Bronzino: The name alone makes me wish I was awaiting a seafood restaurant’s signature branzino dish while sitting in a table in their patio seating area. Every time I crack open the compact, I bring this fantasy to the makeshift makeup studio I’ve created at my kitchen table, which I positioned in a direct line of natural lighting.
The effect the Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer creates helps me pretend I’m at my dad’s house in Honduras, lounging at the beach under an umbrella with a book in one hand and a glass of fresh coconut water in the other.
My friends are probably confused while reading this ode to a bronzer. In my 28 years of life, I’ve owned maybe one bronzer, preferring to keep my porcelain skin even-toned. The only color I’ll add to my base is coral blush (like the MAC Glow Play Blush in Groovy) on the apples of my cheeks, skipping highlighter. On a deeper level, I grew up so scared of the sun and its harmful effects that even faux tans of any sort freak me out.
But Tower 28 sent over its most-requested launch yet (before it sold out over and over again), and I’ve made room in my life for one bronzer and one bronzer only. I’ve never tried the California-based beauty brand’s offerings before, but I was genetically predisposed to be curious about it as 28 is my family’s lucky number that we have tattooed on our arms. Bronzino adds up for me in the same ways, too.
Best of all, the bronzer is a balmy cream, so that alone makes me more likely to try it out. Creams are my preferred makeup formula because they sit better on the texture of my acne-prone skin. In this case, Bronzino gives my complexion a dewy sheen instead of a chalky, muddy finish like a powder occasionally does. The sheer bronzy cream also makes overdoing it impossible.
New York City-based makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes taught me how to use it over Zoom. She likes to smooth it onto the perimeter of her forehead and the hollows of her cheeks before blending foundation on top of it. Then, she adds a bit more where she wants more color. Adding it underneath helps the formula blend together more seamlessly and naturally. Hughes also taps the deeper shade (Best Coast) onto her lids for a glossy look and adds the same blush she used on her cheeks to the center. I tried it out, and it’s just the low-key, bronzed look I would do if I were going out to dinner while on a beach vacation.
I’ve picked up other tips from makeup artists who have been posting tutorials on their Instagram Stories, too. Molly R. Stern likes to tap Bronzino on with her fingertips until it’s about 70 percent blended before swirling it onto skin with a fluffy brush. (Hughes dips the brush directly into the pan.) Patrick Ta uses a denser brush — specifically the Huda Beauty Tantour Face Contouring Sculpt & Shade Brush — and stamps it on. So just follow your intuition when it comes to application.
Ready to experiment with it and bring the summer fantasy to your face no matter where you’re sheltering in place? Shop the Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer now for $20 on sephora.com and tower28beauty.com.