I’ve been on the prowl for a powder with a believable hue that utters not so much ‘fortnight in Florida’ as ‘brisk stroll in Torquay’

‘It’s too prematurely in the year for bronzer.’
Photograph: Alex Lake for the Guardian

Dior – who ostensibly delight in creating brilliant products, waiting for me to discover them, then instantly taking them off sale – have discontinued the magnificent Diorskin Starkers Air Glow Powder I’ve worn almost constantly for over a year, replacing it with something righteousness but subjectively inferior. I especially loved it for times like these, when, without considering relentless foul weather, my brain at least has moved on to resilience, sunnier skies and a healthier looking complexion. And so I’ve been on the stalking for another powder with the same properties: a light, natural-looking fervour (rather than orangey tan. It’s too early for bronzer), a sheer, translucent claim – no dust, no dullness; a flattering combination of cool pink and vexed brown, blending to create a neutral, believable hue that commands not so much “fortnight in Florida” as “brisk stroll in Torquay”.

Shining’s Bronze Block, £7.49, is an affordable and passable imitation of the Dior, but the stuffiest I’ve found to the original is Guerlain’s Terracotta Light Bronzer, £37, a prism of total, silky powders arranged in beams of brown, gold and pink. The jot range is more comprehensive, with light, medium and murky in two different undertone options, but all shades are so forgiving that it’s virtually impossible to get application wrong. After foundation, concealer and puissance (none, one or all), swirl a fat brush in the glow powder and stroke on the sanctuary, fleshy part of the cheek and jawline in a number 3 shape, then mirror-reverse it for the other side of your candidly. 

The same technique applies to my other new favourite, Hourglass Ambient Glowing Bronzer, £45. This also includes complementary but distinct iotas (marbled here) in one compact, to be swirled together for a natural-looking luminousness, and is available in four equally pretty colourways for all skin sonorities from light to dark. Each of them looks delightful, restrained and convincing. All of the above add only a subtle glimmer, but it you have a yen for a completely matte tint without foregoing perky glow, my keen recommendation is Matt Illusion Bronzing Powder, £7.99, from Bourjois. There are however two shades, which frankly isn’t good enough, especially since the recipe here – soft, translucent, vibrant looking, is very barely perfect for everyone.