Can Makeup by Mario’s SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum Do Three Beauty Tasks at Once?

'Marie Claire' editors put the new hybrid product to the test.

models wearing makeupbymario softsculpt bronzing serum
(Image credit: MakeupbyMario)

Does the world need any more bronzers? An editor whose job is to test products for a living, I ask myself this question daily. Innovations in pigment and delivery have left us with 142 options at Sephora, 144 at Ulta, and 143 at Nordstrom—most with a wide range of shades, undertones, and finishes. In such a saturated market, a new launch needs to be intentional. It needs to be additive. It needs to fill a white space. Mario Dedivanovic set out to do just that with his new SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum.

Tinted serums are aplenty—let’s not kid ourselves. But with a new-to-market pump-meets-wand applicator, the multi-purpose design aims to create a user-friendly, you-do-you experience. There are three applications in one little product: It can function as a tinted, all-over base, be applied as a contour, or work as a sculpting bronzer. Combine it with your moisturizer or foundation, and use your fingers or a brush—it’s meant to be a rule-free, intuitive product. Think: Bronzer for beginners. "It is important to me to continue to innovate in the category of bronzing, sculpting, and contouring," the Makeup by Mario founder exclusively shares with MC. "It’s our softest sculpt and ideal for anyone who wants to explore contouring but doesn’t know where to start, or those who love natural-looking definition."

With seven skincare-infused shades launching on the Sephora app on May 15 (and on May 16 at MakeupbyMario.com), it didn’t take much convincing to get the Marie Claire team to help me test out this launch—and see if it was a worthwhile addition to our already overflowing beauty cabinets. Ahead, four editors wear the Bronzing & Shaping Serum every way imaginable and share their honest reviews.

Samantha Holender, Beauty Editor

marie claire editor wearing makeup by marios softsculpt bronzing serum

Beauty editor Samantha Holender wearing Makeup by Mario's SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum in shade Light.

(Image credit: Samantha Holender)

Every product that claims to execute a “just-off-the-beach glow” or “healthy radiance” leaves my face either looking a completely different shade from my neck, or great on camera but horrendously heavy in person. I assumed the same fate would befall me with Makeup by Mario’s SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum, so I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong.

Maybe it was because of my innate skepticism, but I decided to apply this under my foundation to (hopefully) prevent a ruddy result. I used a pump on my hands to massage the product into my skin. Shade “Light” was a little too dark for my pasty self to wear as-is, but it looked stunning under my Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter. It didn’t aggressively dominate my complexion but delivered a super subtle bronzer tint. That success inspired me to twist off the pump, grab the doe-foot applicator, and contour my face—just a hint.

The formula blended out easily, leaving an incredibly diffused definition along my forehead and cheekbones. There were no harsh lines (my constant contour downfall) or heavy patches. I even went totally crazy and applied some more product with a fluffy brush. The finish isn’t intense by any means, so I wouldn’t necessarily reach for it for full glam, but it did provide a subdued, all-over glow that made me look—dare I say—sun-kissed.

Ashlyn Delaney, Associate Social Media Editor

ashlyn delaney wearing makeup by mario softsculpt bronzer

Associate Social Media Editor Ashlyn Delaney wearing Makeup by Mario's SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum in shade Deep.

(Image credit: Ashlyn Delaney)

Can we give a round of applause for the glow? I usually keep my makeup fairly light, and these bronzers seamlessly integrate into my regimen, enhancing the best part—my skin.

The lightweight and sheer formula can be added to my lighter foundation for the summer months or applied to the middle of my cheekbones for added definition. Don't believe me? Take a look at my face and see for yourself.

Emma Childs, Fashion Features Editor

marie claire editor wearing makeup by marios softsculpt bronzing serum

Fashion Features Editor Emma Childs wearing Makeup by Mario's SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum in shade Fair.

(Image credit: Samantha Holender)

My serotonin levels correlate with sunshine—both in how much I see in the sky and how it gives my skin a kissed-by-the-sun glow. But after months of gloomy and gray New York City skies and with wet spring weather still ahead of us, I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands. So, when the MC team was asked to test Makeup by Mario's Bronzing SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum, I jumped at the opportunity to manufacture a tan. If I can't post up at the beach for hours, slathering my face with sunshine in a bottle is the next best thing!

I chose the fair shade and applied the product after my moisturizer but before my foundation, using it as a glowy base to build upon. I then applied my usual highlighter and blush combo but skipped my standard bronzing powder, to see how the SoftSculpt serum stood on its own.

Admittedly, the final result was not as bronzed and golden as I had hoped (with my overactive imagination, I had visions of looking like I was on day four of a seaside getaway). But my face reflected an undeniable dewy finish that gave me a sufficient spike in serotonin, enough that I forsee myself using the serum as a consistent addition to my daily morning routine.

Julia Marzovilla, E-Commerce Editor

marie claire editor wearing makeup by marios softsculpt bronzing serum

E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla wearing Makeup by Mario's SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum in shade Medium.

(Image credit: Samantha Holender)

After years of loading up my cheeks with shades that weren’t right for me, I am trying to get back into bronzer. The new Makeup By Mario bronzer is the perfect tool—it’s sheer, buildable, and virtually undetectable on my skin. I have dry skin and some cream products tend to cling to the dryer patches around my nose, but this light, almost gel-like formula melted right in.

It played nicely with my normal foundation and didn’t budge throughout the day. I recommend applying it light layers, rather than applying a ton at once. The hidden doe-foot applicator was perfect for this application style because I could control the amount of product I applied at each step.

Shop Makeup by Mario's New SoftSculpt Bronzing & Shaping Serum

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.