I Was Addicted to Bronzer and Lived to Tell

benefit hoola caramel hoola toasted
When you’re wearing a new shade of Benefit Hoola Bronzer and go off on a tangent…

It’s alright.

It’s totally OK.

I’ve gone through it, you’ve gone through it, we’ve all gone through it…

Bronzer addiction!

Yeah, it’s a real thing. LOL.

Mine happened circa 2014, which was when I believed that one could never wear enough bronzer, and I literally piled it on. I was so into bronzer that I had a dedicated bronzer makeup drawer, and I went into that drawer to pick out one, two or sometimes even four (!) different bronzers to wear every morning.

It was that serious.

I was reminded of this phase on my makeup journey because of the new Hoola Bronzers by Benefit. Benefit just launched two new ones, darker shades, in Toasted and Caramel ($30 each), and as I daintily swept Toasted across my cheeks today with a big, fluffy brush, I thought about how differently I handle bronzer now than I did back in the day. Karen from back in the day would have looked at me now and said, “What the heck, dude?! You aren’t wearing nearly enough bronzer!”

benefit hoola caramel hoola toasted swatches
Oh yeah, still an NC42!

Back in 2013-’14, I wanted to wear all. The. Makeup.

Every last bit of it. Primer, powder, color correctors — all the bells and whistles. And bronzer was my favorite thing. I was fascinated by how one seemingly simple product could completely transform the shape of my face.

With a few carefully placed swipes (OK, more than a few, ha ha ha!) and, let’s get real, NOT A LOT OF BLENDING, I’d sharpen my cheekbones and make my button nose look thinner and my forehead look less wide — the latter two being things I’d always been particularly self-conscious about. Before long, I got used to seeing that different, rearranged version of my face in the mirror.

benefit hoola caramel
Me: You should probably take out those crazy clips first. Also me:

The turning point for me came one day at Nordstrom while looking at shoes…

I was trying on a pair of high-heeled sandals and looking at myself in a full-length mirror when I stopped mid-stomp and realized — HOLY SH*T — I look like I’ve got two zebra stripes going down the sides of my face!

There were two visible parallel lines running down the sides and a thick stripe of bronzer going across the top of my forehead.

I had a breakthrough moment. “No more zebra stripes,” I silently pledged. “No more.”

Don’t get me wrong, I still love wearing the stuff.

I’m just not as heavy-handed with it. I’ll do a sheer touch of bronzer across my cheekbones, a gentle sweep across my forehead, and that’s usually enough to add a subtle sun-kissed something-something to my skin, which is fine by me.

benefit hoola caramel
Wearing Hoola Caramel across my cheekbones and nose, in the crease, and across the top of my forehead for a little sun-kissed action. Blush: Clinique Sunset Glow. Lipstick: MAC Crosswires. Eyeshadow: Wander Beauty Amber Wave. Eyeliner: Clinique Pretty Easy Pen. Mascara: MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash. Foundation/Concealer: Kosas Tinted Face Oil in Tone 06 and Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Golden.

I don’t feel the need to change my natural features anymore. (Side note: This is a whole ‘nother story, but the gist of it is that I’ve worked fiercely and diligently on loving myself just as I am for the last few years, and part of that is loving my face just the way it is.)

Sometimes, I’ll be browsing Sephora and see a gal wearing beautiful bronzer, or I’ll see pictures of J. Lo’s makeup (BRONZER FOR DAYS), and think to myself, “Wow, she looks amazing,” so who knows? Maybe I’ll get back on the bodacious bronzer bandwagon again. We all go through makeup phases, right? That’s one of the coolest things about it, I think. No one says you have to like the same makeup forever.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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