Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones
With a name like Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones (and a hefty price tag to boot) you may be wondering what the big deal is with this bronzer. According to Yves Saint Laurent, it "captures the power of the sun in a stone" and "instantly gives skin an effortless natural glow without the shine." Sun power gimmicks aside (and come on, sun on a stone just makes the stone really hot), we are happy to report that this bronzer delivers a beautiful, skin-enlivening tan.
Housed in a sleek, mirrored, gold compact, Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones comes as a rippled, pressed powder with a lightweight, silky texture. The consistency allows the bronze color to go on soft and smooth so you can build as light or as deep of a bronze color as you want.
Three shades are offered: 01 Sunstone (Light), 02 Fire Opal (Medium), and 03 Jasper (Deep). Sunstone's not too muddy or orange hue works beautifully for its intended skin tone, while Fire Opal and Jasper have flattering warm bronze tones to perk up your complexion. Each shade also offers a subtle sheen for a natural-looking, beachy glow.
Keeping with the tropical vibe, this bronzer offers a fruity scent. It's not strong enough to smell once you apply it, but it's noticeable when your sniffer gets close to the open compact. In this low of a concentration, we aren't overly concerned about the fragrance's potential to irritate skin, but regardless, fragrance free is always the better way to go (especially for the sake of sensitive skin).
All in all, you really don't need to pay this much to get a great bronzer that can complement a wide range of skin tones, but if you're in the mood to splurge, Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones is a beautiful way to do it.
- Lightweight, silky pressed powder texture allows the bronze color to go on soft and smooth.
- Easy to control the depth of a bronze color that you want.
- Offers a subtle sheen for a natural-looking (non-shimmer) glow.
- Would be better off for skin without the fragrance (and we wouldn't mind a lower price).
Yves Saint Laurent At-A-Glance
Strengths: Every sunscreen includes avobenzone for sufficient UVA protection; some moisturizers with elegant textures; good makeup removers and toners; Radiant Touch is a favorite for good reason; intriguing blushes; two fantastic mascaras; very good liquid highlighter; innovative gloss/stain lip products.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no AHA or BHA products; no products to manage acne or combat skin discolorations; mostly mundane moisturizers and serums; pervasive use of jar packaging; antiwrinkle claims that epitomize ridiculous, yet cost hundreds of dollars; mostly average foundations; eyeshadow quads; mostly average lipstick and gloss options.
We have never reviewed an expensive cosmetics line with the intent of criticizing it based on the price tags alone. Our standard for reviewing all cosmetics remains the same whether the prices are rock bottom or stratospheric. What cannot be denied is that there are many consumers who just refuse to give up the notion that, in terms of cosmetics, expensive means better. If you're one of those consumers you may have been curious about our take on Yves Saint Laurent's makeup, which by far outshines their skin care.
In the past, as we surveyed the other French-themed lines at the department store (including Lancome, Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain), YSL almost always came in last, barely stepping up to the plate to compete in any category. Lately, we've been pleasantly surprised to find several impressive products, along with some needed improvements for many of their previously lackluster options (whose price-to-performance ratio was depressingly low). YSL still isn't the French line to set your sights on and fill your makeup bag with, but there are enough positives to make a trip to their counter worthwhile, assuming that your budget extends far enough to comfortably afford these items. (Even the best products from this line have less-expensive counterparts, but if you're label-conscious, you should know what to focus on.)
What's not so great is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in products with sunscreen, or SPF ratings that are too low given what we know about the need for a sufficient level of daily sun protection. Adding sunscreen to many of the foundations and lip products was a smart move, but doing so without getting the basics right doesn't get a passing grade. Most of the mascaras are surprisingly average also, yet on the other hand the foundation and powder shade selections have improved considerably. It's this off-kilter blend of outstanding and boring products coupled with steep prices all around that earn this line an "approach with caution" statement. However, careful shopping from YSL will undoubtedly net you some wonderful products you'll be pleased with, at least until the credit card bill comes due!
When it comes to skin care, Yves Saint Laurent relies heavily on its fashion heritage to convince consumers to give these products more than a passing glance. Based on the formulas and outlandish prices, we see no reason for anyone to admire, let alone purchase, most of the skin-care products this brand sells. The claims are nothing short of ridiculous, especially for any YSL product designed to minimize wrinkles or stop sagging. It's good that all of the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection, but the cost means you'll be replacing them quickly (if you're being diligent about liberal application, as you should be) and, of course, all of them contain wafting fragrance. The moisturizers are much less impressive, but carry some of the most too-good-to-be-true claims imaginable. None of what they're said to do in terms of wrinkles, skin regeneration, firming, and sculpting skin is the least bit reliable, though many of the moisturizers have luxurious textures.
What's missing is a focused approach to provide skin with what it really needs to thrive and remain healthy. Some of the basics are covered, but antioxidants are seemingly an afterthought, water-binding agents and skin-identical substances are mostly lacking, and once again fragrance takes precedence over advanced ingredients with substantiated research to support their use. If your skin-care routine must involve a designer brand, you'd be better off shopping Chanel and only considering YSL for the makeup products they have that, cost notwithstanding, are worthy of the attention they get in, where else, fashion magazines.
For more information about Yves Saint Laurent, call 800-399-0929 or visit www.ysl.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.