NARS Matte Bronzing Powder “Vallarta” – Review, Swatches, Before & After

Out of all the products the beauty world has to offer, I’ve always found bronzers to be the most fickle. It’s that product that I’ve always struggled with figuring out how to properly use as well as determine which shade is right for me. I have countless highlighters and blushes that fill my storage drawers to the brim, but when it comes to bronzers I have a total of…..9 (which is a small amount for a beauty blogger, I’d say). I only started wearing and seeing the benefits of bronzer pretty recently, but even with 5-ish years under my belt, I’ve only found a few bronzers that work for me. I need it to blend easily, not be too pigmented and if it has a smidge too much red or orange in it? Out the door it goes.

nars vallarta

After years of finding bronzers to be useless, one big thing I saw was how it can bring the face back to life after applying foundation. Only after looking back at pictures of my pre-bronzer days and see how ghostly I look compared to how much more alive I appear with bronzer did I see how a little warmth goes a long way (which you’ll see below in a Before & After). And that’s where the NARS Matte Bronzing Powder in Vallarta comes in.

Vallarta comes in classic NARS packaging – a matte black compact, but instead of a white accent, the lettering in this summer collection fittingly comes in reflective bronze. It contains 8 g of product and comes with a mirror.

nars vallarta bronzer

I found with Vallarta that although it is deeper than my go-to “pale gal” shades from Benefit Cosmetics and Physicians Formula, it wasn’t intensely pigmented so it required some building.

nars vallarta swatches benefit hoola lite physicians formula butter bronzer

I applied it with a fluffy bronzing brush in a “3” shape on both sides of my face and applied about 3 soft layers to achieve the below. It was smooth but it wasn’t as creamy as the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, so if you prefer a buttery texture in your bronzer, I’d recommend staying with Physicians Formula.

nars vallarta before and after

As you can see above, the way bronzer adds dimension to my face after it becomes completely neutralized with foundation is quite lovely. Here is the final look with eyeshadow, blush and the rest of the works:

I always find it quite funny when people bust out their darker bronzer shades in the summer months because it’s when they’re the most tan – when I dove into my bronzer collection this summer I panicked because my lack of sun during quarantine resulted in me thinking all the “pale gal” shades were still too deep. But Vallarta did the trick for me. If I’m basing my opinion just off of this shade since I haven’t tried any other shades from the collection, I’d have to say that I don’t think this bronzer will be for everyone. Some people look for more pigmentation and presence in their bronzer. But for someone with very fair skin, I appreciated that the pigment wasn’t so in-your-face and bold. As a bronzer newbie, I like my bronzers to be more sheer and buildable. If you look for the same thing, this bronzer might be for you.


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