I haven't used the sponge applicator, but in a pinch I think it would work. Similarly, while the compact itself is too bulky for daily use, it isn't so terribly massive (I am looking at you Milani, Physician's Formula, and Wet N Wild!) that it forces me to assign it its own special corner in my makeup drawer.
On to ingredients, so we can begin to talk about some of the negatives. Given the fact that Chanel's bronzer uses parabens and my Physician's Formula Bronze Booster bronzer (from what I consider to be a pricey, but more "natural" drugstore brand) also includes them, I suppose it is a necessary evil in the formula. "Infused with antioxidants and Vitamin E, the anti-aging formula [of the creme bronzer] will perfect over time," says Sonia Kashuk's website. I find these claims far-fetched, since the perfecting properties of the bronzer are the smoothing ones which are most likely a result of the silicones listed above. We are talking about cruelty-free, drugstore makeup, not hand-crafted or even organic cosmetics, so I'm perfectly fine with the formula. It annoys me that the claims are unnecessarily tacked-on at the end almost to the point of being misleading, because to me this product has so much going for it already. It's is easy to work, nearly fool-proof, so I don't have to worry about looking like something out of the 80s or having to re-do my face if I accidentally got carried away. There's mica in this, but the result is luminous not glittery. Best of all, I can put foundations which I thought were relegated to the winter months back in use without looking sickly. In summary, I quite like this and I recommend you pick it up at your local Target if you're interested.