Ask the majority of Gen Z’ers about where they get their beauty product recommendations, and 99 percent of the time, they’ll probably say TikTok. Just like social media platforms in the past, TikTok has inarguably generated an enormous beauty fan base that’s focused on praise-worthy results without sacrificing a huge chunk of your paycheck. TikTok’s Golden Age of bargain beauty has brought a number of affordable brands to the forefront: Think Cetaphil, CeraVe, and Undone Beauty, a makeup brand founded in founded in 2018 that’s gone viral for its TikTok-approved product, the Water Bronzer.
With all of the bronzers and contour options out there, what makes Undone’s newer alternative so special? It’s actually a water-based bronzing formula that’s supposed to create a more natural, streak-free finish, as opposed to cream formulas made with an oil base.
Cosmetic chemist Ginger King notes that the main difference between water-based formulas and oil-based products are the “feel” of them since water-based formulas are more easily absorbed by the skin without leaving a greasy finish. Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat also notes that water-based formulas are great for warmer days since they have a “cooling and refreshing” feel when applied to the skin. “[Water-based makeup formulas] can incorporate more water-based active ingredients like aloe and coconut water,” he adds.
Each of the four shades of Undone Beauty’s Water Bronzer does, in fact, contain coconut water to hydrate your skin. While its formula moisturizes, this dewy bronzer’s lightly tinted finish creates a subtly chiseled contour. To see if it really lives up to the viral hype, I tested out Undone Beauty’s best-selling bronzing stick, and long-story-short, I’m definitely into it.
I’m a makeup minimalist, and my square face is already pretty angular, so contouring is usually reserved for very special occasions. Plus, I can never find a shade that doesn’t create a muddy, obvious finish, so I usually opt for the now-trending blush draping technique to define my cheekbones. So before I dived into this teeny stick bronzer (it’s 0.19 ounces, in case you’re wondering), I looked up every single video review I could find to make sure I applied it properly. After watching every minute of Tabitha Gingerich’s 2019 review, I decided to follow her steps and rub the top layer off in order to get a better pigment payoff — and I’m very glad I did. The top layer has some sort of shiny, film-like finish on it that messes with the color payoff, so I would suggest rubbing it across your arm for a few seconds or giving it a quick wipe on a paper towel before using it on your face.
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