Not golden brown. I have the cheeks of a clown!

I'm torn about this bronzer! I desperately wantto like it and will do my best, but so far I haven't been able to. It doesn't blend into the skin evenly or smoothly and has red undertones. On pale to medium/tan skin like mine, expect a red/orange. I'm unhappy that this doesn't much gold & white, but mostly just brown. It's not much more product than your typical compact, but it does shimmer. Yay?
Published:
Pros:
Gold & white are pretty and versatile.
Packed in well, less likely to shatter.
Cons:
Red/orange undertones make med red/orange, not glowy or tanned.
Mostly brown, little white & gold.
Rating by reviewer:
5
extremely useful review

Use

Bronzer is used to tint your skin and add a glow. Unlike foundation powder, bronzer is mainly designed to be swept lightly over certain parts of the face such as cheeks, hair line & the bridge of your nose. However, a bronzer can be used all over the face for a darker, livelier complexion. This particular bronzer is for use on your face and body.

While those are the main uses for bronzer, I've used mineral bronzers, including this as an eyeshadow and highlighter, and sometimes to even make my own nail polish. This bronzer can be used as a kind of all-in-one makeup as well, depending on your skin color. Unfortunately, I do doubt that this will blend well or match most complexions nicely. I think it's best for darker skin tones, and even then I feel like the red/orange undertones will make it hard for even super dark complexions to use.

INGREDIENTS:

Mica, Magnesium Stearate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Gylcol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI77492, CI77499)


*MICA: a naturally occurring group of silicate minerals -- hence the name "mineral bronzer". This group of silicate minerals are distributed in different types of rock. Mica occurrs as flecks or sheets, and because it comes from the earth, it may contain trace amounts of heavy metals. However, the heavy metals are regulated by the FDA and products containing mica are not believed to contain enough for serious concern.

Used mostly in makeups, nail products & skincare. Mica has a sparkly white appearance in makeup/skincare products, and this is why you see it so often in makeup products.

*Magnesium Stearate: A stearate salt, magnesium stearate is like a fine white powder. Used in many skincare/beauty products such as eye makeups, foundations, powders, blush, deodorant, etc.

The safety of stearate salt has also been assessed by the CIR Expert Panel, and deemed safe for use in cosmetics. 2001 was the latest evaluation on this ingredient and the CIR Expert Panel recorded the same conclusion -- that it's safe.

Magnesium Stearate is used for its lubricating properties and to keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. This type of salt reduces a transparent appearance in a finished product as well as serves to increase thickness of oil in a product.

*Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2: Acts as an adhesion to skin and gives glossy finish. Most often used in lip products such as lipsticks, glosses, etc. It's also used in hair dye. A component of this ingredient is adipic acid, which is mildly toxic and a mild skin irritant.


*Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate: Used in makeup, blush and some skin cleansers. Forms a barrier on the surface of skin to slow water loss. Also used to increase thickness of oil in products. Has been deemed safe by CIR Expert Panel, and of course the FDA.

*Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: An oily liquid made from coconut oil. Used in eye makeup, foundations, blush, etc. Deemed a safe cosmetic ingredient by CIR Expert Panel as late as 2001. This ingredient has the same purpose as the one above. Slows water loss from skin by forming a protective barrier and also increases thickness of oil in a product.

*Dimethicone: A silicone based polymer. Used as an active ingredient in OTC drug products. CIR Expert Panel has deemed Dimethicone safe for use in cosmetics. Clear in color and considered to be non-toxic and non-flammable. Dimethicone is used for many purposes. Here are a few: anti-foaming, skin conditioning & skin protectant. In this bronzer's case, Dimethicone is used to coat the titanium dioxide. This is supposed to eliminate safety concerns regarding the titanium dioxide.

*Phenoxyethanol: A preservative. Oily, somewhat viscious liquid. Used to prevent or stop microbial growth, protecting all types of cosmetic, skincare, bath & body products from spoiling. Deemed to be safe in cosmetic use by the CIR Expert Panel as late as 2007.

*Caprylyl Gylcol: This ingredient can be plant derived or synthetic. Used as a preservative and/or skin conditioning agent. This too often contains phenoxyethanol.

*Aloe Bardadensis Leaf Extract: Has many, many, many skincare and health benefits. However, the benefits you may or may not get from using a cosmetic product with any part of the aloe plant as an ingredient totally depends on the aloe plant the manufacturer used. The ingredient is mainly used for reducing dryness, healing & restoring damaged skin. Aloe also has anti-aging properties, but I doubt a cosmetic product contains enough to truly do any good. I love that this bronzer contains aloe and coconut oil though. I use aloe for everything. I even eat my aloe plants!

*Tocopheryl Acetate: a naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamin. Tocopheryl Acetate can be taken from vegetable oil or can be synthesized. When taken from vegetable oil, it can take on a yellow or brownish red color. This ingredient can also be found in animal fats, cereal, dairy, meat, etc. Used as a skin conditioning agent and "miscallaneous."

*Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI77492, CI77499): Naturally occurring mineral deposits. These compounds are used in pigments. However, iron oxides used in cosmetics are said to be synthetic.

*Titanium Dioxide: The oxide of titanium. Derived from minerals, and since minerals come from the earth, it's possible this ingredient could also contain trace amounts of heavy metals. However, this is of course FDA regulated, if that helps you feel better. A white powder used in all types of cosmetics, skincare, sunscreens, used in coloring products and as an opacifying agent. In OTC drug products, it's used as a sunscreen agent. Titanium Dioxide purposes: thickening, whitening, lubricating. Protects skin from UVB & UVA radiation. Usually contains lead & iron -- hence the reason the container warns "MAY CONTAIN TITANIUM DIOXIDE." Dimethicone is used to "coat" this ingredient, eliminating some of the safety concern.

ALL ingredients (except iron oxides, they've not been evaluated by CIR) are approved/deemed safe for use in cosmetics by both the FDA and the CIR Expert Panel --I checked!
    • Bridal gift

Texture / Consistency / Thickness / Viscosity

Most of you have more than likely used or at least seen a pressed foundation powder at least, and probably a pressed bronzer as well. You are probably familiar with Physician' Formula, which is a popular brand of face powders, bronzers, etc found at your local Wal-Mart & CVS. You may have even used these. I have.

As for the feel of this product, I can only say that it feels like any other pressed blush, powder or foundation. It doesn't have much of a feel at all when I run my finger across it. It feels similar to running your finger across well-packed dirt, only not loose at all.

On my skin, this bronzer isn't heavy or all too noticeable to my skin & I can't feel it when I touch my face.

I do want to make a note about how well pressed this stuff is though. You have probably known what it's like to drop your pressed powder/bronzer/blush and pick it up only to see that it's crushed and has fallen out all over the place. I certainly know that feeling. It happened to me just months ago with one of my Physician Formula bronzers! What a nightmare, especially when you've paid $10-20 for it! I was only able to scrape some of mine up and it had hair all in it.

I dropped this huge compact bronzer today. It only fell from my bed, but that's all it took to crush my other bronzer. I was surprised when I picked it up that the bronzer was still in tact. The little silver (aluminum, I think) plate that it comes in is stuck tightly in the compact. Usually, when you drop a pressed powder of any kind, you'll see the plate holding it is silver, and probably not stuck in the compact well.

Later, as I was digging a hole in the bronzer to measure just how deep the product is (so I can see just how much bronzer is in this compact compared to my others) I took an X-acto knife around the edges of the silver plate, in hopes of taking it out of the compact. It didn't budge. I think it's even glued down inside the compact, which is very good since it's going to provide extra protection for this. I feel like it'll slosh around in my purse or be dropped and survive it all just fine.

I wouldn't say this is creamy or slick. It's smooth, non-greasy and pretty well pigmented. Since there's the white & gold shimmery streak in this Safari Bronzer, you will notice a bit of a glow. That means this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks, brow bone and the bridge of your nose.

Does it stay in place? Yes and no. I say that because this has a tendency to wear off far, far quicker than anything I've ever used. Since the color is so strange and not likely to work wonderfully and easily with many skin colors, I wrote this off as a good thing. I am able to swipe the majority of it off with my hand or a toilet paper. It does not hold up for an entire day/night. In the heat, I notice it leaves my face quicker. This could be because I have to apply so little in the first place because of the orangey/red undertones.

As far as travelling to other parts of your face, this doesn't. That is why I said "yes and no."

I would not recommend applying this while wearing a light colored shirt. I was wearing the Four Way Flutter bustier when I first tried this bronzer and now I have a small brown stain on the ivory colored bustier. I'm usually not messy with makeup so I haven't had it get on my clothing since that first day, but you absolutely need to be careful. Another important thing is to wash it off your hands immediately! If you have any on your hands, it will definitely get on clothing.

Taste / Aroma

There's very little scent to this bronzer. I actually can't smell anything while using it, but when I crushed some of the pressed powder, I detected a tiny powdery smell, similar to any pressed eyeshadow, but subtle. I happen to love the scent of some eyeshadows, so a scent wouldn't bother me if it was strong.
    • Light smell

Performance

Performance. This is where the review gets tough. I'll share the performance alone here and go into my own personal experience in the experience section. I think talking about both are neccessary. That way you know more about my makeup habits and skin and can pull from that.

A swipe of a wet wash cloth and the bronzer is gone. It doesn't even leave the shimmer behind after rinsing my face. If you've applied too much or want to take it off, it shouldn't require soap and water. Like I said, I only needed to wipe it with a tissue or my hands, but to fully remove, a wet wash cloth does the trick. After I shower using my regular face wash, there's no trace of the bronzer left on my skin.

The Safari bronzer, as you see consists of three colors. The main color is a matte brown, which looks perfect in the compact, but it has red undertones that turn my skin orange/red even with subtle application. The other two colors are a shimmery white and a shimmery gold. When I seen the white & gold, I was really ecstatic because it looked like the white would be perfect for a cheek & brow bone highlighter while the gold served as an eyeshadow and bronzer. This does work, but the brown is a disaster.

I had forgotten that one person said the white and gold are only on the first layer of the compact! So with very few (about one week's use) of the gold and white and you're down to only a dark brown powder. I was applying the white and noticed a brown streak -- this was the very first time I'd used it too -- I switched brushes thinking I had gotten some brown on my brush and it was mixing with my white. Then I realized that it is actually just a tiny layer of white and gold sitting on a compact full of dark, matte brown powder! I forgot all about reading that and was disappointed.

Using the white, gives me a natural, dewy/glowy appearance. Using the gold doesn't look exactly natural, but is a beautiful, light shimmery color that looks perfect on all skin tones. It can be used around the eyes as a shadow and eyeliner, giving you a fresh, wide-eye look. The white works well with a smudged black liner.

In the product photo, the entire bronzer looks very matte. No shimmer at all, so I stayed away from this until I saw real photos of the product. When I seen it in person, I was even happier because it looks like it has a lot of shimmer, until you really start applying it and see that you have mostly all matte brown.

As I said, this is going to work best for very, very dark skintones. I really don't see this working out nicely for a pale color. It's going to look terribly un-natural.


Applying this bronzer is tough. It's so hard to get the right amount on without it looking like, well, just one glance at my photos will tell all. You can see how streaky and defined the mark is where it was blended. By looking, you'd think I just swiped it on, but I actually spent minutes blending it to try and take away the dramatic streak. Bronzer is supposed to just blend in with your skin, adding a touch of color, not stand out so dramatically. No matter how much blending and how little I use and even with a light brush, this is what I get. I'm starting to think there's not actually going to be a way for me to make this work without looking like a fool. I have however, tried it every day this week. I thought it would just take a little extra effort, but I look like a glowing idiot!

This brings me to the conclusion that unless your skin color matches closely with this brown/red, and you're experienced with applying makeup, you may find it too much of a hassle. Who'd have thought you'd need experience in order to apply a bronzer! You should be willing to spend a lot of time and effort if you do want to use this, unless you have a similar skin tone to this color.


Above is a photo that includes each brush I've used with this bronzer, all with equally bad luck. The flat brush, which is the largest one with white tips, is the best option. You can even see where the bronzer has stained the white tips. And if you look at the photos of my face, it's obvious that even that brush isn't going to apply a non-dramatically streaky orange look! The bristles of the flat tipped brush are soft and easily bendable. Not stiff and tight like a blush brush, which applies double the amount of color!

The rest are various shadow brushes I've used. Those work well, and wonderfully with the white and gold when the brown didn't show through.

I've been able to use the smaller, tapered white-tipped brush to take away some of the color, but it still doesn't succeed in ridding me of my red cheeks. It's simply a case of the product, not your brush selection, which can often make a big difference. Not here.
    • Reapply often

Packaging



The Bella bronzer comes in a pastel, thin paper box with a black design and text. It's pretty, but packaging is not what I'm buying so I rarely incorpotate that into how I feel about a product. However, if you do care, the packaging is discreet and most likely will be acceptable by most. It's pretty, but I will eventually toss it since it takes up more space than the round compact. It's not going to serve as wonderful storage since it bends and creases. There's a thick foamy insert that keeps the product safe. See photos.

The compact itself is plastic and pretty durable since I have dropped it without it cracking or the powder shattering. It doesn't come with a mirror or applicator. The clear, plastic lid flips open like any facial powder product. It has a hinge-like thing to keep the clear lid on. The bottom part that houses the silver tin container in which the product is inside is black. The only wording/text you see on the actual compact is the black sticker on the back. There's no sexual wording or anything remotely sexual or embarrassing on this item, so it will suffice as a gift or to leave in the open.

The black sticker on the back of the compact says "Bella Il Fiore" and in smaller text "Bella Beauty Bronzer. Even smaller text tells you "Look like you are on holiday...everyday! Blend the colors of Bella's oversized beauty bronzer together and apply over face and body to create a natural, healthy goddess glow." Then you have the list on ingredients and "distributed by Bella Corporation USA" and the company's website.

The Bella beauty bronzer is made in China.

Personal comments

Believe it or not, I had fully intended on writing a glowing review for this glowing bronzer! Just by looking at it in the compact when it arrived, I told my lovie "this is perfect! It's going to be the best bronzer." That statement came back to bite me in the... face?

I doubt I'll get any more white out of my compact after my use today. There's just barely any color besides brown/red. Take a look at the photos. You can see where with little use, the gold & white have already begun to rub away, bringing the brown to the top.



When I used it, seen how red it was and wiped a lot off, I just thought I added too much in the beginning, it will go better tomorrow. Still intending to give a good review. Tomorrow came, and then a week passed and each day I disliked this bronzer more. Now I'm left terribly stuck. I can almost always find a way to make a makeup product work. Always. It just ain't happening with this. I can add moisturizer to the crushed powder, apply it and it turns me all red. I can use a tiny dab on a subtle brush and there's no change. Tonight, I'm coming to the conclusion that this is not going to be something that will ever look nice on my skin.

Since my partner's arms are about 4-5 shades darker than my face, I swiped this bronzer on his arm. One swipe gave me a red/orange streak. This is why I keep saying that I don't think this will work for darker tones either. It's that blasted red/orange undertone!

Experience

I read a review before buying this so I knew it was supposed to be larger than the average compact, but I was still surprised to see it in person. It looks huge. My first impression was that this is perfect. Large size, beautiful colors that look like they'd work perfectly for my skin. I was ecstatic and whipped out my brush set right then. Since this is also made for use on the body, I thought well, this will last forever since I only use bronzer on my face.

Upon further inspection, I found that this isn't actually much bigger than your typical Physician's Formula brand. This is a wide compact, but if you look at the depth of the product you're getting, it measures about a quarter inch deep and almost 4" wide.



My Physician's Formula container is smaller in width, but it's deeper. You see what I'm getting at? You're not actually getting that much more product. This beauty bronzer is Net Wt. 37.31g/1.316 OZ. I was extremely disappointed for a few reasons. 1. It's a whopping $22 for a bronzer that does not have $22 quality, but since it was so much larger than any other bronzer, I was happy to spend an extra 10 minutes trying to get the application just right. So when I realized that I'm really not getting that much more bronzer, only a wider package, I had to face the quality. If I'm going to pay $22, I'm just going to go for a good quality one since I'm not actually getting that much more than I do with my $11 Physician's Formula.

Here is where I dug a chunk out, to measure the depth of actual product. In this photo you can also see what I meant by the silver plate that holds the product & sits in the compact.


Combine that with the fact that Physician's Formula (and most) bronzers come with a decent applicator (and mirror, but hey, I won't be greedy) it's really not an exciting product.

The first time I applied this bronzer, it was in the darkest corner of my house -- where my vanity sets. This is bad because I never know just how much makeup I'm wearing until I get in the bathroom. It was way too much. My biggest problem is that this stuff has red undertones and instead of having the pretty blend of white highlighter, gold shimmer and brown brozing/tanning powder, I have a super red face. Just look at my photos. It's laughable! I look wild. In the photos, I'm wearing one light swipe, which I used with my soft flat-top brush since a real blush brush applied about double. I have to be very careful and even days later, I have trouble and have to wipe a lot of it off.

I don't mind a little peachy tint in my makeup since it looks nice on my cheeks, but this is full-blown orange! I tried the brown, gold and white on my eyelids and even that looks awful. I believe the pigment in this is just way off period. Using the brown on my eyelids looked like I had been beaten! The gold was OK, but it's impossible to get only gold without the brown/red. The white was best for using as eyeshadow, and I like it, but can only use the tiniest amount or else brown gets on my brush.

I want to compare to the other products I had used as bronzer, highlighter and eyeshadow (all similar to this bronzer).


Here's what products we're comparing:

1. An organic gold eyeshadow with green undertones pictured right below my wrist bone. It's the most different from the other colors. This one is also pictured in the left lower corner of the Bella Bronzer.
I like this, but prefer a plain gold, especially a metallic gold. This has the green undertones making it less than a perfect choice when I want highlights and gold eyelids. It is a mineral shadow and is more pigmented & shimmery than Bella. It also stays on longer. Again, if there was enough layer of white & gold in Bella, I'd be much happier with it and it wouldn't have rated the lowest of my collection.

2. A very old gold eyeshadow I've had since I was a freshman in highschool -- 6 years ago & it's stuck around with regular use. I kept using this old stuff because I still haven't found the gold shadow I've been looking for and this comes close. Plus, I can use it as a highlighter. It's creamy, but always ends up in my creases. This shadow is what I have on my eyelids in my photos. It's pictured right next to my pinky knuckle -- the lightest shade on my hand. In the photo above, with the Bella Bronzer and the small shadow & bronzer, the Avon gold is the small jar in the right lower corner. I like the white in Bella Bronzer better than this because I can use it as a highlighter without it creasing or running. However, this gold is more shimmery than Bella's gold, so I prefer it for coloring my eyes. If it wasn't for the red color showing through (due to lack of enough white and gold being included in the compact) in the white & gold of the Bella Bronzer, I would have far less issues with it.

3.
A cheap, drugstore eyeshadow/bronzer. It's pictured right under the knuckle next to my index finger. This one has the most shimmer compared to the others. It has similar, but more subtle undertones as the Bella Bronzer. It's more pigmented than Bella and costs less than $2.99. You can see it's a loose powder. This isn't my favorite because it too contains subtle red undertones. It doesn't show up like Bella does though. I used this previous to buying the Bella Bronzer and using two swipes gives me a subtle, natural glow. My most preferred is Physician's Formula, which contains no red undertones.

4. Bella Bronzer. This is the one pictured under my index finger knuckle. It's the least shimmery of the bunch and is extremely red. I swiped my widest shadow brush through all three colors in the Bella and blended onto my hand.
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Comments
  • pestilence
    pestilence  
    Thanks for such an in-depth review! Good to know about the orangey tone, and the photos & detailed ingredient list were quite helpful.
  • GONE!
    GONE!  
    Thanks for the review!
  • Kiss
    Kiss  
    Thank you--great review
  • Kissy
    Kissy  
    AMAZING JOB!! Great review Kendra!
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