Stila Stay All Day Sun Bronzer in Dark - review and swatches


When I went into Mecca just after Christmas last year - armed with a fresh gift card and much excitement because I was on a spending ban at the time - I expected to be given lots of options and to enjoy lots of testing fun when I announced to the sales assistant:

'I would like a matte bronzer please. No shimmer.'

But alas, this turned out to be a difficult task. Everything in the Nars range was overlooked due to the glitter factor (damn you Nars and your obsession with sparkles), and we quickly marked off the offerings from other brands for exactly the same reason.

Why oh why? Matte bronzers really shouldn't be that hard to find, but turns out they are. Grumble grumble.

Anyhoo. I wound up at the Stila counter (a place I would often be sent to in future when asking for matte products) and this bronzer was the only product that matched my one, 'no glitter please' requirement.

From the looks of things, it has now been discontinued - which would make me sad except that the product has been replaced with another matte bronzer that comes in much prettier packaging.

Damn. I want that one.

Kidding. Sort of. I do love this product and while the packaging isn't ugly - in fact, it's nice enough and very practical - I'll definitely be happy to replace this with the newer, prettier packaging once I've finished this one (if I ever do).

Stila claims/product details:
  • Capture the radiant glow of the sun without ever catching a ray
  • Dust this light formula on the nose, cheeks, forehead, even the décolleté whenever you want to feel like you've been blessed by the sun
  • Shelf-life after opening: 24 months
  • RRP $38 AUD for 9g, but do shop around - I've seen these going much more cheaply now that the product has been discontinued

It's quite a warm, reddish colour, which might not suit everyone. I had to choose between this one in Dark and the Medium shade, and went for this one because it's a good summer colour and I have my more muted/ashy Bahama Mama Bronzer from theBalm for the cooler months.

Above I've swatched it lightly: an unblended stripe on the left and a blended blob on the right.

Above I've swatched it more heavily: again, an unblended stripe on the left and a blended patch on the right.

The above shot is taken in direct sunlight and below I've taken the shot again in natural light.

There we are on my face, under my cheekbone:


This is a great product. I have checked the new bronzer from Stila, and happily the quality seems just as good - if not better - so I'm pleased that I don't need to ration this one to delay the search for a decent matte bronzer and can pick up a replacement easily enough.

It's a soft, finely milled powder that's super pigmented but somehow applies quite sheerly, which makes me happy because this means I'm less likely to make mistakes. Pigmented products and I aren't great friends, and I'd much rather something like this that I can build and blend easily.

It applies well and I don't have any issues with patchy application, nor does it cling to dry spots on my face. I also don't have any issue with fading out any harsh edges, and it almost seems to apply and diffuse itself. I'm far too lazy to spend ages blending my powders, so products like this are the ones I use the most because I don't need to think when I apply them.

I liked both the Medium and Dark shades and could have gone with either on my medium skin, but as mentioned above, I already had a bronzer for the cooler months and decided to go with the darker one because it's better for summer - although I can definitely wear it all year round if I use a light hand.

This works best when applied with a big powder brush, and you can also use it as an eyeshadow if you want to (I've had to do this on the go when I've needed a matte crease colour and have found myself without one).

It lasts well throughout the day, and its lasting power is noticeably better than that of other powder cheek products I own.

It's quite red/orange toned so not everyone will like it, but on my colouring this happily translates to a nice warmth, rather than anything in the oompa loompa department.

The packaging is light and sturdy, and there's a mirror in the top of the compact for application on the go. It's not the prettiest product I own, but it's not ugly either and I can travel with it and not worry that it might get damaged.

I'm ok with the $38 AUD price tag - particularly because it was the cheapest option from Mecca, as well as the only matte one - and I know you can find it more cheaply online if you shop around.

All in all, a great product and one I get lots of use from, particularly in the warmer months.

Big ticks from me.

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