Swatch & Review: Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer

Hey everybody, how are you doing today? The week is almost over. Are you breathing a sigh of relief? It looks like Europe has been freezing over. It is -4 here at the moment (but according to the weather website it feels like -10), and by the end of the week it’s going to be -17. Looks like we’ve got some tough days ahead, but I try to remember a) at least it’s not snowing b) there isn’t TOO MUCH wind and c) all the bugs will die instead of coming out to mess with me when spring/summer comes. When times are hard, one of the strategies I employ is thinking positive thoughts!

Like most of us who live in the northern hemisphere, I haven’t seen much sun for a while. Since I am not a fan of tanning salons and self-tanning lotions, bronzer is my only salvation. I’m still relatively a newbie when it comes to bronzers, and the first one I own is Bobbi Brown Bali Brown. I still love it, but I think it works better with my summer skin tone (say NC35). Also, I personally don’t associate shimmery bronzers with winter. My goal is to have some credible color and put a bit of dimension back to my face after it has been “flattened” a little by foundation and finishing powder.

That led us to Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer! I was looking for an item to balance the swap out when I saw this. After reading some (overwhelmingly positive) reviews, I decided to swap for it. It is probably a GWP (gift with purchase) size of 1.5 grams (0.05 oz). The full-size compact contains a whopping 21 grams (0.74 oz), which makes it 4 grams (0.14 oz) less than Cargo The Big Bronzer and much larger than most bronzers on the market. I was a bit surprised when I opened the compact, because it looked pretty shimmery to me! If you enlarge the picture above you can see some shimmer, but the real thing shimmers to a point that I would not call it matte! Oh well, since I’ve got it, I might as well give it a try.

I wasn’t too sure what to think about it when I swatched it on the back of my hand, because once sheered out it literally disappears into my skin (I had to choose the swatch picture with indoor lighting so that you can see it better. In natural lighting you see nary a thing). One good thing is that the shimmer is so fine and understated that it is not noticeable. What I didn’t remember was my face is slightly lighter, so I was pleasantly surprised the first time I used it on my face! It makes me look very healthy and just a teeny little bit darker, and I doubt very much anyone would be able to detect the bronzer even in person. The shimmer also disappears, leaving just a bit of healthy glow. It is not exaggerated, so if you want to look obviously bronzed or tanned this might not be your thing (of course it also depends on your natural skin tone). If you’re looking for a soft way to enhance your skin tone however, this bronzer does a perfect job! The pigmentation is decent. I don’t easily find myself risking overdoing this, but there is no need to pile it on either. It doesn’t oxidize on me, and the staying power is decent. I normally use some in the hollows of my cheeks, temples, forehead, and jawline. You can click here and here to see it in action, or just click on the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess tag.

My only concern when it comes to recommending this product to people is that this definitely won’t work “across all skin tones.” I’ve read about lighter lassies (NC 10-15) raving about this bronzer, but if you are say NC 40 or above it probably won’t do too much for you. I still have to experiment with it in summer, but I have the feeling that I won’t be able to see much difference.

Bottom line: Depending on your natural skin tone, you might find this bronzer enjoyable. The price tag might seem big, but the quantity and quality it provides make it worthwhile. It’s definitely worth checking out if you have light-to-medium skin tone and are looking for a bronzer to counter a bit of that winter paleness, or to contour your face since it’s matte and should do the trick!



  • http://fieran.wordpress.com fieran

    I still haven’t gotten onto the bronzer bandwagon. I have the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer (my, what a name) in shade 2 I think, the darker one (I’m NW43). I like it but it does have a bit of shimmer, as you’ve pointed out. A more matte one is MAC’s Matte Bronze. I don’t feel like it does much to my complexion but I rotate with either of them if I want to look more polished/put together.

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      Hey Fieran, I’m a total bronzer newbie myself, but I find it useful for giving some dimension back to my face and making it look a little slimmer (If I gain one kilo, at least 500 grams go to my face. It’s really a bit unfortunate lol)! The shimmer is invisible once it goes on my face, but I still think it’s a teeny bit misleading to call it a matte bronzer!

  • http://liteenie.wordpress.com liteenie

    Hi! I’m doing well, thanks for asking! ;)
    How do you live in such cold weather?? I’m traveling to a snowy place this weekend and I have no idea how to dress and stay warm when going out. I’m about to give up and show up in my snowboarding gear! haha

    I like Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer for an all over glow, but it has shimmer in it, and I like Guerlain 4 Seasons Terracotta Bronzer for contouring. I have Nars Laguna, which everyone loves, but I’m not that into it.

    Have a great weekend!

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      Hey Teenie!

      Oh well, I’ve learnt to deal with it over time. You need LAYERS to make things easier (I have pulled my unattractive wool underwear out, but nobody really needs to know that lol). Also, wrap your neck up as tightly as you can. Turtlenecks and scarves really help! Two pairs of socks (I usually wear socks on top of stockings), gloves, and a cap. That and stopping for a hot drink whenever you can. You should be good to go!

      I’ve heard good things about the Tarte one, and NARS Laguana seems to be a cult favorite (NARS anything seems to be a cult favorite haha. I’m JUST getting into the brand though). I’m not a big bronzer person, so unless I run out of this one I wouldn’t look for a replacement.

      You have a great weekend too Teenie! Keep us posted about how you survived the cold!

  • bronzerbunny

    I got this in a swap too and found it to be too light & hard in texture… I love bronzer though so I’m glad this worked out for you :)

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      Yeah, I think NC30 is pretty much the limit. I get way darker than this bronzer in summer :p

  • http://projectswatch.blogspot.com/ Emi at Project Swatch

    Nice review! I really like getting to try GWP or mini sizes of things – I never finish things anyway, so it’s great to get a smaller size.

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      I know! I wish most things cost a couple dollars and come in small sizes, because I want a lot of stuff but won’t ever be able to finish the majority of it!

  • http://morethanjustmyhobby.blogspot.com L

    Whoa!that’s some freezing weather>.<''
    I'm quite the bronzer noob myself..haven't found one that suits me yet. Since I'm on the lighter side of the spectrum, i'll definitely check these out instore:) thanks for the suggestion!

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      It is literally freezing :p Lucky you for living in Cali (I heard that winter hasn’t even really started there lol)!

      You should try this one out, because it really isn’t very dark! Keep me posted about how it works for you!

  • http://www.bellachique.be/ Bellachique

    Not a bronzer girl, but it sure looks nice tho, especially because it looks like it’s not too shimmery and glittery, but just slightly, just perfect :). I actually admire people with pale skin *is jealous*. Oh well, the grass is always greener on the other side…:p

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      But your skin tone is similar to mine, possibly even a tad lighter! Well, doesn’t mean you need a bronzer though :) I was never obsessed with tanning or anything, but there was this summer during which I went to the beach to lie down and tan every other weekend. That’s why I got used to seeing myself quite a bit darker :)

  • http://www.lenallure.com l e n a

    i am not a regular bronzer user but i am getting more interested in using it more often.
    i’ve always thought bronzer makes me look older not sexy nor healthier. maybe i wasn’t using the right one. ;p
    i only have one bronzer (that physician’s formular striped shimmery one) but this almost matte understated bronzer sounds very interesting. :)
    estee lauder makes good powder stuff, in my opinion. ^-^

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      I used to think Estee Lauder (or basically all luxury brands) is a “mum brand,” but they’ve managed to come up with pretty cool stuff actually! Matte ones are definitely more natural, but in summer I like some kind of shimmer particles which catch the sunlight :)

  • Emily

    I’m NC15 and I use NARS Laguna in the summer as it’s more pigmented. The shimmer in that disappears once you blend it out. It makes for a great summer blusher too for some reason as it easily blends with the colour in my cheeks. haha Also, for the winter when I’m paler and want dimension and warmth/slight glow (without the Hawaii-effect), I go with a easy-to-blend matte bronzer (currently using Dior Sun Matte Bronzer in 002 Honey Matte, I believe…very long names these things have!). It’s great for sculpting if not used too strongly. It’s long-wearing and doesn’t oxidise as the day goes on. It also has SPF 20…which I think is useless but w/e, anything helps I suppose. Hope that helps with future decisions! :)

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      Thanks for the recommendations Emily! I’ll have to swatch Laguna when I go back to Taipei this summer, as we don’t have NARS counters here. Will keep Dior in mind when I’m done with this too! xx

  • tais

    I was wondering about buying this gwp bronzer on Ebay, but thought maybe 1.5g was too little of a product (have no idea about the actual size of the gwp pan). Since you have it, what is your opinion ? This trial size is good just for few application or should it last you for a while (using sparsely..) ?

    • http://mostlysunnybunny.wordpress.com Sunny

      Hey hon, the thing with this bronzer is that it’s pretty hard to make a dent in it! I mostly contour with this, and I honestly can’t see the difference after owning it for quite a while. I think you’ll be pretty safe purchasing a GWP size first :)