I am naturally really pale. The sort of pale that looks see-through from some angles. Whenever we used to go on family holidays when I was younger, I would go pink on day one, red on day two and the inevitable shedding of the top layer of my skin would start on day three. I would love to say that this doesn't happen anymore, because I am well-informed beauty editor and always apply the best sun cream regularly whenever I come into contact with the sun. But I want to be honest with you and say that sometimes I am caught out.
As you can see my relationship with the sun is a tense one - I love it, but it hates me. Therefore, my attitude towards self tan and bronzing is enthused. I add colour and glow to my skin armed with the best fake tans and the best bronzers. And after years and years of testing, I know that I have found the ultimate bronzer in Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream.
If you're unfamiliar with this product, you might recognise its iconic packaging - the large round pot with the black lid emblazoned with the Chanel double c logo. It used to be called Soleil Tan de Chanel, but changed names in 2020. You might have seen it in department store beauty halls or on social media.
Housed inside is a creamy-gel bronzer with a totally matte finish that feels like velvet on the skin. It started its life with only one shade, but due to popularity (and most likely external pressure) it now comes in three shades designed to suit all skin tones. I'm not alone in my love for it - I've spotted this in the make-up bag of so many of my colleagues and every single one of them agrees with me that it just does the job better than so many other bronzers on the market.
I've always found that cream textures mimic the look of skin more than powder formulas, which is why I find this gives the most natural looking colour.
Chanel's Les Beiges collection is all about achieving a healthy glow and whilst there are some incredible products in the line up - including my all time favourite Healthy Glow foundation - the Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream is, in my opinion, the one that gives the convincing natural-looking luminosity to the skin.
I am aware that £46 is rather a lot for a bronzer, but my pot last me months. I think I probably go through one and half, two at a push, each year. Which is a long time. I make sure that I clean the brush I use with it regularly to reduce the chance of dirt and bacteria getting into the cream.
As I said it now comes in three shades - Bronze, Medium Bronze and Deep Bronze - I use Bronze, which is the lightest, so works well with my fair skin. I can actually still use this shade in the middle of summer when my face has warmed naturally ever so slightly in the sun.
I've found the best way to apply it is to use a big fluffy brush - Chanel recommend a Kabuki - but I've used a number of larger brushes and they've all applied the product well. I swirl the product into my skin to create the most natural-looking colour. The great thing about it is that it blends beautifully and never looks cakey. There's silica and soft focus powder in the formula, which gives it a velvet, blurred finish.
And even though it's fully matte, there are light reflecting pigments inside so I never look muddy or flat.
I feel lost - and look deathly - without this bronzer and just know that it will remain a permanent fixture in my make-up bag for years to come.
Shop Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream
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Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.
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