By this time of year, any semblance of a tan from the past summer is long gone. I guess that’s ok—it makes my Lady Mary costume that much more accurate, and is definitely better for my skin than a year-round tan. At this rate, I’ll look like an adolescent Edwardian lady until my 40’s. Anyhow, for those days when I’m daydreaming about summer/have been asked if I’m sick a few times recently, this dupe of Benefit’s Sun Beam works wonders.

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The only major visual difference between the two is the tint. They went with a golden shimmer, I opted for bronze. It’s totally up to you—you can choose between gold, copper, and bronze mica based on what you’ve got on hand or what works best for your skin tone.

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After that, though, all the changes are in the quality of the ingredients. The original is far from all natural.

Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Dimethicone, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone Peg-7 Phosphate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-21, Squalane, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Butylene Glycol, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Steareth-2, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 60, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide. N° 06184/A.

Huh. That is a lot of long words. I shorted the whole thing down to what’s now just a lovely lotion with some bronze shimmer and a bit of titanium dioxide for brightness. That’s it. Mine has six ingredients, theirs has twenty-six.

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The final cream goes on smoothly and gives you a lovely summer glow. You can layer it up for a stronger effect if you like. Now, go daydream about beaches!

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Homemade Sun Beam Bronzer Cream

5g | 0.17oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
7g | 0.25ox meadowfoam seed oil or grapeseed oil
37g | 1.3oz water
½ tsp titanium dioxide
1¼ tsp bronze mica
1/8 tsp yellow iron oxide (optional)

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Melt the emulsifying wax and meadowfoam oil together in a small saucepan over low heat. While they melt, warm the water in the microwave a little.

Once the oils are melted, add the water and heat everything through. Remove from the heat and whisk as the mixture cools, until it is is thick and creamy.

Thoroughly blend in the titanium dioxide, mica, and yellow iron oxide with a silicone spatula. Test the colour on your face, as you’d use the end product, and adjust as needed. Once you’re happy with the colour, whisk in your preservative. Decant into a small tube with a wand or a shallow tin.

This recipe makes 50g (1.76oz) of bronzer cream.