BareMinerals California Bronze Palette Review, Swatches and Demo

04 Mar
BareMinerals California Bronze Palette Review, Swatches and Demo

I always look up other people’s posts about a product before i write a review to see if there are useful bits of info or differing reactions & opinions. It’s like doing lit-searches. But more fun. Anyhow, I was lurking around the lovely Isabella Muse’s blog and nearly laughed myself to pieces when i read this little blurb about the California Bronze Palette:

“I wish I was in California right now. This snow is getting tiresome! But hey, at least I have the Bare Minerals California Bronze Palette for Spring 2015 to look at today. It’ll make me thing of warm sandy beaches, the bright sun shining in my face, and a place where snow, slush, and ice are a thing of the past.

Oh the irony. It snowed on Monday (March 3rd, 2015) at Huntington Beach! This is SoCal and we got SNOW. On. The. Sand. The last time that happened was in 1967! Its no way even comparable to the beast thats been battering the Midwest and East but dammit, I’m Southern Californian. I get excited when it rains.

Getting this California Bronze palette just seemed like the thing to do even though i normally don’t give two shakes about naming. Side note, i would probably make the stereotypical SoCal resident cry out in shame then proceed to attack me with spray tan. Just for reference I’m somewhere between a NC15 and  NC20 in MAC lingo. I have juuust enough color to be able to find foundations but I’m pale enough to look colorless most of the time. Speaking of foundations and colorless, when I went to get a new bottle of foundation the SA tried to get me a darker one to match tanner spring/summer skin. I noped out and opted for the shade lighter to her absolute confuzzlement. I explained to her that I’m actually tanner during the winter (and lighter during the summer) because i get lazy and skimp on the sunscreen when its cloudy or over cast. (Shhhhhhh. I know that’s skin no-no numero uno.) When summer rolls around it’s too hot during the day to go out so i pretty much turn nocturnal, only venturing out after dusk and hiding from the sun in the darkest den of my lair. When i DO see the sun I coat myself in sunscreen. As result, i get paler during the summer.

Anyhow, this palette is supposed to provide me with a triple dose of Californian Coloring. This review aims to review the palette in detail to help you decide whether to get this or not.


First Look
The box is supposed to connote Spring time feelings though its colors but I’m getting a heavy dose of Easter: delicate pastel-pink eggs, milk chocolate, golden caramel, and beige bunnies.


It looks like a chocolate bar….




Ingredients: click into new tab, cntrl + to enlarge

I got stupidly excited about the packaging upon first opening it. No no, its not what you’re thinking. The cover design is perfectly lovely and all but what i got excited about was the fact that this palette is made of cardboard (held shut by hidden magnets). For those of you who aren’t familiar with BareMineral’s normal packaging for their READY (pressed products) line, it’ll be helpful for you to know that they normally use sleek, rubberized, black compacts like the ones that house NARS products.

Easter I'm telling ya.

Easter I’m telling ya.

Back of the palette


For those of you who don’t know understand why I hate bM/NARS compacts so much, its because I would like the stuff that’s going on my face to be clean, look clean and feel clean. These compacts are the polar opposite of what i desire. Robyn sums it up perfectly in a post about a NARS highlighter:

“Like all NARS blushes, Albatross is housed in a slick black packaging that attracts fingerprints like my carpet attracts large clumps of hair. I swear, if you are worried someone is going to break into a personal safe, you should just superglue NARS products all over it. It will attract fingerprints before the person even touches it. I can only assume it sucks the fingerprints from the air when the person gets within ten feet.”

Anyhow, there are 3 sizable pans of color that will fit the vast majority of brushes. The bronzers are on the side and the luminizer is in the middle. There’s a thin mirror built into the lid. The mirror is covered by a soft plastic sheet while the powders are covered by a plastic slip.

Open palette.

Open palette.

The palette isn’t exactly travel size and the cardboard might get deformed in a tightly packed makeup bag. Dimensions when closed are approximately 7.5″ x 3″ and less than 0.5″ thick. It’s thinner than my pinkie.


Size comparison to the infamous Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and a pen.

My first thought upon open this palette was, “Shit. All three of these look way too dark.” The picture of the open palette is washed out by my lighting. The comparison pic is closer to the actual colors.

Bonus: there’s also a little card with suggestions on usage for each color and a put together look.


What you get
This palette comes with The Ocean View READY Bronzer which is new and exclusive; The Shining Moment Luminizer which is found the the right side of the split pan READY Luminizer Duo; and The High Dive READY Bronzer which is available as a single in the permanent range.

Each pan is 0.14oz which totals to 0.42oz. At $29 for the trio, that’s $69.05/oz.
The bronzer singles are $24 for 0.3oz or $80/oz.
The luminizer duo is $24 for 0.3oz  also $80/oz.
If this palette were to be priced at the same rate as the singles it would cost $33.60 which is a 13.70% percent save. Not substantial enough to warrant drooling but nice if you decide that the colors work for you.

For Price Comparisons to other bronzers and luminizers:
NARS Contour Blush is $42 for 0.28oz or $150/oz.
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder is $40 for 0.28oz or $142.86/oz.
BECCA Shadow& Light Bronze/Contour Perfector is $40 for 0.28oz  or 142.85/oz.
Kevin Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil is $48 for 0.34oz. or 141.18/oz.
Bobbi Brown Illuminaing Bronzing Powder is $40 for 0.31oz or $129.03/oz.
NARS Blush-Bronzer Duos are $42 for 0.35oz or $120/oz.
Stila Custom Color Bronze is $20 for 0.17oz or $117.65/oz.
Smashbox Bronze Lights is $34 for 0.29oz or $117.24/oz.
Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer is $30.00 for 0.32oz. or $93.75/oz.
Make Up For Ever Mat Bronze is $32 for 0.35oz or $91.43/oz.
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil/Sun Bunny Natural Bronzer is $30 for 0.35oz or $85.71/oz.
Cover FX Bronzer is $28 for 0.35oz or $80/oz.
Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer is $37 for a whooping 0.74oz which puts it at $50/oz.

Color Breakdown
The Ocean View: is a honeyed cocoa that has a significant brightening yellow component and a bit of grey mixed in. It almost looks like someone powdered up a cocoa butter bloom. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when there are lighter spots in your chocolate from the cocoa butter separating out. BareMinerals describes it as “a sheer matte bronze” which is about quite right. It is sheer and the finish is matte. The texture of this one is very silky and borders on being a touch powdery. If you scrape at it too hard, there will be excess product kicked up,. As far as the pigments go, they are very finely milled but the concentration rather low. One swipe will go on as a sheer whisper of beige-brown while heavier application will result in a toffee like color. It never does reach pan color no matter how much is layered on. On the plus side, the powder glides on skin and and blend effortlessly so caking won’t be a problem when building up intensity. This color is also ideal for bronzer noobs like me because it is very hard  to overdo it unless you’re Casper. It’s also a good one to swipe on if you’re in a hurry or half asleep because a mirror really isn’t necessary if you know where the hollows of your cheeks are.


The Shining Moment: is a straight up “golden champagne” as bareMinerals describes it. If you want more details, it’s a medium beige-gold with a warm lean. It’s packed with shimmer particles that are a light yellow-straw gold color but there are some peach shimmers as well that give it a almost-pink cast. This one looks great on my skin but i’m not sure how the cool toned porcelain pale folk will fare with this as it might look like a straight up gold overspray instead of a lit glow. The finish of this one is between a frost and a pearl. The end result melds with the skin instead of sitting on top like a shiny film. It doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles but it does exaggerate raised bumps from acne or the like.  Other than that flaw, it gives a nice brightening effect. One swish should be all you need for each cheek.  If applied with a heavier hand, you might be in danger of having Hera, Athena and Aphrodite descend on you. Or you might be in danger of looking slightly ridiculous because the product is silky soft (brushes pick it up well) and pigmented enough to be used as eyeshadow. It can be dabbed in the center of the lid for rounder, brighter eyes or patted in the corner for illumination. I dislike using this on my browbone as a highlight because it is TOO obvious. The shimmers are visible on the skin from a very close (think snogging) proximity but in the pan they are so fine that the individual particles aren’t discernible. The texture is rich and velvety soft without being powdery so precise application and blending shouldn’t be an issue. The Shining Moment also makes for a beautiful highlight on the tops of the collarbone.


The High Dive: is the medium-dark brown with orange undertones.  It is merely described as “medium tan” on the website but the box calls it a “medium, rich golden bronze”. I personally think it’s dark, relative to my NC20 skin.  There’s no evident shimmer in the pan, but on the skin there’s a very subtle golden glow. The texture of High Dive is very smooth and buttery, almost as soft as the cream-powder products that are all the vogue these days. At first  (which i was swatchng with fingers), High Dive felt like it was going to streak. Fortunately, it turned into a lighter textured powder after a little rubbing and circular blending. When i used a brush, application was completely smooth and seamless. Pigmentation is pretty intense and attaining pan color is no problem at all (not that you should apply it that way). One dip of the brush into the pan is enough to scare me because it picks up a crap ton of color. This color is definitely not foolproof and can’t be applied half asleep like with Ocean Dive. My personal recommendation is to proceed carefully with a small fan brush or a very fluffy tapered brush. Luckily, the pigments are very finely milled so High Dive can blend out to almost nothing (aka skin) if you give it enough time and a pinch of patience. On a kind of random note, High Dive makes a good crease color in the eye socket. It’s a nice warm shadow doesn’t migrate or crease for a decently long while on my oily lids (7-ish hours)! Because this is rather dark but  very pigmented and blendable, I also like to use it along the sides of my neck (which is lighter than my face) to give it some color. I take a big fluffy fan brush (bh cosmetic’s Deluxe Fanbrush) and run this stuff down the lateral of the sternocleidomastoid muscles (the prominent “V” in the neck) stopping short of the clavicle.


Here’s a closer look at the finishes when the powders are super concentrated.


From Left to Right: The Ocean View, The Shining Moment, The High Dive

Swatches and Face Performance
When concentrated, Ocean View almost appears darker than High Dive because of it’s grey component. I’ll be able to use Ocean View as a contouring powder. High Dive also has a golden bronze luminous finish that makes it appear brighter, and thus lighter. The Shining Moment – when blended out looks like a the flattering light of an incandescent bulb. It actually made my complexion look brighter and – i guess – more awake? Refreshed?  When concentrated though….. Golden Apples, anyone?


From Left to Right: The Ocean View, The Shining Moment, The High Dive (All swatches are two swipes on the left,, except Shining moment – that’s one swipe – and heavy applied, lightly blended with tapered brush on the right)

On the face, i prefer not to have mud stripes. A subtle brown glow is enough. Below i have included pictures of how the stuff looks on my face but let me explain first. The picture far left of each strip is my face with nothing but foundation on it. In the middle are the pictures of how the bronzers look applied in the classic “3” curve and along the sides of my nose. Because i was lazy i split my face in half. I applied High Dive on my right and Ocean View on my left. In the pictures on the right, I’m wearing a thrifty dusting of the Shining Moment over my previously bronzed face along the T-zone and on the tops of my cheekbones. Please excuse all the little acne bumps on my face, I was too lazy to properly conceal and mattify them.


Left: bare skin + Middle: High Dive on my right & Ocean View on my left + Right: Shining Moment

The staying power of High Dive is quite excellent and it goes away gracefully. It started fading at around 8 hours, turning less orange and more dusky brown, to my delight.  The faintest shadow of it still lingered on my skin around hour 12. Most of the stuff on my forehead had rubbed off on my hair or who knows where but there was still a discernible amount of color under my cheekbones and along my jaw.


Left: bare skin + Middle: The High Dive + Right: The Shining Moment

I couldn’t really tell when The Ocean View faded. It’s a very subtle color (the way i applied it anyways) and I wasn’t really sure when it started fading. I was a pain trying to figure out if i was less puffy than usual and seeing my own cheekbones or if i was being bamboozled by the powder. Either way it lasted a  decently long time (6 + hours). I’m pretty sure it was actually gone by the 8 hour mark though.


Left: bare skin + Middle: The Ocean View + Right: The Shining Moment

The Shining moment was also a pain in the ass to tell when it was gone because i applied it so sheerly, but it was easier. All i had to do was get really friendly with the mirror and look for golden reflects.  I noticed that the golden luminosity started fading around hour 7  and fell to about half wattage by hour 9. I had to blot oil a couple times but the luminizer didn’t budge. The stuff stayed right where i had dusted it in the morning and kept faintly shining away. The fact that it lasted  almost 10 hours without going anywhere is pretty impressive considering I dusted it in my T-zone (and cheekbones) which is my oiliest area. Keep in mind, I’m an oily person but  as a qualifier, i also didn’t do any sweating that day.

Final Thoughts
This is a nice little palette to buy if you have warm, neutral, yellow, golden, olive undertones and are of fair to medium-dark complexion. For pale cool people, Ocean Dive will work for you for sure but i hesitate to say the same about the yellow-gold luminizer and High Dive. I really like using my fingers to blend out High Dive further because it’s a creamy-like powder and using fingers diffuses the color much faster than a brush does (fingers lift away some of the surface color). Other than that I really have no other usage tips to add.

If the minuscule amount i use each time is anything to go by, I think I’m set for the next year or so. The value is pretty good price per ounce wise for a mid-range brand and the textures are deliciously soft. Of course you can probably find drugstore equivalents, but nice things are nice. If you are familiar with and value bM’s silky, soft, pigmented formulations then you really should check this out. If you only have one bronzer in your stash, this would be a great one to get. If you already have a whole drawer devoted to them…. I think it’s safe to say that this is a skip. You can only get so extraordinary with bronzer colors so this might overlap with some stuff you already have.

Where to Get
This palette is limited edition for Spring 2015 so it will be available for $29 at the following places until it is sold out.
Ulta Stores and Ulta Website
bareMinerals Boutiques and bareMinerals Website
Sephora Website (online only)

It’s also available at for $35. That price includes a double ended brush but doesn’t include shipping. BareMineral brushes are very hit or miss. This brush might be fucking awesome and feel like a bunny on a stick. Conversely, it might be fucking terrible and be scratchier than a wool sweater from hell. Bottom like: I adore some bM brushes and abhor others, so proceed at your own risk.


Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Face Product, On the Fence


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4 responses to “BareMinerals California Bronze Palette Review, Swatches and Demo

  1. Von

    August 16, 2015 at 4:11 AM

    Thanks, great review and photos. Unfortunately I am late to the party and this appears to have sold out at Mecca (I am in Australia). However, it was helpful to know that one of the colours is in the permanent collection. I’m going to check it out now!


    • XYZ

      August 16, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      I’m glad you found it helpful 😀 good luck finding the bronzer. I believe that the newer one also makes an appearance in the bronzed and luminous collection available at US sephoras. I’m not sure about Aussie ones though.


  2. Kitman

    May 14, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Oh my gosh kudos to you for making such a detailed and helpful review! After reading your post I finally got motivated to go out and get the palette but unfortunately I got allergic to it.


    • silverfiretwilight

      May 14, 2015 at 5:37 PM

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the detail. I’ve actually had people tell me that this way long winded.
      And i’m so sorry to hear that you’re allergic to it! That’s one of the worst letdowns after convincing yourself to buy something. 😦



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