So the other morning, I’m wandering through the beauty counters blowing off steam when lo and behold–there was a Kevyn Aucoin counter directly in front of me. Kevyn Aucoin!!! This was particularly exciting for me because a.) I had never actually seen any items in person or tried anything from the brand; b.) I’ve heard SO many good things about the brand and I know it’s a favorite of pros and beauty aficionados alike; and c.) the particular Nordstrom I was at is the smallest of three in my area and doesn’t even have a YSL or Guerlain counter…so this was pretty big news. I practically ran for the counter and eagerly grabbed a fist-full of sponges so I could begin swatching away. The first item I swatched was actually The Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Days. It was literally love at first swatch.
You’ll recall from my review of Guerlain’s Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder that I mentioned I am a bronzer newbie. For a long time, I didn’t think I needed bronzer simply because I was already naturally tan. This misguided notion was quickly abandoned the second Brunettes touched my cheekbones–I was hooked. Suddenly, a whole new world of shopping had opened up to me. Bronzers–what glorious creations they are! So many to choose from, and in every shade imaginable! Who knew that a gorgeous, believable, faux sunkissed-glow could be achieved with such a wide range of hues? I’ve been searching ever since for the perfect bronzer to add to my rather small collection. I think it’s safe to say that Tropical Days fits the bill.
Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s talk packaging. I love the compact that this bronzer comes housed in–I think it’s really simple yet elegant. It’s a plastic compact that, as usual, is prone to picking up fingerprints. The plastic, though, is red with a gleaming red shimmer shot throughout. It seems to glow red in the light and it’s beautiful. It doesn’t come across as cheap or tacky (to me, anyway) and really lends a certain chicness to an otherwise ordinary plastic compact. The black and gold accents set off the red nicely, and “Kevyn Aucoin” is embossed in small gold lettering across the bottom of the compact.
From the pictures, I think it’s pretty easy to see why I fell so madly in love with this bronzer. Isn’t beautiful? From top to bottom, color to packaging–it’s utterly perfect. As you can (hopefully) see, Tropical Days features a gradient of color that ranges from a gilded, light silvery-champagne highlight to a warm, medium golden-tan shade. It really warms the complexion without ever coming across as orange. According to the brand:
“Kevyn Aucoin’s The Celestial bronzing veil uses crystal pigments in bronze, gold and silver to give you a natural-looking glow. Ideal for adding color or highlights to your face. Perfect for every skin tone.”
At first, I thought the shimmer was an overspray but it’s not–it actually goes all the way through (there may be a teeny-tiny bit of an overspray to enhance the look of the shimmer–but after I ran a big fluffy brush across the surface many times, the shimmered gradient was still there). So essentially, it’s a highlighter and a bronzer in one.
The shimmer is really, really refined. It truly does not look like a shimmer but instead mimics a very natural-looking glow instead. It lends a soft glow that looks beautiful when incorporated with the brown or used on it’s own as a highlighter. Because it is so fine though, it can start to look a bit “shiny” (as opposed to glitter-bomb-ish if the shimmer particles were larger) if you apply too much. I have very oily skin and when I was testing this, I applied it pretty heavily on my cheeks (it’s easier to keep track of the fading when it’s applied heavily). After about 2 hours, my skin looked like I had used Crisco as moisturizer–it was shine city! It can also slightly emphasize my pores if I’m not careful about placement or, again, I apply it too heavily.
I also kind of wish that there was less shimmer and more of the brown in the gradient instead. I just think that the shimmer is so potent (just look at the swatch of the champagne shimmer!) that only a tiny strip just at the top was really necessary. It would make it a lot easier not to go overboard with the shimmer. Don’t worry though–a less shimmery look is still achievable if you use a smaller blush brush and grab the product from the bottom of the pan. Truly though, it’s beyond beautiful when applied correctly–and I can’t remember that last time I saw a glow this natural and ethereal and gorgeous that was created from a powder.
The powder itself is very smooth. I wouldn’t necessarily call creamy but it’s still super finely-milled, ultra soft, and incredibly silky. It blends beautifully and really looks gorgeous with my warm skin tone. Plus it’s so easy to work with! It’s nicely pigmented but somehow when I apply it to my cheeks, it seems to almost diffuse itself into a fine, even layer of color. It’s not as sheer as the name “Bronzing Veil” would suggest–though it’s on the sheerer side, it can definitely be built up to quite a strong brown color. It doesn’t oxidize or settle into my pores, either. It really is a wonderful bronzer and I think it’s one of those products that works best to enhance a real tan. Still, it creates a believable glow to the skin and does add warmth and radiance and life to an otherwise dull complexion. Sort of the makeup equivalent to, I don’t know, spending a few “Tropical Days” in the sun, perhaps?!?…yeah, I’m sorry about that.
Tropical Days lasted about 2 1/2 hours on my skin before it began to soften ever so slightly. After that initial softening, the color was pretty consistent for the next 5 hours or so before it really began to fade quickly. I thought it looked incredibly natural on my skin–it’s like it just melted into my skin. There is also a darker version called Tropical Nights available as well. It is a bit darker and has a hint of rosiness to it due to the slightly reddish undertone. It actually reminds me a little of Chanel’s Soleil de Tan Bronzing Powder in Sable Rose from the Summer 2012 collection. It’s not a dupe, but they are similar in the sense that both are not the true-brown type of bronzers and can be used as both a blush or a bronzer. I think it would be beautiful for anyone–maybe more of a blush for those with darker or warmer skin tones, but it will be particularly stunning on cool skin tones. Cool skin tones get slightly red when they tan naturally, so a color like this will look amazingly natural and beautiful. It’s actually so gorgeous that now, I’m thinking why the heck didn’t I grab both?! Maybe I’ll go back for that…I have a serious problem, I know.
Pros: gorgeous color; fine-milled, soft, and ultra silky; pigmented; easy to apply and blend out; doesn’t pull orange or turn the skin muddy; doesn’t oxidize or settle into pores; shimmer is refined and creates the ultimate dewy glow; comes with a decent amount of product
Cons: can emphasize pores if you’re not careful; I wish there was a touch less shimmer in the compact so you could really customize the amount of shimmer on your cheeks easier; if abused, the shimmer can quickly make you look downright shiny; color does soften on very oily skin after a few hours
»»Pricing: $45/0.32 oz. (9 g.)
»»Availability: (*Please note: I apologize, but seems that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to retailers and their information on their Kevyn Aucoin offerings…) Nordstrom (for some reason, it only shows Tropical Nights available on Nordstrom’s site–I got mine in-stores so if you have a Kevyn Aucoin counter at your Nordstrom, I would call to see if they carry Tropical Days); Barneys? (it would appear that on their website, they have a picture of The Celestial Bronzing Veil–but it’s labeled as “The Celestial Powder”–which is the name of Kevyn Aucoin’s highlighting powder. It also has the description for The Celestial Powder, but the price listed is $45–which is the price for The Celestial Bronzing Veil and not the $42 The Celestial Powder highlighter); Space NK.com (which lists the 2 shades as “Tropical Days” and “Unknown”); you can also click here to find a retailer near you
»»Recommended for: anyone looking to add a hint of glowing warmth to their skin; warmer skin tones–cooler ones might find that Tropical Nights is more flattering
»»Overall Rating: B+
Have any of you tried anything from Kevyn Aucoin? If so, what’s your favorite product? I’d love to hear your picks!