Milk Makeup Bionic Liquid Bronzer
Easy to blend
Buildable color payoff
Lack of shade variety
While we love this formula's blendability and color payoff, we would love a few more options in the shade department. Overall, it's a product we'd revisit.
Milk Makeup Bionic Liquid Bronzer
Bronzer is my desert island product. You know when someone's like, "if you could only use ONE product for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Bronzer is that for me (or maybe a brow pencil, but for the sake of this review, we won't debate.)
One of my all-time favorite bronzers, and the first one I ever fell really in love with, was the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzing Stick in Baked, the lighter shade. The formula is a dense cream that you can apply straight to the face, and you can also use a stippling brush to pick up pigment from the stick, as I do. The finish is so good, and it's almost unreal. However, I've always been apprehensive about the product because it only comes in two shades; neither is especially deep skin-friendly.
Bronzer for deep skin is a nuanced topic involving undertones and color theory, and as a white person, I am not the one to lead that discussion. Still, my favorite product made me feel slightly uncomfortable using it because it wasn't something I could recommend to everyone. That's why, when I heard Milk Makeup was releasing new bronzers, it piqued my attention.
Best for: A bronzy glow
Highlighted ingredients: Snow mushroom, hyaluronic acid, plant-derived collagen
Shade Range: 3 shades
What's Included: Product only
About the brand: Milk Makeup is a multi-category cosmetics brand founded by Milk co-founder Mazdack Rassi, product developer and COO Dianna Ruth, creative director Georgie Greville, and E! News correspondent Zanna Roberts Rassi. The brand offers a slew of vegan and cruelty-free products.
The Shade Range
Let's start with the thing that gave me pause about the last product. Yes, three shades are better than two, but not by much.
From a completely objective standpoint, liquid products like these are very versatile and allow you to build pigment where you want to deepen the shade or diffuse it where you don't. So no, you don't need 40 shades of bronzer. However, the more people you can serve with a broader range of shades, the better.
I know that not every brand is Fenty Beauty and can have 50+ shades of foundation and seven shades of bronzer. Still, I'd like to think that Milk Makeup could probably have more than three shades of bronzer. The three shades run the spectrum of light, medium, and deep, and the formula's versatility allows you to manipulate them. However, I can't get past the feeling that there needs to be more in the medium-deep range, and even one on the lighter side of the spectrum, if I'm being frank.
All that to say: The shade range is not bad, especially when you consider this formula and the category. But it could be better. We can talk versatility all we want, but if Bionic Blush, the cheek-category counterpart to this bronzer, comes in four shades, this could have at least been available in four as well.
Ingredient Quality / Concentration: Vegan and cruelty free
The Bionic Bronzers are a vegan and cruelty-free formula infused with hyaluronic acid, snow mushroom, reishi mushroom to hydrate skin. It also has vegan collagen to help improve texture, elasticity, and firmness, all while giving you a seamless, natural bronze look. I love a liquid bronzer, so I had high hopes, but I was so devoted to Milk's bronzer stick that my mind was going to be hard to change.
The Texture: Smooth and buildable
This bronzer is unique. It's definitely a liquid formula, but it has a bit of jelliness, making it feel springy, which I think is nice. I applied it to the back of my hand, broke the product down a bit with my finger, then picked it up with a brush to buff it on.
It's also user-friendly and applies smoothly. I love that it is sheer but buildable, and it's easy to blend. The formula also dries down uniquely, and it doesn't remain very moveable like most creams or liquids do. It sets nicely without feeling tight on your face. I hit it with a bit of translucent powder to lock it in.
How to Apply: Works with fingers or makeup brushes
Liquid formulas lend themselves to being buildable, which makes good on that promise. With a light hand, it's easy to get a super sheer wash of color, never being too much too soon. Still, you can add more and layer to your ideal healthy bronze glow.
Given the jelly-like consistency, I was skeptical of how the application would go, but it was very intuitive. Sometimes liquid bronzer and blush can feel like a fight, and you apply it and then spend more time trying to mute the pigment. This wasn't the case with Bionic Bronzer; I was impressed.
The Results: Customizable glow
One Layer of Bronzer
It's subtle, but it's there. The thing about bronzers, for me at least, is on the day-to-day, you sort of don't want to see it, you know? I don't want my skin to look orange or streaky, and I just want a little bit of warmth and dimension. This was perfect. I also buffed just a hint of the medium shade at the furthermost parts of my face that I wanted to recess just a bit (which can sometimes get scary,) and even that was easy. I loved how it looked.
On the left, you see my skin before, and on the right is my skin with two layers of bronzer. All in all, my experience with the Bionic Bronzers was great. I used the lightest shade all over the perimeters of my face—hairline, temples, under the cheekbones—and loved it.
Two layers in, we were getting somewhere. I love layering two shades of bronzer and always add a touch of a deeper hue in the summer or if I'm going out/crazy.
The finish of this product is what differs from the original Bronzing Stick. The Bionic Bronzer has a noticeable sheen to it, which looks more natural on the face than it does on a hand swatch, but I took the photo below to give you an idea.
It doesn’t read as pearl or glitter, there’s no sparkle, but it just gives you a nice, healthy glow. Do you know how the Glossier Solar Paint liquid bronzer leaves you with a natural sheen? This finish is a lot like that but a little glowier.
Like all complexion products, bronzers' price and fill weight all vary. If we're talking liquid bronzers specifically, a quick search will tell you they'll run you between $25-$30. The Bionic Bronzer clocks in at $30 for .6oz/17mL, which is pretty standard. You get a lot of product, and one tube can last you a while, even if you apply generously.
Glossier Solar Paint, $20: Honestly, I love Solar Paint, but again, I don’t love the shade range. Instead of going deeper, the hues just turn redder. This is a shame because the price point is great, and the formula is a dream.
KVD Beauty ModCon Long-Wear Hydrating Liquid-Gel Contour, $26: This is a contender, but I do think calling this a contour doesn’t tell the whole story because it comes in eight shades with a range of cool, neutral, and warm tones, and I use it as a liquid bronzer. It’s great, four bucks cheaper than Milk, and gives you more options in the shade department.
All in all, the formula is great. I was pleased with the application and results. Not to beat a dead horse, but I think the shade range needs to be better. Brands like KVD Beauty and Anastasia Beverly Hills show that the bronzer category can have more options. I'd be more lenient if this were a start-up or an indie brand, but this isn't. That said, this launch does address the one big issue of its earlier bronzer and does give us something for a broader range of people.
Bronzer, like blush, can be intimidating if you're new to it, but this is one of those rare formulas that makes it so easy. It does half of the work for you. I'll be going back to this, and if you're curious, I'd tell you to pick it up because you'll probably love it as much as I do.
- Product Name Bionic Liquid Bronzer
- Product Brand Milk Makeup
- Price $30.00