The Sample: Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Days (Review, Swatches & Photos)

1 Aug

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.

Click image to enlarge and for more details

Click image to enlarge and for more details

Click image to enlarge and for more details

Click image to enlarge and for more details


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. :P

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 (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! :D

44 Responses to “The Sample: Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Days (Review, Swatches & Photos)”

  1. Miss Kwong August 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    OHHHH i want this!! It looks velvety soft in the picture. I already imagine this gliding on my skin….

    And i always love bronzers in powder!

    Say meow to me on:
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    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      It is really a beautiful one. I think this would look *amazing* on your fair skin–it has the perfect honey-tan shade and the shimmer would just glow on you!

  2. Laura August 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I’ve been dying to try Kevin Aucoin! I think I might pass on this bronzer, but I do want to try the Sculpting Powder. This is a great post, thank you!

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      Oh that’s a good choice–I played with that one a bit while at the counter, but as I don’t contour my face, I passed. It’s a pretty shade though, and it really is the perfect color for subtle and natural-looking contouring!

  3. Amanda August 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Looks really nice but it has parabens in it so I’d pass on this one.

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      Oh are you sensitive to parabens too, Amanda? That’s too bad, it really is a lovely bronzer :/

  4. Sunny August 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    OOOO Kevin Aucoin! I’ve been really intrigued, but I’ve never seen this brand in person! I prefer less shimmery bronzers though. SOME shimmer is fine, but this one looks… pretty shimmery!

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      LOL, yeah I’m not gonna lie–it is!! But what it does have going for it is that the shimmer is just so darn natural-looking. I mean really, it doesn’t read as shimmer at all on the face! And with a small enough brush, you can really get into just the bottom of the pan and come away with a pretty shimmer-free brown shade. I definitely do wish there was less shimmer though so I can just swipe my brush in it without having to think!

  5. dani@callitbeauty August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Very nice! I would love it more if it were completely matte or had more of a satiny sheen. Still, just looking at it makes me sigh pitifully. :p

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      haha I know–I definitely wished for less shimmer, but in the end I can’t get rid of it. It’s just SO pretty!!! :P

  6. Toya August 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Oohhh pretty Becca! I’m also somewhat of a bronzer newb, I have a handful but really, for my dark skintone I have no idea what to do with them. I think for me I should be opting more for the bronzed ‘glow’ rather than as an actual darker tone, but have yet to figure it all out. This looks lovely – I’ve never tried any Aucoin products but since I’m such a huge fan of him I can’t imagine I wouldn’t love the brand :)

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Oooh exciting–I think the glow from this would look great on a darker skin tone! Or even Tropical Nights would be great. It’s not much darker and it blends out just as easily as Tropical Days. Do you have a Kevyn Aucoin counter near you?

  7. Larie August 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    I really want to try their blush stain things! This looks lovely – not like the typical bronzer, actually. Bronzer scares me, too…I’m really light-handed with it, haha.

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      It really isn’t like other bronzers–it kind of just gives a hint of color and warmth to your skin and enhances the radiance. It’s gorgeous on the cheeks! I didn’t get to try Kevyn Aucoin’s blush stains, but now I want to go back and try everything! The line is super gorgeous. I really want Tropical Nights and the Candlelight highlighter now :P

  8. Kai August 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    ooo… this looks very beautiful!!! The shiny part sounds scary though since I have oily skin as well… Not that I can consider getting this since there’s no Kevin Aucoin here in HK!! Argh!!

    • becca August 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

      Oh no–no Kevyn Aucoin?!? That’s too bad…well at least you can get Suqqu and Addiction–I want to try those 2 brands SOOOOOO bad!!!

      • Kai August 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

        I want to try Suqqu!!! but I dont think we have that either….

        • becca August 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

          Oh no, really? Wait, you’re in Hong Kong right? I thought that Suqqu was available there, sorry!

  9. Tracy@Beauty Reflections August 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    It’s so pretty! If I wasn’t in bronzer overload over here, I’d be wanting it! I found a place here that sells the brand and I am going to look at the line-I realy want to try something too!

    • becca August 2, 2012 at 3:05 am #

      Ooh you really should Tracy! I also got The Essential Eye Shadow Set in #1 but they have other colors that are SO so beautiful. Plus the super-popular Candlelight highlighter is always good too. There’s a reason why it’s on of his most popular products–that thing is insanely, mindblowingly gorgeous! I am definitely going back for that :)

  10. Liz August 2, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    Good thing I met you AFTER going on the spending ban – otherwise your blog would have been a very bad influence! (Which is a compliment in the beauty blogging world, as you know. ;) )

    I’ve been curious forever about KA products of course. Glad to hear that the quality lives up to the name – it’d be such a shame if they were to drop the ball on that with his legacy.

    • becca August 2, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Lol why thank you Liz! :D

      And I agree–I was really happy that the KA products were every bit as good as I imagined them to be…although I’ll admit, I was kinda sorta hoping they wouldn’t be when I was at the counter. Lovely but pricey :/

  11. Dovey August 2, 2012 at 4:43 am #

    The texture sounds wonderful! I’ve never tried KA either, but I’ve seen his books :)

    • becca August 2, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      Oh you definitely need to, Dovey–his cheek powders are so beautiful! And the eyeshadows–ugh! :P

  12. Makeup Morsels August 2, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    You are the master at hunting down must-have bronzers! And lucky you, a Kevin Aucoin counter just pops up out of the blue :P Hmm if only that would happen to me…. I love the sheen and color of this one, did you see anything else at the counter that was love at first swatch?

    P.S. Looking forward to your face pics :D

    • becca August 2, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      Heck yeah I did–there were SEVERAL products that were love at first swatch! The Essentials Eye Shadow Set in #1 was one (which I walked away with), the Candlelight highlighter (a cult favorite–and for good reason!), and he had this loose eyeshadow in a rolly-tube that I didn’t think I’d like but gah–it was SO pretty and pigmented! And that rolly-tube packaging was surprisingly effective at distributing the pigment! Do you have a KA counter near you, MM?

  13. Christine Brigid August 2, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    I would have the exact same reaction as you if I actually saw the magical unicorn that is a KA counter… sigh… you know what I like about this bronzer? The color is gradient instead of laid out in strips like so many other of these kinds of products. Just seems a little more refined! It looks utterly stunning. I would love to try it!

    • becca August 2, 2012 at 7:51 am #

      I definitely agree–I thought the gradient was a very nice touch. It really set it apart for me! And I think they also did a good job at making the shimmer go all the way through–not just as an overspray. Though I wish there was just a hint less shimmer, I can’t deny that they did a phenomenal job with the presentation!

  14. Sukie August 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Kevin Aucoin is one of those brands that I’ve heard so much about but never had the opportunity to try so you are incredibly lucky you’ve got a counter in your area! The shimmer does look a little overwhelming in the photos but do you think it would work as a blush? I own a Terracotta bronzing powder myself but I can’t seem to get the hang of using a bronzer! :s

    • becca August 3, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      I think it would only work as a blush if you don’t have a problem with enlarged pores. As it is, I do, and when I put the bronzer too far in on my cheeks, it can emphasize the look of them just a bit. Which Terracotta bronzer do you have? And what is it about bronzing that you can’t get the hang of?

  15. Memoiselle August 3, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    oh dear I have not tried any KA products yet :( I like packaging that’s simple but doesn’t look cheap too. This one reminds me of clarin’s packaging. Do you think they’re similar? I can see that the texture is very silky, I love silky products :) It’s really worth the money.

    • becca August 3, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      I actually like the packaging more for KA than Clarins–I like that it seems to glow in the light and I like the black and gold accents a lot more than Clarins silver. It’s sturdy and well-made.

      The texture is really, really nice too! I totally agree–it’s pricey but it’s SO worth it when you get such luxurious powders like this. If you are able to get your hands on some KA products somehow, I highly recommend it! I know you’ll love it. :)

  16. svetlana August 3, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    I have never had this lovely experience in person with KA products. Perhaps I can keep my eyes peeled. Please if you come across others share it, I am dying to know more! :)

    • becca August 3, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Oh it was such a surprise to suddenly look up and see this new, bright and shiny Kevyn Aucoin counter right in front of me–I was SO excited! I also got one of the eyeshadow palettes (I couldn’t help myself) so keep a lookout for that review coming soon! Nordstrom will also ship anywhere in the U.S for free–so you can always order online!

  17. Joyce August 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    all of those celestial things definitely confuse me! Their sculpting powder is a matte one – bronzer like but really awesome for contour on my skin. That’s gonna be one of my next purchases for sure! I don’t have any kevyn aucoin but almost got the cream blush in tansoleil until i realized it barely lasted an hour on me. Sad!

    • becca August 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      Ooh that’s too bad about the cream blush–I was kinda curious about that. But if it lasted only an hour on you, God knows how long it would last on me. Do you have oily skin Joyce?

  18. Ocelot1 August 5, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Ooohh! I live in sd as well and would love to know which Nordies this is at! There’s fashion, utc, esco and horton right?

    • becca August 5, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Yes that’s right! How cool to meet a fellow San Diegan :D The Kevyn Aucoin counter is now at North County in Esco–which was surprising to me because, as you know, compared to Fashion and UTC it’s quite small and doesn’t have a lot of the high-end brands like YSL and Guerlain. They also got a new Vincent Longo counter and Stila counter right next to it! Happy shopping! ;)

      • Ocelot1 August 9, 2012 at 6:26 am #

        Sweet! I’m going to check it out this weekend! Thanks!

  19. Jacqueline August 5, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    The swatches look amazing.

    • becca August 5, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Thanks Jacqueline! It really is a gorgeous bronzer–I highly recommend checking it out if you have access to it! :)

  20. Coco August 6, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    The color is really nice! hm…..makes me want to rush to the store now! haha…

    • becca August 6, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      I know, it’s really hard to resist huh? That’s precisely why it came home with me even though I swore to myself that I wouldn’t buy anything new for a while :P

  21. Emi at Project Swatch August 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    This is pretty! And it’s nice that it’s a square compact; KA’s highlighter is lovely, but comes in a rectangular compact with a brush, which annoys me; I always use my own brushes, and compacts with brushes just take up more space.

    Also face pics, yaaay!

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