Jul 16 2014

It drinks my sweat: Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm SPF 30 (HWB/SPF)


The Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm (SPF 30) is another product that I struggled with in terms of whether to place it in the Summer Essential SPF Series or the Hot Weather Beauty Series. Because of its dual purpose, I think I’ll just have to include it in both.

Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm SPF 30


This deluxe sample of the Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm that I tested over the past few weeks came as part of the Sephora Sun Safety Kit.

According to Stila’s website, the “10 in 1” qualities of this beauty balm are (and I quote):


  • Innovative micro spheres, which have been shown to hide skin imperfections and reduce wrinkle depth
  • Infused with natural, skin-protecting emollients which have been shown to increase antioxidant activity
  • Enriched with a proprietary blend, which has been shown to reduce skin inflammation, improve texture, stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • Broad-spectrum spf 30
  • Hydrates and nourishes the skin
  • Helps reduce pore size and provide oil and blemish control
  • Features an exclusive complex, which helps reduce redness and skin irritation
  • Uses the smallest particle size of coated pigments for seamless, smooth coverage
  • Bronzes and primes the skin for a sun-kissed glow
  • Oil-free, paraben-free, dermatologist tested and ideal for all skin types

That’s quite a list of claims.

I don’t think I’ve been using the Bronzing Balm quite long enough to test the long-term (possibly) skincare benefits but I do think it’s an adequate sunscreen (a combo of physical and chemical – Octinoxate/Zinc Oxide), the pigmentation is decent, coverage is even, it is oil-free and nicely primes my face for foundation.

For me, however, the most significant quality of this product is the amazing job it does mattifying my skin and creating a barrier against humidity.

Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm Review

O.k., let’s rewind. I’ve tested the following ways of applying this: under my foundation concentrating solely on the contour areas/perimeter of my face, under my foundation all over my face and on top of my foundation only in the contour areas/perimeter.

All three ways work well to achieve a bronzed effect to the complexion, though over the foundation will require the most work (blending). For fairer skin ladies application under foundation will be the most natural look as (presumably) your foundation will go over it and tone down the colour. This has become my preferred application method and for reference I consider myself light-medium (NC 25).

Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm Review

My “miracle angels singing” moment came one day in the mid-afternoon on a particularly warm (weekend) of 36 degrees C (that’s 97 F) in 74% humidity. I had just finished taking a shower, moisturizing my face and sat down to apply my makeup. It was damn hot. The sweating promptly commenced while I surveyed my makeup collection to determine the best way forward. Now, usually, on an occasion such as this, I wouldn’t bother to bronze. In fact it would be the last thing on my mind. However, my sub-conscience must have recalled something about the Stila Bronzing Balm that my conscience self was not aware. And so I reached for it and used it as my “primer”. It spread surprising well and evenly considering how damp my face was.

A few seconds later, I was glancing down at my MAC palette, deciding on my eye-shadow look for the day when a strange sensation suddenly came over me…..I touched my face cautiously. Odd. I raised my head and looked at myself in the mirror, turning my face from side to side…I was not longer sweating!

Had the temperature in the room suddenly dropped? No. Had the island frozen over? No (I almost did get up and look out of the window).  What was happening? My skin which was had been soaked a few moments ago was now as dry as the Sahara.

What was the source of this miraculous situation? It had to be the Bronzing Balm. Nothing else in my routine had changed.

I’ve since tested this theory a dozen times and it’s worked every time. I’m not sure what magical ingredient is causing this product to literally drink my sweat (gross) but I must have more (the product is marketed to be water resistant, don’t know if that has anything to do with it).

Yes, I have to apply a foundation or some other type of light coverage over this as it’s too dark for me to wear alone, but I am hooked.  If you are a deeper skin tone, depending on your undertones you may be able to get away with this as your sole method of (albeit light) coverage. If you live in the tropics, I highly recommend you consider looking into this. My favorite method of applying this is with fairly dense flat top brush, starting with the perimeters of my face and blending the product inwards. I then let it set for a few minutes while I apply my eye makeup. Finally, I go back in with my foundation of choice and a beauty blender, then powder.


BONUS: As of this post, the Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm is on sale at Stila’s website for $19.00 USD (not an affiliate link).



  • Hot Weather Approved! (in spades)
  • Best for: Oily/Combo Skin Types (or if you live somewhere like I do)
  • Best for: Light, Medium to Deep Skin Tones with neutral, yellow or olive undertones (this may not work well for those with pink/red undertones)
  • Cost: High ($38.00 USD for 1.3 fl oz.)



All products featured were purchased by the author. No affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.




Beauty Isles Signature    

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  1. This looks like such an interesting product, just not for my dry skintype I’m afraid! Pretty awesome that it makes you stop sweating! 😀 x

    1. Thanks! I am in love. But yes, agreed, not for dry skin. It’s always so interesting to see what works for different people and what their needs are depending on skin type/weather/environment. My skin is combo, but I do love me some oils occassionally. 🙂

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