I’ve leaned into quarantine life hard. We’re talking rare showers, even rarer hair washes, and no “hard pants” in sight (leggings for days, baby). Having decided that looking cute is officially off of the table until I can see a new human IRL again, you better believe that my face did not see a stitch of makeup for five straight weeks. Then, I met Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer ($20).
With the onset of my makeup discoveries in the early 2000s, my relationship with bronzer has always been a complicated one. I spent most of my young adult life walking around wearing an unblended, too-dark shade that made me look like a cross between an Oompa Loompa and Snooki (and not at all like Jessica Simpson fresh off of the beach, which is obviously I was going for). So for the longest time, I stayed away from the stuff. But the Tower 28 bronzer is a whole different animal than the stuff I was caking onto my face in the early aughts, and has quickly become the only thing I want to put on my face. Even if no one is technically seeing it.
Unlike your usual sticks and powders, it’s got a creamy texture that makes it easy to apply to your cheeks, nose, and forehead, and also to your lids and lips. There’s no sparkle in sight—instead, it offers a glossy finish that really does make it look like you’re fresh off of the beach (even when you’ve been stuck inside for weeks on end). “Cream bronzers are going to look glowy, radiant, and juicy; powder bronzers are going to look more matte, satin-y, and more makeup-y,” celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes told a group of editors during a launch event for the bronzer. “If someone is really dry, I would suggest a cream bronzer.”
The Tower 28 bronzer comes in two colors, and both have found their place in my routine. I use my fingers to apply the darker tone (Best Coast) to my forehead and the bridge of my nose, then blend it into the hollows of my cheeks for the world’s easiest contour. Then, I take the slightly more shimmer-y shade (West Coast) and apply to the high points of my cheeks and my eyelids. Finally, per the advice of Hughes, I dab a teeny-tiny bit of it on the center of my lips to add dimension, before swiping on a coat of my favorite tinted balm.
The result is the most natural bronzer-only look in the history of makeup. It’s perfect for staying inside, because it’s so low effort, while also adding just the right amount of sculpting highlight to make you look alive on Zoom. Now, my “no makeup” approach to quarantine has officially morphed into a one-product one.