Nars Liquid Laguna Bronzer - review and swatches


I received this liquid bronzer in a Mecca Beauty Loop box ages ago and recently moved it to my Project Pan list because I just wasn't using it and I would like to get through it.

Long story short, it's a good product and I like it not only for bronzing but also to darken any foundation that's too pale for me, so it's a good multipurpose product and it hopefully shouldn't take too long to get through.

Now before you think 'oh that mini 4ml sample isn't enough for a review', I can tell you that it is.

I used it for about a week a while ago in one of my samples posts, and I've now been using it for another ten days straight - during which time we've seen all sorts of weather in Melbourne (typical spring) and I've had the opportunity to test it with different bases, different primers, under powder and over powder, and also as a mixer.

And even with all that testing, I've barely made a dent in it. I wouldn't want to attempt to finish a full size!

Nars claims/product details:
  • A featherlight liquid version of NARS cult-favourite Laguna powder bronzer
  • Inspired by Motu Tane, a small Tahitian island located just off Bora Bora
  • A sheer, universally flattering liquid bronzer in a warm brown shade
  • Enriched with Monoï and Tamanu oils, and vanilla extract for moisturising and antioxidant benefits
  • RRP $58 AUD for 30ml

The sample comes in a little glass bottle with a nifty spatula applicator and I just realised that I'll be keeping mine so I can squirt my bundle of Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer sachets into it. The mini bottle I have of that primer is useless because you can't get to half the product - but this bottle will do nicely.

I digress ; )

Now for swatches.

Below I've done three swatches: heavy, partially blended and sheer.

Direct sunlight:

Natural light:


I wasn't expecting to like this because Nars products overall have been hit-and-miss for me, and I also prefer powder bronzers over creams and liquids because I find those faster and easier to apply.

While it's still true that I prefer powders, I have been enjoying this and I do recommend it if you prefer non-powder products: I'm yet to make an error with it because it blends beautifully and it's very sheer, so I haven't worried about clown-face because you can build it up and diffuse it very easily.

When they called this a liquid, they weren't kidding: it's as liquid as water and I was surprised at first by how runny it is. It also doesn't have a scent so it should suit those who don't like fragranced products.

I apply this with the applicator and then use my fingers to blend it out. I'm sure you could use a brush or a sponge, but that's my preference. Fingers always are. When I use this, I tend to just use a little bit to slightly bronze my skin, though I have sometimes built it for more impact and it builds well on itself so that's a plus.

One thing to note with this product is that it's got a huge amount of gold shimmer in it. Yes it's finely milled and yes I can't see huge chunks of glitter on my face, but I can see little flecks and if you want to wear a light coating, I find that the gold overtakes the brown whenever you walk into even a small amount of natural light (so forget direct sunlight). 

You may be able to notice that, in the above swatches, the glitter is more noticeable in the sheerest swatch. The same applies to putting this on the face and it's only when you build it that more of the brown shows through.

What this effectively means is that, in most lights, a sheer coating tends to look like you're wearing a gold bronzer and not a brown one. For this reason I think it looks better when you use a little more, but I don't always want to do that so what I've found myself doing is applying a sheer layer of this, then going in with an Hourglass bronzer over the top since I prefer the finish of those anyway.

This has a nice finish - dewy, healthy and never dry-looking - but you can't beat the way Hourglass powders airbrush the face and manage texture.

In other news I've tried this with different foundations and tinted moisturisers, and it blends well over all of them. I've also applied it a few times over my setting powder and haven't run into any issues with blending it out. Some liquids and creams won't blend well over powder, but this one does.

Probably my favourite use for it, though, is as a mixer for any base that's too pale for me. I need to use a fair amount to change the colour because it's not super pigmented, but I like the way it thins out my formulas (so I can get an even sheerer coverage if I want to) and doesn't change the performance of the foundation. It also adds a little warmth and radiance to any base I've tried it with, so potentially I would buy it just for that purpose if it wasn't so expensive.

It's also worth noting that it lasts better if you set it (most things do) and it does tend to slip off the face faster when it's hot (again, most things do).

Overall I do like this product but it's not one I would buy because I prefer powders. Still, I'm getting plenty of use from it while I have it and I'm enjoying it in the process, so that's the main thing.

Worth testing. Unless of course you've sworn off Nars because it's no longer cruelty free.

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