One of the most exciting makeup releases for me this year is theBalm Cosmetics Take Home The Bronze Collection. The Take Home The Bronze Collection consists of three “anti-orange” bronzers, Oliver (formally known as Oskar), Thomas (formally known as Toni) and Greg (formally known as Graham E). I knew as soon as I saw the first promotional pictures that I needed Oliver. The Oliver bronzer shade is the lightest and coolest of the three shades and is one of the few bronzers on the market that can actually be used on fair skin. The whole Take Home The Bronze collection is packaged in a similar way to all of the other theBalm cheek products, in a cardboard compact with a large mirror for easy application on the run. TheBalm is a cruelty free American brand that is available at David Jones, Target and on the BeautyNext website in Australia. Beauty Next have told me that all 5 bronzers from theBalm that I have swatched for you today are vegan. I have swatches comparing all of theBalm’s bronzers and swatches of the Oliver bronzer next to high end bronzers that I was considering purchasing before the release of this collection.

Thebalm Oliver Bronzer
TheBalm Oliver Bronzer

Bronzing is one of the hardest things to perfect on my skin because I am very pale and pink toned, so many bronzers on the market look straight out orange on me. Even many contour shades are far too orange for me to use as a bronzer. A good bronzer for fair, pink skin, is very hard to find, as brands just generally don’t make any products for very fair skin (hence my foundation and concealer struggles). And when they do, they they’re almost always catered to warm toned skin, so the products never work for me. TheBalm’s Oliver bronzer is one of the very few bronzers on the market that can be used on very fair pink skin. It is also the right colour to match warm skin tones and those with light skin – as well as the very pale. The best application method is to get a very big fluffy brush and very lightly tap into the pan, as well as tap off the excess, before lightly applying to the skin. Oliver can be built up easily, so for fair skin it is best to use a light hand when applying it – I still need to practice this. The powder does have a bit of kick up in the pan, but that’s just what happens with soft powders, so it’s nothing to worry about.

TheBalm Oliver Bronzer swatch
TheBalm Oliver Bronzer swatch

The Oliver bronzer is much lighter and cooler than any other bronzer that theBalm has released. I went in store to compare all of theBalm’s bronzers so that you could see just how different the shade depths and undertones are. Thomas from the recent Take Home The Bronze release is the most orange of all the bronzers in their line up, and Balm Desert, a blush/bronzer hybrid, is by far the most red. I own Balm Desert as I was hoping I would be able to use it as a blush, like Balm Springs and Balm Beach, but it just doesn’t work for fair skin. Greg from the Take Home The Bronze collection, and Bahama Mama, the original bronzer from theBalm, are the most similar. Bahama Mama has a touch more green than Greg, but they’re so similar that it wouldn’t surprise me if Bahama Mama were to be discontinued in future.

TheBalm bronzer comparison - Oliver, Thomas, Greg, Bahama Mama and Balm Desert
TheBalm bronzer comparison – Oliver, Thomas, Greg, Bahama Mama and Balm Desert

I know a lot of people will want to see theBalm’s Oliver bronzer compared to other popular bronzers that suit fair skin, so I went out of my way to go to a second shopping centre to do that for you – the photo was taken in the shopping centre but it’s the best I could do, hopefully it’s helpful. I compared Oliver to the Hourglass Ambient Light Bronzers in Nude Light and Diffused Light as well as the BareMinerals Invisible Bronze Powder Bronzer in Fair to Light which are all available at Mecca in Australia. I also went to Sephora Aus so that I could include the Marc Jacobs Omega Bronzer in Tan-tastic. I wanted to include Becca’s Sunlit Bronzer in Bali Sands but Sephora Australia are terrible at restocking things – looking at swatch comparisons of it online though, it would be much warmer than theBalm’s Oliver. The picture doesn’t show the finishes of the bronzers well but I can tell you that the Hourglass Diffused Bronzer and Bare Minerals Fair to Light Bronzer both had evident micro sparkles to them in sunlight. The other shades were matte except for theBalm’s Oliver which has the slightest sheen in sunlight, but without any sparkle. The Hourglass Diffused Bronzer was the coolest of the bunch, and Bare Minerals was the warmest (but only just). Bare Minerals was the most sheer of all the shades but all the other colours had the same sort of pigmentation. Before theBalm’s Take Home The Bronze Collection was announced, I was very close to buying the Hourglass Nude Bronze Light Bronzer. I’m really happy that I waited as the colours are so similar that the end result looks the same, and theBalm’s bronzer only cost A$22.95 compared to A$73 for the Hourglass bronzers.

Bronzer swatch comparison on fair skin - thebalm Oliver, Hourglass Nude Bronze Light and Diffused Bronze Light, Bare Minerals Invisible Bronze in Fair to Light and Marc Jacobs Tan-tastic
Bronzer swatch comparison on fair skin – theBalm Oliver, Hourglass Nude Bronze Light and Diffused Bronze Light, Bare Minerals Invisible Bronze in Fair to Light and Marc Jacobs Tan-tastic

I’m happy that I now have a cruelty free bronzer that can be used on my fair skin, and the price is a bonus. I do need to practice using it more as I can easily build up the pigmentation too much so that it looks weird. The pigmentation level is the only downside, but it makes it useful for a wider range of skin tones, so I understand why it’s so pigmented. TheBalm have some other new releases that I would love to try as well, the Plump Your Pucker Lip Gloss and Furrowcious Brow Pencil. If I get my hands on them I can give you an honest opinion on those as well. You can check out my previous reviews of products from theBalm Cosmetics – TheBalm The Mainzer Sisters Luminizer Palette Review and TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Review. TheBalm is one of my favourite brands so I do own quite a few of their products that I can review. I plan on doing a review on all of their blushes and a comparison of their three Meet Matt(e) eyeshadow palettes. If you want to get my new blog posts sent to your inbox, then sign up to email updates. You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I hope my review and swatch comparisons are helpful for you – it can be really hard to find products swatched against other brands sometimes. Have you tried the new bronzers from theBalm’s Take Home The Bronze Collection, or plan on trying them in future?

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Alinta McMurdo