I acknowledge that a $74.00 price tag for almost any cosmetic product (especially a bronzing powder) is likely to arouse some immediate reactions. As usual, many will dismiss the product outright as overpriced, frivolous, decadent...... Another group will consider the merits of the product and tuck away any desire for the product for another day (or scribble down the name onto yet another wish list). A third group will insist to have a hands-on moment with the product before contemplating the splurge. A final group will simply purchase the product for the “Guerlain” name or due to the draw of the “Terracotta” line (regarded widely as having produced some of the finest bronzers on the market). Personally, I find myself drifting back and forth between the three latter groups. However, when it came to the 4 Seasons Bronzer, I was genuinely moved and, as a result, insisted on owning the product. I will admit, the mention of pure gold caught my attention from the start (although the presence of gold is, for the most part, a gimmick), but the promises of a dimensional, bronzy, and sculptural glow was what sealed the deal for me—plus I am admittedly obsessed with finding the perfect bronzer (in whatever manifestation) after purchasing and trying approximately two dozen of the “top” bronzers. Capped off with a decently protective SPF 10, I was sold.
Sephora.com describes Guerlain’s Terracotta 4 Seasons Tailor-Made Bronzing Powder as, “A tailor-made bronzing powder with pure gold and SPF 10.” In addition to this description, the company argues that, “As the seasons change from winter through summer, women find that the tone of their complexion and their bronzing needs change as well. From the ultimate authority in bronzing comes Terracotta 4 Seasons: a variation in four steps to sculpt your tan all year long. The perfect gradation of caramelized tones, Terracotta 4 Seasons features four wonderfully matte shades to blend together to match every desire, skin tone, or season for an authentic tan and an incredibly natural result. With endless possibilities for combining and layering, this new powder is essential for sculpting a perfectly tanned complexion. Its secret to unprecedented luminosity lies in the formula enriched with pure gold that plays within the four tones for a tan that maintains radiance, no matter what the season.”
The shade I purchased was ‘Brunettes,’ which consists of four bronzy shades. These colors are separated into quadrants and consist of a light tan, a medium tan, a deep bronze, and a (very) dark tan. I admit that I made the mistake of purchasing the ‘Brunettes’ shade because, well, I am a brunette. It seems like an understandable mistake, as I could have never predicted the shades to be as dark as they were. In hindsight, I would have been much better suited with the ‘Blondes’ version of this bronzer, but I have been able to make do with the Brunettes (suck it up, right?). Despite three of the four shades being a tad too dark for my fair skin, I am still struck by the realistic color effects that one can create with the 4 Seasons Tailor-Made Bronzing Powder. If you have ever had a bronzing powder from the Terracotta line, you will be familiar with the shades of bronze that the 4 Seasons bronzer uses (a tad ruddy, never orangey). Indeed, the coppery, bronzy, peachy, reddish, brown colors come off quite well in terms of their ability to mimic an authentic tan. Plus, this bronzer is matte, which adds to the realistic effect it can create. However, it still takes a bit of practice to master this bronzer. Due to its four distinct colors, it is possible to create some fantastic illusions in terms of one’s ability to engineer a highly defined and sculptural bronzy look. Of course, this attempt can quickly turn sour, as poor blending or awkward color placement could thwart one’s dream of the perfect bronzed effect. Still, if ever there were a bronzer to offer what no other bronzer has, the 4 Seasons bronzing powder seems to be it. In fact, many makeup artists use this bronzer for the many ‘tricks’ up its sleeve. Place the darkest shades onto contour zones and blend them seamlessly into the slightly lighter shades to highlight, contour, and chisel the face to sheer excellency.
To get a standard bronzed effect, one could run an angled brush, a typical powder brush, or a kabuki brush through the four caramelized tones and dust it onto the face. This type of effect is actually rather becoming. Although a true matte finish, there does seem to be a subtle luminosity to the powder. This luminosity is not shimmer (and it certainly isn’t glitter), but there is a radiance achieved that is not typical of strictly matte powders (Guerlain claims that the glow is due to the gold). Perhaps the gold is micronized to a point where it actually does enhance the otherwise matte caramel shades. Either way, the subtle luminosity is, dare I say, a tad sublime. With that being said, I do believe it would be easy to apply a bit too much of this bronzer and end up looking ‘overdone’ or ‘muddy’ (i.e. the worst nightmare of any bronzer). Nevertheless, Guerlain still have the most finely milled powders in the business, which helps one create a streak-less, non-caked effect time after time. On this note, the bronzer is one of the most blendable bronzers I have ever used. In many ways, it mimics a cream bronzer on the skin in that one has the option to keep blending it until the desired effect is perfectly in place (by the way, this bronzer would also double as a brilliant eye shadow for those who seek the natural, contoured, and, well, ‘shadowed’ effect). Although the bronzing powder can be blended for quite some time, I have noticed that it ultimately sets and stays in place very well (which is an effect unique to this bronzer from my experience), and as one would expect with a super-luxury bronzing powder, the Guerlain 4 Seasons really latches onto the skin and gives durable color for the better part of 24 hours. Although I adore, for example, my NARS Laguna bronzer, I have noticed that it tends to wipe away much more easily.
Finally, I must mention the packaging, for the packaging is this bronzer’s first line of defense…and what a defense! Just look at it! I would be hesitant to ever throw this compact away, even years after the bronzer has faded away. Two final words of warning—for those with oily skin, you will need to take extra precautions with this bronzer (a mattifying primer seems to be a must). For those with dry patches on their faces or small bumps (e.g. Keratosis pilaris), the risk of having this super-fine powder latch onto these irritations is a valid concern, so take special care and I think you will really love this bronzer!
Size .35 oz.
*Price - $74.00