I decided to revisit the talc issue when Anastasia ILLUMIN8 With Youthful Synergy™ Complex Bronzer ($29) arrived on my desk. Talc is the dominant ingredient and a controversial one, as I noted in 2009 when I looked at La Mer’s Powder Foundation. Around that time, there was a flurry of lobbying to get talc banned because of associations with cancer. The research is patchy though and there’s more on this in my Ingredient Spotlight on Talc, but in the meantime, the American Cancer Society suggests that “until more information is available, people concerned about using talc may want to consider using cornstarch-based cosmetic products instead.”

So you may not even get past talc before you decide to pass on ILLUMIN8. But I was interested to see what a bronzer “With Youthful Synergy” might be and so took a deeper dive. And I have to say that if Anastasia had decided to go with cornstarch rather than talc, this would be an interesting and covetable product.

One of the main emollients is made from fatty acid rich macadamia. There are several interesting and not your average botanicals including marshmallow, which has an inhibitory effect on hyaluronidase, the enzyme that degrades hyaluronic acid in our skin tissue, as well as boosting circulation. Melissa Officinalis is lemon balm and it is a proven antioxidant as is bilberry extract.

There are a couple of marine plant extracts here too: alaria esculenta is an edible seaweed that is supposed to stimulate hyaluronic acid and it contains omegas 3 and 6; and sea whip extract, which is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, and pinanediol, which according to studies increases microcirculation.

An interesting ingredient is peat extract, a natural anti-inflammatory detoxifying agent. Peat is essentially a compound made of a variety of decomposed plants found all over the world. It sounds unappetizing, but it has been used in Central Europe for centuries to treat skin conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. In clinical trials, it has been proven to be rapidly absorbed by the skin. I’ve only ever come across it makeup products such as Smashbox Halo Powder, so perhaps it serves some other purpose as well.

All in all, this is not your mother’s bronzer. Indeed, palmitoyl hexapeptide-14 has also been included by Anastasia, a peptide that stimulates collagen production and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Aside from talc, ingredients to be cautious of are barium nitrate and phenoxyethanol (potential irritants) and retinyl palmitate, possibly carcinogenic in sunlight. Although many people will be put off by these, there’s plenty of good things going on here and I was ultimately tempted to give it a try. It feels silky and super light. Even with fingertips, rather than a brush (not supplied, although the compact has a handy inside-the-lid mirror) it is pretty easy to blend in.

My sample came in “Sun-kissed”. And that’s exactly how  I look. Pity about the talc.

Ingredients: Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Zinc Stearate, Silica, Lauroyl Lysine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phytosteryl Macadamiate, Boron Nitride, Althaea Officinalis Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Nylon-12, Magnesium Carbonate, Water/Eau/Aqua, Ethoxydiglycol, Barium Sulfate, Peat Extract, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Gold, Potassium Sorbate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane/Benzimidazole Diamond Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Butylene Glycol, Sea Whip Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Retinyl Palmitate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, May Contain/Peut Contenir: (+/-) Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163).