Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra, Gold Dust, Shade & Illuminate Intensity One, Review, Swatch, Comparison & FOTD

Weekend is almost there. I can't get very excited though because there are tons of work I have to get done before the week is over and there is only tomorrow left *double sigh attack*. On the exercise front, the day before yesterday I failed to find the time but other than that I am going strong with 50 min Zumba everyday. That will be for now until I figure out what else I can do. Today it is raining again, so outdoor activities are out of question. I only like getting wet if I choose to swim ;-)

I have reviewed most of the items from Tom Ford Summer Collection Soleil but left out the bronzers, since they were released a few years ago (you can see a Caught in Action Post with Gold Dust from Summer 2013 here). After I reviewed lots of other bronzers and posted comparison swatches, I started getting many questions regarding Tom Ford Bronzers such as how light they are, how shimmery, how cool... Today I would like to write about how to get a healthy tan and warm up the face using Tom Ford products. For this I selected not only two of their bronzers, Terra and Gold Dust, but also cream contour Shade & Illuminate. I like using it more as a bronzer since it leans rather warm for me as a contour. More about these, after the jump...

Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra, Gold Dust, Shade & Illuminate Intensity One

Some quick notes about packaging. I have expressed my love for Tom Ford packaging many times before. To me they are the apple of make-up brands. I also started a discussion here about how you feel about the compacts of different make-up brands. Feel free to join, I would like to read your thoughts too. Many of you have stated that they Tom Ford packaging is very appealing for them.

Now on to bronzers. You might get a little confused with white or mahogany, small or big. The packaging for bronzers in Tom Ford permanent line is big mahogany ones as seen on top right in the photo below. They are giant bronzers which have 20 g/0.7 Oz of product and cost around 90€/$95. For Soleil Collection this summer season, Tom Ford released the same giant bronzers in limited edition white packaging (seen below in top left) as well as their smaller 8.5 g/ 0.3 Oz versions, which cost 65€/$65. Smaller bronzers look super cute and they are more affordable. Remember though, you are getting less than half the product by paying two third of the price. If you use your bronzer regularly, I suggest you go for the bigger version. If you have many bronzers and don't want to commit to one or take it with you while travelling, small one might be better. I personally prefer big ones since I can't get enough of these on my cheeks!

Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra, Gold Dust, Shade & Illuminate Intensity One

Here is a swatch of these three products side by side. Terra is cool and matte, Gold Dust is warm and a little shimmery, but no where near Hourglass one which I reviewed here recently. Shade & Illuminate Intensity One gives you the healthy glowy skin and it is also rather warm.

Swatches: Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra, Gold Dust, Shade & Illuminate Intensity One

I would like to start with Shade & Illuminate Intensity One. Although I love almost each and every product in Tom Ford line, this particular product left unloved in my stash. Make-up gods must be very angry at me and sent me another one of this after I won an auction in Evilbay for multiple products so I am stuck with not only one but two of them. The main reason this was untouched until now is that I like working with powder products more and it was too warm for my taste of a contour. 

Early this year, I started enjoying cushion foundations and glowy skin. Since I have normal to dry complexion, I can live without setting powder too. This is how I started giving it a thought. If I don't powder, it is not a good idea to use powder products directly after the foundation, they would stick and not blend properly. I came to terms that I needed a cream bronzer.

This was when  Lisa Eldridge's Golden Glow Make-up Video was released. She exclusively uses Shade & Illuminate for a bronzy look. This rang a bell. I may not like Shade & Illuminate for a contour but as a bronzer, j'adore!

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Intensity One, Shade & Illuminate brush

Here is me wearing Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Intensity One on a dewy complexion. I have MAC Extra Dimension Stolen Moment on eyes (review coming up) and RMK Irresistable Glow Lips in Cherry Red on the lips. You can find all the products used for this makeup here.

By the way I have heard Intensity Two is cooler, have you given that one a go?

FOTD with Tom Ford Illuminate Intensity One

Now on to powder front. There are two options, a cool matte (Terra) and a golden with light shimmery finish (Golden Dust). I will go into more details below on how and when to use them. The formula of Tom Ford bronzers are very finely milled, silky to touch. The strong point of these is in how they blend. It is almost impossible to over apply them although they can be build up easily. The texture of Gold Dust is a little thicker than Terra due to shimmery particles.

Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra and Gold Dust

Since I have natural undertones, warmer products work on me as well but need a few tricks. Below I used a warmer base (Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing in Ivory) and the rest of the make-up is not too cool. As an example, if I would be wearing silvers or greys, it would be more challenging to make Gold Dust work on me. Or a base with cooler undertones might clash with the warmness of this powder. Good thing to note down is that Gold Dust doesn't look shimmery on the face. It is a product I would recommend to those with neutral to warm skin tones. It is also great if you are already tanned. I find myself reaching for Gold Dust more often after my holiday than before it. You can see the rest of the make-up on my face in this Instagram post.

FOTD with Tom Ford Bronzer Gold Dust

Terra is a cooler and matte bronzer which can be used as a contour/bronzer. It is especially great if your complexion has cooler undertones and some bronzers look too warm or too orangy on you. Also the lack of shimmer makes it a great summer time contouring product. Not as ashy as a contour but cool and matte enough to define and sculpt. If you have natural undertones like me, this bronzer reads rather subtle. Some stated it is the deeper version between the two, I don' think that this is true. I think both of the bronzers are best on light and medium complexions. On deeper complexions these may not show up that well.

If you have warmer undertones and find the contouring products too ashy, Terra might be a great contour for you. If you are cool, it would make a great bronzer. It is my favorite of the bunch, love it to bits and using it so often that I am happy to own the bigger one. Don't laugh, struggle is real, today I hit the pan in Smashbox Fusion Softlights Baked Star Blush (reviewed here) after only two months!

Here is one of the many FOTDs where I wear Terra. Tom Ford Terra, MAC Delicates and Smashbox Deep Matte are my go to bronzers at the moment. I am wearing Dior Lipstick in Grege on lips. You can see the rest of the make-up listed here.

FOTD with Tom Ford Bronzers Terra

Here are some comparisons for your reference. Smashbox Deep Matte and Tom Ford Terra are close, Terra is a tad ligher. Tom Ford Gold Dust and Guerlain Terracotta (reviewed here) in #2 Naturel is close, Gold Dust is lighter. I also included Hourglass Luminious Light which is more shimmery than any bronzer I have owned to date. I am also loving MAC Delicates (reviewed here) at the moment, it has a very strange undertone which I can't describe but works on me like a charm.

Comparison Swatches: Tom Ford Bronzers, Terra, Gold Dust, Shade & Illuminate Intensity One

Final thoughts: The texture of Tom Ford Bronzers are a dream, very finely milled, silky to touch, difficult to over apply but easy to build up. I recommend Terra for light and medium complexions with cool to natural undertones as bronzer, to warm complexions as contour. Gold Dust gives a more dramatic effect in case your undertones are not warm, I like using it after getting tanned. For warm complexions, it makes a great bronzer. Shade & Illuminate Intensity One is rather warm for a contouring product but great for a dewy bronze goddess look by using cream products to keep the skin fresh looking. Doesn't matte if you want to get warm, sculpted, dewy or bronzed, Tom Ford got you covered.

Have you tried any of these products? Which one is your favorite?
Which is your go-to bronzer at the moment?

Disclaimer: Terra was provided free of charge for my consideration. 
Other products were purchased by me. I am not paid for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.


  1. LOL! I guess seen another way, Sara, the makeup gods abundantly blessed you with TWO S&I. This was one of the first things I purchased from the brand, along with the brush, but ended up getting rid of the brush and the S&I. I found that it didnt last on my skin and for the shade portion, it was much too warm to act as a good contour.
    I have Gold Dust (the giant one), which was a gift from the counter manager. I don't wear bronzers (like almost never) because I tan very easily, but I really love that gold shimmer in it. I think it's a bit much for daily regular wear, but for a summer time party, it is so gorgeous!
    You look gagagagaga-GORGEOUS with warm bronzed skin!

  2. Hihi at the Shade and illuminate! I got Terra last year, but I don't really see it doing much for me. Gold dust, however, which I have the mini of, is absolutely gorgeous! A very natural glowy bronze on me. It's really nastye that you pay 2/3 of the price for under half the product though. I really prefer the mini size because I simply reach for it more often.

  3. Hey Sara, thanks for the comparison! I don't own any TF bronzers yet. In all honesty, I shouldn't buy more bronzers at all but man now I want a couple of these! I might stick to the powder ones because I just use them more often. I really like Terra on you but I think you are right: on me it'll probably be a contouring product instead!

  4. Hi Sunny,
    Terra looks deeper in the pan but it is lighter than Gold Dust. If you like Guerlain original Terracottas and find them nice on your complexion, then probably Gold Dust is more your type of bronzer. I also use powders more often.

  5. Hi Bella,
    I know what you mean, the smaller ones fit everywhere, in your bag, on your desk. The bigger ones a little bulkier but I got used to them and can't live without (my giant bronzer army!)
    I see that Terra is light and cool. For you probably it would make a nice subtle contour product, have to tried it that way?

  6. I can pull most bronzers off, but I try to find ones with the right depth so that I don't have to layer a lot or use an ultra light hand! Gold Dust looks plausible :) I might be able to work with Terra as well, but it's hard to tell without a little swatching session first.

  7. S& I was also one of the first things I got after collection all the eye shadows that is haha.
    It is interesting that you say it didn't last on you. It lasts on me like forever. Probably it loves my dry skin. A gift from Counter Manager, wow, what have you purchased? ;-)) Here the counter managers never give anything more than a mini mascara lol.

  8. I have both Terra and Gold Dust. I'm NC15 and use Terra when I want a more sculpted look. I already have a clean jaw line and good cheek bones so I don't contour on a daily basis. I save it primarily for evening when I want something a bit more dramatic that will hold up under subdued lighting. Terra creates very natural looking shadows. I wear Gold Dust when I want that Golden Goddess look although I am far from being golden or a goddess! LOL. I lightly sweep it on all the usual places for bronzer and admire the warm glow. It's glorious! I have both bronzers in the large size as these powders are real work horses. And, although the initial expenditure might have you gasping, when you consider the amount of product you get, they're quite a bargain. This summer I purchased Terra in the smaller size. Because it is versatile (bronzer and contour), I like taking it with me when I'm traveling. It doesn't bother me in the least that TF keeps promoting these summer after summer. You know the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

  9. Looking at your swatches I'm convinced to try either the smashbox or terra. Decisions decisions. I think I have my share of luminous bronzers and am looking for a matte option x

  10. I wish TF is not that expensive huhuhu. Everything is perfect on you! You should wear them everyday! Love the Gold Dust! <3

  11. Ah Tom Ford Terra looks beautiful. And the Shade and Illuminate looks gorgeous as a bronzer! I don't own many bronzers. Only 2 - one is a lighter and warmer one Dior Aurora, and the other darker one is NARS Laguna. I'm using Aurora regularly just to warm up my complexion a little and I'm making dents here and there. I don't want to get another one until I've hit pan on one of them though :-) I've only started using bronzers when I wouldn't even think about them previously!

  12. Thank you for the fantastic overview of what TF has to offer in terms of Bronzers. Tom Ford, along with Charlotte Tilbury are two brands I constantly drool over but never purchase from...I think it's because there aren't any counters here and I'd have to order online. One day, though. I think the packaging on the larger TF bronzers are so fantastic. Bronzers don't feature heavily in my collection but over the past few years I've been getting more into them. :-)

    Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

  13. Like literally a few hours in: zippo! :) This is why I don't purchas cream blushes either. And my cheeks are normal to dry (not even oily at all)! I guess my skin just loves to eat them up.
    And yes, I've been told that my Tom Ford Collection was quite impressive at some point. But I only kept a few eye brushes and one quad. I've been ruthlessly culling everything down, including the beautiful Toms.

  14. Oooh, I really want to check out Terra; it looks beautiful. I own only three bronzers at present: MAC Aphrodite's Shell, Chanel Lumière d'été, and Chanel Les Beiges No. 30, which I know is not actually a bronzer but I use it as one. I'm always paranoid about overdoing my bronzer, so I tend to use a very light hand and just use them warm up my complexion a bit.

  15. Hi Eileen,
    it is exciting to hear that Gold Dust works on lighter complexions as well. You are right though, it is more golden than orange. I was wondering does Guerlain classical Terracottas work on you? These are really very intense, even on me, I have to be careful while applying. LOL to Golden Goddess, my Tom Ford bronzers are also work horses. I use Terra almost everyday. I should have picked up a smaller size of that one too. After this discussion, maybe I do. Just that I have so many bronzers at home, (as you might have noticed) I feel bad about owning doubles of things. I agree with you about repromotions. I like them, why change them, they work great.

  16. Hi, yes you need one of those I told you lol.
    Matte and cool bronzers would enhance your complexion for everyday make-up. Terra is lighter thanks Smashbox, so if you are paler, go for Terra although I love Smashbox one too. ;-)

  17. Hi Laarni,
    as you said I am wearing these everyday :-) Thanks so much for your lovely comment. You are right Tom Ford is expensive but it offers lots of product in there. The bronzer has 20 g!

  18. Hi Kimmy,
    I know it is hard to shell out that much money before touching, playing and warming up with the brand. The first purchase I made was after I travelled to Berlin and played with them. I am also getting more and more into bronzers this year. Last year I hardly used them. Our taste changes ;-)

  19. Hi Jess,
    Aphrodite's Shell is beautiful but more pink based. Chanel one is very warm and Les Beiges is warm too so Terra would fill a cool matte gap in your stash. I can't overdo Terra, although I have to state that I mostly use squirrel brushes to apply, so these apply rather sheerly and build up slowly.

  20. Aurora was such a beauty. I missed that one, you mean the one with little stripes of different color? I appreciate you being determined about hitting the pan. I am not used to hit the pan on products, it happened yesterday (smash box highlighter) and I was shocked. I didn't know if I should get happy or cry hahaha. It was an interesting experience all in all ;-) Last year I didn't use bronzers either but this year I got obsessed about them, go figure.

  21. LOL to your skin being hungry and eating all the creams. Mine is probably drier than yours and powder products sometimes fade or even worse flake, ugh, not nice either.
    I knew you had like all the brushes and so many Tommies. I know that you now live a minimalistic make-up life with the pretties you love above all. I appreciate that too. (looking at the warhorse I am living in even more)

  22. Thanks! I went ahead the other day and ordered the Smashbox. I'll report back ;-)

  23. Hi Sara. Yes, I can wear Guerlain's Classic Terracotta in 00 when I want to look like I've been spending some quality time in the sun but I'm not going for the burnished glow of Gold Dust. I use the super-sized L. Young fan brush to apply it; lightly sweeping it over my entire face, starting at the forehead and sweeping downward. It's a technique a Dior artist showed me when Aurora (gone now, but not forgotten :-) ) was first introduced. It deposits a hint of all-over color with more color saturation on the high points of the face so it gives a very natural look that proclaims, "Vacation!"

  24. the shade and illuminate does look nice as a bronzer. i've had that one on my list for a long time, but i feel like it probably won't be one that i reach for a lot. I like the look of terra! i'm glad they've made smaller sizes now!

  25. Hi Joyce,
    yes I am glad about the smaller sizes too, it is more practical to travel with. I wished the price would be a little lower though. S&I works great as bronzer, because of the name I didn't think it would but after seeing Lisa Eldridge tutorial, I was like, hey why not ;-)

  26. Maybe I should pick 00 or 01 too. 02 is very dramatic, it looks like I have spent an hour under solarium because I fell asleep ;-)
    Fan brush is a good idea. I use a very soft squirrel one, which also applies sheer. Fan brush all over the face, this sounds good, I should try it. That way I can put my unloved fan brushes into use. I missed on Aurora *sigh*.

  27. Wow, thanks for all the tips on making warmer / cooler bronzers work on your skin tone! I used to own shade and illuminate 1 too, and sold it away because the cream just didn't sit well in our climate. Also, it was way too dark for contouring for me. That said, it looks lovely on you! Glad you managed to make it work!

  28. Hi Linda, I was always trying to make it work as a contour but as a bronzer S&I is much better. Actually think cream products should work better once it is humid and warm but if it was sitting on the skin, it is better to check other products out.

  29. Iam a NC20 in MAC fair Asian. I heard if you want to contour you need cooler tone. I really want to contour my nose. And found nars hoola perfect but I want cream based. I searched in the web and found almost all Asian beauty bloggers uses the tomford intensity one. I'd like to get the intensity 2 but afraid that it would look muddy or what or if it's the same with benefit hoola. Pls help me thank you


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