Cover FX Sunset Custom Enhancer Drops
Cover FX Sunset Custom Enhancer Drops ($42.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is medium-dark brown with warm, reddish undertones and a natural finish.. Stila Sending My Love Bronzer (LE, ) is warmer (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Desert Nights (P, $48.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Tan Tint (LE, $29.50) is warmer (90% similar). Guerlain #02 (P, $53.00) is warmer (90% similar). Makeup Geek Burnished (P, $22.00) is cooler (90% similar). Laura Mercier Bronze (04) (P, $40.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty The Afternooner (Bronzer) (LE, ) is cooler (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Gold Dust (P, $110.00) is lighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Bronze Me (LE, $8.00) is darker, warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Toasted (P, $26.00) is warmer (90% similar). Guerlain #03 (P, $53.00) is warmer (90% similar). Too Faced Gingerbread (LE, ) is lighter (95% similar). MAC Scone (LE, $27.00) is warmer (85% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Deep (P, $44.00) is lighter, cooler (80% similar). Giorgio Armani Sun Bath (110) (P, $64.00) is darker, warmer (80% similar). Colour Pop Happy Hour (P, $8.00) is darker, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.
Custom Enhancer Drops are a liquid formula that can add a “highlighting, strobing, or bronzing effect” to your favorite liquid products or used alone on top of (or underneath) your other products (including powder); two of the six shades are bronzing and four are more shimmery/metallic for highlighting. It is a buildable coverage product, so that you can use as many or as few drops as desired for the effect (and it will depend on how you use it; mixing with a moisturizer for all-over may require less product than spot application on cheeks after other makeup is applied!). These are similar to formulas like Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer (runs a bit sheerer overall, less buildable), Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Liquid) (much sheerer), and NARS Illuminators (sheerer, usually contains larger shimmer/glitter particles). The major difference is the intensity of the pearl and buildability in coverage (easier to get to full coverage but still easy to retain sheer coverage).
What’s neat about these is that they are versatile as you want them to be; they really do perform well mixed with various liquid and cream products (moisturizer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, primer) while also working under and over makeup, and they really are buildable from sheer to opaque coverage. Initially, the formula might seem incredibly pigmented, but the thin, liquid consistency makes it very easy to sheer out. They are actually sheerer than they seem upon initial swatching or application, as the consistency naturally creates a sheerer layer as soon as you work it across the skin. That being said, unless you’re mixing with a base product, one drop is likely overkill for spot application. These have a strong sheen but very fine shimmer, so it produces more of a pearly, glowing effect on the skin–lightly dewy with moderate shine and some noticeable shimmer. They dry down within 10-15 seconds of blending out the product and feel like a powder but with better hold (I get almost no transfer, and it doesn’t noticeably lift or move), so the sheen you see is from a damp or wet product, it’s the reflective quality of the pearl. You can, however, build these up to opaque coverage, and at that level, some of the shimmery shades can emphasize the texture of the skin. The formula also wore well on me, ranging from eight to ten hours with minimal signs of fading. I’d expect that this formula will work for someone who likes moderate highlighters with luminous, shiny, pearly finishes or likes all-over warmth (in the case of the bronzing shades) with a satin-to-matte finish.
Sunset is the darker of the two bronzing shades. It had a warmer, redder undertone without strong yellow tones, so it didn’t look orange-y on the skin, which I find indicative of more natural-looking bronzers on more skin tones. I suspect that this shade will be more suitable for medium and darker complexions, while the other shade, Sunkissed, will work best on fair to medium skin tones. The texture was thin, smooth, and blendable on the skin as it dried down. Once it set, it was harder to maneuver without added force, but it was more forgiving in its dried-down state compared to the shimmery ones. It had more of a satin finish on the skin; it wasn’t fully matte but did not read shimmery or dewy either. It had medium, buildable coverage, and a little went a long way, as you might have guessed based on the range thus far! For my skin tone, less than one drop added warmth without changing my skin color completely when mixed with foundation or moisturizer. I only needed the lightest dab of product to bronze my cheek area (not even close to a full drop!). The color lasted for just over eight and a half hours on me.
Here’s an in-depth look at how I’ve used and trialed all the shades:
Alone: I’ve patted them over bare skin, liquid foundation, and liquid foundation with setting powder on top. For best results, I like to tap my brush against the applicator (not even using the droplet applicator to get a drop out) and then stipple the product onto the skin. I tend to apply both my bronzers and highlighters more along the cheek areas, so I would stipple a few times along my cheeks or cheekbones and then lightly buff in small circles. It worked equally well just dabbing my fingertips against my skin and using the side of my fingertip to sweep and blend the product out. I was particularly impressed by how well it applied over powder, as the sheerer, smooth texture didn’t disrupt base products and move foundation or turn the area patchy. When testing for wear, I used its longevity on bare skin as my major measure for the rating, but I did wear the shades mixed in and layered with a multitude of products to ensure that the formula wasn’t prone to shortening the wear of other products.
Mixed with Primer: I tried it with both water and silicone-based primers, and I had no preference for one over the other with respect to these drops. I used one to two drops for all-over luminosity; I preferred one drop myself, as it gave me a dewier finish that wasn’t over-the-top for my preference. If you wear a lighter-coverage base on top of primer, mixing with primer could work for all-over glow/warmth, but if you wear light-medium or heavier coverage, I would suggest mixing with your foundation or applying on top of your foundation as it gets lost under heavier coverage.
Mixed with Foundation: I tried it with tinted moisturizer, sheer coverage foundation, medium coverage foundation, and full coverage foundation. In general, heavier coverage foundations are a bit thicker than the ultra sheer formulas. I found one to drops was sufficient with tinted to medium coverage formulas, while full coverage was less receptive–it made the foundation dewier but wasn’t as luminous as with lighter coverage foundations. If I wore full coverage foundation, I preferred this patted on top at the end, rather than mixed.
Mixed with Moisturizer: Like primer, this method works well when you skip foundation or wear lighter coverage foundation. I can imagine this combination working well for those with flatter or more matte skin naturally, as it gives noticeable luminosity and dewiness. While I didn’t personally like the level of sheen it gave my face when mixed with moisturizer, I loved it for body–particularly on shoulders and decolletage. It is also gorgeous on legs. I really liked mixing one of the highlighting shades with a bronzing shade for a little color, warmth, and sheen on legs.