Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed - review and swatches

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This review has been a long time coming - mainly because a few bronzers found their way into my collection over the past year (including this one and the other shade, Sunkissed), so I've wanted to test them all well before reviewing them one by one.

First up is this Urban Decay Beached Bronzer in Bronzed. You may remember that I used this in my Project Dent series last year, and I'm currently 'denting' it again with the aim of hitting pan - even a tiny speck - so then I can set it aside for panning next year.

Spoiler: I've hit pan. Expect a Project Dent update shortly.

Why do I want to pan it? I like it but I don't love it. More on why below.


Now's probably the time to confess that I partly bought this bronzer and its mate for the packaging. I just love the look of it, and I wanted both shades for my makeup shelves. Naughty me.

But of course, the other reason I bought them was because I'd heard they were great products - and I also thought that this shade would be good for bronzing while the lighter shade would make a great blush.

In the end, I prefer Sunkissed. I wasn't expecting that. Yes the formula is the same for both, but Sunkissed is the best nude blush shade I own. I just love it. While Bronzed works well for bronzing, it's not my favourite shade and it's also not particularly unique, which is why I've earmarked it for panning.


Urban Decay claims/product details:
  • Like a holiday in a compact, attain a golden goddess glow in seconds 
  • This silky, finely milled powder works to leave a soft radiant glow on skin
  • Easily blendable and in two universally flattering matte shades
  • Use the bronzer to contour to make skin look less flat and more 3D
  • Perfect for on-the-go application, the powder is encased in a compact with mirror
  • RRP $46 AUD for 9g (I bought mine for $43 each)

There's the pan as it was when I first bought it, all lovely and new, in direct sunlight:


Now for swatches.

I thought it might be useful to give you heavy and blended swatches of both Bronzed and Sunkissed in this post, as well as swatches of theBalm's Bahama Mama and Benefit's Hoola for comparison purposes - not because they're super similar, but because many people have at least one of those. 

Here we are in natural light (indoors):


* L-R: Bahama Mama, Hoola, UD Bronzed (heavy and then blended) and UD Sunkissed (heavy and then blended)

 And in natural light (outdoors):


 * L-R: Bahama Mama, Hoola, UD Bronzed (heavy and then blended) and UD Sunkissed (heavy and then blended)

 Next, indirect sunlight:


* L-R: Bahama Mama, Hoola, UD Bronzed (heavy and then blended) and UD Sunkissed (heavy and then blended)

Last up, direct sunlight:


* L-R: Bahama Mama, Hoola, UD Bronzed (heavy and then blended) and UD Sunkissed (heavy and then blended)

Verdict

Packaging

I don't normally do a separate 'packaging' heading, but in this case I will because I think it warrants a mention.

I hate to say it, but I don't love it in person. Why? It feels bloody cheap. Yes it looks great and I'm glad to have it on my display shelves, but it's quite possibly the lightest, most cheap-feeling packaging I own. 

Now it's true that Urban Decay isn't the most expensive brand lining the shelves at Mecca (and yes, it's the product itself that matters most), but here's the thing: if I'm going to drop $43 AUD on a bronzer, I want it to feel special. 

Part of the draw of expensive makeup for me is the whole experience of using it, which includes feeling the weight of a well-made compact when I hold it. I don't get that with this. 

Worth noting is that I have two highlighters from theBalm (Mary-lou and Cindy-lou), which cost less than these but feel heavier. Not only that, there's a small hole on the base that you can stick a pin through to make the products easier to depot (which they are - I've done it). These Urban Decay ones, however, have no hole and feel flimsy to me, plus I cracked this bronzer when I tried to depot it. 

So theBalm has put more thought into its packaging than Urban Decay, and while theBalm's pans are magnetised, I suspect these ones aren't. Since I can't depot them without destroying the packaging, I may never know.

What a rant. Moving on.

Product

This is a good bronzer. It's finely milled, beautifully silky, and it applies and blends nicely. 

Mind you, this is the kind of bronzer that fares better if you've powdered your liquid foundation - otherwise things can get messy. While my Hourglass bronzers could blend over glue, these ones need more attention. Sure it's not a huge deal to powder first, but if you have dry skin like I do, you probably prefer a 'less is more' approach to powder and with these you need to make sure there's no tackiness left or you could run into problems.

'Bronzed' is a good, standard bronzing shade that runs warm without being orange, but I wouldn't say you can do a true contour with this as Urban Decay claims. It's too warm for that.

In the swatches above you'll see that it's closest to Benefit's Hoola in depth, it's just that Hoola is more neutral while this one runs warm. If you're wondering, I prefer Hoola. It's more unique.

One thing to note with both these UD bronzers is that they're not pigmented. Now I don't mind that because it means you can build them and you're less likely to wind up with clown-face, but in this case, the pigment bothers me a bit. It's less problematic when you use them for bronzing because you can build them reasonably quickly, but I like to use my bronzers on the eyes (bronzers make great crease colours) and I can't with these because I need to apply too much to get them to show up, and by then they look powdery and ageing.

By way of example, in the above swatches I used two finger stripes of Bahama Mama and Hoola to get that colour, but I needed four or five of the two UD shades.

Overall, this is a good bronzer but it's not perfect and there's not a permanent spot for it in my collection. There might be for Sunkissed due to the tone and how much I love it as blush, but I haven't used it enough to review it yet so I'll give you my thoughts on that later.

Nice but not a keeper.


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