Review & Swatches: Stila One Step Bronze

This is a review for Stila’s One Step Bronze, available soon on Stila’s website for $36.

Company’s Description

Swirl your way to the perfect bronze in one step! This innovative triple-swirled helix serum instantly illuminates, bronzes, primes and nourishes the skin. One Step Bronze immediately improves the skintone, evens out your complexion and helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles!

Packaging: 9.5/10

This product comes in a cylindrical, clear plastic container that allows you to see the neat swirls of color suspended in clear gel. Even though the product is relatively big, it’s surprisingly lightweight.

The best thing about this packaging is the pump. Pumps are great for keeping the product sanitary and this pump is high-quality: it dispenses the right amount of product and doesn’t stick or sputter like some lower-quality pumps.

Quality: 8/10

Stila markets this as a multi-use product that serves as a foundation primer, illuminator, bronzer, and wrinkle-fighter all in one. So, let’s take one claim at a time:

First, this is a good primer. The product is quite liquidy and feels very light on the skin. If you don’t like that silicone feel that you get with a lot of primers, this is a great option for you. It feels basically like a water-based face cream. I wore this underneath Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation for an outdoor photoshoot. It was storming, windy, cold, and raining, but the foundation stayed on beautifully. Admittedly, that’s partly due to the high quality of MUFE’s HD foundation, but it is also due to this primer.

The product doesn’t give noticeable illumination. There are tiny golden particles in the product, but they don’t really show up on the skin. After applying it, I only saw 1-2 gold specks on my skin, and that was after looking very closely in the mirror.

In terms of bronzing, this product is ok. It gives a very subtle bronzing tint to the skin once applied. But, really, the bronzing effect isn’t going to show through after you’ve applied foundation on top. So unless you’re just using this as a face primer and putting nothing on top or a translucent powder on top, you won’t see any more bronzing than you would with a normal primer.

As for fighting wrinkles, I can’t speak to how well this primer performs. The company says the product contains a “Youth Revival Bio-Available Mineral Complex.” Now, there’s no way to tell what that actually means, because that title doesn’t communicate to the customer what’s actually in the “Youth Revival Complex.” If you look at the ingredients, Stila lists retinyl palmitate in the middle of the ingredient list. Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A that has proven to be an effective antioxidant (though it is not as strong as pure vitamin A/retinol). It’s great that this ingredient is in the product because it does have the potential to benefit the skin. I just can’t speak to how much it will benefit your skin because we don’t know how much retinyl palmitate is in the product.

Ease of Use: 10/10

The pump dispenses the right amount of product. Then, all you have to do is work it into your skin. You will need 1-2 pumps of the product to cover your face.

Price: 8/10

Stila’s products, in general, are on the more expensive side. So, compared to the other products in its line, $36 for this primer isn’t a lot. But, even for a high-end face primer, this one is expensive. You get 1 fl oz of product. In comparison, you get the same amount of product in Smashbox’s Photo Finish, Tarte’s Wrinkle Rewind face primer, and Urban Decay’s Complexion Primer Potion, which are $36, $32, and $30, respectively.

On one hand, you can justify paying more since this product doesn’t have that thick, silicon feel and potentially doubles as a bronzer and skin nourisher. But, realistically, I think $30 is a more appropriate price-point. So if you can snag this product while it’s on sale or with some sort of deal, I would do so.


Overall, I think this is a solid face primer and ideal for people who don’t like that silicone feel. But Stila over-claims what this product can do. It doesn’t give illumination to the face and gives only a very subtle bronzing effect. If Stila had simply marketed this as a face primer, the product would have received a higher score.

Toss if: you like the slip that silicon-based primers give you
Try if: you want a light-weight primer with subtle bronzing to wear alone or under translucent powder
Buy if: you hate the silicon feel of some primers and want the added benefit of potential wrinkle-fighting

Stila One Step Bronze Packaging

Stila One Step Bronze Ingredients

Stila One Step Bronze Pump

Stila One Step Bronze Swatch
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3 Responses to Review & Swatches: Stila One Step Bronze

  1. Caitlyn says:

    the product is SO cool looking, too bad it doesn’t illuminate very well.

  2. Gina says:

    I have been wondering about this one… I think I will just stick with my Smashbox primer and some bronzer for now!!

  3. Emma says:

    Loving the packaging they have!

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