MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder Review, Photos, Swatches

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder ($25.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “golden bronze with fine gold pearl.” It’s a yellowy, medium-dark tan brown with a golden shimmer-sheen finish. Illamasqua Disobey is a browner and has no shimmer. Too Faced Bronzed & Poreless is warmer, more orange, and matte.

As I mentioned in my review for MAC’s Refined Golden, there were some serious texture issues (oddities?) with the regular bronzing powders in this collection. A few readers chimed in and said they had similar issues with past limited edition releases of the normally-permanent shades. That, of course, worries me, because I was originally chalking it up to being one-off, because the permanent versions have a normal, powder-like texture. The texture of Soft Sand almost felt like plastic–almost like a very stiff cream bronzer that didn’t give much payoff at all. I took a paper tough and just went to town getting the first few layers off, and that seemed to help quite a bit. I was able to get it to pick up on my brush after that and had it show up well on my skin. It lasted just under eight hours well without fading.  I had issues with the texture of last year’s Soft Sand, too; there were very similar issues but this felt even worse and even harder to get to work.

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MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder
MAC Soft Sand Bronzing Powder

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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26 Comments

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Oh, no! I haven’t seen a product that doesn’t look good on you, even something with a bad review and rating, until now. Last year’s Soft Sand got a C+, and F is such a far cry from that. Other brands are coming out with a lot of good bronzers lately (the ones from Guerlain are exceptional), MAC really needs to step it up. 🙁

Pro Longwear is way way better even when the texture of these isn’t weird, so that’s a good choice!

This has happened me with quite a few MAC powders recently; it’s as though they’ve been sealed, which is deeply frustrating. Paying $20+ for a product you essentially have to mangle to use is just not acceptable really.
Another unfortunate aspect of this collection is that the powder’s packaging gets SUPER grubby in no time!

LOL! Yes, I agree… I shouldn’t have to shave off layers of product that you pay for to get it to work!

I had this same issue with their Immortal Flower blush. I had to scrape off the hard “coating” on top of the powder before my brush picked it up. :S I guess that was normal. For a moment I thought it was fake.

I had the same problem with Pink Tea, but once I got it to work the way I wanted to, the result was worth the effort.

You’re right, Christine. Pink Tea definitely looks different swatched/applied from the color in the pan. Which I already expected because I read your review, but when I tried it on, I was still like “What?!”. 😀

I think some of those really matte finishes tend to darken once they hit the skin, as a result of the natural oils on the skin (kind of like if you took water to a powder, it usually darkens a little).

What the heck is up with the texture issues of these bronzers?! Thanks for keeping it real and letting your readers know how hard you had to work to get some product to show up, Christine. This really helps us make informed decisions!

I have a soft sand from last years collection and I have NO CLUE what to do with it! It has never been used except when I tried to swatch it and nothing came out. I wanted to sell it online but I feel like that would be very wrong… since it’s unusable!

I find that it works best with the mac 168 brush. I couldn’t see it on me until I bought thst brush and now i like the bronzer.

Aren’t all bronzers the same? Some light some dark? Isn’t it just cheaper to go with an affordable Bronzer like Revlon or NYC brands

Like any powder product, texture is important, and that’s especially true for bronzers. Cheaper powders sometimes don’t blend as nicely as higher end ones.

How horribly disappointing… I have tried drugstore brand bronzers that work like a dream. Then again, maybe my oily skin gives me an advantage there- even clean, it’s already a naturally smoother canvas for makeup. This is unacceptable for a ‘premium’ brand, though. I’ve had good luck using a darker foundation as bronzer, especially mineral and loose powder ones, because some bronzers just have way too much shimmer.

That is such a great color and would look fantastic on my skin tone! Such a shame that it performed so poorly. How odd that the other two of the collection were phenomenal and the others weren’t up to par.

Eek–that sounds scary! I keep wondering how on earth a huge makeup brand like MAC keeps messing up like this. Don’t they ever get ANYONE to test out their products before they release it? Seems like such a rookie mistake, if you ask me :/

i have come across a few of their blushes like that, too.. MAC just doesn’t impress me too much anymore. there are certain things i will always buy from them (certain lipsticks, like angel, or eyeshadows like shroom). but i hate trying new things in general from them anymore, the quality is not there, it is too hit or miss.

I swatched this today at the MAC counter, and I had the same experience as Christine–it was hard, felt almost like plastic, and zero color payoff.

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